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Decisions
Te Whata and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2020-141 (31 March 2021)
2020-141

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about comments by Sean Plunket on his talkback programme regarding Christians and Christianity. While Mr Plunket made highly critical comments and expressed scepticism, this was not beyond audience expectations for a robust, opinionated programme and was unlikely to cause widespread offence. Equally, the comments were unlikely to encourage the discrimination or denigration of Christians. The Authority found callers in to the programme were treated fairly by Mr Plunket, given they had willingly phoned in to provide views on a discussion in which Mr Plunket was criticising the Christian faith, and were given the opportunity to express their own views. The remaining standards did not apply.

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

Decisions
Hargreaves and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2020-044B (14 October 2020)
2020-044B

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the host’s language and approach during an interview broadcast on Magic Afternoons with Sean Plunket. Mr Plunket interviewed the Chief Executive of Universities New Zealand about the charging of holding fees for accommodation at university halls of residence during the COVID-19 lockdown period. During the interview Mr Plunket appeared increasingly frustrated and hung up on the interviewee after using the phrase, ‘Jesus Christ’. Noting it has previously determined that the use of variations of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ’ as exclamations or expressions of frustration or surprise did not threaten community standards, the Authority did not find any breach of the good taste and decency standard in this case. It also found that, in the context of robust questioning on a topic of significant public interest, Mr Plunket’s manner and approach, although it was at times rude and overly forceful, did not reach the threshold for finding a breach of the good taste and decency standard or justifying regulatory intervention.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
ten Hove and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2020-044A (14 October 2020)
2020-044A

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the use of the phrase ‘Jesus Christ’ during Magic Afternoons with Sean Plunket. Mr Plunket interviewed the Chief Executive of Universities New Zealand about the charging of holding fees for accommodation at university halls of residence during the COVID-19 lockdown period. At the end of the interview, Mr Plunket used the phrase, ‘Jesus Christ’, reacting to the interviewee’s responses before hanging up on him. Noting it has previously determined that the use of variations of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ’ as exclamations or expressions of frustration or surprise did not threaten community standards, the Authority did not find any breach of the good taste and decency standard in this case.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Marra and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2019-023 (18 July 2019)
2019-023

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that ACT leader David Seymour MP was bullied and treated unfairly on Magic Afternoons with Sean Plunket. Mr Seymour called the show to present his perspective on comments made by Mr Plunket moments earlier about Mr Seymour’s motivation for sponsoring the End of Life Choice Bill. The Authority found that, while Mr Plunket’s interviewing style was robust and challenging, Mr Seymour was not treated unfairly given the nature of the programme, the fact that Mr Seymour initiated the conversation and expressed his views, and Mr Seymour’s position and his experience with the media. The Authority also found that the broadcast did not breach the balance standard as it did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance, which is required for the balance standard to apply. The merits of the End of Life Choice Bill is a controversial issue of public importance but the focus of this discussion was on the discrete topic of Mr Seymour’s political motivations and the alleged influence of ACT party donors. The Authority also found the discrimination and denigration standard did not apply as the standard does not apply to individuals or organisations.

Not Upheld: Fairness, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration