BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Vernall and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-021 (22 June 2021)

  • Judge Bill Hastings (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Paula Rose QSO
  • Susie Staley MNZM
  • Andrea Vernall
Bree and Clint


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

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the title of a segment ‘tradie versus lady’ on ZM’s Bree and Clint. While the Authority agreed with the complainant the title may be sexist and outdated, it did not encourage discrimination and denigration in breach of the standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

The broadcast

[1]  ZM’s Bree and Clint, broadcast at 3.00pm on ZM, features a trivia quiz segment called ‘tradie versus lady’ daily. The introduction to the segment on 3 March 2021 follows:

Clint:                We’re going to start the show with tradie verse lady

Recording:         Bree and Clint’s tradie versus lady

Bree:               Alright, tradie versus lady. We need two people to play 0800 dial ZM. 50 bucks on the line. If you know your trivia. This is the game for you.

Clint:                We'll play it after Ariana Grande and Positions. We need a guy and a girl to call us right now. Bree and Clint live from Caroline Bay…

The complaint

[2]  Andrea Vernall complained the broadcast breached the discrimination and denigration standard for the following reasons:

  • The name of the segment ‘tradie versus lady…clearly signals the “tradie” is a guy.’
  • The name of the segment reflects ‘outdated sexist views on occupations’.
  • ‘…to me tradie versus lady implies the lady is not a tradie, which I believe is offensive and of harm to females already unrepresented in trades. Why not call it tradie versus non-tradie, or tradie versus man?’
  • ‘I realise that a lady can call in as a tradie, but that does nothing to fix the implication that the lady is not a tradie.’

The broadcaster’s response

[3]  NZME did not uphold Ms Vernall’s complaint for the following reasons:

  • ‘The game’s name does not necessarily carry the implication that tradies cannot be ladies.’
  • ‘In any event, the content of the broadcast does not carry the malice or invective required to constitute a breach.’
  • ‘There have been at least 5 occasions in this segment this year where a woman has been the “tradie”.’

[4]  While we received a recording of part of the segment, the broadcaster had not retained the full segment, and was not able to provide the entire segment when requested. We highlight broadcasters are expected to retain, for at least 35 days, any broadcasts that are the subject of a complaint.1 While the complaint in this case related to the title of the programme, the Authority will generally require the broadcast or segment in its entirety to enable consideration of relevant context.

The standard

[5]  The discrimination and denigration standard2 states broadcasters should not encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, any section of the community on account of sex, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, occupational status or as a consequence of legitimate expression of religion, culture or political belief.

Our analysis

[6]  We have listened to the broadcast and read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

[7]  As a starting point, we considered the right to freedom of expression. As we may only intervene when the limitation on the right to freedom of expression is reasonable and justified, it is important we weigh the right to freedom of expression against any harm potentially caused by the broadcast.3

[8]  The harm alleged relates to the segment title’s potential to reinforce stereotypes in male-dominated occupations.

[9]  The question for us is whether the broadcast had such potential to an extent that the level of harm outweighed the right to freedom of expression. The importance of freedom of expression means that a high level of condemnation, often with an element of malice or nastiness, will be necessary to conclude that a broadcast encouraged discrimination or denigration in contravention of the standard.4

Discrimination and denigration

[10]  ‘Discrimination’ is defined as encouraging the different treatment of the members of a particular group, to their detriment. Denigration is defined as devaluing the reputation of a particular section of the community.5 There are many ways a broadcast can encourage denigration, including by the embedding of a trope or existing negative stereotype.6 Context is an important consideration when assessing whether or not a broadcast encouraged denigration in contravention of the standard.7

[11]  We have considered the following relevant factors:

  • Bree and Clint is a light-hearted, humorous weekday afternoon radio programme which features casual banter with the tagline ‘laugh out louder’.8
  • The title of the segment is not intended as an attack on women.
  • As the broadcaster has submitted, the segment began in January 2021, and, as at March 2021, there had been at least five occasions where a woman has been the ‘tradie’.
  • The particular segment is a humorous segment intended to be fun.9

[12]  We acknowledge the name of this segment will be seen by some as sexist. However, ‘tradie’ is defined as an informal term for tradesman or tradeswoman.10 Having weighed the factors above, we do not consider the broadcast contained the level of harm required to conclude it encouraged discrimination and denigration against women.

For the above reasons the Authority does not uphold the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Judge Bill Hastings


22 June 2021   



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

1  Andrea Vernall original complaint to NZME- 2 March 2021

2  NZME’s response to Ms Vernall – 4 March 2021

3  Ms Vernall’s referral to the Authority – 4 March 2021

4  Ms Vernall’s additional comments – 8 March 2021

5  NZME’s final comments – 23 March 2021

6  Ms Vernall’s further comments – 13 April 2021

7  NZME’s confirmation of when the segment commenced – 12 May 2021

8  NZME on full segment – 13 May 2021

1 See Broadcasters: Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 5 and Yang and NZME Radio Ltd, Decision No. 2020-079 at [13]
2 Standard 6 of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice
3 Commentary: Freedom of Expression, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 6
4 Guideline 6b
5 Guideline 6a
6 Waxman and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2020-042 at [12]
7 Guideline 6d
8 ZM "Bree and Clint” <>
9 Guideline 6c
10 Collins Dictionary “Tradie” <>