Vorwerk and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-158 (31 March 2021)
- Judge Bill Hastings (Chair)
- Leigh Pearson
- Paula Rose QSO
- Susie Staley MNZM
- Sigrid Vorwerk
ProgrammeNewshub Live at 6pm
BroadcasterDiscovery NZ Ltd
[This summary does not form part of the decision.]
The Authority declined to determine a complaint about the use of te reo Māori on Newshub Live at 6pm. Te reo Māori is an official New Zealand language. Its use is a matter of editorial discretion appropriately determined by broadcasters. The Authority declined to determine the complaint because the use of te reo Māori does not raise any issue of broadcasting standards.
Declined to Determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989, in all the circumstances): Balance
 Sigrid Vorwerk complained about the use of te reo Māori during the news, raising the balance standard.
The broadcaster’s response
 MediaWorks provided a bilingual response not upholding the complaint:
Māori is an official New Zealand language and Three is proud to have teamed up with Te Māngai Pāho to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, a nationwide celebration of the Māori language. While Te Wiki o te Reo Māori may have ended, Three is committed to raising awareness of the language and its presenters will continue to broadcast in Māori in a bid to encourage others to use the language. We do not agree that broadcasting in Māori constitutes any breach of standards.
Outcome: Declined to determine
 Section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 authorises the Authority to decline to determine a complaint if it considers, in all the circumstances of the complaint, it should not be determined.
 We decline to determine Ms Vorwerk’s complaint for the same reasons discussed in KS and Television New Zealand (Decision No. 2020-135):
- The purpose of broadcasting standards in New Zealand is to recognise the potential harms broadcasting can cause and guard against them.1
- Te reo Māori is an official language of New Zealand. The Māori Language Act 1987 established the Crown entity Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (The Māori Language Commission), which continues under Te Ture mō te Reo Māori 2016 (Māori Language Act 2016) to promote the use of te reo Māori as a living language and as an ordinary means of communication – as do many other organisations.
- A complaint about the use of te reo Māori does not raise any issue of potential harm as envisaged by the standards.
- The use of te reo Māori is an editorial decision for broadcasters.
 The use of te reo Māori does not raise any issue of broadcasting standards.
For the above reasons the Authority declines to determine the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
Judge Bill Hastings
31 March 2021
The correspondence listed below was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:
1 Sigrid Vorwerk’s formal complaint – 4 October 2020
2 MediaWorks’ response to the complaint – 2 November 2020
3 Ms Vorwerk’s referral to the Authority – 8 November 2020
4 MediaWorks’ confirmation of no further comment – 11 November 2020
1 Introduction, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 3