The Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 and amendments 

New Zealand's classification regime is governed by the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 ('the Act'). The Act regulates how publications such as films, including commercial video on-demand content and games are classified in New Zealand.

The regulation of objectionable publications

The 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 14 years. Convictions for knowingly possessing objectionable material can result in a fine up to $50,000 or a 10-year term of imprisonment.

Amendments to the Classification Act

The Act was amended by the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Amendment Act 2005. This amendment expanded the scope of the Act to tackle the issue of objectionable material via the internet by increasing the penalties.

In 2020 the Act was further amended by the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Commercial Video on-Demand) Amendment Act 2020. This amendment expanded the scope of the Act to include the classification of Commercial video on-demand (CVoD) content. CVoD content is visual media content that is accessed online on-demand by a user who has paid a fee.

DIA’s role in enforcing the Classification Act

The Department makes sure that the Act is enforced to help protect people from material that is injurious to the public good. For more information about the Department’s role in enforcing the Act, refer to the ‘Our Role’ section.

Make a complaint or express your concern

If you are concerned that something you have seen may be objectionable under the terms of the Film, Videos and Publication Classification Act 1993, please fill in our online Content Complaint Form:

Content Complaint Form

Note: The content complaint form 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 Classification office.

Internet and website filtering system

An internet and website filtering system to block websites that host child sexual abuse images is available voluntarily to New Zealand Internet Service Providers.

The Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System focuses solely on websites offering clearly objectionable images of child sexual abuse, which is a serious offence for anyone in New Zealand to access.