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The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation

 

Services › Censorship Compliance

One of our roles is to make sure that New Zealand's censorship legislation is enforced, and so help protect people from material that is injurious to the public good.

New Zealand's censorship regime is governed by the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, which was amended by the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Amendment Act 2005 (a guide to the definition of terms used in the Act can be found here: Glossary of Terms).

This Act makes it an offence to possess or trade in objectionable publications. Individuals convicted of knowingly trading in Objectionable Material can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. Convictions for knowingly possessing objectionable material can result in a fine up to $50,000 or a five year term of imprisonment.

NEW! Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System


How to Make a Complaint or Express Your Concern


If you are concerned that something you have seen may be objectionable under the Definitions of the Act please fill in our online Content Complaint Form.

Note: This complaint section is specifically for offensive material and classification concerns. If you would like to lodge a complaint about spam (unsolicited electronic messages), please fill in the Spam Complaint Form.

If you are concerned that something you have seen should be classified, then you should contact the Office of Film and Literature Classification.


Who's Who in Censorship


Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs' Censorship Compliance Unit is responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

This team helps to ensure that publications considered to be objectionable are not made available to members of the public; helps to ensure that the decisions of the Office of Film and Literature Classification are adhered to by the film and video industry, magazine distributors, and shops; and investigates complaints.

Inspectors of Publications can prosecute people for offences which relate to the labelling of publications and their display, and the manufacture, supply, distribution, advertising and exhibition of objectionable or restricted publications.

Under delegation from the Secretary for Internal Affairs, the Department's Inspectors of Publications may submit unclassified publications to the Office of Film and Literature Classification, when they have cause to believe it may be objectionable in terms of the Act, or needs to be restricted in some way. If a publication has been submitted to the Classification Office the owner has the right to make submissions on the classification of the publication (see Film and Video Classification).

New Zealand Police

The New Zealand Police may be called on to enforce the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act. All police are Inspectors of Publications.

New Zealand Customs Service

Customs is the first line of defence against objectionable publications entering New Zealand.

The Film and Video Labelling Body

Unlabelled films and videos first pass though the hands of the Labelling Body. Made up of industry and community representatives the Labelling Body is guided by the classifications given elsewhere in the world.

Under the regulations, Australian classifications are used as a guide, with some lesser use made of British classifications. Those films and videos which the Labelling Body believes warrant a restricted classification (the most common restrictions are R16 and R18) are passed on to the Office of Film and Literature Classification.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification

The Office of Film and Literature Classification classifies films, videos, and publications. This may include cutting films and videos.

If you have a query about a classification or wish to make a submission you should write to: Office of Film and Literature Classification, PO Box 1999, Wellington 6140 (or email information@censorship.govt.nz).

Film and Literature Board of Review

If the person who originally submitted the film, video or publication for classification disagrees with the classification, then he or she can appeal to the Film and Literature Board of Review.

Similarly any member of the public who disagrees with a classification can ask the Secretary for Internal Affairs for leave to submit the publication to the Film and Literature Board of Review for re-examination.

Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice administers the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 while the Department of Internal Affairs enforces it. The Ministry also provides strategic and policy advice across the justice sector.

The report, Protecting Our Innocence: New Zealand's National Plan of Action Against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, published by the Ministry of Justice in February 2002, is a comprehensive examination of the four main activities that exploit children for their commercial value: child prostitution, child pornography, child sex tourism and child trafficking for sexual purposes. It also details some of the laws, social policies, administrative measures and programmes that have been developed to respond to child abuse and exploitation in general.


Copyright Law and Piracy


Copyright Law is the responsibility of the Ministry of Economic Development. The law is clear about what can and can't be copied, but many people are not familiar with the rules.

View an article that answers some common questions about copying CDs and console games: Copyright Law (link kindly supplied by Consumer Online - see our Disclaimer).


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