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Getting a classification changed

This page explains how to apply to have the classification of a publication changed. The type of application you make depends on when the classification decision was made on the publication:

If you want to submit a publication which has never been classified (this includes most G, PG and M rated films) go to the page on How to get something classified.

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Applying for a review of a very recent classification decision

If you disagree with a recent classification decision made by the Office of Film and Literature Classification, you can seek leave to have a new decision made on the publication by the Film and Literature Board of Review.

Applications for leave must be lodged within 20 working days of the date of registration of the decision. The register page of each publication is available as a pdf from the NZ Register of Classification Decisions.

Go to the NZ Register of Classification Decisions

Once leave is granted the applicant has 5 working days from the date leave is granted, or 30 working days from when the decision was registered, whichever date is the later, to submit their request to the Film and Literature Board of Review.

To seek leave, contact the Secretary of Internal Affairs at the Department of Internal Affairs and include:

  • A copy of the publication to be reviewed (if possible)
  • A submission form and the correct fee (available from the Department of Internal Affairs)

For more information contact the Board of Review at info@dia.govt.nz

Application forms to seek the leave of the Secretary and copies of these guidelines are available from the Secretary of the Board of Review, upon request (ph: 04 495 7200).

Submitting a publication which was classified more than 3 years ago

The Classification Act allows for a decision on a publication to be reconsidered under certain circumstances, including if the decision was registered more than three years ago. This applies to:

  • All decisions made by the Indecent Publications Tribunal, The Chief Censor of Films, and the Video Recordings Authority
  • Older decisions of the Office of Film and Literature Classification or the Film and Literature Board of Review

If you are not sure if or when something was classified, you can check on the NZ Register of Classification Decisions or contact the Information Unit. A classification decision remains in force on all identical copies of a publication until a new classification is made. For example, a book classified in 1968 as R18, remains R18 unless a new decision is made.

To apply for leave to submit a previously classified publication:

  1. Fill out a section 42 application for leave form:
  2. Enclose a copy of the publication, or provide us with information on how to access the publication.
  3. Post or deliver your application to:

    The Office of Film and Literature Classification
    Postal address: PO Box 1999, Wellington 6140
    Physical Address: Level 1, 88 The Terrace, Wellington 6011

The Chief Censor may grant leave or decline leave for the reconsideration. If leave is granted you will be given information on how to pay the submission fee.

A reduced submission fee of $25.50 is available to members of the public, and to organisations in some circumstances. Do not include this fee in your application for reconsideration.

Fees Information Sheet (PDF, 444KB)

Submitting a classified publication which does not fit into the above categories

There are only two reasons that allow the Classification Office to reconsider a publication which was classified less than 3 years ago. The publication must fall into one of the following categories for the Chief Censor to grant leave for it to be reconsidered by the Classification Office:

  • the film has been substantially altered since the original classification decision
  • the Chief Censor is satisfied that there are special circumstances that justify reconsideration of the decision

If you think a publication falls into one of these categories, you can apply for leave to submit the publication for reconsideration of its classification by doing the following:

  1. Fill out a section 42 application form and include an explanation of why the publication should be re-classified when less than 3 years have passed
  2. Enclose a copy of the publication (or provide us with information on how to access the publication)
  3. Post or deliver your application to:

    The Office of Film and Literature Classification
    Postal address: PO Box 1999, Wellington 6140
    Physical Address: Level 1, 88 The Terrace, Wellington 6011

The Chief Censor may grant leave or decline leave for the reconsideration. If leave is granted you will be given information on how to pay the fee.

A reduced submission fee of $25.50 is available to members of the public, and to organisations in some circumstances. Do not include this fee in your application for reconsideration.

Fees Information Sheet (PDF, 444KB)

How to find out when or if a publication has been classified

If you are not sure whether a publication has been classified, or are unsure of the registration date, you can check the NZ Register of Classification Decisions or contact the Information Unit.