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Decisions
Knight and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-020 (4 August 2020)
2020-020

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that two guest panellists’ comments on The AM Show about English rugby players following the Rugby World Cup final breached the discrimination and denigration standard. Discussing some players’ refusal to wear their silver medals after losing the final, the panellists made comments including that the English players were ‘pouty little babies, pathetic, stupid, dumb, bad sportsmanship’, ‘petulant English kids’, ‘prats’, ‘it’s their upbringing’, ‘those English players who wanted to toss their medals on the ground’. The complaint was that these comments were nasty and offensive, and ‘racist’ by suggesting ‘it’s [the players’] upbringing’. The Authority noted the large majority of the comments were clearly directed at the individual players concerned, rather than commenting on a group of people....

Decisions
Marr & Robinson and NZME Radio Ltd - 2018-080 (16 January 2019)
2018-080

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]The Authority has not upheld two complaints that comments by Leighton Smith about climate change issues were unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair. Mr Smith provided his views in response to a news item, saying that climate change was not predominantly man made and was instead due to ‘normal variability’. The Authority noted that the balance and accuracy standards apply only to news, current affairs and factual programmes, and the requirements of the accuracy standard do not apply to statements of analysis, comment or opinion. In this case, the Authority considered it was clear that Mr Smith’s statements amounted to statements of opinion in a talkback context....

Decisions
RK and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-025 (24 August 2018)
2018-025

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ] An item on 1 News reported on an alleged ‘mistake’ by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), which the reporter, Andrea Vance, said ‘cost the taxpayer a quarter of a million dollars’. The item referred to MFAT’s action in waiving the diplomatic immunity of an MFAT employee – the complainant – to allow child custody and matrimonial proceedings to be heard in an overseas court. According to Ms Vance, MFAT’s actions were disputed by the complainant’s ex-partner, resulting in MFAT issuing an apology and payment of ‘legal bills’ to both the complainant and the complainant’s ex-partner. The Authority upheld aspects of a complaint from the MFAT employee that the item was inaccurate, unbalanced and unfair....

Decisions
Stopford and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-075 (14 October 2020)
2020-075

An episode of The Panel included an interview with a professor from the department of preventive and social medicine, whose focus is respiratory epidemiology, about his research on the effects of smoking cannabis on the lungs. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the interview breached the accuracy and balance standards. The Authority did not consider the accuracy standard applied as the interview was a short conversation about the findings of the study where the interviewee was clearly giving his own perspective and analysis, having conducted his own research on the topic. The Authority accepted that the wider debate about cannabis legalisation is a controversial issue of public importance, of which the interview was narrowly focussed on one aspect (the alleged health effects)....

Decisions
Frost and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2019-025 (23 August 2019)
2019-025

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that comments made by Duncan Garner and Judith Collins on The AM Show breached the balance and law and order standards of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice. The Authority found that the comments identified did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance, so the balance standard did not apply. The Authority also found that the broadcast did not breach the law and order standard as it did not contain any content which would have encouraged audiences to break the law. Not Upheld: Balance, Law and Order...

Decisions
McCaughan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-166 (25 May 2021)
2020-166

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a news item reporting on the Rt Hon Winston Peters’ likelihood of not returning to Parliament after the General Election. The item did not discuss a controversial issue, so the balance standard did not apply. It was not unfair to Mr Peters, given his position as an elected public figure and experience dealing with the media. Coverage of political issues close to Election Day is not in itself a breach of broadcasting standards. Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness...

Decisions
Boyce and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-087 (15 December 2017)
2017-087

Summary [This summary does not form part of the decision. ] An item on The Project featured an interview with a ‘political consultant and former National [Party] staffer’. The interviewee provided her perspective on why the National Party received more votes than the Labour Party in the 2017 General Election and the disparity between the election result and poll results prior to the election. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcaster’s choice of political commentator was biased and the programme was misleading by suggesting she was an ‘independent political commentator’. The introduction to the segment did not imply that the interviewee was an independent political commentator, but clearly referred to her as a former National Party staffer. As such it created an audience expectation that the interview would be approaching the topic of National’s initial electoral success from a particular perspective....

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
Muir and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-039 (23 August 2019)
2019-039

A complaint alleging that an interview on Breakfast with Professor Douglas Pratt, an expert in theological and religious studies, breached broadcasting standards has not been upheld. The interview was exploring Professor Pratt’s views on the possible motivation behind the attacks on 15 March 2019 on two mosques in Christchurch. The Authority found that the interview was not a discussion as contemplated under the balance standard, but rather Professor Pratt’s in-depth, expert opinion, and therefore the balance standard did not apply. The Authority also found that the broadcast did not contain a high level of condemnation towards the Christian community nor the level of malice or nastiness required to breach the discrimination and denigration standard. Not Upheld: Balance, Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Judge and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-026 (21 July 2020)
2020-026

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an episode of Sunday concerning the increasing population of wallabies in New Zealand was inaccurate and unbalanced. The Authority found that the balance standard did not apply as the segment did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance. The Authority also found that the reference to wallabies as an ‘Aussie pest’ did not amount to a material inaccuracy as it was unlikely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the programme as a whole. Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy...

Decisions
Ministry of Social Development and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-097 (9 March 2018)
2017-097

Te Raumawhitu Kupenga declared a conflict of interest and did not participate in determination of this complaint. Summary [This summary does not form part of the decision. ] An item on Morning Report featured an interview with a Social Policy Advisor at the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), who discussed CAB’s experience assisting the public with income support applications to Work & Income New Zealand (WINZ). The Authority did not uphold a complaint from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) that this interview was unbalanced, unfair and inaccurate. The Authority found that because of the nature of the item – which comprised a brief interview with one individual, who approached a widely reported issue from a clearly identified perspective – audiences would not have expected to hear MSD’s response to the comments made....

Decisions
McCullough and NZME Radio Ltd - 2020-008 (9 June 2020)
2020-008

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a discussion on a talkback segment on Newstalk ZB breached broadcasting standards. The Authority found that the complainant, who had called in to the programme, was not treated unfairly as she was given an opportunity to voice her opinion and was treated respectfully. The Authority also found that the broadcast’s criticism of United States President Donald Trump did not exceed what could fairly be expected to be levelled against a highly controversial United States President. The Authority noted that the balance and accuracy standards apply only to news, current affairs and factual programmes, and the accuracy standard does not apply to statements clearly distinguishable as analysis, comment or opinion. The discrimination and denigration standard also did not apply as it does not apply to individuals or organisations. Not Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Ministry of Education and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-076 (18 April 2018)
2017-076

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]On 18 March 2017, RNZ reported on allegations made by the Board of Trustees at Salisbury School, a Nelson school for girls with complex learning needs, that the Ministry of Education (Ministry) had actively discouraged parents from enrolling children at the school so that it could be closed. On 31 March and 6 April 2017, RNZ broadcast a series of items about an alleged lack of funding, resources and support for Northland teachers struggling to cope with violent and disruptive children. The Authority upheld aspects of a complaint from the Ministry that RNZ’s coverage of these issues was unfair and unbalanced....

Decisions
Hurley and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2019-043 (10 October 2019)
2019-043

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that an item on Insight that investigated the history and current state of far-right, alt-right and nationalist ideologies breached broadcasting standards. The Authority found the broadcast was balanced as it contained a range of significant perspectives. The Authority also found people who hold these ideologies do not amount to an ‘organisation’ for the purposes of the fairness standard and therefore that the fairness standard does not apply. Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness...

Decisions
Foster and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-009 (26 April 2017)
2017-009

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on 1 News reported on the then President-Elect Donald Trump’s meeting with rapper Kanye West, and President-Elect Trump’s choice for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. At the end of the item, the newsreader stated, ‘And Trump has also chosen a climate change denier, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, to become his Secretary of Energy’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the term ‘climate change denier’ was deeply offensive to all climate change sceptics, particularly because it linked them to ‘Holocaust deniers’, and was inaccurate and unbalanced. ‘Climate change sceptics’ are not a recognised section of the community to which the discrimination and denigration standard applies. In any event, the term was used in this item merely to describe a particular perspective on the issue of climate change....

Decisions
Stubbs and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2019-049 (17 September 2019)
2019-049

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that an item on Morning Report discussing the possible boycott of the Tuia – Encounters 250 commemorations was unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair. The Authority found the item was balanced through the presentation of alternative perspectives and the existence of significant media coverage within the period of current interest. The Authority also found the broadcast did not contain any material inaccuracy with respect to Captain Cook’s first arrival in New Zealand. Finally, the Authority found the fairness standard did not apply as the complainant did not identify any person or organisation who took part in or was referred to in the broadcast who was treated unfairly. Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness...

Decisions
Garrett and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-084 (10 February 2017)
2016-084

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]A ONE News item reported on a protest organised by the Sensible Sentencing Trust, which carried a petition in the name of a deceased child, demanding changes to the rules around plea bargaining. The reporter stated, ‘the protestors chose disgraced ex-MP David Garrett to deliver that message to MPs. . . Garrett resigned from Parliament six years ago for stealing the identity of a dead infant. . . ’ The Authority did not uphold Mr Garrett’s complaint that this statement was misleading, as it implied the incident being referred to occurred six years ago, as well as being unbalanced and unfair to him. The Authority found the comment was not misleading, but emphasised that Mr Garrett’s resignation occurred six years ago, which was correct....

Decisions
Friends of the Earth (NZ) and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2018-081 (28 January 2019)
2018-081

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]A complaint from environmental group Friends of the Earth (NZ) about an interview between Saturday Morning host Kim Hill and former Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman was not upheld. Ms Hill interviewed Sir Peter about his time as Chief Science Advisor and a wide range of issues, including how societies respond to scientific research, the role of science in government, activism within the scientific community and the criminal justice system. During the interview, Sir Peter made comments about the safety and history of genetic modification. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the comments were inaccurate or that the interview was unbalanced or unfair. The Authority found Sir Peter’s comments were not statements of fact, noting they were clearly established as being from Sir Peter’s perspective throughout the interview....

Decisions
Young and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-093 (16 February 2022)
2021-093

A news item on the centenary celebrations of the Chinese Communist Party reported that as part of President Xi Jinping’s speech he said ‘anyone opposing China will have their heads bashed against a great wall of steel’. The complainant alleged this was inaccurate and unbalanced, mainly because TVNZ had cut off the full quote, which clarifies the ‘great wall of steel’ is forged by ‘1. 4 billion Chinese people’ and therefore conveys a more metaphorical meaning. The Authority found the item did not breach the accuracy standard on the basis that the broadcast was not likely to mislead viewers as a result of omitting part of President Xi’s sentence, and it was not inaccurate for TVNZ to use the more literal translation of ‘heads bashed’ over ‘collide’ in its translation....

Decisions
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-029 (15 July 2021)
2021-029

The Authority has not upheld a complaint alleging an item on Morning Report misrepresented the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s views responding to iwi concerns about groundwater issues, including why local streams were drying up, and did not properly examine the complexity of the issues. The Authority found no breach of the balance standard as the item focused on one aspect of the issue and was clearly presented from the iwi’s perspective, and there is ongoing coverage of various viewpoints on the topic. Not Upheld: Balance...

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