The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Fair Go which covered a customer’s experience in purchasing a second-hand vehicle from Universal Imports. The customer did not obtain a pre-purchase report and when the vehicle broke down she attempted to reject the purchase under the Consumer Guarantees Act. A Motor Vehicle Disputes Tribunal ruling found in her favour. After the ruling, she ‘copped abuse, personal insults and name calling’ connected with the Universal Imports issues. The complainant alleged the programme was unfair to Universal Imports and its owner, and was inaccurate in how it presented the situation. The Authority found the business and its owner were given a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment for the programme, and the programme was materially accurate. The complainant’s concerns about the use of aspects of his YouTube videos are not capable of being addressed under the standards.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
An item on Newshub Live at 6pm reported on the results of a poll with the question ‘When Queen Elizabeth II is no longer queen, should New Zealand break away from the Commonwealth and become a republic?’ From this poll, the item reported ‘almost half of us’ want to remain in the monarchy after the Queen dies. The complainant alleged that the question was misleading as it implied that for New Zealand to transition to a republic, it must also leave the Commonwealth, which is not the case. The complainant argued that the item’s reporting on the poll results as representing support for the monarchy, was therefore inaccurate. The Authority found that while the poll question could have been phrased better, the question and how the results were presented were not materially misleading in the context of an item focused on the question of whether New Zealand should become a republic when Queen Elizabeth II is no longer Queen.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
The Authority has not upheld a complaint alleging a Nine to Noon interview discussing the Oversight of Oranga Tamariki System and Children and Young People’s Commission Bill breached the balance and fairness standards. The item included interviews with current and former Children’s Commissioners, who were both generally opposed to the proposed legislation. As the item was clearly signalled as coming from a particular perspective, and the existence of other perspectives was indicated within the broadcast, the Authority found there was no need to include other perspectives within the item itself. In the circumstances it was unlikely listeners would have been left uninformed or unaware there were other perspectives on the issue. The fairness standard did not apply.
Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on RNZ National’s Morning Report on 14 January 2022 breached the discrimination and denigration standard by voicing-over comments made by international students. The complainant alleged this implied that foreign students and immigrants are not easily understood due to their accents, thereby reinforcing xenophobia. The Authority found ‘international students’ and ‘immigrants’ did not constitute relevant sections of the community for the purposes of the standard. In any event, the broadcast would not have reached the threshold required for finding a breach.
Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration
The Authority has not upheld a complaint alleging an item on RNZ National’s 1pm News bulletin lacked balance. The item reported on economist Dr Eric Crampton’s support for the National Party’s policy to retract Labour’s extension to the bright-line test for people selling investment properties. The complainant alleged the item lacked balance as RNZ had interviewed Dr Crampton and another expert earlier in the day on the matter, but only Dr Crampton’s views were re-broadcast as part of the 1pm news update. The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding the item clearly signalled it was focussed on Dr Crampton’s views and did not purport to be an in-depth examination of Labour’s decision to extend the bright-line test. Further, given other wide-ranging coverage on the issue, listeners could reasonably be expected to be aware of other views.
Not Upheld: Balance
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that comments made by the hosts of The Big Show about touching their testicles when they were nervous and a school speech titled ‘The Dilworth Way’ breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The Authority found the comments were within audience expectations for the programme and the radio station, Radio Hauraki. In the context the hosts’ conversation was unlikely to cause widespread offence or adversely affect any children who happened to be listening (although they were not the target audience).
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests
The Authority has declined to determine a complaint under the accuracy standard regarding a broadcaster’s statement that Maria Sharapova won her first ‘grand slam’ at 17 years old. The complaint was that the term ‘grand slam’ consists of winning all four major tennis competitions in a calendar year, a feat which Sharapova has not achieved. The Authority declined to determine the complaint on the basis it was trivial and did not warrant consideration.
Declined to Determine: Accuracy (section 11(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 – trivial)
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a Morning Report item stating ‘Protesters occupying Parliament grounds have been calling for reinforcements…’ breached the law and order standard. The Authority found in the context the item did not actively encourage or promote illegal behaviour. In any event, the public interest in the item meant the right to freedom of expression outweighed any potential harm.
Not Upheld: Law and Order
As part of a news item on ‘main developments overnight’ in the war between Russia and Ukraine, a clip was shown where the presenter stated ‘This is footage we’re seeing from Ukraine, a Russian tank in the capital of Kyiv swerving to drive over the top of a car with someone inside.’ The complainant alleged this was inaccurate, submitting it was actually a Ukrainian anti-aircraft vehicle which lost control and swerved into the vehicle. The Authority found that the exact type of military vehicle involved in the incident was not material to the broadcast and the accuracy standard did not apply to this point. In terms of whether the vehicle was attributable to Russian or Ukrainian forces, and whether the collision was deliberate, given conflicting reports it was unclear whether the broadcast was misleading on these points. However, as the broadcaster made reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of the item by relying on a reputable source, the accuracy standard was not breached.
Not upheld: Accuracy
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a broadcast of The Project breached the accuracy standard. It stated Joe Rogan had taken ‘horse wormer ivermectin as a COVID treatment’. The Authority found the accuracy standard was not breached as the statements were materially accurate and not misleading.
Not Upheld: Accuracy