A segment on Seven Sharp reported on an electric tugboat named ‘Sparky’ going to meet the first cruise ship to come to Auckland following the COVID-19 pandemic. Sparky was described as ‘the world’s first fully electric ship-handling tug,’ which the complainant alleged was inaccurate. While the Authority acknowledged that this detail was likely technically inaccurate, in the context of a human interest piece focused on Sparky’s mechanical features, it found this was unlikely to significantly affect viewers’ understanding of the item as a whole.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a segment on Newshub Live at 6pm breached the offensive and disturbing content, discrimination and denigration, and fairness standards. The segment referred to two recent kidnapping attempts, and asked for witnesses to come forward to help identify the alleged perpetrator. During the segment, a video was shown of the alleged perpetrator, who was described as ‘possibly Indian’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under any of the nominated standards, finding the broadcast was a straightforward news item; the language used was not offensive or disturbing; did not contain malice or nastiness; and was unlikely to encourage discrimination against, or denigration of a section of the community. The fairness standard did not apply.
Not Upheld: Offensive and Disturbing Content, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness
An item on Newshub Live at 6pm reported on artist Tāme Iti correcting the spelling of his name on an artwork by Dean Proudfoot. After the item aired, the host commented ‘fair enough.’ The complainant considered this comment breached the promotion of illegal or antisocial behaviour standard by justifying Iti’s actions, thereby encouraging illegal behaviour (alleged vandalism). The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding the brief, off the cuff comment was unlikely to encourage illegal or antisocial behaviour.
Not Upheld: Promotion of Illegal or Antisocial Behaviour
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a broadcast of Artefact was unbalanced. The complainant alleged the programme’s description of events in the New Zealand Wars did not include the historical perspectives of settlers and the government. However, the Authority held that while the reasons for and nature of the New Zealand Wars (and associated events) are of public importance, these issues are not ‘controversial’ in the manner contemplated under the balance standard.
Not Upheld: Balance
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview with a delegate of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation. The complainant alleged that the interview was unfair, unbalanced and inaccurate as the host was rude, offensive, underprepared and did not allow her to read from a prepared statement. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the fairness standard as, among other reasons, the interviewee was a delegate from a large union, who can be expected to handle robust questioning. The other standards raised either did not apply or were not breached.
Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Fairness
The Authority has not upheld complaints under the accuracy, balance and fairness standards from several complainants about a broadcast of AM on 1 September 2022. The morning news broadcast contained two segments about a recent ‘backtrack’ by the Government on a proposal to apply GST to management services supplied to managed funds (including KiwiSaver). During the first segment, this was described as ‘a tax on your retirement savings’. In the second segment, the specifics of the proposed tax were clarified: ‘technically it wasn't a tax on KiwiSaver funds, it was a tax on the fees applied to KiwiSaver funds’. The Authority found the alleged inaccuracy in the first segment was immaterial to the audience’s understanding of the broadcast as a whole, and mitigated by the second segment where a more detailed description of the proposal was provided. The Authority also found the broadcaster sufficiently presented significant viewpoints in the circumstances. The fairness standard did not apply.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness
The Authority did not uphold a complaint that two items on Newshub Live at 6pm breached the offensive and disturbing content, and children’s interests standards. The programme included interviewees using the terms ‘shit’ and ‘holy shit’. Considering relevant contextual factors, the BSA’s guidelines on low-level language, and the expectation children are supervised when watching the news, the Authority found the relevant language was not at a level meriting regulatory intervention.
Not Upheld: Offensive and Disturbing Content, and Children’s Interests
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a segment on The Morning Rumble featuring ‘songs that I can guarantee won’t be played’ at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral breached the offensive and disturbing content standard. One of the songs was ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ by Queen, which the complainant considered was in bad taste. The Authority found the segment was within audience expectations of the radio station and the programme, and sufficiently signposted to allow listeners an opportunity to exercise choice and control. Therefore it was unlikely to cause widespread disproportionate offence or distress or otherwise undermine widely shared community standards.
Not Upheld: Offensive and Disturbing Content
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on Breakfast stating ‘20 million tonnes of plastic waste’ was being exported each year breached the accuracy standard. The figure was accepted as inaccurate (with an estimate of 35,000 tonnes more likely). However, in the context of an item focussed on a petition to address the harm caused to other countries as a result of New Zealand’s large-scale plastic waste exports, the Authority found it was unlikely to significantly affect viewers’ understanding of the item as a whole.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
A segment on Sunday contained a story about two women suffering debilitating symptoms of menopause, and included a brief discussion with a doctor about the use of Hormone Replacement Therapy as a treatment option. The complainant alleged the broadcast breached the accuracy and balance standards as it inaccurately described HRT as ‘safe’, promoted HRT’s benefits for other health issues, contained a statement that a 20-year-old study linking breast cancer to HRT had been discredited as flawed, and failed to provide countering views on HRT’s safety and on the validity of the study. The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding it was reasonable for TVNZ to rely on Dr Teagle as an authoritative source, the segment was materially accurate, the story was clearly told from a particular perspective, and the alleged harm did not outweigh the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance