What we cover Tā Mātou Takohanga

Find out what you can complain about

What we cover

The BSA determines complaints about programmes on television, radio, and on-line and on-demand content that has previously been broadcast and content that is live-streamed by a broadcaster. 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.

Television and Radio

We can hear complaints about programmes, parts of programmes or promos/trailers for programmes that you may see or hear on:

  • Free-to-air television
  • Pay television (eg SKY)
  • Radio

Online or on-demand

You can only complain to us about something you’ve watched online if the programme was originally broadcast on television or radio and you can point to that broadcast within the last 20 working days.

For those complaints, you will need to supply details of the original broadcast – ie, the broadcaster, channel or station, date and time.

Election Programmes

We hear complaints about all election programmes on television or radio. Complaints about election programmes that are by or for a party or candidate in the election period come directly to the BSA and don’t need to go to the broadcaster first. Complaints about election related programmes, such as news, satire, go to the broadcaster first.

Where to go for everything else

The broadcaster is always a good place to go and they 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 determines complaints about advertisements other than election advertisements and 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 Radio New Zealand
  • 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 of 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 
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner

Complaint Line

Complaint Line lists a range of agencies that provide the public with processes for resolving complaints.

Complaint Line has free online resources on how to write a complaint which are available on Complaint Line Resources.

If you are uncertain whether we cover your complaint, please contact us so we can help connect you to the right place.