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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

Decisions
O’Brien and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-006 (22 June 2021)
2021-006

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Newshub Live at 6pm, covering the reactions of world leaders to the Capitol Hill riots in Washington DC, that referred to Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani as ‘Iran’s dictator’. The Authority found the description was not a material fact in the context of the item, and in any case the caption describing Mr Rouhani as ‘President of Iran’ reduced any risk of viewers being misled.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Parvomai and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-009 (22 June 2021)
2021-009

The Authority has declined to determine two complaints on the basis they were trivial – one about a teaser for a Nights interview that allegedly mispronounced ‘Rhondda’, and one about a Checkpoint item that referred to England instead of the United Kingdom during a discussion about educational achievement of countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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

Decisions
Wong & Soper and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-177 (22 June 2021)
2020-177

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about an item on 1 News that reported on protests in Washington DC in opposition to the results of the United States Presidential election. The complaints were the item’s description of the Proud Boys as a ‘white supremacist’ group was inaccurate because its leader, Enrique Tarrio, is African-Cuban and it is an ‘American chauvinist’ rather than a white supremacist group. Mr Soper also complained the item’s descriptions of Joe Biden as President-Elect, before his confirmation by the Electoral College, and of voter fraud claims as unproven, were unbalanced and inaccurate because Mr Biden’s election had not been confirmed and there was substantial evidence of voter fraud. The Authority found use of the term ‘white supremacist’ was distinguishable as analysis and opinion, to which the requirement for factual accuracy does not apply. The Authority also noted: ‘President-Elect’ is an unofficial term widely used from as early as election night and all claims of voter fraud remained untested in the Courts as at the date of broadcast. The Authority found, in the context of the broadcast, these descriptions were not materially inaccurate nor likely to mislead viewers. The balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance

Decisions
Wellington Palestine Group and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-025 (22 June 2021)
2021-025

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News covering the impact of COVID-19 on attendance at Christmas celebrations around the world. The complaint was the coverage of celebrations in Bethlehem, with reference to the closure of Israel’s international airport, created the impression that Bethlehem is part of Israel. The Authority acknowledged Bethlehem is a highly contested area, but also noted the broadcast was not about the Israel-Palestine conflict. The Authority found, in the context of the broadcast, the brief segment on celebrations in Bethlehem and the simple reference to the closure of Israel’s international airport was unlikely to have misled viewers.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Egan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-002 (2 June 2021)
2021-002

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview on Newshub Nation, featuring electrical engineer and Pike River Mine researcher, Richard Healey. Mr Healey commented on his claims of ‘new crucial evidence’ the miners could have survived the explosions and of the existence of a pipeline which could be used to recover more evidence. The complaint alleged Mr Healey’s claims were speculative and unsupported by evidence, were not challenged by the host and caused emotional harm to the victims’ families. The Authority acknowledged the sensitivity of the matters discussed, which also carried a high degree of public interest. It found the broadcast clearly presented Mr Healey’s claims as one theory and from a particular perspective. The wide range of information and coverage available over a long period of time since the original events reduced any risk of viewers being misled or significantly misinformed. The Authority also found, in the context, the interview did not undermine community standards of taste and decency.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
McDonald and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-005 (25 May 2021)
2021-005

The Authority did not uphold an accuracy complaint about a Newshub item describing a storm in Australia as a ‘one in 100 year storm’. The statement was a technical point unlikely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the item as a whole.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
McCaughan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-165 (25 May 2021)
2020-165

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the phrase ‘pissed off’ in the opening to a news item breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The phrase was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or cause specific harm to a child audience.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests

Decisions
Povey and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-173 (25 May 2021)
2020-173

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that various 1 News items referring to Joe Biden as the ‘president-elect’ before confirmation by the United States Electoral College breached the balance, accuracy and fairness standards. The Authority found this was a technical distinction that would not have altered viewers’ overall understanding of the items, therefore it was not a ‘material’ point of fact for the purposes of the accuracy standard. To the extent the items touched on the outcome of the United States election, which in some circumstances may amount to a controversial issue of public importance triggering the balance standard, the Authority was satisfied the standard was not breached taking into account the perspectives acknowledged within the items as well as in a wide range of other coverage both by TVNZ and media generally. The Authority also found the items did not result in any unfairness to President Donald Trump.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Andrews & Murray and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-153 (13 May 2021)
2020-153

A number of news bulletins on Morning Report reported findings from fact-checking group First Draft about political spending on Facebook advertising in the lead-up to the 2020 General Election and referendums. Two complaints alleged the bulletins inaccurately reported pro-cannabis group Make It Legal NZ had misleading ads removed from Facebook. The Authority did not uphold the complaints, finding although the morning bulletins were misleading and the broadcaster did not make reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of those reports, a later news bulletin during Midday Report was sufficient to clarify and correct the misleading impression created earlier. The Authority also found Make It Legal was not treated unfairly, as it is a lobby group that could reasonably expect a level of public scrutiny, and it was given a fair and reasonable opportunity to respond to the morning news items.  

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Gibbs and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-156 (28 April 2021)
2020-156

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Morning Report which briefly discussed soil contamination at, and the possible repurposing of, a chemical plant site in Paritutu, New Plymouth. The complainant, an interviewee on the broadcast, argued the item misrepresented likely contamination levels by citing test results from outside of the plant site, and through a comment that the site was cleaner than that at Mapua. The Authority found the statements complained about either were not materially inaccurate, or were clearly distinguishable as opinion, to which the requirement for factual accuracy does not apply. The broadcast was unlikely to mislead listeners. The balance and fairness standards either did not apply or were not breached.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Julian and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-152 (20 April 2021)
2020-152

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item summarising latest election poll results on Newshub breached the accuracy standard. The standard applies only to statements of fact, and the statements in question were clearly distinguishable as news analysis.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Shepherd and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-157 (20 April 2021)
2020-157

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News, which reported on support for euthanasia in the lead up to the referendum. It was based on data from the Vote Compass tool, which had been used by more than 200,000 people. The complainant argued it was inaccurate to report that most New Zealanders, or 77% of Kiwis, were supportive of euthanasia, when only 77% of an unrepresentative group of 200,000 were supportive. The Authority found the report was linked to findings from the Vote Compass tool, and its use by 200,000 people, in a clear and transparent way. It found it was legitimate and of interest to the public to extrapolate the data as it did, and the broadcast was unlikely to mislead.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Perrott and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-160 (20 April 2021)
2020-160

The Authority did not uphold an accuracy complaint about a 1 News item on the use of interlocking concrete blocks to curb coastal erosion on the West Coast. The complaint was that the item inaccurately referred to the location shown in the clip as Granity, rather than Hector, which devalues property in Granity. Given longstanding concerns about coastal erosion spanning across three towns within a small geographical area, including Granity, the Authority did not find any material inaccuracy likely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the item as a whole. 

Not Upheld: Accuracy

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