AO campaign

AO Campaign - After 9:30pm

Let's move the watershed to 9.30pm!

Research shows how children are being harmed by violence on television.

How does NZ compare with other countries?

New Zealand has the most liberal rules in the world.  In the UK and Canada, adult only material is not allowed till 9.00pm.  In the USA, it's even later - 10.00pm.  The watershed in Australia is the same as New Zealand (8.30pm), but the restrictions are tighter, not allowing AO material at all.

The BBC rules are particularly worth noting, and would be a good model for New Zealand:

"The earlier in the evening a programme is placed, the more suitable it is likely to be for children to watch on their own.

The Watershed reminds broadcasters that particular care should be taken over inclusion of explicit scenes of sex and violence, and the use of strong language.

Particular care should also be taken in the period immediately after the Watershed.

There should be a gradual transition towards more adult material and sudden changes in tone should be avoided but, where unavoidable, they must be clearly signposted.  Adult material should never be positioned close to the Watershed simply to attract audiences in a sensationalist way.

Material which is particularly adult in tone should be scheduled at an appropriate time, where necessary sometime after the Watershed.

The post Watershed period runs from 2100 until 05:30 the following morning.

No trailer for a post-Watershed programme should be scheduled next to a programme specifically targeted at children.

Particular care needs to be taken when editing pictures for news bulletins and factual programmes likely to be seen by vulnerable groups such as children.

Care is also needed in deciding the frequency of scenes of violence in news bulletins on mainstream channels, particularly during the daytime when children could be watching."

In New Zealand

The Watershed has been a long-standing concern, both as to its placement and its visibility.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority’s own surveys show that most New Zealanders don’t know what The Watershed is.

The Watershed needs to be at least 9 pm, not 8.30pm.  Most regulatory regimes have a clearly marked Watershed – in NZ, we do not.


We encourage you to tell others about this campaign. To help you:

Email or write to Media Matters for a copy of our promotional video (7min 30sec long). 

This is ideal to show small groups, friends, etc. 

Currently it is only available on CD, but it will play on most computers.  When you write, let us know what computer operating system you will most likely be using, and whether it has a DVD or CD player. 

A donation to cover copying and postage costs would be appreciated.

Order copies of the promotional A4 poster.  Prices on request.

To order, contact us at:

Media Matters
PO Box 31618
Lower Hutt 5040
New Zealand

Email: Adrian Cooper

Make your voice heard!