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Decisions
Cumin and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-068 (13 October 2021)
2021-068

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on The Project examining the history of violence and conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and ‘what’s different this time’. The complainant alleged the maps illustrating the dispossession of Palestinian land were inaccurate, minimised original Jewish land, minimised current Palestinian land, and perpetuated ‘lies that are used to delegitimise the State of Israel’. The Authority acknowledged that Israeli and Palestinian entitlement to land is a highly sensitive and contested issue. It found the maps contained some inaccuracies and the broadcaster had not made sufficient effort to ensure their accuracy. However, any inaccuracies were unlikely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the programme as a whole. In addition, the value in theexpression in the broadcast meant regulatory intervention was not justified in this instance. The Authority reminded broadcasters of the importance of accuracy and consistency when reporting on this issue.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Meridian Energy Ltd and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-085 (13 October 2021)
2021-085

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item covering the Electricity Authority’s new trading rule breached the accuracy and fairness standards. The item was materially accurate, given its focus was the introduction of a new trading rule, motivated in part to address an undesirable trading situation (associated with Meridian Energy’s actions). It was not unfair to Meridian, as the programme was not inaccurate in how it presented Meridian’s contribution to the ‘revamped’ rule.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Parvomai and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-111 (13 October 2021)
2021-111

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint, under the accuracy standard, about an episode of Our Changing World. The Authority considered the complaint, about the use of the word ‘English’ instead of ‘British’ trivial.

Declined to Determine: Accuracy (section 11(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 – trivial)

Decisions
Wills and Discovery NZ Limited - 2021-087 (13 October 2021)
2021-087

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the balance, accuracy and fairness standards. It noted the complainant had not identified any inaccuracies or particular issues of public importance requiring balance. It also found the two interviewees were treated fairly and the interviews represented what it expects of the media in performing its role of scrutinising and holding to account those in power.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Drinnan and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-083 (22 September 2021)
2021-083

The Authority has not upheld a complaint alleging an interview with Waikato University senior lecturer in psychology Dr Jaimie Veale was inaccurate and unbalanced. While the item discussed a controversial issue of public importance, the selection of a transgender woman to the New Zealand Olympic team, it was clearly signalled as coming from a particular perspective. It focused on one aspect of the issue, the potentially stigmatising effect of the debate on trans people, and was part of a range of media coverage on the issue. The Authority also found there was nothing inaccurate or misleading in the way Dr Veale was introduced.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

Decisions
Edgewell Personal Care and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-077 (15 September 2021)
2021-077

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on Fair Go breached the accuracy and fairness standards. The item investigated a mother’s concerns following her son getting severe sunburn despite applying Banana Boat SPF50 sunscreen, and more broadly how sunscreens are tested under New Zealand regulations, and whether the public should be able to rely on claims on sunscreen labels. The Authority found the mother’s comments were clearly her opinion, to which the accuracy standard did not apply, and the programme was not otherwise inaccurate or misleading. The programme did not allege Banana Boat sunscreen does not work, nor that it does not comply with regulatory requirements. The complainant, as the company responsible for Banana Boat, was given a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment in response to issues raised in the story and its response was fairly presented.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Spring and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-072 (6 September 2021)
2021-072

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint regarding a news item which included a quote from Liz Cheney calling Donald Trump’s claims that he had won the 2020 US Election ‘dangerous lies’. The complainant was concerned about RNZ referring to some politicians as liars but not others. The Authority found the content of the complaint did not relate to the substance of the broadcast, and was not capable of being properly determined by a complaints procedure.

Declined to Determine: Programme Information, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989)

Decisions
Grammer and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-070 (24 August 2021)
2021-070

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the accuracy and balance standards about an item discussing the impact of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (the HSNO Act) on medical research, particularly in the context of COVID-19 vaccines. The item contained opinions from three scientists, which were not subject to the factual accuracy requirement and were presented accurately. The item was not required to include detail about how the HSNO Act regulated outdoor use of genetic modification compared to medical or laboratory use, as this was not material to the broadcast. The item also contained differing views, so balance was achieved within the programme.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance

Decisions
Media Matters in NZ and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-043 (11 August 2021)
2021-043

In an item about road rage on Seven Sharp, the presenters were discussing slow drivers when Jeremy Wells made the comments ‘grandpa’ and ‘always a grandpa’. Media Matters in NZ complained the comment breached the discrimination and denigration and accuracy standards. The Authority declined to determine the complaint on the basis it was trivial or frivolous.

Declined to determine: Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy

Decisions
United Fire Brigades’ Association and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-038 (11 August 2021)
2021-038

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about an item on Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan that featured interviews with National Secretary of the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union, Wattie Watson, and previous board member of the United Fire Brigades' Association (UFBA), Judith Stanley, about the handling of complaints by UFBA, and an investigation into its chief executive, Bill Butzbach, citing allegations made against him, and the board’s chair, Richie Smith. The complaint was that the item breached the balance, accuracy, privacy and fairness standards on the basis it gave undue prominence to the ‘ill-informed’ views of those with a vested interest in discrediting the UFBA, and did not present the views of the UFBA and facts provided by it until the very end. The Authority found the item achieved balance and fairness by giving the UFBA a reasonable opportunity to respond, and including its statement. The Authority also found the item was not materially inaccurate, and did not disclose facts to which a reasonable expectation of privacy attached.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Privacy, Fairness

Decisions
Donald and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-033 (2 August 2021)
2021-033

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Seven Sharp in which Hilary Barry made comments about the safety of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine and about ‘anti-vaxxers’, including suggesting those who do not want to be vaccinated could ‘jump on a ferry and go to the Auckland Islands for a few years, and then when we’ve got rid of COVID-19…come back’. The complaint alleged these comments breached the good taste and decency, discrimination and denigration, balance, accuracy and fairness standards, by suggesting the safety of the vaccine was almost without question, and denigrating those with a different view. The Authority found Ms Barry’s comments were unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress or undermine widely shared community standards. It found the broadcast did not address a controversial issue so the balance standard did not apply. The fairness, discrimination and denigration and accuracy standards also did not apply or were not breached.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Balance, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy

Decisions
Hector & Casey and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-052 (2 August 2021)
2021-052

Two complaints about a report on ‘explosive scenes at Parliament’ including a comment from Willow Jean Prime MP that statements from the National Party ‘really sound[ed] like “she asked for it, her skirt was too short. She was drunk”’ were not upheld. The Authority found the omission of Ms Prime’s subsequent withdrawal of the statement was not material to the story, and her specific comment was opinion to which the accuracy standard does not apply. The balance standard did not apply as the statement did not concern a controversial issue of public importance, and there was no unfairness to the National Party.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness, Balance

Decisions
Right to Life New Zealand and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-054 (2 August 2021)
2021-054

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about coverage on The AM Show of proposed changes to safe zones around abortion clinics. The statements alleged to be inaccurate were comment, opinion or analysis, to which the accuracy standard does not apply. The balance standard did not apply as the separate news bulletins did not amount to a discussion; and in any event, differing perspectives from Abortion Rights Aotearoa and Voice for Life NZ were included. The fairness standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Climie and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-017 (21 July 2021)
2021-017

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News that reported a third marine heatwave in four years in Auckland and Northland. It described the causes of the heatwave in terms of subtropical winds and global warming, and its consequences in terms of sea level rises and ocean acidification, and included comments from local experts. The complaint was that the broadcast misled viewers to believe the higher ocean temperatures in Northland and Auckland were due principally to climate change and the warming effects were global (when actually the heatwave was driven by a natural climate event, occurring locally). The Authority found the broadcaster made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy, including reliance on authoritative experts, and the broadcast was unlikely to mislead viewers.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Kane and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-031 (21 July 2021)
2021-031

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about comments made by Jack Tame during his morning show including the statement ‘Māori don’t just deserve special treatment, but are contractually guaranteed a form of special treatment under the Treaty’. The Authority found, in context, the comment amounted to analysis to which the accuracy standard does not apply. The comment was not the focus of the discussion, and an opinion-based segment such as this is not required to provide alternate perspectives under the balance standard. The remaining standards did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness

Decisions
Collie and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-008 (15 July 2021)
2021-008

During Mike Hosking Breakfast on Newstalk ZB, Mike Yardley (standing in for Mr Hosking) briefly mentioned the flouting of COVID-19 rules by two named Sky News UK journalists and stated: ‘veteran journalist Adam Boulton is also involved in this’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint the broadcast breached the accuracy standard by misleading listeners to believe Mr Boulton was one of those who flouted the rules. The Authority acknowledged that, without further clarification, the broadcast may have created that impression. However in all the circumstances the potential harm in a New Zealand broadcasting context was not at a level justifying regulatory intervention.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-028 (15 July 2021)
2021-028

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News reporting on COVID-19 vaccine rollouts. The Authority found, in the context of the broadcast, the statistics cited in relation to Israel’s vaccine rollout were accurate. A discussion of access to vaccines in Israel by Palestinians was not material to the item and its omission would not have misled viewers. The remaining standards did not apply to the broadcast or issues raised in the complaint.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Gates and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-014 (29 June 2021)
2021-014

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a Midday Report item regarding a boost in Kiwisaver funds breached the accuracy and fairness standards. The complainant argued the item was misleading, for not disclosing that the organisation which produced the relevant survey findings does not survey all Kiwisaver providers, and was unfair to Kiwisaver providers who were not surveyed. The Authority found the item would not have misled listeners and that the fairness standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Hall and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-159 (22 June 2021)
2020-159

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on The Project, which discussed the financing of the Government’s $50 billion COVID-19 rescue and recovery budget. It suggested New Zealanders are borrowing this money from the Central Bank in the form of payment for Government bonds. The complainant argued this was inaccurate because New Zealanders are borrowing the money from private institutions. He also complained the broadcast confused direct monetary financing with quantitative easing by suggesting the Reserve Bank was buying bonds directly from the Government (rather than from private institutions). The Authority found the broadcast was materially accurate overall and unlikely to mislead viewers.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Hapeta and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-172 (22 June 2021)
2020-172

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News in which Darryl Leigh Thomson was described as a co-writer of the song ‘E Tū’. While the Authority agreed it was not accurate to describe Mr Thomson as having co-written the song, it found TVNZ made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

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