Changes to the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act could force all New Zealand internet service providers to filter internet content.
The aim of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Urgent Interim Classification of Publications and Prevention of Online Harm) Amendment Bill now before Parliament is to block objectionable material.
Showing violent content would become a criminal offence and those involved could face fines as high as $200,000.
In part the legislation is a response to the Christchurch mosque attacks. There, the gunman filmed and live-streamed his murder of worshippers on Facebook.
The proposal gives additional powers to the Chief Censor.
Critics of the bill say it is both too far-reaching while at the same time it doesn't go far enough to address more commonplace internet abuses.
Among those objecting are the NZ Council for Civil Liberties and InternetNZ. It is also opposed by National, Act, the Green Party and Te Paati Māori.
In its submission to the bill committee the NZ Council for Civil Liberties says “the Bill sets up a dangerous internet censorship filter that will be ripe for abuse by future governments.”
The organisation says it doesn’t believe the bill will be effective at reducing harm.
InternetNZ supports the goals of the bill, but says a filter would be “a pseudo-solution at best, and downright dangerous at worst.”