Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993

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Reprint as at 1 October 2012

Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993

Public Act1993 No 94
Date of assent26 August 1993
Commencementsee section 1


Changes authorised by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 have been made in this reprint.

A general outline of these changes is set out in the notes at the end of this reprint, together with other explanatory material about this reprint.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.



1 Short Title and commencement

Part 1
Preliminary provisions

2 Interpretation

3 Meaning of objectionable

3A Publication may be age-restricted if it contains highly offensive language likely to cause serious harm

3B Publication may be age-restricted if likely to be injurious to public good for specified reasons

3C Procedure for classification under sections 3A and 3B

3D How sections 3A and 3B relate to sections 3 and 23(2)(c)

4 Classification of publications a matter of expert judgment

5 Act to bind the Crown

Part 2
Labelling of films

Labelling requirements

6 Films to be labelled

7 Trade screenings

8 Films exempt from labelling requirements

Issue of labels

9 Applications for issue of label

10 Issue of labels

11 Rating and description applicable to copies

Part 3
Classification of publications

Submission of publications

12 Submission of films by labelling body

13 Submission of publications by others

14 How to submit publications (officials)

15 How to submit publications (others)

16 Referral of notice of submission to complaints officer

17 Submission to lapse if publication unobtainable

18 Publication not adaptable to equipment in Classification Office

19 Notification of submission

20 Right to make submissions

21 Other assistance

22 No right to be heard

Examination and classification of publications

23 Examination and classification

24 Soundtrack to be considered

25 Classification Office may copy film

26 Classification applies to identical copies

27 Conditions relating to display of restricted publications

28 Further provisions relating to conditions on public display of restricted publications

Referral of publications by courts

29 Character of publications arising in court proceedings

30 Report of findings to be sent to court

31 When decision on publication referred by court to take effect

Excisions from and alterations to films

32 Excisions from and alterations to films

33 Procedure for making excisions and alterations

34 Classification to apply only if excisions and alterations actually made

35 Provisions to apply to soundtracks

Issue of labels

36 Issue of labels in respect of films

36A Issue of labels in respect of other publications that are classified as restricted publications

Serial publications

37 Serial publications

Notice of classification decisions

38 Decisions of Classification Office

39 Register of classification decisions made on or after 1 October 2012

40 Search criteria

41 Decisions to be conclusive evidence

42 Reconsideration of publications

Classification decisions made before 1 October 2012

42A Register of classification decisions made before 1 October 2012

42B Classification Office to publish list of decisions made before 1 October 2012

42C Saving in respect of decisions made before 1 October 2012

Film posters

43 Film posters


44 Applications for exemption

45 Notification of decision

46 Burden of proof

Part 4
Review of classification decisions

Applications for review

47 Right of review

48 Applications for review

48A Deadline for lodging applications for review

Interim restrictions on review

49 Interim restriction orders

50 Notification of interim restriction order

51 Duration and revocation of interim restriction order

Conduct of reviews

52 Conduct of reviews

53 Procedure

54 Consultation

55 Decision of Board

56 Reconsideration of decisions referred under section 41(3)

57 Board may state case for High Court

Part 5

Appeal to High Court

58 Appeal against decision of Board on question of law

59 Notice of appeal

60 Court may dispense with service

61 Right of other parties to appear and be heard on appeal

62 Appeal in respect of additional points of law

63 Orders relating to determination of appeals

64 Dismissal of appeal

65 Extension of time

66 Date of hearing

Interim restrictions on appeal

67 Imposition of interim restrictions on appeal

68 Notification of interim restriction order

69 Duration and revocation of interim restriction order

Appeal to Court of Appeal

70 Appeal against decision of High Court

Part 6

Labelling body

71 Functions of labelling body

72 Approval of labelling body

73 Application for approval as labelling body

74 Community representatives

75 Revocation of approval

Office of Film and Literature Classification

76 Office of Film and Literature Classification

77 Functions of Classification Office

78 Powers of Classification Office [Repealed]

79 Membership of Classification Office

80 Appointments to Classification Office

81 Term of office

82 Continuation in office after term expires [Repealed]

83 Vacation of office as chairperson and deputy chairperson

84 Holding of other offices

85 Administration of Classification Office

86 Exercise of powers by Deputy Chief Censor

87 Chief Censor may delegate powers

88 Information Unit

89 Annual report [Repealed]

90 Further provisions relating to Classification Office

Film and Literature Board of Review

91 Film and Literature Board of Review

92 Function

93 Membership

94 Term of office

95 Continuation in office after term expires

96 Extraordinary vacancies

97 Appointment of deputies

98 Application of certain Acts to members

99 Fees and travelling allowances

100 Meetings of Board

101 Board may sit in divisions

102 Provision of administrative services to Board

Inspectors of Publications

103 Inspectors of Publications

104 Inspectors who are not public servants

105 Authority to act as Inspector

Part 7
Search and seizure

106 Powers of Inspectors

107 Inspector may seize publications

108 Seizure of objectionable publications

109 Search warrants for offences against specified sections (other than sections 126 and 131A)

109A Search warrants from District Court Judges for offences against sections 126 and 131A

109B Search warrants from Registrars, etc, for offences against section 126 or section 131A

109C Who may apply for search warrants

110 Application of Part 4 of Search and Surveillance Act 2012

111 Powers conferred by warrant [Repealed]

111A Power to stop vehicles [Repealed]

112 Person executing warrant to produce evidence of authority [Repealed]

113 Notice of execution of warrant [Repealed]

114 Custody of property seized [Repealed]

115 Summons to be issued

116 Disposal of publications seized

117 Appeal against order for destruction

118 Disposal of things seized [Repealed]

118A Application of Customs and Excise Act 1996

119 No action to lie

Part 8

Offences relating to labelling

120 Non-compliance with labelling requirements

121 Unlawful issue of labels

Offences involving objectionable or restricted publications

122 Meaning of distribute in sections 123 to 132

122A Definitions for section 122

123 Offences of strict liability relating to objectionable publications

124 Offences involving knowledge in relation to objectionable publications

124A Where distribution, importation, etc, not an offence

125 Offences of strict liability involving restricted publications

126 Offences involving knowledge in relation to restricted publications

127 Exhibition to persons under 18

128 Circumstances when exhibition or display not an offence

129 Offences in public place

130 Breach of conditions on display of restricted publications

131 Offence to possess objectionable publication

131A Offences relating to possession of objectionable publications and involving knowledge

132 Exhibiting parts of a publication

132A Aggravating factor to be taken into account in sentencing, etc, for certain publications offences

Miscellaneous offences

133 Contravention of serial publication order or interim restriction order

134 Obstruction of Inspector

135 Failure to surrender warrant

Miscellaneous provisions

136 Disposal and forfeiture following conviction

137 No action to lie

138 Liability of employers and principals

139 Directors and officers of bodies corporate

140 Evidence of publication, etc

141 Relief from contracts

141A Offences punishable on conviction on indictment

142 Offences punishable on summary conviction

143 Extending time for taking prosecutions

144 Leave of Attorney-General to prosecute

145 Delegation of powers by Commissioner of Police

145A Extraterritorial jurisdiction for certain offences as required by Optional Protocol

145B Attorney-General's consent required where jurisdiction claimed under section 145A

145C Offences deemed to be included in extradition treaties

Part 9
Miscellaneous provisions


146 Classification Office may require soundtrack to be translated into English

147 Printed matter to be marked with name and address of publisher or wholesale distributor

148 Fees charged by Classification Office to be reasonable


149 Regulations

Consequential amendments, repeals, and revocation

150 Consequential amendments, repeals, and revocation

Part 10
Transitional provisions

Indecent Publications Act 1963

151 Interpretation

152 Decisions under Indecent Publications Act 1963

153 Proceedings pending or in train before Indecent Publications Tribunal

154 Proceedings pending or in train before High Court

155 Question of indecency arising in court proceedings

156 Alteration of appeal period

157 Interim restriction orders to lapse

158 Restriction orders deemed to be serial publication orders

159 Exemptions

Video Recordings Act 1987

160 Interpretation

161 Classification decisions under Video Recordings Act 1987

162 Videos before labelling body

163 Proceedings pending before Authority or Board of Review

164 Question of indecency arising in court proceedings

165 Proceedings before High Court or Court of Appeal

166 Exemptions

Films Act 1983

167 Interpretation

168 Classification decisions under Films Act 1983

169 Proceedings pending before Chief Censor or Board of Review

170 Proceedings before High Court or Court of Appeal

Dual censorship decisions

171 Dual censorship decisions

Miscellaneous provisions

172 Vacation of office of existing office-holders

173 Existing Inspectors deemed to be Inspectors

174 Restrictions on redundancy and other entitlements

175 Part to apply in respect of subsisting decisions under previous Films Acts


176 Regulations relating to transitional matters [Expired]

177 Expiry of section 176

Schedule 1
Provisions applying in respect of Classification Office

Schedule 2
Enactments amended

Schedule 3
Enactments repealed

Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Amendment Act 2005

Search and Surveillance Act 2012

Reprint notes

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