BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Casino Control Authority and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 1994-042

Members
  • I W Gallaway (Chair)
  • R A Barraclough
  • L M Dawson
  • J R Morris
Dated
Complainant
  • Casino Control Authority (CCA)
Number
1994-042
Programme
Mana Maori News
Broadcaster
Radio New Zealand Ltd
Channel/Station
National Radio


Summary

A report on events at a Casino Control Authority hearing in Auckland on 3 November

1993 was broadcast on Mana Maori News on 22 November at 6.37am.

The Casino Control Authority, through its legal adviser, complained to Radio New Zealand

Ltd that the broadcast was in breach of broadcasting standards because it contained

inaccuracies, failed to deal justly and fairly with the Casino Control Authority and was

lacking in balance.

In response, RNZ noted first that the broadcast was supplied to it by Mana Maori News as

a complete package. Rejecting all the allegations of factual inaccuracy except for one, RNZ

pointed out that the comments were correctly attributed to their source and that there

was no editorial endorsement of what was said. It upheld the complaint that one

statement was not an accurate summary of events, that the item treated members of the

Casino Control Authority unfairly and breached the standard requiring balance as the

reported statements were not referred to the Casino Control Authority for comment. RNZ

reported that it had warned Mana Maori Media in writing of its concern about the

breaches of standards which had occurred and drawn attention to the consequences of

such breaches. It advised the complainant that in its view, the broadcast of an apology

months later would be self-defeating. Dissatisfied with that response, the Casino Control

Authority referred the complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a)

of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

For the reasons given below, the Authority upheld the complaint that the action taken by

Radio New Zealand was insufficient. It ordered the broadcast of a summary of this

decision.


Decision

The members of the Authority have listened to the tape of the item complained about and

read the transcript and the correspondence (summarised in the Appendix). As is its

practice, the Authority determined the complaint without a formal hearing.

An item broadcast on Mana Maori News at 6.37am on 22 November 1993 reported on

an incident which occurred at a Casino Control Authority (CCA) hearing nineteen days

earlier when a Ngati Whatua elder, prior to making a submission, offered a greeting in

Maori. According to the Mana News report, he was told by one of its members to speak in

English or to sit down. Accusations about the CCA's cultural insensitivity and racism were

made during the broadcast by Manu Paul, who also suggested that the membership of the

CCA should be reviewed because both the Chairman and Deputy Chairman had a conflict

of interest arising out of their other business activities.

In the view of the CCA, the news report was an inaccurate account of the actual events,

and was unfair to the CCA and its members. It identified three statements in the item

which it believed breached broadcasting standards. The first was the report that an elder

was told either to speak in English or sit down, which the CCA described as a particularly

serious inaccuracy and unfair to the members of the CCA. Explaining the circumstances

surrounding the incident, the CCA reported that the matter was satisfactorily resolved at

the time and provided transcripts of the hearing proceedings where the incident was

discussed.

The second statement complained about was the allegation that members of the Authority

had displayed blatant racism and were unfit to hold their positions because they were

culturally ignorant, and the third statement was the allegation that the Chairman and

Deputy Chairman had a conflict of interest and should not decide on applications for the

Auckland licence. The CCA submitted that RNZ be required to publish a statement

correcting the misleading information contained in the report and apologise to its

members.

In its response, RNZ reported that it had assessed the complaint under a number of

standards of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice identified by the CCA as having been

breached. Those standards (now renumbered) require broadcasters:

R1  To be truthful and accurate on points of fact in news and current affairs

programmes.

R5  To deal justly and fairly with any person taking part or referred to in any

programme.

R7  To respect the principles of partnership between Maori and Pakeha in New

Zealand society in actively seeking a balanced contribution and views on

matters relating to that partnership.


R9  To show balance, impartiality and fairness in dealing with political matters,

current affairs and all questions of a controversial nature, making

reasonable efforts to present significant points of view either in the same

programme or in other programmes within the period of current interest.


The standards which apply particularly to news broadcasts read:

R16 News must be presented accurately, objectively and impartially.

R21 It shall be the responsibility of each station to be fair in the allocation of

time to interested parties in controversial public issues. In exercising this

responsibility a station will take into account the news value of the

viewpoints offered and previous allotment of air time.


In addition, section 4(1)(d) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 was cited. That section reads:

4(1) Every broadcaster is responsible for maintaining in its programmes and

their presentation, standards which are consistent with –

...

(d) The principle that when controversial issues of public importance are

discussed, reasonable efforts are made, or reasonable opportunities

are given, to present significant points of view either in the same

programme or in other programmes within the period of current interest.


At the outset, RNZ explained that Mana Maori News was provided to National Radio as a

complete package under a contractual agreement. It then examined the standards raised

by the CCA, reporting that it had determined that three of the standards raised were

superfluous. Those included standard R21, which it considered was fully represented by

standard R9 and s.4(1)(d) and standard R16 which it decided was subsumed within

standards R1, R5 and R9. With respect to the old standard 5.1 cited by the CCA, RNZ

observed that this requirement was now a broad summary statement in the preamble to

the News and Current Affairs standards and it did not therefore consider it necessary to

make a ruling on it.

In its analysis of the CCA complaint that the broadcast was factually inaccurate, RNZ

argued that the complaint confused the factual report of attributed opinion with editorial

presentation of opinion as if it were a statement of fact. It pointed out that whether the

statement or opinion was wrong or not, if the information was reported correctly, there

could be no question of factual inaccuracy, although, it noted, the question of fair

opportunity to respond may arise. Accordingly, RNZ rejected all the CCA's allegations of

factual inaccuracy in the report except for one. It maintained that in each case, with the

one exception, what was reported was an attributed statement or opinion and there was

no editorial endorsement of what was reported.

RNZ identified one statement in the broadcast which could have been interpreted by the

listener as being a factual report of an incident at the hearing and advised that a majority

of its Complaints Committee concluded that the statement was not an accurate summary

of events. Accordingly, RNZ advised that it upheld the complaint that one statement was

in breach of standard R1 because it was factually inaccurate.

With respect to the CCA's submission that standards R5, R9 and s.4(1)(d) had been

breached, RNZ acknowledged that because no attempt had been made to refer the story as

a whole for comment to the CCA or its members, nor to refer the allegation of conflict of

interest, accurately reported as the opinion of Manu Paul, to either the Chairman or

Deputy Chairman for comment, a breach of standards had occurred. RNZ reported that it

upheld the complaint that standards R5, R9 and s.4(1)(d) of the Broadcasting Act 1989

were breached because the CCA was not given the opportunity to comment on the

allegations made.

In its referral to the Authority, the CCA complained that it was not satisfied with RNZ's

decision. First, the CCA was dissatisfied that in reaching its decision, the Complaints

Committee of RNZ had acted upon a report from Mana Maori News which had not been

referred to the CCA for comment. The CCA argued that since it was not privy to the

information upon which the Committee acted, nor to the terms of the contract between

Mana Maori News and RNZ, nor to the statutory and contractual obligations brought to

the attention of the programme producers, it was difficult to comment on the

appropriateness of the action taken by RNZ.

To this argument RNZ responded that there was no legal obligation for the broadcaster to

refer to the complainant the reports and comments which were received by the

Complaints Committee.

The Authority observed that RNZ was entitled to adopt its own procedures for determining

a complaint and was under no obligation to provide material it sought to the complainant.

Further, it agreed with RNZ that it was under no obligation to reveal the details of the

contractual arrangements between itself and Mana Maori News.

Secondly, the CCA challenged the basis upon which a minority of the Complaints

Committee was able to reach the conclusion that the reporter's description of the incident

with Mr Wikiriwhi was factually correct. The CCA noted that it had not been given the

opportunity to comment on the evidence or other information upon which RNZ's

Complaints Committee relied in reaching its conclusion.

RNZ responded that the error in the item lay in its report of the incident as an apparent

report of a fact and it was this that was found to be in breach of standard R1. Making the

distinction between the reporting of a statement accurately attributed and a report of a

statement as fact, RNZ repeated its argument that it was legitimate for the opinion to be

reported but only if it was clearly attributed to its source.

The Authority was of the view that it was irrelevant that the decision of the Complaints

Committee was not unanimous since the effect was that this aspect of the complaint was

upheld. Further, the Authority accepted, on this occasion, RNZ's explanation that it was

entitled to report controversial opinions, accurate or otherwise, so long as they were

accurately attributed. The Authority believed that RNZ had correctly upheld this aspect of

the complaint since it was unclear that the remarks were opinions only.

Finally, the CCA complained that the action taken by RNZ, having upheld most aspects of

the complaint, was not sufficient. It submitted that an appropriate remedy would be to

require the broadcaster to publish a statement summarising the decision of the Complaints

Committee, correcting the misleading information contained in the report and apologising

to the members of the CCA.

RNZ acknowledged to the CCA that while the material was prepared and supplied by an

outside organisation it was responsible for the material as broadcaster and offered its

apologies. It suggested however that the broadcast of any form of apology would be self-

defeating since it would be necessary to revive and explain the whole matter for any

apology to make sense to listeners. In its view, this would do more harm than good. RNZ

also offered the opinion that since some two weeks elapsed between the date of the

broadcast and the filing of the formal complaint, it concluded that there was no urgency

to its decision and further, that the efficacy of an apology, should it be justified, was also

diminished by the delay.

The CCA argued that even if RNZ could not order Mana Maori News to broadcast an

apology, then it could have done so itself. It wrote:

The most practical remedial action that can be taken, from the point of view of the

[CCA] Authority and members of the wider public, is to order the broadcast of an

explanatory statement and apology at a time when they would be most likely to

reach members of the audience of the original broadcast.


The CCA also took issue with RNZ's interpretation that the delay between the date of the

broadcast and the filing of the complaint indicated that the matter lacked urgency. It

observed that RNZ's response to the formal complaint was not received until 18 February

1994, over two months after the complaint was filed.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority did not accept RNZ's argument that an apology

would be self-defeating, noting that it had been expressly requested by the CCA as a

remedy. While the Authority acknowledged the lengthy delay between the date of the

broadcast and the broadcast of any apology, it nevertheless considered it was important to

publicly correct statements that were factually incorrect, especially when they reflect on

the integrity of named individuals.

 

For the reasons set forth above, the Authority upholds the complaint that

Radio New Zealand's action, having upheld the complaint, was not sufficient.


The Authority declines to uphold any other aspect of the complaint.

Having upheld a complaint, the Authority may make an order under s.13(1) of the

Broadcasting Act 1989. Because of the failure to obtain any balancing comment from the

Casino Control Authority the Authority has decided to impose an order on this occasion.

Order

Pursuant to s.13(1)(d) of the Broadcasting Act 1989, the Authority orders

Radio New Zealand Ltd to broadcast a brief summary of this decision,

approved by the Authority. The statement shall be broadcast during Mana

Maori News within 14 days of the date of this decision.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Iain Gallaway
Chairperson
23 June 1994


Appendix

Casino Control Authority's Complaint to Radio New Zealand Limited

In a letter dated 8 December 1993 Ms Kristina Muller, on behalf of the Casino Control

Authority, complained to Radio New Zealand Ltd about the broadcast of an item on Mana

News on 22 November 1993 at 6.37am.

The Casino Control Authority objected to allegations made against it in the programme

which it claimed were not only untrue but also unfair to the Casino Control Authority

and those members referred to in the programme. It maintained that RNZ had failed to

preserve the respect the public has for the integrity of news services because it had not

presented the information accurately, objectively and impartially and had not given the

Casino Control Authority an opportunity to comment on the allegations.

The Casino Control Authority identified three statements in the item which it believed were

in breach of broadcasting standards. The first was the report that when a tribal elder

stood to give a Maori greeting to the Authority he was told by one of its members to speak

English or to sit down. The second was the allegation that members of the Authority had

displayed blatant racism and were unfit to hold their positions because they were

culturally ignorant. The third allegation was that the Chairman and the Deputy

Chairman of the Casino Control Authority each had a conflict of interest and should not

decide on applications for the Auckland licence.

The complainant included a copy of the transcript of the programme, a transcript of the

Ngati Whatua O Orakei Maori Trust Board's submission, given by Mr Wikiriwhi to the

Casino Control Authority, a summary of the events which occurred at the public

submission hearing and a statement by the Chairman of the Casino Control Authority

regarding the report on Mana Maori News.

RNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint

RNZ advised the Casino Control Authority of its Complaints Committee's decision in a letter

dated 15 February 1994. It explained that in reaching its decision, it had before it all of

the material supplied by the Casino Control Authority referred to above and in addition a

report from the Managing Director of Mana Maori News.

At the outset, RNZ explained that Mana Maori News was supplied to National Radio under

contract between Mana News and New Zealand Public Radio Ltd. It then reported that it

had reconciled the standards cited with the recently renumbered Code of Practice and that

it had eliminated standards which it considered were either redundant or duplicated

elsewhere. Eliminating standard R21 from consideration, RNZ noted that it believed that

standard applied to live broadcasts and not to a single structured bulletin piece, but that

the basic issue of fair opportunity still remained and that this was addressed under

standard R9 and section 4(1)(d) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. With reference to

standard R16, RNZ argued that its requirements were effectively subsumed within

standards R1, R2 and R9 and that therefore no ruling was called for on standard R16.

Finally it reported on its interpretation of the old standard 5.1 which was now included in

the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice as a broad summary statement under the News

and Current Affairs heading. Accordingly, it decided it was not necessary to make a ruling

concerning public respect specifically.

Rejecting all of the allegations of factual inaccuracy, except for one, RNZ argued that in all

the other cases, what was reported was a statement or opinion attributed to a source and

that there was no editorial endorsement of what was reported. It added:

The statements and/or opinions are clearly presented as those made or held by

named organisations or persons, not as statements endorsed by the broadcasters as

fact.

Pointing to the introduction to the item, RNZ noted that there were two statements of

editorial fact; one that the New Zealand Maori Council and the Ngati Whatua O Orakei

Maori Trust Board were to take action against the Authority; and the second that the

action was to be taken over allegations of racism. It noted that the introduction stated

that racism had been alleged but was not stated as a fact. Accordingly, it did not uphold

the complaint that these statements were factually inaccurate, noting that they were

statements made by others and accurately reported as such.

RNZ then considered the two other issues raised by the Casino Control Authority. The first

was the report that a tribal elder stood to give a Maori greeting to the Authority and was

told by one of the members to speak in English or sit down. According to RNZ, this was a

statement offered as a report of fact by the reporter and not a report of an attributed

opinion. However, RNZ considered that despite accepting the Chairman's explanation of

the incident, Ngati Whatua held the view that the Authority displayed a culturally unsafe

approach and had offered a serious insult by displaying ignorance and by interrupting.

RNZ explained that Ngati Whatua felt that by interrupting an elder, the Authority had, in

Maori idiom "sat him down".

In RNZ's view, the condensed report of the incident departed from the facts and although

it was justifiable in the context to use the term "sit down", it was clear that Mr Wikiriwhi

had not been told to speak English. He had been asked whether he was intending to

provide a translation for the record, which, according to RNZ may well have been

interpreted by Ngati Whatua as being told to speak English.

RNZ reported that its Complaints Committee was divided on this issue - some felt that it

was justified to report the Maori interpretation, while others felt that this statement was

presented as an editorial fact and was therefore not accurate.

On balance, RNZ upheld that this aspect of the report was inaccurate. In reaching that

conclusion, it reported that it took into account the fact that the programme is intended to

reach a significant Pakeha audience who would not necessarily be aware of the

connotations of the statement.

A second aspect upheld by RNZ was that Mana Maori News reporters had omitted to seek

comment from the Authority on the issues raised, and had not referred the allegation of

conflict of interest to either the Chairman or Deputy Chairman.

RNZ reported that the action it had taken as a consequence of upholding part of the

formal complaint was to warn Mana Maori News in writing of its concern at the breaches

of basic standards which had occurred and to draw attention to the contract penalty

clauses which such lapses bring into operation. Although the broadcast was supplied by an

outside organisation, RNZ acknowledged its responsibility as broadcaster and offered its

apologies.

RNZ suggested that the broadcasting of any form of apology would be self-defeating,

pointing out that much had occurred since the date of the broadcast and it would be

necessary to revive and explain the whole matter for any apology to make sense to radio

listeners.

Casino Control Authority's Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards

Authority

Dissatisfied with RNZ's decision, in a letter dated 18 March 1994, the Casino Control

Authority, through its chairman, referred the complaint to the Broadcasting Standards

Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

The Casino Control Authority identified three aspects of the decision with which it was

dissatisfied. The first was that RNZ had received and acted upon a report from the

Manager of Mana Maori News which had not been referred to the Casino Control

Authority for comment. The second was that the Casino Control Authority had not been

given the opportunity to comment on any evidence or other information upon which RNZ

could have reached its conclusion that there was a Maori viewpoint on the statement that

the elder was asked to speak in English or sit down. Finally, it recorded that it was

dissatisfied with the outcome of the decision.

The Casino Control Authority noted that since the broadcast of the item a number of

listeners had formed a derogatory view of the Authority because of the inaccuracies

contained in the report and the failure to allow the Authority to respond. It maintained

that this was a matter of great concern and submitted that the action taken by RNZ was

unreasonable in the circumstances.

Of particular concern to the Casino Control Authority was that RNZ appeared to regard

the fact that the programme was prepared under contract as a factor which mitigated the

breaches of basic standards. It argued that this was irrelevant.

Responding to RNZ's argument that questions of factual inaccuracy are not relevant so

long as statements are accurately attributed, the Casino Control Authority argued that it

was therefore even more important for the broadcaster to give it the opportunity to

respond to the statements and that the failure of RNZ to do so was a matter of some

consequence. It pointed out that listeners may well not fully appreciate the distinction

between statements of third parties and those for which the broadcaster will accept

responsibility.

In conclusion, the Casino Control Authority submitted that it believed it was appropriate

that the broadcaster be required to broadcast a statement summarising the decision of the

Complaints Committee, correcting the misleading information contained in the broadcast

and apologising to members of the Casino Control Authority.

RNZ's Response to the Authority

As is its practice, the Authority sought the broadcaster's response to the complaint. Its

letter is dated 21 March 1994, and RNZ's reply, 24 March.

RNZ summarised its response to the complaint, noting that it had upheld two aspects of

the complaint and did not uphold allegations of factual inaccuracy with respect to

statements which were properly attributed. It explained that it had not intended to excuse

the breaches by pointing out that Mana News was supplied by an outside contractor.

Responding to points raised by the Casino Control Authority, RNZ recorded:

1 Nothing in the formal complaints process requires a broadcaster to make available

reports it has obtained in the course of investigating a formal complaint.

2 It did not conclude that the reporter's statement about the incident was factually

correct. On the contrary, it recognised that the statement may well encapsulate a

Maori view of the incident, but because it was not attributed as such it came across

as a factual report which was not accurate.

3 It was under no obligation to refer the report received by RNZ from the Manager

of Mana Maori News to the Casino Control Authority.

4 There was no intention to excuse the breaches by noting there is a contractual

relationship between RNZ and Mana Maori News.

5 Provided the report of a statement is accurate, and is clearly attributed, the content

of the statement is immaterial to the accuracy of the reporting. RNZ disagreed

with the Casino Control Authority's contention that the audience was not likely to

distinguish between reported statements and editorial statements.

6 It was a basic journalistic ethic to broadcast a balancing response and RNZ had

obtained specific information from the programme producers on this point and

drew their attention to the statutory and contractual obligations to do so. It

reiterated that since RNZ staff were not responsible for the breaches, the only

significant remedial action available was to take action under the contract of

programme supply.

As a final comment, RNZ noted that its experience suggested that an explanatory

broadcast often exacerbated matters. In a postscript it noted that fourteen days had

elapsed between the date of the broadcast and when the complaint was received and

observed that in radio news terms, fourteen days was a long gap.

Casino Control Authority's Final Comment to the Authority

When asked for a brief final comment in response, in a letter dated 11 April 1994, the

Casino Control Authority, through its legal advisor, challenged some of the points made by

RNZ.

The Casino Control Authority argued that in the interests of natural justice it should have

been given the opportunity to comment on what the producer of the programme said

about the item, particularly since RNZ's Complaints Committee was obviously influenced

by the producer's report, both in adjudicating on the substance of the complaint and in

determining the outcome.

Referring to RNZ's discussion and analysis of the allegation of racism, the Casino Control

Authority explained that it had difficulty in following RNZ's reasoning and expressed

concern about some of its findings. The sentence in the item complained about was:

At a recent casino hearing tribal elder Doc Wikiriwhi stood to do a Maori greeting

to the Authority and was told by one of its members to speak English or sit down.

The Casino Control Authority observed that although the majority had upheld the

complaint that the statement was factually inaccurate, it challenged RNZ's contention that

it was justifiable in the context to use the term "sit down". While noting that an

explanation was given in the report by the producer to RNZ's Complaints Committee, the

Casino Control Authority contended that the report should have been shown to it for

comment.

The second point was that the report stated as a fact that Mr Wikiriwhi had been told to

speak English. The Casino Control Authority observed that it had no opportunity to

respond to RNZ's explanation that it was justifiable to report this as it was the

interpretation of the Maori point of view. The Casino Control Authority submitted that

RNZ should not have relied on information on which the complainant had no opportunity

to comment.

The Casino Control Authority reiterated its point that listeners may not appreciate the

distinction between reported statements of third parties and editorial statements, and

noted that RNZ itself had acknowledged there was such confusion. In response to RNZ's

argument that provided it reports a third party's statement accurately, it is not responsible

for the accuracy of its contents, the Casino Control Authority maintained that that made

it all the more important that persons impugned in such statements be given a fair

opportunity to respond. Further, it argued that if such an opportunity was not given at

the time of the broadcast, a public explanation and apology would be the only appropriate

form of redress.

Noting that RNZ had taken action by drawing attention to the programme makers and

producers the terms of the statutory and contractual obligations between itself and Mana

Maori News, the Casino Control Authority reported that since it was not privy to the terms

of the agreements between the parties, it was unable to determine whether or not the

action taken was appropriate. However, the Casino Control Authority submitted that it

was not the only remedial action open to RNZ. It argued that if RNZ could not compel

Mana News to make an apology then it could have done so itself. It continued:

The major source of damage to the Authority was the impression that the

broadcast would have created upon the minds of the Mana News audience - an

impression resulting from the inaccuracy of the reporter's statement of "fact",

coupled with the reported allegations by third parties against the Authority based

on that statement, compounded by the omission to refer any of this to the

Authority for comment. Members of the audience will not be aware of whatever

action Radio New Zealand might have taken under its contract with Mana Maori

News. The most practical remedial action that can be taken, from the point of view

of the Authority and members of the wider public, is to order the broadcast of an

explanatory statement and apology at a time when they would be most likely to

reach members of the audience of the original broadcast.

Responding to RNZ's point that in the context of whether or not an apology might be

appropriate it should be noted that there was a two week lapse between the date of the

broadcast and the receipt of the formal complaint, the Casino Control Authority

commented that the reason for the delay in filing the complaint was that the Authority

was, at the time of the broadcast, involved in hearings for the Auckland casino licence.

Furthermore, it noted that RNZ's response was not received until 18 February 1994, over

two months after the complaint was filed.

RNZ's Response to the Final Comment

In a letter dated 13 April 1994, RNZ commented that the complainant's comments raised

matters not controlled by the programme standards and were beyond the province of the

Authority.

In particular, it argued that the broadcaster was under no obligation to refer to the

complainant reports and comments solicited by it to assist in determination of the

complaint. RNZ added that it believed a complainant was entitled to an explanation of

how it made its determination and always attempted to do so clearly.

Clarifying the point about the reported incident, RNZ explained that it examined the

"Maori version" of the incident and recognised that:

(i) the interruption of an elder in the middle of his greeting in a formal context

is regarded more seriously by Maori than by Pakeha; to the Maori it is a

deep insult, scarcely excused by the nature of the speech, an ignorance felt

to be an insult on its own: and

(ii) the significance which the idiom "sit him down" (the verb being used

transitively in this explanation) can have in Maori thinking, ie to shut him

up in full ceremonial flight - again, an insult.

The Maori people have a right to hold and express this opinion.

Where the error in the item lay was in its presentation as an apparent report of a

fact, and it was this that the Committee found to be a breach.

RNZ repeated that it was under no obligation to make available reports it had obtained or

details of commercial contracts to a complainant.

In response to the Casino Control Authority's comments about the lapse of time between

the date of the broadcast and the receipt by RNZ of the formal complaint, RNZ pointed out

that it only made the point to make clear that in terms of radio broadcasting, a long time

had elapsed. It justified the length of time it took to make its response, noting that it was

done within just over half of the allowable statutory time and that the length of time

elapsed was not unreasonable.

Finally, RNZ argued that having put to one side matters on which there are no

programme standards, the only matter which the complainant can refer for review is the

action taken. It maintained that a broadcast apology was not useful after such a long

delay. Secondly, disciplinary action could not be taken because the programme was

produced by a separate company under contract to RNZ. However, RNZ noted that it

detailed in writing the two lapses in the broadcast and reminded Mana Maori News of the

consequences of a further breach of programme standards. It added that if stressed the

failure to refer to principals for balancing comment was particularly serious.