This page outlines some key classification statistics from the past financial year. You can also download copies of official documents such as our Annual Reports and Statements of Intent.
The Classification Office is accountable to the New Zealand public as a provider of an important public service. The following corporate documents contain detailed information about our operation, performance, and outlook for the years ahead.
A high level of transparency and engagement with the New Zealand public is essential to our work. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about the information and documents we have provided.
The Classification Office made a written submission on the Harmful Digital Communications (Unauthorised Posting of Intimate Visual Recording) Amendment Bill.
The Classification Office made a written submission on the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Urgent Interim Classification of Publications and Prevention of Online Harm) Amendment Bill.
Annual Reports for a financial year (July 1 - June 30) are available in November each year, once they have been tabled in Parliament.
When a new Minister of Internal Affairs is appointed, the Classification Office provides a briefing which outlines who we are and what we do, how we have been operating, and other important information of use to the Minister. In 2020, we created six documents to cover the different aspects of the work our Office does:
We publish a list disclosing the Chief Executive's expenses, gifts received, and hospitality expended or offered annually.
As part of an Inquiry into Hate Speech in 2004, the Classification Office submitted that 'current New Zealand legislation does not specifically or effectively address "hate speech"', and that 'the extent to which a publication is hate speech should be a matter that is relevant to [a film, game, or other publication's] classification if Parliament decides that legislation providing for civil or criminal remedies is necessary or desirable.'
Submission to the 2004 Inquiry into Hate Speech (PDF, 274KB)
This section is where the Classification Office proactively releases our responses to Official Information Act requests.
This is a request for official information under the Official Information Act 1982 relating to sensitive expenditure incurred in the lead-up to and during the Level 4 Lockdown.
We request the following information:
1. All staff credit and purchase card statements for your agency from the 1st of March 2020 until the 30th of May 2020.
2. A list of items of expenditure pertaining to entertainment, staff expenses, travel, furniture, telecommunications and computer peripherals purchased or paid for between the 1st of March 2020 and 30th of May 2020.
3. A list of all staff reimbursements made within the same period.
We do not wish to cause unnecessary expense or burden on your agency. If clarification of any of our requests is needed, please call or email. Likewise, if a request proves unnecessarily burdensome in form and we are likely to be able to adjust it to be more specific or better suited to your information systems without losing the benefit of what is sought, please also get in touch. If there is likely to be a delay in being able to assemble or provide some of the information requested, please provide the rest of the information as it becomes available.
The relevant documents are as follows:
This was an Official Information Act request asking Could you please attach a complete list of banned books in New Zealand. Please note that I don't want any film or other media, just books and/or manuscripts and/or pamphlets.
We responded by email, which had the following spreadsheets attached:
Please note that this response was made in December 2020. As such, these spreadsheets reflect the list at the time of response and may not be an accurate reflection of the current banned books list. Please contact the Information Unit if you would like a copy of the list.
Our response to this request is reproduced below:
I have attached two spreadsheets which together include all banned books in New Zealand. Note that the Classification Office started operating in 1994, and replaced the previous Indecent Publications Tribunal as the authority responsible for classifying text-based publications such as books. In most cases, decisions by the Indecent Publications Tribunal are still in force today.
No pamphlets have been banned by the Classification Office. The IPT banned two pamphlets:
IPT83-1070 (6 of 7) - Centurians Sales Pamphlet - 23/06/1983
IPT83-1070 (7 of 7) - Centurians Video Tape Sales Pamphlet - 23/06/1983
There are no publications listed as ‘manuscripts’. We are not aware of any manuscripts being classified or banned, but there is a chance that manuscripts would have been categorised as ‘books’ in which case they would be captured by the lists provided.
I hope this information is useful. If you are concerned that your request under the Official Information Act has not been dealt with appropriately you have the right to complain to the Office of the Ombudsman:
Freephone 0800 802 602
Formed in May 2018, the inter-agency Pornography Working Party (PWP) has been investigating the impacts of online pornography, coordinating work and advice between agencies and providing a centre of knowledge for government on the subject and advice on potential policy responses.
The PWP is chaired by Chief Censor David Shanks of the Classification Office, and includes representatives from the Classification Office, Netsafe, Ministry of Health, Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), Ministry for Women, Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Ministry of Education, ACC, and New Zealand Police.
The following Briefings provided updates to Ministers about:
The relevant documents are as follows:
In March 2021 an Official Information Act request was made asking for data on the number of publications that have been the subject of applications for review or reconsiderations following a classification as objectionable, and the number of these where the review/reconsideration has been successful, as well as data on the number of publications with LGBT themes/content and/or consensual sexual themes/content that are (or have been) classified as objectionable.
We responded by email, which is collated in this document:
OIA Request on BoR and Banned Publications (DOCX, 19 KB)
The supplied spreadsheets are here:
Board of Review decisions with OFLC classifications (XLSX, 23 KB)
Tags on Objectionable Publications (XLSX, 11 KB)
In March 2021 there was an Official Information Act request asking about the costs associated with OIA requests.
We responded by email, with our answers bolded below:
Dear Sir or Madam
Official information request: charging for Official Information Act requests
Please supply the following information under the Official Information Act (OIA):
1. Does your organisation have a policy or guidelines in relation to charging requestors for supplying information under the Official Information Act 1982?
We don’t have formal guidelines but as discussed we take a pragmatic approach and don’t tend to charge for information. In a small number of cases, when we explain the complexity and reason why we are thinking about charging, the requester has narrowed their scope to a point where we have been able to do the work without charging.
Here’s an example from 2019 of how we navigate this type of request:
Kia ora requester,
We have collated a large amount of material regarding your request. This will take us considerable time to read through and assess, and then make, redactions. I would like to make a suggestion that would make this easier for us and hopefully be more targeted in providing you the information you want to access. Attached is a list of the documents we've collected that are captured by your request. If you would like to have a look at the names of the documents perhaps you could identify which you would like sent to you?
If you would like all the documents I will ask a temping agency for a quote of the cost of this work that I will need to charge you for and get back to you with that. I will also extend the time required to respond. We are a small team here with large workloads so I am keen to help you but it needs to be within the limits we have.
2. If yes, please supply a written copy of the policy/guideline, including grounds for seeking costs for supplying information, charges for photocopying, scanning or other copying of information and the hourly rate for staff time in compiling requests?
As an office of 25 people the issue is staff time. We have paid contractors, at no cost to the requester, previously to assist us with this work. Most recently we have paid $40 an hour for OIA work. We would charge between $40 and $80 if we needed to charge a requestor to cover the additional cost.
3. If not, what does your organisation charge for photocopying, scanning or other copying of information and what is the hourly rate for staff time in compiling requests?
As above staff capacity is the issue for us so for larger or time consuming OIAs we’d use contractors and pay $40-$80 per hour, depending on the skills needed.
In the 12 months from 01 January 2020 to December 31, 2020:
4. How many requests for information under the Official Information Act did your organisation receive?
15. We do also get complaints and inquiries which are technically OIAs of which there are about 500 a year.
5. Of these, in how many was the requestor advised that they would incur charges for copying and staff time, or any other reason?
We advised a requester we may need to charge but this was resolved without that being necessary.
6. In how many of these, did the requestor pay the required charge for supplying of information?
7. In total, how much did your organisation receive in payments for supplying information under the OIA?
8. What were the largest 10 amounts paid by requestors in charges for fulfilling OIA requests?
If you need any more information from me, please let me know as soon as possible.
I understand that a decision on a request for information under the OIA should be made within 20 working days of receiving that request.
If you do not normally deal with official information requests, or you need advice on dealing with this request, guidance is available from the Ombudsman at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz.