The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Images "amongst the worst kind that could be imaginable"


The North Shore District Court today fined a Glenfield man, $11,250 plus costs for possession of electronic videos and pictures of child sex abuse that Judge Wilson QC described as “amongst the worst kind that could be imaginable”.

The Director of the Department’s Gaming and Censorship Regulation Group, Keith Manch, said that in addition to collecting child sex abuse images from the Internet, the man, an airline employee, was seeking meetings with New Zealanders and overseas people to have sex with young boys and girls.

Currently, under the Films Videos and Publications Classification Act offenders cannot be jailed on charges of possessing child sex abuse images.

The Government has proposed an amendment to the Act, which is currently before the Government Administration Select Committee, that would impose a maximum penalty of up to two years jail for each possession charge and up to 10 years for distribution charges.

Mr Manch said that offenders like this man are strong examples of why collecting child sex abuse images is illegal.

“Real children are raped and abused to make the images,” Mr Manch said, “and the distribution and collection of the images endangers more children.

“The Department’s actions are not about videos and pictures on computers. They are part of New Zealand’s actions against the abuse and exploitation of children.”

In this case, he had possession of 239 picture files and two videos or children aged from three to 15 being raped and sexually abused by adult men. He claimed to be having a sexual relationship with an 11-year-old boy and was seeking people around the world who would give him access to children.

In June 2003 a Department Inspector found a New Zealander operating in an Internet relay chat channel dedicated to the exchange of child sex abuse images.

The Inspector tracked the New Zealander to an Auckland address and identified him.

In September 2003, Department Inspectors and a Police officer executed a search warrant. The Inspectors seized a laptop computer, hard drives, CD Roms, floppy disks and a digital camera.

Analysis of the seized material revealed the images and logs of the man's communication with other Internet users.

Today he pleaded guilty to 15 representative charges of possessing objectionable material, and Judge Wilson fined him $750 on each charge.

Roles of New Zealand agencies

To help explain which New Zealand agency people should contact if they have information about child sex abuse images, I would like to explain the different roles of the organisations involved.

The Department of Internal Affairs investigates and prosecutes users of Internet child sex abuse images.

Our Inspectors work on the Internet to track and identify offenders. They then execute search warrants, seize computers and other material, carry out the forensic analysis, prepare the prosecution files and work with the Crown Solicitor presenting the case in court.

New Zealand Customs takes action against importation of objectionable material, and Police and Child Youth and Family are involved when there is possible physical abuse of New Zealand children.

As you can imagine, cases can easily cross over into different agencies areas of expertise and inter-agency operations are common, but one agency always takes the lead.

If members of the public have information about Internet child sex abuse images, they should contact the Department. Our toll free number is 0800 257 887.

If they have concerns about possible physical abuse of children, they should call their local Police station or Child Youth and Family office. They should call Customs with information about importation of objectionable material.

Having said that, of course we work closely together and if information is reported to the “wrong” agency, it will be passed on.

Keith Manch
Director, Gaming and Censorship Regulation

Media contact:

Keith Manch
Director Gaming and Censorship Regulation Phone 04 495 9449, Cellular 027 445 6420

Vince Cholewa
Communications Advisor Phone 04 495 9350, Cellular 027 272 4270