Group Against Liquor Advertising and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1996-060
- J M Potter (Chair)
- R McLeod
- L M Loates
- A Martin
- Group against Liquor Advertising (GALA)
ProgrammeOne Network News
BroadcasterTelevision New Zealand Ltd
The actions of the board of the Auckland Warriors in seeking to have the players
comply with the decision of an Australian court was dealt with in an item of sports news
broadcast between 6.00–7.00 on One Network News on 20 March 1996.
On GALA's behalf, Mr Cliff Turner complained to Television New Zealand Ltd that a
shot of the words "DB Bitter Warriors" on a wall of the Warriors' board room breached
the programme standards relating to the incidental promotion of liquor. Some other
shots from the meeting, he maintained, had set the scene appropriately.
As the shots of the signage were not incidental, but central to the item's point that the
brewery might have to reconsider its sponsorship of the Warriors, TVNZ declined to
uphold the complaint. Dissatisfied with TVNZ's decision, on GALA's behalf Mr
Turner referred the complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a)
of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
For the reasons below, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.
The members of the Authority have viewed the item complained about and have read the
correspondence (summarised in the Appendix). As is its practice, the Authority
determines the complaint without a formal hearing.
The playing careers of members of the Auckland Warriors league team were examined
in an item of sports news included on One Network News broadcast between
6.00–7.00pm on 20 March. The players' options were considered in light of the legal
disputes between the Australian Rugby League group and some contending
organisations. The chief executive for the Warriors' principal sponsor, DB Breweries,
was interviewed and questioned his company's on-going commitment should the
disputes remain unresolved.
Mr Cliff Turner, GALA's Complaints Secretary, complained to TVNZ about an aspect
of the item which had included a meeting in what was apparently the Warriors' board
room. On the second occasion the meeting was shown, he wrote, the shot included a
sign on the wall referring to the "DB Bitter Warriors". As the sign was not seen during
the first board room shot, it could have been excluded on the second occasion. The
failure to do so, he maintained, was a breach of standard A3 of the Television Code of
Broadcasting Practice. It reads:
A3 Broadcasters will ensure that the incidental promotion of liquor is
In reply, TVNZ commented that the reference to sponsorship was not "incidental". As
it had direct relevance to the story which in part dealt with the sponsor's continuing
commitment to the team, it was an integral part of the item. Accordingly, it declined to
uphold the complaint.
When he referred GALA's complaint to the Authority, Mr Turner described TVNZ's
attitude as astonishing. He argued that the comments from DB's chief executive were
sufficient for the story.
TVNZ explained to the Authority that Mr Turner's attitude was influenced by TVNZ's
failure initially to identify the correct item. It had later done so and contended that the
visual of the sign complemented the words expressed. In his response, Mr Turner
referred to some other signage contained in another Warriors' promo and asked whether
the teams' correct name was now the Auckland Warriors rather than the DB Bitter
The Authority acknowledges that Mr Turner's attitude towards TVNZ in regard to this
complaint has been influenced by the broadcaster's failure, through misfiling, to
identify initially the item complained about. However, having done so, the Authority
agrees with TVNZ that it was an occasion where the sign referring to the sponsor was
relevant as sponsorship was being discussed.
Mr Turner noted that the sign was not apparent during an earlier shot of the Board
Room and he contended that it should have been omitted from the second shot. The
Authority is of the view that it was appropriately excluded on the first occasion and
appropriately included on the second as it was relevant to the point being made in the
item at that stage.
For the reasons above, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
20 June 1996
GALA's Complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd - 21 March 1996
The Complaints Secretary (Cliff Turner) of the Group Against Liquor Advertising
(GALA) complained to Television New Zealand Ltd (TVNZ) about an item of sports
news broadcast at about 6.40pm on One Network News on 20 March 1996. He wrote:
The item described the difficulties in which the Auckland Warriors find
themselves and shots of a meeting showed, on two occasions, the words "DB
Bitter Warriors" on a wall in a room where a meeting was taking place. The
meeting appeared to be in the Warrior's Board Room.
Other shots of the meeting were shown, he observed, when the DB signs were not
visible and thus, he maintained, the item could have excluded the signage altogether.
Further, he argued, the scene of the meeting was set appropriately and nothing would
have been lost had other shots been used.
Accordingly, Mr Turner maintained, there had been a breach of the Programme
Standard A3 and Rules 1.4 and 3.5 of the Compliance Addendum of the Voluntary
TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint - 9 April 1996
Assessing the complaint under standard A3, TVNZ said the item dealt with the efforts
of the board of the Auckland Warriors to persuade the players to abide by the Australian
TVNZ maintained that "incidental" was the key word contained in the standard but on
We would assert that in this case the appearance of the DB Bitter logo was not
incidental, but was directly relevant to the story being told.
One aspect of the story was that if the Warriors did not soon return to the field,
their major sponsor might review its position. As the sign on the wall was shown
the commentary said "and the Warriors major sponsor, DB, won't back them
forever if the chaos isn't sorted out". The picture of the DB logo thereby
reinforced the information being delivered verbally - which is, after all, the role of
pictures in a television news bulletin.
There was nothing incidental about this material; it contributed directly to the story
being told. It was deliberately chosen and was an integral part of the news item.
GALA's Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 15 April
Dissatisfied with TVNZ's decision, on GALA's behalf Mr Turner referred it to the
Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
Mr Turner described TVNZ's explanation as "astonishing". The shot of the brewery
spokesperson, he insisted, was sufficient to make the point that the brewery might have
to reconsider its sponsorship of the Warriors.
TVNZ's Response to the Authority - 23 April 1996
TVNZ explained that there had been some confusion about the item complained about
as the material had been incorrectly filed. However, the matter was sorted out
TVNZ repeated the argument that the boardroom scenes contained in the item were
relevant. In response to Mr Turner's point that the shot of the brewery spokesperson
was sufficient, TVNZ argued that the words and the pictures complemented each other.
GALA's Final Comments - 3 May 1996
Mr Turner on GALA's behalf in response repeated his belief that the shot of the
brewery executive sufficed to establish the link with the brewery.
He also noted that in a recent promo for a forthcoming Warriors' game, they were
described as the Auckland Warriors and a plaque was seen with a similar description.
He wondered whether that that might now be the team's correct name which could
influence the Authority in its determination of the present complaint.