This page has information for suppliers of restricted books and magazines in New Zealand, including bookstores and libraries. It explains how and when to submit a book or magazine for classification, how to get official labels, and the requirements for supplying restricted books and magazines.
If you are concerned that a book or magazine may be objectionable under New Zealand law, but you aren't sure, then submit it to the Classification Office for a decision. This will avoid the risk of breaking the law by possessing or supplying it, and will reassure your customers that what you are supplying them is legal.
You can search the classification decision database for books and magazines to check whether they have been classified restricted or objectionable.
To submit a book or magazine for classification, you will need to send the following information to the Classification Office in Wellington:
You can include a cover letter with any other information you want us to know about your application.
An alternative to submitting an individual magazine for classification is to apply for a 'serial publication order'. The Classification Office can decide whether to grant a serial publication order by classifying a sample of three consecutive issues of a magazine published within a 12 month period. A serial publication order, when granted, allows you to apply an official classification label to every issue of a magazine for up to two years (providing the magazine series does not change dramatically in its content). Serial publication orders may only be granted to restricted publications (eg, R13, R16 or R18).
Stores must display restricted publications in an appropriate manner. Practically speaking, this means that magazines with, for example, sexually explicit content on the cover, must be displayed in opaque, sealed covers unless they are in an 'adults only' area.
Distributors and sellers may apply their own labels to books and magazines to show that the publication must not be sold to people under a specified age, e.g. affixing an 'R18' label on the cover. This is a form of self-regulation encouraged under New Zealand's classification law. However, the label must not look like an official classification label.
Sellers can check the age of a customer at the point-of-sale by asking for proof-of-age identification. Remember, it is an offence to supply a restricted publication to someone under the age of restriction.