BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Morrison & New Homes Direct Ltd and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-150 (31 August 2022)

Members
  • Susie Staley MNZM (Chair)
  • John Gillespie
  • Tupe Solomon-Tanoa’i
  • Aroha Beck
Dated
Complainant
  • Michael Morrison & New Homes Direct Ltd
Number
2021-150
Programme
Fair Go
Channel/Station
TV One

Summary  

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

The Authority has upheld a complaint that an item on Fair Go that dealt with various issues arising from a house being built breached the accuracy and fairness standards. The Authority found the programme was inaccurate and misleading in its portrayal of the issues involved in building the house. It found the complainants were portrayed unfairly and their views were not fairly reflected in the programme. It also found there was no breach of the privacy standard, and the balance standard did not apply as the programme did not deal with a controversial issue of public importance.  

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

Not Upheld: Privacy, Balance

Orders: Section 13(1)(a) broadcast statement on air and online; Section 16(1) $2,000 legal costs and $98.70 disbursements, Section 16(4) $1000 costs to the Crown


The broadcast

[1]  An episode of Fair Go broadcast on 20 September 2021 included an item about issues with a house built by New Homes Direct Ltd (NHD). The item was introduced as follows:

Host:                         Now, if you're building or renovating, there are two things you can generally rely on. One, it'll take longer than you planned. And two, it'll cost more than you budgeted for. But there is a limit for both, especially when the delays aren't your fault. [Reporter] explains. 

Reporter:                  Around the country, builders are back on the tools. But here in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland sites are standing still. However, for one couple five weeks in limbo is nothing. Their build has taken…

Rob Thompson:      Seven years

[2]  The Thompsons had agreed to build a house with NHD in 2013. They were interviewed during the programme, and the item focused on their experience during the build. The item also included several excerpts from phone interviews with NHD Director, and one of the complainants, Michael Morrison. We highlight the relevant segments below:

Reporter:                  As you'll see, there are many reasons why it's taken so long for this incomplete build and in Parakai up near Kaipara harbour to be finished. And now there's one last hurdle: the Code Compliance Certificate, the final tick from the Council. It's crucial and out of their reach.

Rob Thompson:      I got a call one evening from a lady in the compliance area that said, Look, I'm about to send you a bill. I think it's going to have stuff on it that you are not aware of. And of that, $4,075 was what we needed to pay.

Reporter:                  Four grand they just don't have, partly because of the cost of finishing their home and partly because they thought they'd paid someone to take care of all of this years before.

Rob Thompson:      We've paid them forty thousand dollars for consenting and design. So, you know, it was a slap in the face, and that was what spurred me to want to get in touch with you guys.

Reporter:                  This is Michael Morrison, their former project manager, that blurry figure facing the Google Street View camera as it snapped him one day outside another job. [On the phone to Morrison] I'd be curious to know why it took your company seven years to almost build a home for a couple I've been speaking to out in Parakai, it's Rob and Glennis.

Michael Morrison:   It didn't take us that long. In fact, there was nothing to do with us. There was significant Council delays.

Reporter:                  He's right. There were significant problems, not least, the risk the land would flood and measures to overcome that, but that's only part of the story. What's also evident is his company, New Homes Direct, took 15 months to get a building consent. Then there's this official notice where he estimates four months to build, but two years still didn't get the job done.

Michael Morrison:   I'm not in charge of weather, I'm not in charge of the Council inspections. I'm not in charge of a whole bunch of stuff. This is just building works, it doesn't include stoppages. You ask any building company or any builder he'll tell you.

Reporter:                  To keep it going, [the Thompsons] had agreed to pay more to do what had been promised by New Homes Direct because the cost had risen.

Rob Thompson:      To me, it was like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you take too long, you get to put the price up.

Reporter:                  Good place to go back to Parakai. Because as it happens, Rob and Glennis sought legal advice before they agreed to vary their contract and pay more in stages. The advice had been don't, but they did anyway. And they watched a second house New Homes Direct had been working on down the road, work seemed to go ahead quickly now, even faster than theirs? That house down the street belonged to Michael Morrison.

Michael Morrison:   I'm the victim here too.

Reporter:                  Michael Morrison says the same Council delays that affected the Thompsons' house were holding up his house build and that none of that delay had affected the 22 houses he previously built in the subdivision.

Michael Morrison:   It's not our fault. It's terrible because, as I said, I lost over 300 grand on the other one, for exactly the same reason.

Reporter:                  He claims he lost another $100,000 trying to get the Thompsons’ place finished. But it wasn't finished, and Rob and Glennis started wondering if it ever would be.

Rob Thompson:      We got an email from one of his employees who was yeah, probably a little bit disgruntled, and rightly so, but he warned us off and told us things were not right.

Reporter:                  [Employee] was head builder at New Homes Direct for 17 months. He worked on Rob and Glennis's place, until he and Michael Morrison parted company very acrimoniously.

[Employee]:             I started their job in June 2018, when I realised the house had been sitting there fifteen months, full of water, half finished. And I just felt sorry for these people who had, you know, they're on a journey and going nowhere being told you'll be in by Christmas, but which Christmas?

Michael Morrison:   They cancelled the contract in 2019, in late 2019, and I had offered to finish it there and then within a few weeks, because we had not that much to go. They refused to correspond and communicate with me in regards to information I needed to complete it at that point.

Reporter:                  Which brought [the Thompsons] to their last step on the journey and us to the beginning, a surprise $4000 bill to get a Code Compliance Certificate, some of which was so overdue the Council had sent it to debt collectors.

Voiceover:               The unpaid invoices sent to New Homes Direct date back to 2014.

Reporter:                  And even though the Council went ahead with inspections in good faith.

Voiceover:               The costs were never paid by the developer.

Michael Morrison:   I know nothing about any money that's owed, and if there is any money owed, I'll pay it for works that we've been paid for. Of course, absolutely.

Reporter:                  He's disappointed the couple came to Fair Go rather than him, but he is keeping his word and paying those old debts. The Council had already told us it's doing the right thing by Rob and Glennis anyway.

Voiceover:               We are aware of the dispute between the developer and the owner. We will issue the CCC once the property owners have paid the cost, which is $1,248.

Reporter:                  Which is the bill they thought they owed all along...

The complaint and broadcaster’s response

[3]  The complainants argued the broadcast breached the accuracy, fairness, privacy and balance standards of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice. We have not attempted to summarise all of the complainants’ submissions in this decision. We have set out below what we consider are the key arguments under each of the standards raised. Generally, however, the complainants’ key concerns relate to the programme’s allegedly inaccurate and unfair portrayal of issues surrounding the Thompsons’ building project and the reasons for those issues.

[4]  For reasons also set out in more detail below, Television New Zealand Ltd did not uphold the complaint at first instance.

The nominated standards

[5]  The accuracy standard1 states broadcasters should make reasonable efforts to ensure news, current affairs and factual programming is accurate in relation to all material points of fact and does not mislead. Being ‘misled’ is defined as being given ‘a wrong idea or impression of the facts.’2 Programmes may be misleading by omission or as a result of the way dialogue and images may have been edited together.

[6]  The fairness standard3 states broadcasters should deal fairly with any person or organisation taking part or referred to in a programme. People referred to in broadcasts have the right to expect that broadcasters will deal with them justly and fairly, so there is no unwarranted harm to their reputation and dignity.4

[7]  The balance standard5 states when controversial issues of public importance are discussed in news, current affairs and factual programmes, broadcasters should make reasonable efforts to present significant points of view either in the same programme or in other programmes within the period of current interest. In most cases human interest or personal stories will not be considered controversial issues of public importance.6

[8]  The privacy standard7 reflects the importance our society places on privacy. It requires broadcasters to maintain standards consistent with the privacy of the individual. The standard aims to protect, where reasonable, people’s wishes not to have themselves or their affairs broadcast to the public. It seeks to protect their dignity, autonomy, mental wellbeing and reputation, and their ability to develop relationships, opinions and creativity away from the glare of publicity.8

Our analysis

[9]  We have viewed the broadcast and read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

[10]  In determining a complaint alleging standards have been breached, we first recognise the important right to freedom of expression, including the broadcaster’s right to impart ideas and information and the public’s right to receive that information. This includes taking account of the value and public interest in the matters covered in the programme.

[11]  The Fair Go series is concerned with investigating consumer issues and provides an avenue for members of the public to seek redress. The Authority has previously acknowledged the series generally carries public interest and is of value to the public.9 In each case we also consider the public interest in the relevant item, which on this occasion addressed concerns regarding delays and costs when building houses.

[12]  Against this, we weigh the level of actual or potential harm that may have been caused by the broadcast. We may only intervene and uphold complaints where the limitation on the right to freedom of expression is reasonable and justified.

Accuracy

The complaint

[13]  The complainants identified multiple concerns relating to Fair Go’s portrayal of the issues arising from the Thompsons’ project. In relation to the accuracy standard, the key concerns raised included that the programme misrepresented the following:

NHD’s responsibility for delays

  • The site was subject to a section 37 notice under the Building Act 2004, due to the requirement for a resource consent, which prohibited building for approximately 2½ years. Inundation issues complicated this process. The notice was not lifted until February 2017. This was not adequately described in the programme.
  • Even after the section 37 notice was lifted, Auckland Council (the Council) caused delays with changes to the previously approved building consent for wastewater, structural steel, foundations and truss details. When something is changed in a building consent due to the Council, this results in a stop of work. Engineers and architects have to go back, redesign and submit new plans to the Council for re-consent. After approval, the builder then may have to go back and change previous work to align with the new plan.
  • The Thompsons made significant changes to the design of the house, including changing the upper level of the house, which required a new resource consent due to height∶boundary issues, as well as significant changes to the kitchen in the later parts of the build. These delayed the build.
  • NHD has responsibility for 10% of the delays at most.

NHD’s responsibility for outstanding Council invoices

  • ‘The council confirmed in writing the original invoices (as presented on the programme) to NHD sent to collection were incorrect and not owed by NHD.’ The programme did not describe any of the issues with the Council’s file for this property.
  • The ‘Council had evidenced the charges they originally issued were wrong, and that the many of these charges were on account of the Thompsons… When I explained this, the Council credited these fees from NHD’s account, and this resulted in significantly reduced charges which were settled on the same day by NHD’.
  • Part of one of the invoices had been jointly disputed by NHD and the Thompsons in 2014.
  • Rob Thompson’s statement that he paid NHD $40,000 for design and consents was incorrect. The $40,000 paid was a deposit only (unconnected with design and consent costs).
  • In paying these revised charges NHD obtained the Code Compliance Certificate (CCC) for the Thompsons, which was not mentioned in the programme.

Price variation on the Thompsons’ contract

  • The reporter suggests the Thompsons paid extra monies to NHD ‘to do what was promised’. This is incorrect:
    (a)  The 2016 variation in price was contemplated under the 2013 contract, as the original price was only valid for 90 days from when it was signed. The contract price was also explicitly on the basis of normal foundations (more complicated foundations were required). The 2016 variation addressed the impact of the lengthy section 37 stop work period.
    (b)  After the 2016 variation, NHD never charged any additional cost for the contract works. Quite the opposite. NHD suffered the losses due to escalating costs.
  • NHD actually lost over $100,000 building this house.

Ownership of neighbouring property

  • The neighbouring house described in the broadcast was owned by NHD, not Michael Morrison.

The broadcaster’s response

[14]  TVNZ responded with the following key arguments under the accuracy standard:

NHD’s responsibility for delays

  • NHD was not blamed for the full seven years of delays, as the programme broadly acknowledges other delays due to the Council. There were no notable regulatory delays from 2017 to 2019.
  • During the stop-work period some piling work had continued, so the actual length of Council-related delay here was about a year.
  • Delays were potentially lengthened by a strategy of extracting compensation from the Council in relation to the section 37 notice.
  • The Thompsons say the original design was not what they contracted for, so design changes were either at the outset, pre-contract or required by regulation.
  • Kitchen changes were under discussion but not agreed by the time work stopped.
  • Not every detail was required to tell the story fairly and accurately.

NHD’s responsibility for outstanding Council invoices

  • Fair Go went to great lengths to seek clarity on which parties owed what to Council’.
  • The reporter was in direct contact with the senior executive director responsible for this area in the Council. Their version of events are consistent with the Thompsons’ as to who eventually paid what to enable the CCC to be issued.
  • The cost the Thompsons had to pay ($1,248.02) was discussed in the programme. This was clearly part of the invoice discussed at the beginning of the programme.
  • The Thompsons had paid a $25,000 deposit for design and consents, which increased in 2016 to a total of $40,000.

Price variation on the Thompsons’ contract

  • The Thompsons and NHD reached some agreement based on the increased cost of a build in 2016, taking into account delays and efforts to maintain a relationship. This was reported.
  • Ownership and progress of neighbouring property
  • Morrison advised the reporter that the house belonged to him in a phone conversation.

Our determination

[15]  The purpose of the accuracy standard is to protect the public from being significantly misinformed.10 The accuracy standard is concerned only with material inaccuracy. For example, technical or unimportant points unlikely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the programme as a whole are not material.11 

[16]  In addition, the standard does not apply to ‘analysis, comment or opinion’.12 A fact is verifiable, something that can be proved right or wrong. It is not always clear whether a statement is an assertion of fact or an opinion, this will depend on the context.13

[17]  The various accuracy issues identified by the complainants at paragraph [13] concern matters of fact (rather than analysis, comment or opinion). Further, except as specifically identified below, all these matters were material in the context of the programme given the focus on NHD’s performance. Accordingly, the accuracy standard applies.

[18]  Our assessment of whether the accuracy standard was breached is done in two stages. The first question is whether the programme made an inaccurate statement or was misleading. The second is whether the broadcaster made reasonable efforts to ensure the programme was accurate and did not mislead.

[19]  Regarding the first issue, we consider a reasonable viewer was likely to have been misled by Fair Go’s portrayal of the following issues:

NHD’s responsibility for delays

  • It is not the Authority’s role to definitively quantify NHD’s contribution to any delay. We are also conscious the broadcast acknowledged there were many contributors to the project delay. However, the programme was constructed in a way that focused attention and responsibility for delay squarely on the building company and viewers were not offered the information necessary to understand the potential impact of other contributors. In particular:
    (a)  The broadcast emphasised the 7-year period taken ‘to almost build a home’. There was no mention that resource consent issues stopped most work on the site, or that the stop work period lasted from October 2014 to February 2017 (a significant portion of the 7-year period). Even if some piling work proceeded, or management of Council compensation issues contributed to delay, these were significant details that were not included in the story.
    (b)  The broadcast did not mention any potential contribution by the Thompsons to delays arising from alterations to the build (both immediately after signing the contract, altering the initial consents, and during the building process), and specifically stated in the introduction that the ‘delays aren't your fault’ (referring to the Thompsons). We acknowledge TVNZ’s submission there was some dispute regarding the requirement for some of the alterations and subsequent effects. However, noting NHD had a different perspective, the omission of this potential contributor led to a one-sided depiction of NHD’s overall responsibility for delay.
    (c)   While ‘Council delays’ were acknowledged, viewers were unlikely to understand the potential scope and impact of such delays from what was presented (as described, for example, in paragraph [13]).
  • TVNZ argued not every detail was required to tell the story fairly and accurately and we agree. However, in the context of a programme focused on NHD’s delays, where viewers were likely to regard NHD as responsible for unexplained delays within the referenced 7-year period, we consider Fair Go was inappropriately selective in the presentation of potential contributors to that delay.

NHD’s responsibility for outstanding Council invoices

  • There was no discussion of the various issues with the invoices the programme alleged NHD had not paid, apart from Morrison’s comment that he did not know anything about them. These issues included who was responsible for the invoices, disputed charges in the invoices, the Council having to correct and reissue invoices, and one of the invoices being issued to NHD over a year after NHD’s contract was terminated by the Thompsons. TVNZ acknowledged in their submissions the ‘great lengths’ they had to go to in order to seek clarity regarding these invoices, which was not reflected in the broadcast.
  • The broadcast included Rob Thompson’s statement, ‘We've paid [NHD] forty thousand dollars for consenting and design. So, you know, it was a slap in the face [which] spurred me to want to get in touch with [Fair Go]’.  However, as is clear from the building contract, the $40,000 paid to NHD was a deposit, not a payment for designs or consents. In this context it was misleading to suggest NHD had received monies intended to cover the $4,075 payment.
  • The broadcast does not clarify how much of the stated $4,075 amount was paid by NHD or that the $1,248 amount the Thompsons owed was a part of this figure. Morrison has submitted that NHD’s payments to the Council included at least part of the $1,248 invoice that the broadcast states the Thompsons still had to pay.

Price variation on the Thompsons’ contract

  • The reporter stated ‘To keep it going, [the Thompsons] had agreed to pay more to do what had been promised by New Homes Direct because the cost had risen’ and ‘Rob and Glennis sought legal advice before they agreed to vary their contract and pay more in stages. The advice had been don't, but they did anyway.’
  • However, the broadcast omitted significant details regarding the price variation. The broadcast did not clarify the price variation occurred in 2016 and in fairly unique circumstances (during the lengthy stop-work period which was complicated by inundation issues), or that NHD had not subsequently requested any further variations to cover increased costs since 2016. Rob Thompson was also depicted as commenting ‘to me, it was like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you take too long, you get to put the price up’, (a matter we have addressed under the fairness standard below).

[20]  With regard to the complainants’ concerns about content relating to the ownership of the neighbouring house, according to the New Zealand Companies Office Register, Morrison is the majority shareholder and sole director of NHD.14 Given this, the statement that the neighbouring house was owned by Morrison, while inaccurate, was not materially so in the context.

[21]  Having found the broadcast to be misleading in a number of respects, the next issue is whether TVNZ took reasonable efforts to ensure the programme was accurate and did not mislead. We consider it did not. We note:15

  • The broadcast was pre-recorded.
  • TVNZ undertook significant correspondence with Morrison and the Council prior to the broadcast.
  • In the circumstances, and given Morrison’s cooperation in particular, TVNZ was reasonably capable of determining the relevant facts and reflecting them in the programme.

[22]  For the above reasons we uphold the complaint under the accuracy standard.

Fairness

The complaint

[23]  Again, the complainants have identified multiple concerns of potential relevance under the fairness standard. We have focused our attention on the following, which we consider the key issues raised from a fairness perspective:

Treatment of delays, responsibility for outstanding invoices and price variation on the Thompsons’ contract

  • The issues identified as misleading under accuracy also contribute to an unfair depiction of NHD and Morrison.
  • Linked to those issues, the programme unfairly suggested:
    (a)  NHD intentionally caused delays to charge more.
    (b)  NHD prioritised the neighbouring house (owned by NHD) by noting that after the Thompsons agreed to ‘vary their contract and pay more in stages…they watched a second house New Homes Direct had been working on down the road [seem to] go ahead quickly now, even faster than theirs? That house down the street belonged to Michael Morrison [actually NHD].’ However:
        (i)  This house had similar resource consent issues, inundation issues and related delays as the Thompsons’ house.
        (ii)  This build was not prioritised over the Thompsons’ house.
        (iii)  NHD lost significant money building this house.

Initial ‘cold call’ was unfair

  • Morrison did not realise who he was speaking to during the initial call with the reporter until the end of the call.

Positive contributions by NHD omitted

  • The Thompsons had a 2021 new home built for a 2016 price because NHD contributed to the cost of the home.
  • The 2016 price was also discounted to fit the Thompson’s budget.
  • NHD contributed significantly to costs of the build, including extra resource consent works costing $7-15,000 and acquiring neighbour consent for height∶boundary issues. Overall NHD lost over $100,000 on this project.

Involvement of the employee named in the broadcast

  • The inclusion of comments by the employee named in the broadcast was unfair, as the complainants allege NHD had several serious disputes with this person related to their employment and other matters.
  • The programme acknowledged this person was ‘a little disgruntled’ but goes on to say ‘and rightly so’ (without outlining NHD’s issues with them).

The broadcaster’s response

[24]  TVNZ had the following key responses:

Treatment of delays, responsibility for outstanding invoices and price variation on the Thompsons’ contract

  • TVNZ’s submissions under the accuracy standard are relevant here as well.
  • In general, the complaint ‘strives to build a complex counter-narrative to the story presented, by supplying voluminous detail of Council processes and then attempting to dissect it all. By attempting to tell a counter-narrative, [it] does not invalidate the narrative offered by the Fair Go item.’
  • Broadly speaking, Morrison’s ‘viewpoint on the reasons for the delays, the costs to him (New Homes Direct), and the costs associated with the CCC were included in the programme.’
  • This was an extremely complicated story and not all detail could be included in the broadcast.
  • ‘Mr Morrison supplied a timeline detailing many aspects of the Council delays but also noting the two years 2017-2019 when there were no notable regulatory delays. This is a period when his company had undertaken to complete the build in four months. Mr Morrison discussed this with the reporter and mentioned having lost a lot of emails relating to this period when asked for specific reasons beyond his control. Fair Go gave him a fair opportunity in the story to explain this and let people judge for themselves.’
  • The comment regarding the neighbouring house seeming to progress faster ‘was posed as a question in the programme and not as an assertion’.

Initial ‘cold call’ was unfair

  • The reporter introduced himself clearly during the initial call and was not aware Morrison missed anything. Morrison spoke to and emailed the reporter a number of times after the cold call, so there was no misunderstanding as to who he was interacting with.

Positive contributions by NHD omitted

  • To focus the story it was not necessary to explore several aspects of Morrison’s submissions, such as the extra costs incurred by NHD, but the broadcast did include comment from Morrison that NHD had lost $100,000 during this project.
  • The relative market value of the Thompsons’ property from 2016 to 2021 was not relevant to viewers’ proper understanding of the issues raised.
  • NHD did not obtain the CCC for the Thompsons, as the Council had agreed to issue it without the invoice issues being resolved.

Involvement of the employee named in the broadcast

  • The former employee was not reported as being a ‘saviour’.
  • Any losses caused by this person to NHD were not relevant to the broadcast.

Our determination

[25]  A consideration of what is fair will depend on the nature of the programme. Context must also be considered, including the public significance of the broadcast.16 In this case, we are conscious the Fair Go series, and its investigations into various consumer issues, is of public interest and carries high value.

[26]  However, where a person or organisation referred to in a broadcast might be adversely affected, they should usually be given a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment for the programme.17 That includes fairly depicting their comments in the broadcast.

[27]  In this case, we consider that the broadcaster has not met its obligations under the standard. In making this finding, we are particularly influenced by the following:

  • The collection of inaccuracies outlined above at [19] contributed to a narrative throughout the report that presented NHD and Morrison in an unfair way.
  • This impression was reinforced by comments such as the following:
    (a)  The Thompsons ‘thought they had paid someone to take care of all of this [ie the Council invoices]’ when in fact:
        (i)    the invoices were not all payable by NHD
        (ii)   NHD had not, as outlined under the accuracy standard analysis, received $40,000 to cover such costs.
    (b)  ‘To me, it was like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you take too long, you get to put the price up’ which:
        (i)    suggested NHD deliberately caused delays to make more money
        (ii)   misrepresented the circumstances of the 2016 price variation (as outlined under the accuracy standard) and is, in any event, inconsistent with the Thompsons’ and NHD’s contractual arrangements which (after an initial 90-day period) included no right to simply ‘put the price up’ for cost escalation
        (iii)  was particularly unfair to a contractor who had, after the 2016 variation, absorbed significant cost overruns.
  • Despite significant grievances between NHD and the employee named in the broadcast (including regarding situations unrelated to the Thompsons’ project), he was depicted in the broadcast as an NHD employee who was ‘disgruntled, and rightly so’. His perspective on the build was also included with no specific response from Morrison.

[28]  We have not found any unfairness associated with the reporter’s initial cold call to Morrison. The reporter explained who he was and the purpose of his call.18 Even if there was some initial confusion about who was calling, once aware, Morrison continued to engage with the reporter (including on subsequent calls).

[29]  We also acknowledge TVNZ’s submissions about the complexity of the story and the desirability of some focus in determining what was included. However, having chosen to address the issues of delay, outstanding invoices and price variation on this project, and to present an NHD employee as ‘rightly’ disgruntled, TVNZ was required to include such additional content as was necessary to deal fairly with the complainants. As outlined above, and under accuracy, we consider this was not achieved.

[30]  As noted by the complainants, NHD made a number of positive contributions to the build which were not reflected. We would not expect all such matters to have been mentioned. However, inclusion of some of those points may have served to balance the impression left by the others.

[31]  We consider the edited excerpts included of conversations with Morrison were not sufficient to fairly reflect the tenor of the overall views expressed by him or the events during this building project.19 The programme’s presentation and discussion of issues during this broadcast is likely to have caused unwarranted harm to the reputation of the complainants. We also note Morrison has advised that NHD is in fact having issues with clients using the Fair Go programme ‘as an excuse to not pay NHD what they genuinely owe’.

[32]  For the above reasons we uphold the complaint under the fairness standard.

Privacy

The complaint

[33]  The complainants’ main concern in relation to the privacy standard related to disclosure of Morrison’s interest in the neighbouring house.

The broadcaster’s response

[34]  TVNZ responded:

‘The title, which includes information about who owns a property, is a public record and therefore the Committee does not agree that ownership of a property is a private fact.’

Our determination

[35]  The privacy standard is concerned with the disclosure of private information or material about an individual in a manner that is highly offensive.20 In this instance, no private information or material was disclosed. The statements broadcast related to the ownership of the house, and home ownership details are matters of public record.21 We note the ownership stated by the broadcast was inaccurate, as NHD actually owns the property. However, Morrison’s interest in NHD is also a matter of public record (via the New Zealand Companies Office Register).  

[36]  We therefore do not uphold the complaint under the privacy standard.

Balance

[37]  The balance standard only applies to news, current affairs or factual programmes that discuss controversial issues of public importance.22 An issue of public importance is something that would have a significant potential impact on, or be of concern to, members of the New Zealand public. A controversial issue will be one which has topical currency and excites conflicting opinion or about which there has been ongoing public debate.23

[38]  This episode of Fair Go was covering building delays affecting a particular property.24 The item broached a subject which may be of concern to members of the public (building delays and associated cost risk), but the focus of the broadcast was on specific issues the Thompsons faced. Issues affecting the Thompsons’ build are not controversial issues of public importance in respect of which balance is required. For this reason, the balance standard does not apply.

[39]  In any event, we consider the issues raised by the complainant under this standard have been appropriately dealt with above, under the accuracy and fairness standards.

[40]  We do not uphold the complaint under the balance standard.

For the above reasons the Authority upholds the complaint the broadcast of Fair Go on 20 September 2021 breached Standard 9 (Accuracy) and Standard 11 (Fairness) of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[41]  Having upheld the complaint under the accuracy and fairness standards, the Authority may make orders under sections 13 and 16 of the Broadcasting Act 1989. We invited submissions on orders from the parties. The parties submitted on both the provisional decision, and appropriate orders. We address each in turn.

Submissions on Provisional Decision

[42]  The complainants accepted the Authority’s provisional decision, but recommended some changes ‘for accuracy’, as well as clarifying the complainants in this proceeding. We have considered each recommended change, and incorporated changes where appropriate. We did not consider the changes affected material findings, or our overall determination.

[43]  TVNZ accepted the Authority’s decision upholding the complaint, but provided new evidence when given the opportunity to ‘correct errors’ in the Provisional Decision. It explained its late introduction of this evidence by reference to the ‘breadth of the issues raised in the complaint’ which meant ‘it was not clear to [TVNZ] that this would be the information which would require particular focus for the Authority before now.’

[44]  TVNZ’s submissions, related to:

a)  the stop work period from October 2014 to February 2017
b)  expected completion dates
c)  potential delays in arranging consent
d)  delays at start of project and Thompsons’ alterations
e)  responsibility for the $1,248 Council invoice
f)  purpose of the deposit
g)  ownership of neighbouring property.

[45]  The complainants objected to the consideration of any new evidence this late in the process. The invitation for submissions on the provisional decision was expressly for the purposes of correcting inaccuracies and making submissions on appropriate orders. They also noted the evidence has little probative value (as it was likely gained from the Thompsons after the broadcast; it had no bearing on the broadcast itself).

[46]  In considering whether to admit TVNZ’s evidence, we have considered the spirit of section 10 of the Broadcasting Act 1989 which encourages us to consider complaints with limited formality.25

[47]  We accept some of TVNZ’s evidence is relevant to our determination, and therefore admit it on that basis. In doing so, we note:

  • We do not agree with TVNZ’s suggestion it was unclear the evidence would be relevant (as it addressed the key issue of responsibility for delay).
  • The complainants were provided a fair opportunity to respond to the new evidence (in line with principles of natural justice).
  • With regards to the complainants’ suggestion of the evidence’s low probative value, we consider this issue is best dealt with when weighing the impact of the evidence.
  • We also refer TVNZ to the High Court’s decision in Wicks where Robinson J questioned why evidence introduced on appeal was not provided during the complaints process.26 We expect relevant evidence to be provided as soon as practicable to allow for a proper consideration of complaints at first instance.

[48]  Having accepted the evidence, we address each of TVNZ’s submissions in turn, along with the complainants’ response where relevant. We note we do not consider the evidence changes any material findings, or our overall determination:

(a) The stop work period from October 2014 to February 2017

[49]  TVNZ provided evidence to suggest some work, namely piling, progressed despite the stop work period.

[50]  We accept this evidence and have adjusted relevant references to the stop work notice accordingly.

(b) Expected completion dates

[51]  TVNZ provided evidence to the effect that NHD aimed (in May 2016) to complete the property around September 2016. NHD then backtracked from this target, in August 2016, stating:

I did speak to Glennis of course and mentioned that [neighbouring plans and consents] should not cause any major delays. She mentioned about the purchases you had bought but I didn't say it would be completed by then as no one can guarantee anything as it's all up to council not me. I can assure you we are doing everything we can to fast track it.

[52]  We do not consider this set of correspondence assists in our determination. The changing of estimated timelines does not establish responsibility for any delay.

[53]  Further, we note this was not an issue focused on, either in the broadcast or prior submissions, and consider TVNZ should have raised this issue earlier in the process if it sought to rely on this perspective.

(c) Potential delays in arranging consent

[54]  With regards to the suggestion NHD prioritised building a neighbouring house (owned by NHD) over the Thompsons’ house, TVNZ provided email correspondence to the following effect:

  • NHD submitted consents for its property (the neighbouring property).
  • The Council insisted on a geotechnical engineer report on the ground conditions once holes were drilled (and no consent could be granted). Appropriate geotechnical designs for the property became the basis of a dispute with the Council.
  • Similar issues were likely to arise with the Thompsons’ property given similarities in design and ground conditions, although Morrison was unsure ‘to what extent’ this dispute affected the project.
  • Morrison proposed waiting until the dispute with the neighbouring property was resolved as it would set a precedent for the Thompsons’ property.
  • Morrison also noted the reason why they weren’t making a claim for both properties at the same time was because NHD had a much better chance of claiming a higher amount of compensation for the Thompsons if the settlements were handled consecutively.

[55]  With regard to this evidence:

  • We repeat our earlier qualification it is not the Authority’s role to definitively quantify NHD’s contribution to any delay.
  • We also note this new evidence does not undermine our overall findings viewers were (i) likely to regard NHD as primarily responsible for delays within the referenced 7-year period, and (ii) not offered the information necessary to understand the potential impact of other contributors.
  • There is no evidence before the Authority the delay would have been shortened had Morrison addressed the issues for both properties simultaneously. Morrison adamantly opposed any suggestion this was the case.
  • It was still some time before a consent (even for the neighbouring property) was issued, suggesting the dispute lasted for some time.
  • It is solely evidence of a strategy to initially focus on the neighbouring property.

[56]  Morrison explained his perspective on prioritising the neighbouring property as:

  • The relevant subdivision suffered from poor ground conditions, requiring long-driven piles to compensate for the low soil bearing capacity of the top ~6m of ground.
  • The consent applications, including a site-specific geotechnical report, were ready for the neighbouring property before the Thompsons’ property. This was because alterations to plans and consents occurred for the Thompsons’ property in the beginning, when signing the contract.
  • Due to property failures in the locality (of buildings not built by NHD) caused by not knowing the proper geotechnical conditions, he states the Council was wary of approving consents in the relevant subdivision. This complicated the stop-work period and contributed to the lengthy delay.
  • The Thompsons’ property did not have a specific geotechnical report at the time. As it was within the subdivision, and likely affected by the same ground conditions, the Council couldn’t deal with the property until the relevant reports were acquired.
  • Due to the similarity of issues, and the lack of supporting reports for the Thompsons’ property, Council issues were dealt with on the basis of the neighbouring property.

[57]  In light of the above explanation, we note there are a number of factors at play and differing perspectives regarding the merits and impact of focusing initially on Council consents/claims for the neighbouring property. Again, we do not consider this evidence detracts from our overall findings.

(d) Delays at start of project and Thompsons’ alterations

[58]  TVNZ submitted that delays at the start of the project (equating approximately 18 months) should be considered in the Authority’s decision. In support of this period, TVNZ submitted correspondence where NHD acknowledged delays due to its subcontractors, and stated, ‘For this I offer my apologies as ultimately it is my responsibility for any sub trade or consultancy works.’

[59]  It also submitted NHD’s perspective on delays caused by Thompsons’ alterations ‘is not consistent with what occurred’. Major changes occurred in August 2013, and ‘the only other changes known to Fair Go’ were listed in an email between the Thompsons and Morrison in 2018. Some of these changes were due to regulatory compliance rather than the Thompsons.

[60]  Morrison submitted initial delays were due to an alteration of designs (and therefore consents) when the Thompsons initially signed the contract. In other words, the plans on which the contract was signed were different to the plans the Thompsons wanted, requiring various consultancy works before construction could begin. These had consequential changes to ensure building compliance (such as with height∶boundary issues). While accepting some changes were due to Code compliance, others that occurred late in the process, such as to the kitchen, required changes in consents or other, pre-planned, aspects (such as electrical plans when the kitchen changed to including an island).

[61]  We do not consider either submission detracts from our overall findings. Our finding regarding alterations-related delay was that NHD had a different perspective which was not reflected in the broadcast. This remains true.

(e) Responsibility for the $1,248 Council invoice

[62]  TVNZ took issue with our finding regarding ‘NHD’s responsibility for outstanding Council invoices’. It submitted the broadcast clearly allocated proportional responsibility of the invoices and included Morrison’s statement he would ‘pay the old debts.’ The reporter then noted ‘that the remaining $1,248 was the bill they thought they owed all along.’

[63]  We do not consider this submission requires any change to our decision. We note the broadcast was ambiguous as to whether the final $1,248 invoice formed a portion of the original $4,075 invoice. We also note a portion of the original invoice was disputed; NHD did not pay for the whole of the remainder given existing disputes.

(f) Purpose of the deposit

[64]  TVNZ reiterated its earlier submission the deposit was intended to cover consenting fees. This is because at the point the deposit was due, the costs being incurred were for design and consent works (leading to the ‘reasonable understanding that, whilst the funds were classified as a deposit, NHD was undertaking the design and consent works and this is what the $40,000 was being spent on’). Therefore, it was the owners’ understanding that ‘NHD had received monies intended to cover the $4,075 payment.’)

[65]  We do not agree with this submission. Contractually, the $40,000 paid to NHD was a deposit, not a payment for designs or consents. The owner’s ‘understanding’ does not make the statements broadcast any less misleading.

(g) Ownership of neighbouring property

[66]  TVNZ submitted the origin of this inaccuracy (through a phone call with Morrison) should be included in the decision. TVNZ’s perspective on this point is already included at paragraph [14], above. We do not consider any further changes are required. In any event, Mr Morrison has submitted that while he may have ‘at the very start’ indicated the property was his, he ‘quickly emphasised that it belonged to…NHD’.

Submissions on Orders

The complainants’ submissions on orders

[67]  The complainants submitted the most suitable orders would be:

  • Broadcast statement: containing an apology to the complainants; retractions of content in the broadcast and appropriate corrections. Morrison emphasised he would like the statement to be drafted with his input.
  • Publication on website: of an apology and appropriate corrections. This is to replace the original online article (which remains live).
  • Costs: costs are sought totalling approximately $38,780.70, including $4,922 of legal costs, approximately $29,356 (plus GST) of personal time and $98.70 paid to obtain a council property file.
  • Disclosure of evidence: to disclose audio tapes of conversations between Fair Go and Morrison.
  • Undertaking: TVNZ provide an undertaking it does not mention the complainants’ names in the future.

[68]  The complainants considered the above orders were appropriate as:

  • They have suffered serious harm as a result of the broadcast:
    (a)  Morrison stated he has ‘been in business for over 30 years and I am nearing retirement. I do not have my working life in front of me to recover from these damages and my reputation personally and professionally has been ruined’.
    (b)  Morrison is no longer requested to provide certain consultancy services (something he had consistently been requested to do before the broadcast).
    (c)   The complainants incurred legal costs amounting to $4,922, and expended significant time progressing the complaint. By Morrison’s estimation, at his ordinary hourly rate, he considers the cost of his work would amount to $29,356 + GST. $98.70 was also paid to obtain a council property file.
    (d)  Other clients have repudiated their contracts with NHD, referring to the broadcast. NHD was required to initiate court proceedings to recover unpaid amounts from these clients (incurring additional costs in doing so).
  • This ‘case is extreme in its damages and complexity due to the significant items of misinformation produced on the TV show.’

TVNZ’s submissions on orders

[69]  TVNZ submitted the publication of the decision, along with the following actions, would be sufficient penalty:

  • A correction to the article on TVNZ’s website, including a note that corrections were made linking to this decision on the Authority’s website.
  • Removal of the broadcast story from the online article and social media platforms.

Our determination on orders

[70]  When the Authority upholds a complaint, we may make orders (such as directing the broadcaster to broadcast and/or publish a statement, and/or pay costs to the Crown). Alternatively, we may determine that the publication of our decision is sufficient to sanction the conduct of the broadcaster and to provide guidance to the broadcaster which is the subject of the complaint, and other broadcasters more generally.

[71]  In determining whether orders are warranted, the factors we take into consideration are:27  

  • the seriousness of the breach, and the number of upheld aspects of the complaint
  • the degree of harm caused to any individual, or to the audience generally
  • the objectives of the upheld standards
  • the attitude and actions of the broadcaster in relation to the complaint (eg, whether the broadcaster upheld the complaint and/or took mitigating steps, or whether the broadcaster disputed the standards breach and/or aggravated any harm caused)
  • whether the decision will sufficiently remedy the breach and give guidance to broadcasters, or whether something more is needed to achieve a meaningful remedy or to send a signal to broadcasters
  • past decisions and/or orders in similar cases.

[72]  The following aggravating and mitigating factors are relevant in this case:

Aggravating factors:

  • The conduct is at the medium-serious end of the spectrum due to the significant reputational harm caused by the broadcast and TVNZ’s ability to ensure accuracy (particularly as the broadcast was pre-recorded).
  • Fair Go is advertised as a programme standing up ‘for the underdogs and consumer rights’.28 There is a strong public perception of Fair Go protecting individuals’ rights and its production team should be well aware of what is required to ensure individuals featured on the programme are treated fairly.29
  • Two standards were breached, with multiple findings of inaccuracies and instances of unfairness.
  • TVNZ did not uphold the complaint initially and did not adequately engage with the complaints process until the provisional decision was issued (at which time it introduced new evidence). Prior to the provisional decision, their submissions in large part simply referred back to their initial decision rather than engaging with the key issues raised.
  • The Authority has previously upheld complaints regarding Fair Go.30

Mitigating factors:

  • The Authority has not upheld several complaints made regarding Fair Go.31
  • The facts were complicated and the complainants supplied many different arguments and hundreds of pages of submissions, much of which was unhelpful.
  • Fair Go did make some effort to address the complainants’ perspective and contacted Morrison to discuss this on multiple occasions by both phone and email.

[73]  In light of the above factors, and the parties’ submissions, we do not consider publication of the decision sufficient to remedy the harm caused. This is primarily due to the reputational harm suffered by the complainants.

[74]  In determining appropriate orders, we acknowledge and endorse (with one amendment) the remedies proposed by TVNZ outlined above (some of which are not orders the Authority otherwise has the power to make). These go some way to addressing the breaches and mitigating further harm caused by the broadcast remaining live.

[75]  On the understanding TVNZ will take the above actions, we consider the following additional orders are appropriate:

  • consultation with the Authority regarding the statement to be published on TVNZ’s online article (being the one amendment noted above)
  • a broadcast statement
  • costs to compensate for legal costs incurred
  • costs to the Crown.

[76]  We address each in turn.

Broadcaster publications – section 13(1)(a)

[77]  Considering first the complainants’ request for a broadcast statement, we note such orders are typically made where we consider publication of the decision is insufficient to publicly denounce the breach of broadcasting standards, censure the broadcaster, or rectify the harm caused.

[78]  We consider a broadcast statement is an appropriate remedy for the harm caused in this case as:

  • The significant reputational harm suffered by the complainants is at the core of their submissions, exacerbated as the online broadcast remains live.
  • The complainants have expressly requested such a statement to be made.
  • A broadcast statement will publicly acknowledge the breach and correct the inaccuracy for viewers. It will also mitigate some of the reputational damage caused to the complainants.

[79]  Consistent with the Authority’s usual practice, the broadcaster will draft a statement summarising the upheld aspects of our decision, for approval by the Authority. The statement should be broadcast at a similar time, and on the same day of the week, as the original broadcast, in order to reach a similar audience. We do not consider there are any reasons justifying a departure from this practice and inviting the complainants’ input to the statement.

[80]  We acknowledge TVNZ will remove the broadcast from its online article, include a note outlining that corrections have been made and include a link to this decision. Given the ongoing harm caused by the broadcast remaining online, we consider that appropriate. We also consider it appropriate TVNZ seek the Authority’s agreement to the wording of the correction note before publication and that the note remain online for as long as the item remains online.

[81]  We also acknowledge the complainants’ submission an apology is appropriate in this case. However, we do not have the power to order an apology.32

[82]  Following publication of the decision, the complainants are free to publicise the decision elsewhere, for example on social media, if they wish.

Legal costs – section 16(1)

[83]   Costs awards are generally granted to compensate, in part, a successful complainant for legal costs which have been incurred.33 In all but the most exceptional cases, the most that is likely to be recoverable in an award of costs is a contribution to the costs actually incurred.34

[84]  The factors to be taken into account in assessing whether costs are appropriate, and in what amount, include:35

  • the complexity of the issues raised
  • the number of issues raised
  • the complexity of the factual background
  • the number of substantive submissions that needed to be made
  • whether the proceeding required resolution of any interlocutory or procedural issues
  • the need for the complainant to have incurred costs to the extent that costs were incurred or at all
  • the amount of costs incurred
  • the nature and importance of the complaint to the complainant
  • the public interest in the complaint.

[85]  The complainants have provided us with invoices totalling $4,992 including GST.

[86]  We consider the complainants should be entitled to recover a portion of their costs incurred in making this complaint. In determining the appropriate portion, we have taken into account the following factors:

  • The complaint was of particular importance to the complainants in terms of preserving and rebuilding their reputation and dignity. It was therefore reasonable to seek legal advice and assistance with the complaint.
  • The factual background was complex.
  • The issues were of a moderate complexity.
  • Although counsel was only engaged at the formal complaint stage, counsel’s initial submission was useful to the determination of the complaint.
  • The complainants incurred significant time and personal expense in progressing this complaint. However, the complainants also contributed to the complexity with lengthy and repetitive submissions throughout the process introducing considerable detail which was peripheral to the core issues. Only a handful of these submissions were upheld.

[87]  In other complaints where the complainant’s reputation was adversely affected by the broadcast, we have awarded legal costs of approximately 30–33% of actual legal costs incurred.36

[88]  We acknowledge Morrison’s request for compensation of his time spent in progressing this complaint. Traditionally, as outlined by the Supreme Court, litigants in person are not entitled to recover costs.37 In the context of complaints under the Broadcasting Act, we have to date adopted this approach and see no reason to deviate from it at this time.

[89]  Taking all of the above factors into account, we consider that an order of costs in the amount of $2,000 is appropriate, being approximately 40% of the total legal costs incurred. We will also make an award for the expense incurred by the complainants of obtaining the property file from Council of $98.70.

Costs to the Crown – section 16(4)

[90]  Costs to the Crown (up to $5,000) are usually ordered where a broadcaster’s conduct resulting in a breach of standards is at the medium-to-serious end of the spectrum, and the Authority determines a punitive response is required.

[91]  We recently made costs orders in the amount of $500 for a breach of the accuracy standard.38 We have also made an order of $1,000 in a case where inaccuracies affected the complainants’ reputation.39 In that case, the broadcaster was reasonably capable of addressing the complainants’ concerns in follow up broadcasts, but appeared to be dismissive of the complainants’ concerns and did not acknowledge the issues initially raised.

[92]  In light of the factors identified above, and particularly Fair Go’s format as a consumer protection programme, whose programmes have potentially serious impacts on the individuals and businesses featured, we consider costs are warranted in this instance.

[93]  In our view, having balanced the factors outlined above, the conduct and seriousness of the breach justify an award of costs to the Crown in this instance. We consider a punitive response is required to hold the broadcaster to account, deter future non-compliance and confirm our expectations, especially given the importance of ensuring accuracy and fairness in a programme such as Fair Go which has significant influence over the public opinion of individuals and businesses in New Zealand.

[94]  We consider a costs order in the amount of $1,000 is appropriate, in line with previous decisions.40

Orders

1.  Under section 13(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989, the Authority orders Television New Zealand Limited to:

  • broadcast a statement. The statement shall:
    • be broadcast during Fair Go
    • be broadcast at a similar time, and on the same day of the week, as the original broadcast
    • contain a comprehensive summary of the upheld aspects of the Authority’s decision
    • be broadcast within one month of the date of this decision
    • be approved by the Authority prior to being broadcast.
  • publish a statement online. The statement shall:
    • note the Authority upheld a complaint that the item breached the accuracy and fairness standards
    • provide a link to where the full decision can be found online
      remain displayed online for as long as the article remains available
    • be published within one month of the date of this decision
    • be approved by the Authority prior to publication.

The Authority draws the broadcaster’s attention to the requirement in section 13(3)(b) of the Act for the broadcaster to give notice to the Authority and the complainant of the manner in which the above orders have been complied with.

2.  Under section 16(1) of the Act, the Authority orders Television New Zealand Limited to pay to the complainants legal costs in the amount of $2,000 and disbursements of $98.70 within one month of the date of this decision.

3.  Under section 16(4) of the Act, the Authority orders Television New Zealand Limited to pay to the Crown costs in the amount of $1,000 within one month of the date of this decision. 

The orders for costs are enforceable in the District Court | Te Kōti-ā-Rohe.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Susie Staley
Chair
31 August 2022

 

 

Appendix

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

1  Matt Taylor’s formal complaint to TVNZ on behalf of Michael Morrison and NHD – 15 October 2021

2  TVNZ's initial decision – 16 November 2021

3  Morrison's referral to the Authority – 9 December 2021

4  Morrison confirming standards raised and further comments – 10 December 2021

5  Morrison's further comments on decision – 22 December 2021

6  TVNZ's comments on referral – 24 February 2022

7  Morrison’s response to TVNZ comments – 11 March 2022

8  Morrison’s complaint regarding time taken for TVNZ response – 14 March 2022

9  Morrison providing payment dispute email and contract to BSA – 17 March 2022

10  File note of BSA call with Morrison regarding specific questions – 17 March 2022

11  TVNZ’s comments on Morrison's response – 21 March 2022

12  TVNZ providing further comments from reporter in response to Morrison – 31 March 2022

13  Morrison’s response to TVNZ comments from reporter – 4 April 2022

14  Morrison providing further comments regarding debt collection – 15 April 2022

15  TVNZ providing comments regarding debt collection – 9 May 2022

16  Morrison submissions on orders, changes to provisional decision and legal expenses – 8 June 2022

17  Morrison further submissions on orders and supporting information – 9 June 2022

18  Morrison providing Court orders and further supporting information – 10 June 2022

19  Morrison  further submissions on reputational damage and note TVNZ article remains online – 12 and 14 June 2022

20  TVNZ submissions on provisional decision and orders, with supporting evidence – 13 June 2022

21  Morrison submissions on consequential damage and request for further evidence, and file note of call with Morrison – 15 June 2022

22  Morrison response and objection to TVNZ’s evidence, request for further evidence – 22, 27 and 28 June 2022

23  Morrison’s submission on importance of audio recordings – 30 June 2022

24  File note of call with Morrison regarding TVNZ submissions – 30 June 2022

25  Morrison responses to TVNZ’s submissions, with supporting evidence from Council files – 6 and 7 July 2022

26  Morrison providing a further contractual argument – 21 July 2022

27  TVNZ response to Morrison submissions – 3 August 2022

28  Morrison final comments – 10 August 2022


1 Standard 9, Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice
2 Attorney-General of Samoa v TVWorks Ltd [2012] NZHC 131, [2012] NZAR 407 at [98]
3 Standard 11, Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice
4 Commentary: Fairness, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 21
5 Standard 8, Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice
6 Commentary: Balance, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 18
7 Standard 10, Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice
8 Commentary: Privacy, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 21
9 See, for example, EJ, Oughton & Gulf Harbour Healthcare Ltd and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2019-035 at [21]; and Atkins and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2016-056 at [5]
10 Commentary: Accuracy, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 18
11 Guideline 9b
12 Guideline 9a
13 Guidance: Accuracy – Distinguishing Fact and Analysis, Comment or Opinion, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 64
14 Companies Register “New Homes Direct Limited (855125) Registered” (1 June 2021) New Zealand Companies Office <app.companiesoffice.govt.nz>
15 Guideline 9d
16 Guideline 11a
17 Guideline 11d
18 See Hutchison and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2013-002 at [51]; Radisich and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2016-052 at [29]; and Real Nappies Ltd and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2020-148 at [25]
19 Guideline 11f
20 Guideline 10b
21 Guideline 10d
22 Guideline 8a
23 Commentary: Balance, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 18
24 As above
25 Broadcasting Act 1989, s 10(b)
26 Television New Zealand Ltd v Wicks [2022] NZHC 597 at [63]
27 Guide to the BSA Complaints Process for Television and Radio Programmes, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 60
28 TVNZ “Fair Go” <tvnz.co.nz>
29 Hilless and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2020-028 at [60]
30 See for example Hilless and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2020-028; Ferrabee and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2016-090
31 See for example Keen and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2022-002; Edgewell Personal Care and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2021-077; Real Nappies Ltd and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2020-148
32 See South Waikato District Council and Mediaworks TV Ltd, Decision No. 2018-022 at [37]
33 Guidance: Costs awards to complainants, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 66
34 As above
35 As above, page 67
36 See HV and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2020-057 at [51]–[52]; Prager and Radio New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2020-033 at [57]–[58]; and Harvey and Lorck and Mediaworks TV Ltd, Decision No. 2018-036 at [65]–[66];
37 McGuire v Secretary for Justice [2018] NZSC 116 at [55]–[61] and [88].
38 See Clark & Sallee and Apna Television Ltd, Decision No. 2021-081; and Naughton and Mainland Television Limited & Daystar Television, Decision No. 2021-103
39 Harvey and Lorck and Mediaworks TV Ltd, Decision No. 2018-036
40 As above