We classify films by giving them age restrictions and content warnings.
Under the law, a film is defined as any "material record of visual moving images that is capable of being used for the subsequent display of those images". The term is broad, and includes:
- cinema films
- DVDs, Blu-rays and other home video formats
- online movies and shows on streaming services
- video games.
Not all films released in New Zealand are seen by us.
Before a producer or distributor can release a film in cinemas, a DVD or a video game in New Zealand, they contact the Film and Video Labelling Body of New Zealand (FVLB) to arrange consumer labelling. The FVLB determines an appropriate age rating (G, PG or M) and content warning note for the label.
Films which have received a G, PG or an M classification in Australia will automatically be assigned the same rating in New Zealand. This is called ‘cross-rating’.
If a film hasn’t been classified in Australia, but has been given an unrestricted classification in the UK (U, PG or 12) then the FVLB will base the New Zealand classification on that. Our law only recognises the Australian and British classification systems, and cross-rating only applies to unrestricted films.
If the FVLB think a film might need an age restriction they will refer it to the Classification Office. We will then examine the film, determine a classification and direct the FVLB to issue a classification label.
If an organisation or member of the public disagrees with a decision we make, they can request a review of the content by the Film and Literature Board of Review.
Some films and video games are classified as 'objectionable' (banned) in New Zealand. It is an offence to make, download, view or play a banned film or video game in New Zealand.