BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

O’Halloran and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-063 (15 September 2021)

  • Susie Staley MNZM (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Paula Rose QSO
  • Richard O’Halloran
TV One


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

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint about the joking and flirtatious interactions between two males on a Breakfast programme segment. The Authority considered the complaint related to matters of personal preference and was not an appropriate use of its time and resources.

Declined to Determine: Good Taste and Decency (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989)

The broadcast

[1]  On 22 April 2021, Breakfast broadcast on TVNZ 1 included an instalment of a presenter’s Aussie Adventure, in which he was promoting Australian tourist destinations. The presenter was visited by a male Australian cabaret performer. The two joked and flirted, and at one point the performer suggested the presenter kiss him on the cheek, but moved his face so they kissed on the lips.

The complaint

[2]  Richard O’Halloran alleged the interaction was ‘pornographic’ in breach of the good taste and decency standard:

I think that the interactions of two males, one preening the other, was in bad taste and indecent especially during the school holidays…I do not consider context a defence. It was the school holidays and so I think the broadcaster should have been mindful of that.

The broadcaster’s response

[3]  TVNZ did not uphold the complaint for the following reasons:

  • Breakfast is aimed at an adult audience, and ‘there is an expectation that parents exercise discretion around viewing news and current affairs programmes with their children’.
  • The interview was ‘unlikely to have caused widespread undue offense among the programme’s likely viewers’.
  • The interaction ‘was light-hearted and they enjoyed an obvious rapport’.
  • ‘The interview did not contain sexual material. There was no content resembling “porn”.’
  • ‘The interview was conducted with the men sitting close to each other and at times they touched each other in a friendly and affectionate way. We do not agree that there was anything inappropriate about this or that it was likely to have caused widespread offense to Breakfast viewers.’

Outcome: Declined to determine

[4]  Section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 authorises this Authority to decline to determine a complaint if it considers that, in all the circumstances of the complaint, it should not be determined by the Authority.

[5]  In this case, the Authority considers it appropriate to exercise its s 11(b) discretion on the following grounds:

a)  The complaint relates to the complainant’s preferences regarding the demeanour and personality of the presenter and his guest. Complaints based merely on a complainant’s preferences are not, in general, capable of being resolved by a complaints procedure.1

b)  The arguments raised by Mr O’Halloran do not raise issues of potential harm which require our intervention.2

c)  The Authority does not consider this as raising an issue which requires determination, nor to be an appropriate use of its time and resources.

[6]  Therefore, in all the circumstances of the complaint, it should not be determined by the Authority.

For the above reasons the Authority declines to determine the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Susie Staley
Acting Chair
15 September 2021 



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

1  Richard O’Halloran’s original complaint – 5 May 2021

2  TVNZ’s decision on the complaint – 1 June 2021

3  Mr O’Halloran’s referral – 9 June 2021

4  TVNZ’s confirmation of no further comment – 14 June 2021

1 Broadcasting Act 1989, s 5(c)
2 See Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. ID2018-097