The Authority has not upheld a complaint that comments made by a political panellist on Nine to Noon, including that National Party public meetings were ‘full of angry racists saying angry racist things’ breached broadcasting standards. While the Authority acknowledged the statement was inflammatory, it found the statements were hyperbole and political comment and opinion, and they were challenged immediately by another panellist – meaning listeners were unlikely to be misled, and given sufficient viewpoints to form their own opinions.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance
The Authority has declined to determine a direct privacy complaint about the broadcast of information concerning the circumstances of a murder victim’s death. The privacy standard only apples to living individuals, and on this basis did not apply. The Authority reiterated the need for sensitivity and care to be taken in reporting of this kind.
Declined to determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 - in all the circumstances): Privacy
The Authority has declined to determine a complaint an item on 1 News was unbalanced for raising the possibility that Labour could lose the 2023 election. The balance standard did not apply to the concerns raised, and the broadcaster adequately responded to the concerns in the original complaint.
Declined to determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 – in all the circumstances): Balance
An item on Paddy Gower Has Issues investigated the predator control of feral cats, and discussed whether or not feral cats should be included in the Predator Free 2050 strategy. The broadcast included footage of feral cats being trapped and shot, and people carrying, and holding up the carcasses. The Authority did not uphold the complaint the broadcast breached multiple standards, finding relevant footage was clearly signposted by the host, who provided two warnings to viewers about the content. Viewers were therefore given a reasonable opportunity to make a different viewing choice for themselves or children in their care. The footage depicted no undue cruelty or suffering, and while some viewers may have found it unpleasant to watch, the broadcast of hunting and pest control footage is generally acceptable in New Zealand provided it does not depict undue cruelty. Under the balance standard, the Authority found the broadcast sufficiently alerted the audience to the existence of other perspectives. The Authority found the fairness and promotion of illegal or antisocial behaviour standards either were not breached, or did not apply.
Not Upheld: Offensive and Disturbing Content, Children’s Interests, Fairness, Promotion of Illegal or Antisocial Behaviour, and Balance
The Authority has not upheld complaints about a Breakfast interview with Labour MP Tangi Utikere. During the interview, Utikere was asked about reports of a ‘leaker’ within the Labour caucus, and was repeatedly questioned on whether he himself was the leaker. The complainants alleged the interview amounted to bullying and denigrated Utikere. The Authority acknowledged the questioning was sustained, but was within the scope of the type of questioning expected of a politician, particularly in the lead up to an election, and the broadcast was not in breach of the fairness standard (with respect to treatment of Utikere or former Minister Kiritapu Allan). The balance and discrimination standards were either not applicable or not breached.
Not Upheld: Fairness, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an interview with a woman concerning her removal from an anti-co-governance meeting on Morning Report breached the balance, fairness and accuracy standards. The complainant alleged the broadcaster should have included balancing comment from, or interviewed Julian Batchelor (the speaker at the event concerned). The Authority found the interview did not require balancing comment as it did not ‘discuss’ the issue of co-governance, and did not treat Batchelor unfairly. The woman’s removal alone did not constitute a controversial issue of public importance. The accuracy standard did not apply as the complainant did not allege any statements were misleading.
Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Fairness
The Authority has not upheld a complaint a 1 News item on fire dangers posed by lithium batteries was inaccurate for including footage of a vehicle which was not confirmed to have been affected by a lithium battery fire. The Authority found the alleged inaccuracy was not material and would not have significantly impacted viewers’ understanding of the broadcast as a whole.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that it was inaccurate and unbalanced for an item on Newshub Live at 6pm to claim there are two main ways to teach literacy in New Zealand when there are several. The item concerned the National Party’s proposed policy to make ‘structured literacy’ the compulsory teaching method in New Zealand schools. The Authority found the simplified statement was materially accurate, and any technical inaccuracy in the description of literacy teaching methods would not have affected the audience’s understanding of the programme as a whole. In the context of a brief news item, focused on National Party policy, the Authority also considered the item to have included sufficient perspectives on the issue of literacy teaching methods.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance
The majority of the Authority upheld (in part) a complaint about a segment on Marae discussing the bounds of the right to freedom of expression, in the wake of Posie Parker’s ‘Let Women Speak’ events. The complaint argued the segment was unbalanced, disproportionately favouring views of participants against the events, and inaccurate in multiple respects. The Authority found the segment adequately presented significant viewpoints through the inclusion of multiple guests, through the host’s questioning and in the introductory segment. The Authority considered most of the alleged inaccuracies were unlikely to have significantly affected viewers’ understanding of the broadcast as a whole. The majority found one of the comments in the broadcast (relating to the characterisation of Parker) was materially inaccurate and this issue created harm sufficient to justify a restriction on the right to freedom of expression.
Upheld by Majority: Accuracy, Not Upheld: Balance
The Authority has issued a split decision in relation to a Sunday item which reported on a ‘silicosis epidemic’ in Australia’s engineered stone workforce and raised questions about New Zealand’s response to the same concerns, suggesting New Zealand is failing to address its own ‘looming health crisis’. The complaint alleged the broadcast breached the accuracy and balance standards as it misled the audience to believe the industry in New Zealand had the same regulatory failings as Australia, and was unbalanced as it omitted other perspectives on the New Zealand situation (for example, from the industry). The Authority did not uphold the accuracy complaint, finding it was reasonable for TVNZ to rely on the selected interviewee as a local authoritative source and spokesperson on this issue. However, a majority of the Authority found the broadcaster did not provide any balancing perspectives within the programme, and there was only limited other coverage elsewhere prior to the broadcast, meaning viewers were not given sufficient viewpoints to form their own opinions about the issues discussed. The minority considered that while the broadcast may have lacked balance, the overall value of the broadcast in highlighting a serious health risk outweighed the potential harm.
Upheld (by Majority): Balance
Not Upheld: Accuracy