Our role

Since August 2018, the Department has administered the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, previously this Act was administered by the Ministry of Justice.

The Department’s role in enforcing the Act

The Digital Safety Team are responsible for the regulation and enforcement activities under the Act, including:

  • helping to ensure that publications considered to be objectionable are not made available to members of the public;
  • helping to ensure that the decisions of the Classification Office are adhered to by the film and video industry, magazine distributors, and shops;
  • helping to ensure Commercial Video OnDemand labelling requirements are adhered to; and
  • responding to complaints.

The team also provides information about child safety online, anti-virus and family protection software, and reviewing internet activity, and useful links to other websites about internet safety and child safety issues (including some interactive sites for children).

Prosecuting offenders for breaching the Act

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.

Our press releases contain information about our results.

Submissions on classification of publications

Under delegation from the Secretary for Internal Affairs, Inspectors of Publications may submit unclassified publications to the  Classification Office, when they have cause to believe these may be objectionable in terms of the Act, or need to be restricted in some way.

If a publication has been submitted to the Office, the owner has the right to make submissions on the classification of the publication.

Approach to compliance and enforcement

The Department's approach to compliance and enforcement in this area is set out in the Minimising Harm - Maximising Benefit document.

See also: The Department's Prosecution Policy