Classification system

Identifying national security information

National security information is defined as any government information or resource (including equipment) that records information about, or is associated with, New Zealand’s:

  • protection from espionage, sabotage, violent extremism, promotion of communal violence, attacks on New Zealand’s defence system, acts of foreign interference, acts of malicious cyber activity
  • protection of territorial and border integrity and security from serious threats (including maritime, air, ocean, fishing, other natural resources, cargo, mail systems, and international aviation)
  • defence plans and operations
  • intelligence community capability and operations
  • regional security and stability matters in Asia and Pacific regions (including geostrategic competition, corruption, people trafficking, and transnational organised crime)
  • international relations and foreign policy positions in our interest (significant political and economic relations with international organisations and foreign governments)
  • law enforcement operations (where compromise could hamper or make useless national crime prevention strategies or particular investigations; or adversely affect personal safety)
  • national interest (relating to economic, scientific, or technological matters vital to New Zealand’s stability and integrity).

See also: New Zealand’s National Security Intelligence Priorities (DPMC)

Does all national security information need to be classified?

National security information should only be classified and protective-marked if its compromise could damage national security, the New Zealand government, commercial entities or members of the public.

National security scenario

Case A: A New Zealand industry is highly significant to the national economy and its success depends on some copyrighted technologies which international competitors do not have access to. In this scenario, the compromise of trade secrets could have a material impact on New Zealand’s stability, and this would be national security information (and require a minimum classification of RESTRICTED).


Page last modified: 20/06/2022