skip to main content

Information for DIA officials

Officials from the Censorship Compliance Unit at New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) may submit a publication for classification, on behalf of the Secretary for Internal Affairs, to determine if it is objectionable.

This page explains:

Closeup of fingers on a keyboard

Useful links

How to submit a publication for classification

DIA officials may decide to submit a publication to the Classification Office under section 13(1)(b) of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 (the Classification Act). Submissions by DIA officials are made on behalf of the Secretary for Internal Affairs.

Alternatively, the Chief Censor may direct DIA officials to locate and seize a copy of a specific publication, and submit it for examination by the Classification Office. This submission process is made under section 13(3) of the Classification Act.

To submit a publication for classification, DIA officials must complete a 'notice of submission'.

A notice of submission must include:

If there are a large number of publications, please submit a representative sample. For example, if there are a number of images depicting something similar or identical, then submit one of them.

If more than one publication is to be classified, include a schedule accurately naming the publications, and ensure that:

  • Any titles reflect the same capital and lower case conventions as those that appear on the publications (for example LL20i3Ep.jpg)
  • File extensions are accurately recorded, eg .mpeg or .jpeg or .jpg

There is no submission fee for DIA officials.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Useful links

Written submissions from interested parties

The Classification Office will seek written submissions from interested parties.

When the Classification Office receives a publication from Internal Affairs, the Chief Censor decides who, other than the submitter, should be informed. This is so that interested parties can make written submissions about the classification of the publication.

The Classification Office will direct officials at Internal Affairs to notify interested parties, and give them a minimum of 14 working days to make submissions to the Classification Office. Time extensions can be sought by contacting the Classification Office.

The people considered to have an interest in the classification of a publication are the owner, maker, distributor or publisher of the publication. However, anyone that satisfies the Chief Censor that they are likely to be affected by the classification, can make written submissions within the time period.

Note that the Classification Office does not hold hearings or ask people to appear before it to make submissions in person.

Useful links

Example page of our Plain English Guide
Example page of our Plain English Guide to the Offence Provisions

Written notice outlining reasons for the decision

At the end of the classification process, the Classification Office will send a written Notice of Decision (under section 38 of the Classification Act) to DIA. The Notice of Decision is also sent to interested parties. It details the findings of the Classification Office's examination of the publication under sections 3, 3A and 3B of the Classification Act.

Once the Notice of Decision has been sent, the decision is published in the public register of classification decisions. The register page includes a brief summary of reasons for the decision.

Classification register page
An example of a classification register page

Useful links

Appeals and reconsiderations

Classification Office decisions

Classification Office decisions may be appealed to the Film and Literature Board of Review.

Once a classification has been entered into the public register of classification decisions, the Department of Internal Affairs, or 'the owner, maker, publisher, or authorised distributor of the publication' (section 47(2)) may seek a review of the Classification Office decision by the Film and Literature Board of Review.

Getting a classification decision reviewed

Request by a person charged with an offence

A person charged with an offence can request that a classification decision be reconsidered after one year.

Classification Office or Board of Review decisions are regarded as conclusive evidence. However, once a year or more has elapsed, a court, at the request of a person charged with an offence under the Classification Act, can refer a decision to the Classification Office for reconsideration, or to the Film and Literature Board of Review where it is a decision of the Board's.

What the Classification Act says about seeking a reconsideration through the court

With the leave of the Chief Censor, anyone can seek a reconsideration of a classification decision once three or more years have elapsed.

Useful links