Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993

If you need more information about this Act, please contact the administering agency: Department of Internal Affairs
  • This version was republished on 25 August 2022 to correct a typographical error in section 131(5)(f).

Version as at 12 April 2022

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993

Public Act
1993 No 94
Date of assent
26 August 1993
see section 1

The Parliamentary Counsel Office has made editorial and format changes to this version using the powers under subpart 2 of Part 3 of the Legislation Act 2019.

Note 4 at the end of this version provides a list of the amendments included in it.

This Act is administered by the Department of Internal Affairs.


1Short Title and commencement
3Meaning of objectionable
3APublication may be age-restricted if it contains highly offensive language likely to cause serious harm
3BPublication may be age-restricted if likely to be injurious to public good for specified reasons
3CProcedure for classification under sections 3A and 3B
3DHow sections 3A and 3B relate to sections 3 and 23(2)(c)
4Classification of publications a matter of expert judgment
4AAApplication of Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015
4ATransitional, savings, and related provisions
5Act to bind the Crown
6Films to be labelled
7Trade screenings
8Films exempt from labelling requirements
9Applications for issue of label
10Issue of labels
11Rating and description applicable to copies
11AClassification Office must provide film database
12Submission of films by labelling body
13Submission of publications by others
14How to submit publications (officials)
14AHow to submit publications (online content hosts)
15How to submit publications (others)
16Referral of notice of submission to complaints officer
17Submission to lapse if publication unobtainable
18Publication not adaptable to equipment in Classification Office
19Notification of submission
20Right to make submissions
21Other assistance
22No right to be heard
22AInterim classification assessments by Classification Office
22BNotice, registration, and effect of interim classification assessments
22CNo action to lie against officials
22DNo action to lie against service providers and online content hosts
23Examination and classification
24Soundtrack to be considered
25Classification Office may copy film
26Classification applies to identical copies
27Conditions relating to display of restricted publications
28Further provisions relating to conditions on public display of restricted publications
29Character of publications arising in court proceedings
30Report of findings to be sent to court
31When decision on publication referred by court to take effect
32Excisions from and alterations to films
33Procedure for making excisions and alterations
34Classification to apply only if excisions and alterations actually made
35Provisions to apply to soundtracks
36Issue of labels in respect of films
36AIssue of labels in respect of other publications that are classified as restricted publications
37Serial publications
38Decisions of Classification Office
39Register of classification decisions made on or after 1 October 2012
40Search criteria
41Decisions to be conclusive evidence
42Reconsideration of publications
42ARegister of classification decisions made before 1 October 2012
42BClassification Office to publish list of decisions made before 1 October 2012
42CSaving in respect of decisions made before 1 October 2012
43Film posters
44Applications for exemption
45Notification of decision
46Burden of proof
46APurpose of Part
46BExtraterritorial application to specified CVoD providers
46CDuty to label commercial video on-demand content
46DContent previously labelled or classified
46EContent not previously labelled or classified
46FHow ratings and descriptions must be determined
46GApproval of providers’ self-rating systems
46HChief Censor must annually review approved self-rating systems
46ISuspension and cancellation of approvals
46JComplaints process
47Right of review
48Applications for review
48ADeadline for lodging applications for review
49Interim restriction orders on review
50Notification of interim restriction order
51Duration and revocation of interim restriction order
52Conduct of reviews
55Decision of Board
56Reconsideration of decisions referred under section 41(3)
57Board may state case for High Court
58Appeal against decision of Board on question of law
59Notice of appeal
60Court may dispense with service
61Right of other parties to appear and be heard on appeal
62Appeal in respect of additional points of law
63Orders relating to determination of appeals
64Dismissal of appeal
65Extension of time
66Date of hearing
67Interim restriction orders on appeal
68Notification of interim restriction order
69Duration and revocation of interim restriction order
70Appeal against decision of High Court
71Functions of labelling body
72Approval of labelling body
73Application for approval as labelling body
74Community representatives
75Revocation of approval
76Office of Film and Literature Classification
77Functions of Classification Office
78Powers of Classification Office [Repealed]
79Membership of Classification Office
80Appointments to Classification Office
81Term of office
82Continuation in office after term expires [Repealed]
83Vacation of office as chairperson and deputy chairperson
84Holding of other offices
85Administration of Classification Office
86Exercise of powers by Deputy Chief Censor
87Chief Censor may delegate powers
88Information Unit
89Annual report [Repealed]
90Further provisions relating to Classification Office
91Film and Literature Board of Review
94Term of office
95Continuation in office after term expires
96Extraordinary vacancies
97Appointment of deputies
98Application of certain Acts to members
99Fees and travelling allowances
100Meetings of Board
101Board may sit in divisions
102Provision of administrative services to Board
103Inspectors of Publications
104Inspectors who are not public servants
105Authority to act as Inspector
106Powers of Inspectors
107Inspector may seize publications
108Seizure of objectionable publications
109Search warrants for offences against specified sections (other than sections 126 and 131A)
109ASearch warrants from District Court Judges for offences against sections 126 and 131A
109BSearch warrants from Registrars, etc, for offences against section 126 or section 131A
109CWho may apply for search warrants
110Application of Part 4 of Search and Surveillance Act 2012
111Powers conferred by warrant [Repealed]
111APower to stop vehicles [Repealed]
112Person executing warrant to produce evidence of authority [Repealed]
113Notice of execution of warrant [Repealed]
114Custody of property seized [Repealed]
115Summons to be issued
116Disposal of publications seized
117Appeal against order for destruction
118Disposal of things seized [Repealed]
118AApplication of Customs and Excise Act 2018
119No action to lie
119ADefinitions for Part 7A
119BApplication of Part and regulations
119CIssue of take-down notices
119DContents of take-down notices
119EOnline content host must comply with take-down notice
119FNo action to lie against officials
119GNo action to lie against online content host
119HEnforcement of take-down notices
119IRemedies and costs
119JReview of take-down notices
120Non-compliance with labelling requirements
121Unlawful issue of labels
122Meaning of distribute in sections 123 to 132
122ADefinitions for section 122
123Offences of strict liability relating to objectionable publications
124Offences involving knowledge in relation to objectionable publications
124AWhere distribution, importation, etc, not an offence
125Offences of strict liability involving restricted publications
126Offences involving knowledge in relation to restricted publications
127Exhibition to persons under 18
128Circumstances when exhibition or display not an offence
129Offences in public place
130Breach of conditions on display of restricted publications
131Offence to possess objectionable publication
131AOffences relating to possession of objectionable publications and involving knowledge
132Exhibiting parts of a publication
132AAggravating factor to be taken into account in sentencing, etc, for certain publications offences
132BPresumption of imprisonment for repeat offenders
132COffence to livestream objectionable content or share objectionable livestreamed content
133Contravention of serial publication order
133AContravention of interim restriction order
134Obstruction of Inspector
135Failure to surrender warrant
136Disposal and forfeiture following conviction
137No action to lie
138Liability of employers and principals
139Directors and officers of bodies corporate
140Evidence of publication, etc
141Relief from contracts
141AOffences punishable on conviction on indictment [Repealed]
142Offences punishable on summary conviction [Repealed]
143Time for filing charging document
144Attorney-General’s consent required for private prosecutions of certain publications offences
145Delegation of powers by Commissioner of Police [Repealed]
145AExtraterritorial jurisdiction for certain offences as required by Optional Protocol
145BAttorney-General’s consent required where jurisdiction claimed under section 145A
145COffences deemed to be included in extradition treaties
146Classification Office may require soundtrack to be translated into English
147Printed matter to be marked with name and address of publisher or wholesale distributor
148Fees charged by Classification Office to be reasonable
149APayment of annual levy by specified CVoD provider
149BLevy regulations
149CDispute does not suspend obligation to pay levy
149DApproval may be suspended until debt paid
149EStatus and recovery of fees or levy
150Consequential amendments, repeals, and revocation
150AAmendment of Schedule 4 by Order in Council
152Decisions under Indecent Publications Act 1963
153Proceedings pending or in train before Indecent Publications Tribunal
154Proceedings pending or in train before High Court
155Question of indecency arising in court proceedings
156Alteration of appeal period
157Interim restriction orders to lapse
158Restriction orders deemed to be serial publication orders
161Classification decisions under Video Recordings Act 1987
162Videos before labelling body
163Proceedings pending before Authority or Board of Review
164Question of indecency arising in court proceedings
165Proceedings before High Court or Court of Appeal
168Classification decisions under Films Act 1983
169Proceedings pending before Chief Censor or Board of Review
170Proceedings before High Court or Court of Appeal
171Dual censorship decisions
172Vacation of office of existing office-holders
173Existing Inspectors deemed to be Inspectors
174Restrictions on redundancy and other entitlements
175Part to apply in respect of subsisting decisions under previous Films Acts
176Regulations relating to transitional matters [Expired]
177Expiry of section 176

An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the censoring of films, videos, books, and other publications; and to repeal the Indecent Publications Act 1963, the Films Act 1983, and the Video Recordings Act 1987