The paid placement of religious content

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From 1 November the paid placement of religious content will be treated as commercial advertising by NZ broadcasters and, as such, will require clearance from the Commercial Approvals Bureau (“CAB”) before being broadcast.

Without CAB’s prior approval a religious advertisement cannot be broadcast in New Zealand.

Approvals Criteria

To be approved an advertisement must:

Comply with the laws of New Zealand, with specific reference to the Human Rights Act 1993 and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

Not portray people in a manner which is reasonably likely to cause serious or widespread hostility, contempt, abuse or ridicule.

Not portray people in a manner which, taking into account generally prevailing community standards, is reasonably likely to cause serious or widespread offence on the grounds of their gender; race; colour; ethnic or national origin; age; cultural, religious, political or ethical belief; sexual orientation; marital status; family status; education; disability; occupational or employment status.

Not contain anything which clearly offends against generally prevailing community standards taking into account the context, medium and audience.

Should not exploit the superstitious, nor without justifiable reason, play on fear.

Not contain anything which lends support to violent behaviour.

Approvals Process

Applications to approve material should be sent by email to

CAB do not require a broadcast quality version of the advertisement and are flexible as to how a viewing copy is sent. For example, material can be sent:

  • By emailing a link to a file sharing site (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive, Office 365)
  • By a digital file transfer service (e.g., Dropbox or
  • Via a digital dispatch company (e.g. Adstream or IMD)

Confirmation of approval will be sent via email and will be provided automatically to the broadcasters.

The formal record of approval is the CAB invoice which details the key number, classification and corresponding CAB approval number. The invoice will be emailed to advertisers on the day approval is granted.

Clearance Fees & Conditions

CAB’s standard advertising fees will apply to religious advertising.

The fee for approving a finished commercial will depend on whether it is original material or a revision to an existing commercial. Advice and consultation will be provided free of charge.

Updated:1 November 2018