What we cover Tā Mātou Takohanga

Find out what you can complain about

What we cover

The BSA determines complaints about programmes on TV and radio, as well as online and on-demand content that has previously been broadcast. We don’t deal with complaints about advertising (unless it’s a promo about a programme), on-demand content not previously broadcast, written publications and some matters which are in the broadcaster's discretion.

TV and Radio

We can hear complaints about programmes or promos/trailers for programmes on:

  • Free-to-air TV
  • Pay TV (eg Sky)
  • Radio

Online or on-demand

You can complain to us about something you’ve seen online if the programme was also broadcast on TV or radio and you can point to that broadcast within the last 20 working days. You’ll need to give details of the original broadcast – ie, the broadcaster, channel or station, date and time.

Generally we don’t consider complaints about on-demand content, except for programmes on Neon, which we may consider under a special agreement. Please contact us if you’ve seen something that concerns you, and we’ll try to help or direct you to the agency that can.

Election Programmes

We hear complaints about ‘election programmes’ on TV or radio. These are advertisements by or for a party or candidate in the election period. These complaints can be made directly to the BSA. Complaints about other election-related broadcasts, such as news and satire, must be made to the broadcaster first.

The Electoral Commission, Advertising Standards Authority and NZ Media Council also deal with complaints about election advertising and coverage. For more information about the roles of these agencies and who you should contact, see our Who does what? elections guide.

Where to go for everything else

The broadcaster will be able to assist with complaints or issues relating to:

  • programmes which have not yet been broadcast
  • scheduling or general quality of programmes
  • pre-classification of programmes
  • on-demand internet content
  • the sound volume of advertisements.

The Advertising Standards Authority deals with complaints about advertisements other than:

  • election programmes on radio and television
  • promos for programmes.

The New Zealand Media Council hears complaints about:

  • content of newspapers, magazines and periodicals in circulation in New Zealand, including their websites
  • news content on the websites of the following broadcasters: TVNZ, MediaWorks, Māori Television, Sky Network Television, NZME Radio and RNZ
  • digital sites with news content, including blogs characterised as news commentary that have been accepted as members of the Media Council
  • classification of video-on-demand content of the following providers: TVNZ, RNZ, MediaWorks, Māori Television, Lightbox, Netflix, Stuff and NZME.

Programmes broadcast outside New Zealand
International Directory of Media Regulators

Reception problems
Radio Spectrum Management
Television Interference

Telecommunications regulation
Commerce Commission

Classification of films and other forms of publication
Office of Film and Literature Classification

Copyright issues
We Create
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment


Consumer issues
Consumer Protection

Privacy issues 
Office of the Privacy Commissioner

If you're not sure whether we cover your complaint, please contact us so we can help connect you to the right place.