Choosing a Standard Te Kōwhiri Paerewa

How to know which standard applies

Choosing a Standard

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Which standard is relevant to my concerns?

There are four Broadcasting Codes of Practice (for radio, free-to-air television, pay television and election programmes in an election period) and they all contain 'standards', which outline what is required of broadcasters when they broadcast programmes in New Zealand. 

When making your complaint, you need to choose the standards that best fit your concerns – the Authority will not consider any standards that are not applicable and you cannot change or add standards at a later stage in the process.

See the explanations below to help you choose the most relevant standard(s). 

Good Taste and Decency

May relate to offensive language, sexual material, nudity, violence or anything else that might cause offence or distress in the context of a programme. 

Programme Information

Primarily concerned with programme/promo classifications, timebands and advisories (including warnings). The application of this standard differs across radio, free-to-air television and pay television. 

Children's Interests

Relates to children as viewers, not participants. It is primarily concerned with classifications and whether a programme was broadcast during children's normal viewing or listening times. 


Broadcasters must exercise 'care and discretion' when dealing with violence, so this standard is primarily concerned with contextual factors such as the time of broadcast, warnings and the nature of the programme. 

Law and Order

Applies to broadcasts that encourage viewers to break the law or otherwise promote criminal or serious antisocial activity. 

Discrimination and Denigration

Only applies to sections of the community, not individuals. A high level of condemnation is required to find a breach. 


Concerned with whether a broadcast amounted to 'alcohol promotion' and if so, whether this promotion was socially responsible. 


Only applies to news, current affairs or factual programming which discusses a controversial issue of public importance. Broadcasters must make reasonable efforts to present competing viewpoints about important issues. 


Only applies to news, current affairs or factual programming. Programmes should be accurate in relation to 'material points of fact' and should not mislead. 


Only applies to identifiable individuals featured in the broadcast or directly affected by the broadcast. Key issues include whether an individual had a reasonable expectation of privacy, whether private information was disclosed and whether the disclosure or intrusion was highly offensive.


Only applies to individuals or organisations taking part or referred to in a programme. Key issues include informed consent, informed participation and reasonable opportunity to comment.