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Decisions
Cant and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-071 (21 December 2020)
2020-071

A 1 News presenter used the term ‘gypsy day’ when reporting on the annual relocation of sharemilkers. The Authority upheld a complaint that this breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority highlighted the importance of responding to societal change: terms that may have been acceptable in the past, may not necessarily be acceptable in the future. While not used to express malice or hatred, the phrase is derogatory and evokes prejudicial biases towards the Roma community. When used in this context, it is capable of embedding existing negative stereotypes.

Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

No order

Decisions
Tualamali’i & Whittaker and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2020-063 (21 December 2020)
2020-063

Two complaints about Sean Plunket’s interview of Te Whānau ā Apanui spokesperson Louis Rapihana were upheld under the discrimination and denigration standard. The interview was about the legal basis for iwi roadblocks in the eastern Bay of Plenty under COVID-19 Alert Level 4 and what the iwi intended to do if anyone refused to comply with the travel permit requirement established under Alert Level 3. The Authority1 found Mr Plunket’s approach during the interview and comments made on-air afterwards had the effect of amplifying negative stereotypes about Māori and the potential to cause widespread harm.

Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Orders: Section 13(1)(a) – broadcast statement; Section 16(4) – $3,000 costs to the Crown

Decisions
Anderson and Māori Television Service - 2020-134 (15 October 2020)
2020-134

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about references to Advance NZ/New Zealand Public Party co-leader Billy Te Kahika spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories, during a panel discussion on Te Ao with Moana. The episode included two online panel discussions about the issue of misinformation on social media and its implications for Māori in particular. Noting that two other episodes of the programme broadcast in the preceding weeks had allowed considerable time to Mr Te Kahika to put forward his position on these issues, the Authority did not find any breach of the balance, accuracy or fairness standards.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Lange and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-132 (14 October 2020)
2020-132

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an election advertisement for the Labour Party that included very brief footage of a young person using a hand-held grinder without a guard. The complaint was that this was contrary to health and safety guidelines and promoted poor industrial practice. Noting the clip was fleeting and peripheral to the overall nature and purpose of the advertisement, the Authority did not find any breach of broadcasting standards. No actual or potential harm was caused in terms of the objectives of the applicable standards that outweighed the importance of freedom of expression and free political speech in the lead up to the general election.

Not Upheld: Election Programmes Subject to Other Codes (Law and Order, Good Taste and Decency, Accuracy)

Decisions
Sime and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-127 (30 September 2020)
2020-127

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an election advertisement for the Labour Party that included the statement, ‘Together we went hard and early to fight COVID...’ The complaint was that this statement breached broadcasting standards because it should have said the Labour Party ‘went hard and late’, on the basis it could have taken ‘some action at the border’ earlier than it did, to protect New Zealanders. The Authority found the statement was clearly opinion and advocacy promoting the Labour Party, rather than a statement of fact, and that viewers were unlikely to be misled. There was no actual or potential harm caused, to outweigh the importance of freedom of expression and free political speech in the lead up to the general election, or to justify regulatory intervention.

Not Upheld: Election Programmes Subject to Other Standards (Accuracy), Election Programme Advocacy – Distinguishing Factual Information from Opinion or Advocacy

Decisions
New Zealand Taxpayers' Union inc and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-116 (22 September 2020)
2020-116

An election advertisement for the Labour Party included the statement, ‘we’ll…make apprenticeships free to prepare for tomorrow’s jobs...’ The complainant argued that this statement was inaccurate because the apprenticeships are not free but paid for by the taxpayers. The Authority did not uphold the complaint finding that a reasonable viewer was unlikely to be misled by the programme.

Not Upheld: Election Programmes Subject to Other Standards (Accuracy)

Decisions
Greetham and Sky Network Television Ltd - 2019-059 (2 December 2019)
2019-059

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a comment referring to a rugby player as a ‘Jew’ because he was unwilling to pay for his wedding breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority observed that the comment was an example of casual anti-Semitism and such comments can contribute to the normalisation of racism. However, while the Authority considered the comment to be ignorant and disrespectful, in the context it did not reach the threshold for regulatory intervention.

Not upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Thomas and SKY Network Television Ltd - 2017-082 (27 October 2017)
2017-082

A campaign advertisement for the Ban 1080 Party (an election programme for the purposes of the Election Programmes Code) was broadcast at 5.20pm on 9 September 2017 on Prime, during a G-classified fishing programme, Addicted to Fishing. The advertisement featured a voiceover discussing the purported use and effects of sodium fluoroacetate (1080 poison) on New Zealand’s fauna, in particular deer. The advertisement included a number of close-up images of dead deer allegedly poisoned by 1080, some of which appeared to be frothing at the mouth. A complaint was made that the broadcast of these images at a time when children may be watching was upsetting and inappropriate, in breach of the good taste and decency standard (which applies under Standard E1 of the Election Programmes Code). The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding that, while the images may be confronting for some viewers, they related to Ban 1080’s main political policy message, and in the context the high threshold necessary to find a breach of the good taste and decency standard was not met. The Authority emphasised the importance and value of political expression, particularly in the lead up to a general election.

Not Upheld: Election Programmes Subject to Other Codes, Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Brown and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-074 (22 September 2017)
2017-074

A National Party campaign advertisement (an election programme for the purposes of the Election Programmes Code) parodied Labour’s campaign motto, ‘Let’s do this’ with an advertisement with the tagline, ‘Let’s tax this’. The advertisement suggested that a Labour government would impose a number of new taxes (a capital gains tax, land tax, regional fuel tax, income tax, water tax and a ‘fart tax’). A voiceover at the conclusion of the advertisement said: ‘There’s still only one way to stop Labour’s taxes. Party vote National’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the election programme was inaccurate and misleading by implying a number of ‘bad’ taxes would be introduced or raised by Labour, which was not the case. The Authority considered it would be clear to viewers that the election programme was a campaign advertisement for the National Party, which clearly advocated the National Party’s own views. As such, the advertisement reflected the National Party’s opinion and analysis of Labour’s policies and viewers would not have been misled. The Authority also emphasised the importance of political speech and concluded that, in the robust political environment leading up to the election, the high threshold for finding a breach of broadcasting standards was not met.

Not Upheld: Distinguishing Factual Information from Opinion or Advocacy  

Decisions
Rameka and Māori Television Service - 2017-070 (20 September 2017)
2017-070

A campaign clip for the Ban 1080 Party (an election programme for the purposes of the Election Programmes Code) was broadcast on 10 September 2017 on Māori Television. The clip featured a voiceover discussing the purported use and effects of sodium fluoroacetate (1080 poison) on New Zealand’s flora, fauna and waterways, accompanied by footage of animal carcasses and 1080 baits in water. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the election programme was misleading and breached the Election Programmes Code and the Free-To-Air Television Code. The Authority found that the election programme did not contain statements of fact that were misleading, inaccurate, or indistinguishable from opinion. The claims made within the context of the broadcast were statements of political advocacy and opinion, made for the purpose of encouraging voters to vote for the Ban 1080 Party. The Authority emphasised the importance and value of political expression, particularly in the lead up to a general election, and in this context it did not consider the high threshold for finding a breach of standards was met.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Distinguishing Factual Information from Opinion or Advocacy, Good Taste and Decency, Fairness, Balance

Decisions
Lupton and Māori Television Service - 2017-071 (20 September 2017)
2017-071

A campaign clip for the Ban 1080 Party (an election programme for the purposes of the Election Programmes Code) was broadcast on 11 September 2017 on Māori Television. The clip featured a voiceover discussing the purported use and effects of sodium fluoroacetate (1080 poison) on New Zealand’s flora, fauna and waterways, accompanied by footage of animal carcasses and 1080 baits in water. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the election programme was misleading by inferring that there are dead possums and pigs in waterways as a result of 1080, and also by implying that 1080 is deliberately dropped into waterways. The Authority found that the claims made within the context of the broadcast, and the images used, amounted to expressions of political advocacy and opinion rather than fact, made for the purpose of encouraging voters to vote for the Ban 1080 Party. The Authority emphasised the importance and value of political expression, particularly in the lead up to a general election. In this context the Authority did not consider the high threshold for finding a breach of standards was met.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Distinguishing Factual Information from Opinion or Advocacy

Decisions
Cullen and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-072 (20 September 2017)
2017-072

A National Party campaign advertisement (an election programme for the purposes of the Election Programmes Code) parodied Labour’s campaign motto, ‘Let’s do this’ with an advertisement with the tagline, ‘Let’s tax this’. The advertisement suggested that a Labour government would impose a number of new taxes (a capital gains tax, land tax, regional fuel tax, income tax, water tax and a ‘fart tax’). A voiceover at the conclusion of the advertisement said: ‘There’s only one way to stop Labour’s taxes. Party vote National’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the election programme was inaccurate and misleading by implying a number of taxes would be introduced or raised by Labour, which was not the case. The Authority considered it would be clear to viewers that the election programme was a campaign advertisement for the National Party, which clearly advocated the National Party’s own views. As such, the advertisement reflected the National Party’s opinion and analysis of Labour’s policies, rather than factual information (as envisaged by the standard) and viewers would not have been misled. The Authority also emphasised the importance of political speech and concluded that, in the robust political environment leading up to the election, the high threshold for finding a breach of broadcasting standards was not met.

Not Upheld: Distinguishing Factual Information from Opinion or Advocacy  

Decisions
Curtis and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-065 (4 September 2017)
2017-065

A campaign clip for the National Party (an election programme for the purposes of the Election Programmes Code) was broadcast on TVNZ 1 on 28 August 2017. The clip featured a group dressed in blue running through New Zealand landscapes, who passed another group of four wearing red, green and black shirts with their legs tied together and struggling. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the election programme breached the Election Programmes Code of Broadcasting Practice and was misleading on the grounds it implied that National was only a single party in Government. The election programme did not imitate any existing programme, format or identifiable personality as envisaged by the misleading programmes standard in the Election Programmes Code. In any event, the election programme was clearly promoting a party vote for the National Party and viewers understand that election programmes by their nature are authorial advocacy and designed to promote the party’s vision, should it be elected. In these circumstances, the Authority did not consider viewers would have been misled. The Authority also emphasised the importance and value of political expression, particularly in the lead up to a general election.

Not Upheld: Misleading Programmes

Decisions
New Zealand Fire Service and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-017 (18 November 2016)
2016-017

An episode of 3D investigated alleged bullying within the New Zealand Fire Service, particularly within volunteer brigades. The episode relied in part on testimony from particular individuals who alleged they had been victims of bullying, and in part on a report, which purported to identify bullying as a significant problem within NZFS. NZFS challenged the credibility of the report and argued that the programme breached the accuracy, fairness and balance standards. The Authority did not uphold the complaint. It found that the programme clearly stated there were questions about the status of the report – which in any event only formed part of the basis of the story – so viewers would not have been misled. NZFS’s response to the allegations was presented at length throughout the programme, including during an extensive interview with the then acting Chief Executive/National Commander of NZFS, which satisfied the requirements of the fairness and balance standards.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Controversial Issues, Fairness

Decisions
Djurdjevic and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-004 (15 September 2016)
2016-004

In an episode of The Block NZ: Villa Wars, the complainant was portrayed as a ‘temperamental European tiler’ who allegedly wanted to be paid in advance and went ‘AWOL’ when he was not paid. The Authority upheld a complaint that the complainant was treated unfairly and that key facts about his professional conduct were misrepresented. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the broadcast also breached a number of additional standards.

Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy

Not Upheld: Privacy, Discrimination and Denigration, Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order, Controversial Issues, Responsible Programming

Order: Section 16(4) costs to the Crown $1,500

Decisions
Knight and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-028 (22 August 2016)
2016-028

An item on Sunday exposed the alleged mistreatment of bobby calves by some members of the dairy industry in the Waikato region. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item was an unbalanced and inaccurate depiction of dairy farming, and breached a number of other broadcasting standards. The Authority found the item was sufficiently balanced, as the perspective of the dairy industry was given both within the item and within the period of current interest. The item was not inaccurate or misleading in the ways alleged by the complainant; rather, it focused on instances of bad practice within the dairy industry and did not suggest these were commonplace. Furthermore, the item did not breach the privacy of a local farming family, as they were not identifiable or otherwise referred to in the footage. The broadcaster exercised adequate care and discretion when showing footage of cruelty against bobby calves.

Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Privacy, Violence, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness 

Decisions
Hoogenboom and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-033 (25 July 2016)
2016-033

An item on Breakfast reported on a shoot-out during an anti-terror raid in Brussels. During the item, the Europe Correspondent stated, ‘We’ve now heard that one suspect has been neutralised’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the term ‘neutralised’ was not accurate, appropriate or neutral language. The Authority found the choice of language was not a material point of fact in the item, which focused on an anti-terror raid linked to the Paris terror attacks. Further, the term ‘neutralised’ is at times used in the context of reporting on police or counter-terrorism action. The use of this term was not biased against, and did not imply fault on the part of, the Belgian Police.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Controversial Issues 

Decisions
Grieve and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-019 (25 July 2016)
2016-019

An item on 3 News reported that 2015 was the planet’s hottest year on record. The reporter stated that ‘the impacts of that record high are close to home’ and interviewed two New Zealand climate scientists about the finding. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that it was inaccurate and unbalanced for the reporter to imply that recent severe weather events in New Zealand were caused by global warming. The scientists who gave their views in the item were respected local experts, and the inclusion of comment from them localised the findings for viewers in terms of what they might mean for New Zealanders. In terms of the balance standard, global warming is an ongoing contentious issue which is widely discussed so viewers could reasonably be expected to be aware of the range of perspectives on global warming.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Controversial Issues

Decisions
Hawker and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-025 (25 July 2016)
2016-025

An item on Seven Sharp discussed whether celebrity endorsement of any particular flag would sway public voting in the New Zealand flag referendum. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast of the personal views of certain celebrities who supported changing the flag resulted in an unbalanced and partial programme. While the item featured several celebrities in support of the alternative flag, it also mentioned some who supported the current flag. In the context of the item this was a sufficient acknowledgement of significant viewpoints on the issue. Furthermore, viewers could reasonably be expected to be aware of the different perspectives on the flag referendum issue.

Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy 

Decisions
Wallace and SKY Network Television Ltd - 2016-037 (25 July 2016)
2016-037

During an episode of The Crowd Goes Wild, the hosts discussed the results of the US Masters golf tournament. Host Mark Richardson, referring to English golfer Danny Willett (who ultimately won the tournament), commented in relation to footage of Mr Willett playing a hole, ‘you’re leading the Masters – how’re you going to handle this, you pommy git? Right, so pretty well then, old chap I see’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the phrase ‘pommy git’ was openly racist and derogatory. The hosts of The Crowd Goes Wild are known for their style of presentation and humour, which is often irreverent and ‘tongue-in-cheek’. The comments were not ‘nasty’ or ‘derogatory’ and were not intended to reflect negatively on English people generally. In these circumstances, the use of the term ‘pommy git’ did not threaten current norms of good taste and decency and did not reach the high threshold for encouraging the denigration of, or discrimination against, all English people as a section of the community.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration 

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