WELLINGTON, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Classifying on-demand video content will be made mandatory in New Zealand to bring it in line with other media and provide better guidance and protections to families and young people, said Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin on Wednesday.
"The way in which New Zealanders access entertainment has changed and our classifications system has not kept pace," the minister said. "Our children and young people are at particular risk of harm from this, which is why we are making changes to fix this problem," Martin said.
The Classification Act will be amended to require Commercial Video on-Demand (CVoD) providers, such as Netflix and Lightbox, to show the same classifications and consumer warnings as seen on films and DVDs.
The new framework will mean that CVoD content must have a classification before it airs in New Zealand. CVoD providers will be able to self-classify content using the Rating Tool being developed by the chief censor, or their own systems accredited by the Classification Office.
The office will approve and enforce the classifications, with reviews of decisions made by the Film and Literature Board of Review, as is the case for movies and DVDs.
"We've had a voluntary regime for classification for streaming services, which means that ratings and consumer warnings can be inconsistent or missing," Martin said.
Self-classification will allow content providers to provide relevant classification for New Zealand consumers without creating a significant delay in access to shows and films.
The proposals come following consultation with the public and providers and are likely to be introduced to Parliament as an amendment bill in late November.
Officials will be conducting further consultation with industry and regulatory bodies over the coming weeks to ensure that the proposed regulatory changes are fit for purpose.