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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
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
Scarlett and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-043 (21 July 2021)
2021-043

In a Seven Sharp item, a presenter expressed his surprise by asking an interviewee ‘how the bejesus did a snake get into New Zealand’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint the item breached the good taste and decency standard. While acknowledging terms such as ‘Jesus’ and its variations like ‘bejesus’ may be offensive to some, the Authority found expressions of this nature used as exclamations, will not likely cause widespread undue offence or distress, or undermine widely shared community standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Joseph and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-129 (9 February 2021)
2020-129

The Authority has not upheld a good taste and decency complaint that the treatment of a clip showing a ‘devastating’ explosion in Lebanon was inappropriate in a segment rounding up ‘all the crazy, messed-up oddities’ of the week. The context and the importance of freedom of expression meant there was no harm justifying regulatory intervention in the circumstances.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency; Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Wilson Parking New Zealand Ltd and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-162 (21 December 2020)
2020-162

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a Seven Sharp item referring to Wilson Parking breached the accuracy and fairness standards. The item covered a dispute between a carpark customer and Wilson Parking. A Fair Go consumer advocate also provided general advice to people about their rights in relation to parking fines. In the context of providing general information to viewers from a consumer advocacy perspective, the advice did not breach the accuracy standard. The Authority also found the broadcast did not breach the fairness standard. It noted that Wilson Parking had been given an opportunity to comment on the specific customer’s situation and, as a multinational company, could reasonably have been expected to be aware that the programme would use the specific situation to discuss the company’s wider operations. It could have expanded the statement provided to the broadcaster.  

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Jefferies and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-081 (24 November 2020)
2020-081

An episode of Seven Sharp included an item about a tornado and thunderstorm that occurred in New Zealand and an eye witness account from a resident. Considering the contextual factors and the nature of the programme, the Authority did not uphold a complaint that the language used breached the good taste and decency standard.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Lewis and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-086 (24 November 2020)
2020-086

In an episode of Seven Sharp, journalist Laura Daniels presented regarding creating a European inspired holiday from within New Zealand, in the context of COVID-19 travel restrictions. It included a scene where she pretended to eat cigarettes from a plate. The Authority did not uphold a complaint the broadcast was inappropriate for children to watch and breached the children’s interests standard. Taking the contextual factors into account, in particular the audience expectations of Seven Sharp, the Authority found the segment was unlikely to adversely affect children.

Not Upheld: Children’s Interests

Decisions
Harvey and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-023 (24 August 2020)
2020-023

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the use of the term ‘bugger’ by weather presenter Dan Corbett during a broadcast of Seven Sharp. The Authority considered the term constituted low level coarse language which would not have offended a significant number of listeners in the context of the broadcast.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Judge and Television New Zealand - 2020-27 (21 July 2020)
2020-027

An item on Seven Sharp featured a community hunting event for children under the age of 16. The item included footage of children using firearms, children carrying dead animals, and animal carcasses hanging by their hind legs. Taking into account the relevant contextual factors including the programme’s target audience and audience expectations, the Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item breached the good taste and decency, children’s interests and violence standards. The Authority noted that the item did not depict animals dying or being killed, and the content was clearly signposted by the presenters.

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

Decisions
Conn and Television New Zealand - 2020-011 (16 June 2020)
2020-011

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the usage of the word ‘root’ in a Seven Sharp item breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The Authority took into account the relevant contextual factors including the nature of the discussion, the nature of the programme and the audience expectations of the programme. The Authority did not consider that the use of the word threatened community norms of good taste and decency, or that any potential harm justified restricting the right to freedom of expression.

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

Decisions
Cooper and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-116 (16 June 2020)
2019-116

The Authority did not uphold a complaint under the discrimination and denigration standard about a personal anecdote told by Seven Sharp presenter Jeremy Wells, describing the moment ‘Angela D’Audney sat on my desk as a 20-year-old in a leopard-print mini-skirt’. Stumbling over his words, Mr Wells then said, ‘see, it’s got me excited even thinking about it’. The complaint was that Mr Wells: outlined sexually inappropriate conduct against a female coworker; undermined and demeaned his female coworkers; and by saying it on national television, normalised and condoned sexual discrimination in the workplace. The Authority acknowledged Mr Wells’ choice of anecdote was ill-advised and inappropriate and that it may have offended some people. However it emphasised that in itself is not sufficient to find a broadcast encouraged discrimination or denigration. There is a high threshold for finding a breach, in light of the important right to freedom of expression. In this case, the comments were clearly not intended to be malicious or nasty, but rather as a light-hearted personal anecdote following ‘The Friday Countdown’ segment which celebrated 50 years of the network news. In the context, the broadcast did not encourage the denigration of, or discrimination against, women as a section of the community.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-070 (25 March 2020)
2019-070

The Authority upheld a complaint from ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd (‘ANZ’) that an item on Seven Sharp was inaccurate and misleading. The item concerned a customer who had had a dispute with the bank and in December 2018 entered an ANZ branch and pretended he had a bomb. The Authority agreed that the item breached the accuracy standard as it created a misleading impression that the customer was paid a settlement as a result of his actions at the bank, when in fact the dispute had been settled and he had received a settlement payment months earlier. The Authority considered the question of whether the item undermined law and order to be borderline. The broadcaster took a light-hearted human interest approach to a serious story, and the item risked encouraging and promoting illegal activity. However, the Authority concluded the presenters’ comments at the end of the item adequately denounced the actions, making it sufficiently clear that the customer’s actions were unacceptable. The Authority concluded that the item as a whole did not actively encourage illegal behaviour. The Authority acknowledged the broadcast may have been upsetting for bank staff involved in the events, but found the fairness standard could not be applied to them as viewers of the item (rather than participants). The Authority considered the publication of this decision sufficient to censure the breach of standards by the broadcaster and made no orders.

Upheld: Accuracy. Not Upheld: Law and Order, Fairness.

No order.

Decisions
Atkin and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-094 (9 March 2020)
2019-094

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment on Seven Sharp regarding an advertisement by Fluoride Free NZ. Mark Atkin, on behalf of Fluoride Free NZ, complained that the programme was in breach of the balance and accuracy standards. The Authority found that the segment did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance, as required for the balance standard to apply. The Authority also found that none of the points identified by the complainant were inaccurate.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

Decisions
Guthrie and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-090 (9 March 2020)
2019-090

In an episode of Seven Sharp, host, Hilary Barry, interviewed a woman with type one diabetes about an encounter she had with waitstaff at a restaurant when eating food brought from home. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast breached the accuracy standard (by giving viewers the impression that kumara salad can treat hypoglycaemia). The Authority was satisfied that a reasonable viewer was not likely to be misled by the broadcast into thinking that kumara salad is a treatment for hypoglycaemia.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Singh and Television New Zealand Ltd - ID2019-050 (30 September 2019)
ID2019-050

The Authority received a complaint about a promo for a scheduled programme Seven Sharp which was viewed on TVNZ’s Facebook page. The Authority declined to determine the complaint under s11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. The Authority acknowledged that it raised complex issues of jurisdiction arising from the online environment, which had not yet been determined by the Authority. Taking into account its assessment of the substance of the complaint, which it considered was unlikely to result in a finding of a breach of standards, the Authority declined to determine the complaint.

Declined to determine: Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Keeley and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-094 (4 February 2019)
2018-094

During an episode of Seven Sharp the presenter Hilary Barry welcomed a temporary presenter, Matt Chisholm, who responded by saying ‘it’s bloody good to be here’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the word ‘bloody’ breached the good taste and decency standard, finding the use of the term in the context of this programme was not inappropriate or unnecessary. The Authority has consistently found this expression to be colloquial language commonly used as an exclamation in our society. The Authority noted that Seven Sharp is aimed at adult viewers and the expression was not intended to be aggressive or pejorative. Overall, the Authority found that any potential for harm by the use of this term did not justify a restriction on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Frewen and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-106 (9 March 2018)
2017-106

An item on Seven Sharp discussed the case of a woman and an offensive message which was sent to her by a City Councillor. The road sign which was captured in the message read, ‘Jesus is cuming… open your mouth’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that showing the road sign during the segment was potentially offensive to Christians, in breach of the good taste and decency standard. The Authority acknowledged that people may find the wording of the sign offensive. However, taking into account relevant contextual factors, including the nature of the programme, the relevance of the sign to the subject matter of the item, signposting of the lewd nature of the sign, and audience expectations of Seven Sharp, the Authority did not consider the use of the phrase threatened community norms of taste and decency, or justified restricting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
McCaughan and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-083 (18 December 2017)
2017-083

During an item on Seven Sharp, broadcast on 23 August 2017 during the election period, the presenters discussed TVNZ’s ‘Vote Compass’, a tool available to assist the New Zealand public to make voting decisions. In response to comments by presenter Toni Street about the usefulness of the tool, presenter Mike Hosking said, ‘…so is the fact that you can’t vote for the Māori Party because you’re not enrolled in the Māori electorate, so what are you going to do now? I’m joking.’ The following evening, Mr Hosking attempted to clarify his comment by saying, ‘Now, the fact that anyone can vote for [the Māori Party] as a list party I automatically assumed we all knew given we have been doing this for 20 years…’ The Authority upheld a complaint that Mr Hosking’s comments were inaccurate, finding that Mr Hosking’s statement about who was eligible to vote for the Māori Party was a material point of fact that was inaccurate and misleading. Further, his comments the following evening were confusing and insufficient to correct the inaccurate information for viewers. The Authority acknowledged the high value of political expression during an election period, but found that the potential harm in this case – providing inaccurate information which had the potential to influence voters, despite the alleged clarification – outweighed the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Upheld: Accuracy; Order: section 13(1)(a) broadcast statement.

Decisions
Judge and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-078 (18 December 2017)
2017-078

A segment on Seven Sharp featured an interview between Mike Hosking and Jacinda Ardern on the day Ms Ardern became leader of the Labour Party. Mr Hosking questioned Ms Ardern about the state of the Labour Party and her leadership credentials, and also commented on what he believed to be the ‘chaotic’ state of the Labour Party and its chances of winning the 2017 General Election. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the segment was unbalanced and inaccurate, finding that the broadcaster provided sufficient balance by allowing Ms Ardern a reasonable amount of time to answer the interview questions. The Authority also noted the significant amount of coverage the leadership change received during the period of current interest. This segment amounted to robust political discourse that was to be expected during an election period, and the Authority concluded that upholding the complaint would unreasonably restrict the right to freedom of expression and political speech.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

Decisions
Diprose and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-067 (16 November 2017)
2017-067

An item on Seven Sharp discussed the UK’s move to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, to encourage the use electric vehicles (EVs). Following the item, presenter Mike Hosking outlined the ‘hurdles’ to be overcome before a similar move could be made in New Zealand, stating that there was ‘no charging network’ in New Zealand and that the cost of EVs was ‘too high’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Mr Hosking’s statements were inaccurate and misleading. Noting that the accuracy standard does not apply to statements of analysis, comment or opinion, the Authority found that, in this case, Mr Hosking’s statements on the cost-effectiveness of EVs, and the lack of charging network in New Zealand, represented his own opinion and analysis on the topic, which viewers would not have expected to be authoritative. While the complainant may have disagreed with Mr Hosking’s views, the Authority found that these were opinions which were open to Mr Hosking to express, noting that the free and frank expression of opinions is an important aspect of the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

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