BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Cooke and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2010-002

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
  • Tapu Misa
  • P David J Cooke
One News

Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
One News – reporter allegedly made the comment “a line of fools” – allegedly in breach of good taste and decency and privacy

Standard 1 (good taste and decency) and Standard 3 (privacy) – material complained about not in broadcasts identified by complainant – decline to determine under section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989

No Order

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


[1]   Episodes of One News were broadcast on TV One at 6pm on 19 and 20 October 2010.


[2]   P David J Cooke complained to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that, during a news item, reporter Miriama Kamo had referred to a group of people as “a line of fools”.

[3]   Mr Cooke stated that, “while her reference was not particularly clear” he believed the comment “offended against good taste” and had breached Standard 3 (privacy).


[4]   TVNZ assessed the complaint under Standards 1 and 3 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice, which provide:

Standard 1 Good Taste and Decency

Broadcasters should observe standards of good taste and decency.

Standard 3 Privacy

Broadcasters should maintain standards consistent with the privacy of the individual.

Broadcaster's Response to the Complainant

[5]   TVNZ stated that, after having viewed the 20 October episode of One News, Ms Kamo had not appeared in the programme on that day and that none of its other reporters had referred to “a line of fools” in any of the reports.

[6]   Having received another letter from the complainant saying that the item may have been contained in the 19 October episode of One News, TVNZ viewed the episode and found that Ms Kamo had not appeared in that programme either. It said that, again, none of its other reporters had referred to “a line of fools” in any of the reports.

[7]   Accordingly, the broadcaster declined to uphold the complaint.

Referral to the Authority

[8]   Dissatisfied with TVNZ’s response, Mr Cooke referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

[9]   The complainant argued that TVNZ had “failed to identify the news clip or find it”. He went on to say that he had some trouble “working out the day” because he had not decided to make a complaint until a week after the broadcast.

Authority's Determination

[10]   The members of the Authority have viewed recordings of the broadcasts complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix. The Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

[12]   We agree with TVNZ that Ms Kamo did not take part in either of the programmes Mr Cooke specified, and that none of the reporters or presenters referred to “a line of fools” during any of the items.

[13]   Section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 allows the Authority to decline to determine a complaint which we consider, in the circumstances, should not be determined. Pursuant to this section we decline to determine this complaint on the grounds that the material complained about was not contained in either of the broadcasts identified by the complainant.


For the above reasons the Authority declines to determine the complaint.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Peter Radich
27 April 2010


The following correspondence was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:

1.            P David J Cooke’s complaint – 28 October 2009
2.           TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 3 December 2009
3.           Mr Cooke’s further letter to TVNZ – 8 December 2009
4.           TVNZ’s response to Mr Cooke’s letter – 21 December 2009
5.           Mr Cooke’s referral to the Authority – 24 December 2009
6.           TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 11 March 2010