Legislation and legal process

Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) is responsible for enforcing the Films, Videos, Publications and Classification Act 1993 (the Classification Act). Section 3(2) of this Act sets out clear criteria for what may be judged as objectionable in Aotearoa New Zealand. This includes content that:

  • Describes, depicts, or deals with the sexual exploitation of minors
  • Exploits the nudity of minors
  • Degrades any person
  • Promotes criminal acts

DIA takes a proactive role to investigate the trade of objectionable and restricted material in New Zealand. If a publication is categorised as objectionable it is automatically banned under the Act.

The Act was amended by the Films, Videos, and Publications Amendment Act 2015, which, among other things, introduced a number of significant changes to the enforcement provisions of the principal Act in relation to objectionable publications, images, and other such material.

Under the amended Act:

  • The penalty for a person who knowingly trades, distributes, or makes objectionable materials is a term of imprisonment not exceeding 14 years.
  • The penalty for knowingly possessing objectionable materials is either a term of imprisonment not exceeding ten years or a fine of up to $50,000.
  • Inspectors of publications can apply for production orders and warrants, including search warrants, for suspected offences against the Act including the possession, distribution, and creation of objectionable material.

Information sharing as a Child Welfare and Protection Agency under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989

On 14 July 2022 DIA was designated as a Child Welfare and Protection Agency (CWPA) under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989. This means that we can request and disclose personal information with other CWPAs for purposes relating to the safety and well-being of a child or young person.

The Digital Child Exploitation Team (DCET) can be expected to disclose and request information for the purpose of reducing the risk of a child being subjected to harm and assisting other CWPA’s to carry out their child protection duties. Business units who do not receive or have a need for information regarding a child or young person’s wellbeing and safety will not be able to use the information sharing provisions as they do not meet the criteria under the provisions of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.

DIA follows procedures and guidelines to ensure the appropriate type of information is shared for the correct purpose with the required protections, we also follow the requirements of the Privacy Act 2020 regarding how to collect, store and use personal information.