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Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2018-083 (18 February 2019)

  • Judge Bill Hastings (Chair)
  • Paula Rose QSO
  • Susie Staley MNZM
  • Wendy Palmer
  • Allan Golden
Nine to Noon
Radio New Zealand Ltd
Radio New Zealand National


[This summary does not form part of the decision.]

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about a comment made by business commentator, Rod Oram, during a segment on Nine to Noon. The Authority found that Mr Oram’s view as to the effectiveness of a former Chair of a seed business was an opinion that is not subject to the accuracy standard. 

Not Upheld: Accuracy 

The item

[1]  A segment on Nine to Noon featured business commentator Rod Oram discussing the sale of a seed business. During the discussion Mr Oram said one of the former Chairs had been ‘highly effective’ in their previous roles.

[2]  The item was broadcast on 7 August 2018 on RNZ National.

The complaint

[3]  Allan Golden complained that Mr Oram’s statement about the effectiveness of the former Chair was ‘not true’ as Mr Golden believed they had not been ‘highly effective’.

[4]  RNZ responded saying Mr Golden made assertions that could be seen as defamatory and found Mr Oram’s comment was that of his own opinion and therefore not covered by the accuracy standard. RNZ then invited the Authority to find the complaint both trivial and vexatious and to impose ‘an appropriate financial penalty’.

[5]  In considering this complaint, we have listened to a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

The standard

[6]  The Authority considers Mr Golden’s complaint implicitly raised the accuracy standard (Standard 9). This standard states that broadcasters should make reasonable efforts to ensure that news, current affairs and factual programming is accurate in relation to all material points of fact and does not mislead. Expressions of comment, analysis or opinion are exempt from the requirements of the accuracy standard.1

Our findings

[7]  Mr Oram’s comment was clearly his opinion regarding the effectiveness of the Chair, and therefore not covered by the accuracy standard. The complaint that there has been a breach of the accuracy standard is not upheld.

[8]  In regards to RNZ’s request that the Authority impose a ‘financial penalty’ on Mr Golden, we note that the Authority’s empowering legislation allows only for awards of costs between the parties, and not fines.2 In other words, costs awards are designed to recompense not penalise. We remind Mr Golden that it may be open to the broadcaster to request reimbursement of reasonable costs incurred in dealing with his complaints in the future.

For the above reasons the Authority does not uphold the complaint.


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Judge Bill Hastings
18 February 2019  



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

1     Allan Golden’s formal complaint – 8 August 2018
2     RNZ’s response to the complaint – 4 September 2018
3     Mr Golden’s referral to the Authority – 28 September 2018
4     RNZ’s confirmation of no further comment – 25 October 2018

1 Commentary – Accuracy, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 19

2 See sections 16(1) and (2) of the Broadcasting Act 1989