BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Wallbank and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-015

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Terry Wallbank
ONE News
TV One


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

A ONE News bulletin included an item on politicians' attendance at the Big Gay Out festival. The newsreader said, 'The community makes up to 10 percent of New Zealand's population and MPs were keen to show their support'. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that this statement and in particular the figure of 10 percent was inaccurate and misleading. It was expressed as an approximate figure only. There is no data available showing the exact size of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LBGT) community against which to assess the accuracy of the statement.

Not Upheld: Accuracy


[1]  A ONE News item covered the Big Gay Out event in Auckland. The newsreader introduced the item by saying:

The importance of the gay vote was evident today as a pack of politicians joined thousands at Auckland's Big Gay Out festival. The community makes up to 10 per cent of New Zealand's population and MPs were keen to show their support.

[2]  Terry Wallbank complained that the statement, 'The community makes up to 10 per cent of New Zealand's population' was inaccurate and misleading.

[3]  The issue is whether the broadcast breached the accuracy standard as set out in the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[4]  The item was broadcast on TV ONE on 8 February 2015. The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Was the broadcast inaccurate or misleading?

[5]  The accuracy standard (Standard 5) 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. The objective of this standard is to protect audiences from receiving misinformation and thereby being misled.1

[6]  The complainant argued that there are no statistics to support the quoted figure for the size of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LBGT) community, as Statistics New Zealand has never conducted census questioning of population sizes by sexual orientation. He maintained that the 10 per cent figure was misleading as research estimates the size of the LGBT community to be between 1 and 5 percent of the population.

[7]  TVNZ agreed with the complainant that there is no census data about the population size of the LGBT community in New Zealand. It said this was why the phrase 'up to 10 percent' was used as it covered all the best estimates, ranging from 1 to 10 percent. TVNZ argued that the statement was not materially important to the understanding of the message that politicians attended the Big Gay Out to show their support for the LGBT community.

[8]  In our view, this statement was material to the item, as it lent to the reason politicians wanted to show their support for the LGBT community by attending the Big Gay Out. However the percentage quoted by the newsreader – 'up to 10 percent' – was not presented as precise or exact and this would have been clear to viewers. Both parties have accepted that there are no definitive statistics available indicating the exact population size of the LGBT community in New Zealand. The figure was not so far removed from available estimates that it could be said to be misleading and there is no concrete information available against which to assess its accuracy.

[9]  Accordingly we decline to uphold the complaint that the statement breached Standard 5.

For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Peter Radich
16 June 2015



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

1      Terry Wallbank's formal complaint – 10 February 2015
2      TVNZ's response to the complaint – 9 March 2015
3      Mr Wallbank's referral to the Authority – 13 March 2015
4      TVNZ's response to the Authority – 1 May 2015



1 Bush and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2010-036