The Authority did not uphold a complaint about questions asked of a New Zealander stranded in India following the Government’s suspension of travel. The complaint alleged the questions breached the law and order standard as they suggested numerous ways the interviewee could avoid the travel ban and illegally return home. The Authority found the questions did not actively encourage illegal activity nor actively undermine law and order, and there was a high public interest in the broadcast.
Not Upheld: Law and Order
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about coverage on The AM Show of proposed changes to safe zones around abortion clinics. The statements alleged to be inaccurate were comment, opinion or analysis, to which the accuracy standard does not apply. The balance standard did not apply as the separate news bulletins did not amount to a discussion; and in any event, differing perspectives from Abortion Rights Aotearoa and Voice for Life NZ were included. The fairness standard did not apply.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a remark ‘there will probably be some racists tuning in’ in reference to the English greeting following ‘kia ora koutou katoa’ during a comedy skit shown on The AM Show. The complainant alleged this was ‘racist’ and the broadcaster should apologise to ‘all English-speaking people’. The Authority found ‘English-speaking people’ are not a section of society to whom the standard applies. In any event, the comment was not directed specifically at English speakers, it was satirical and it would not have met the threshold required for a breach of the standard.
Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration
The Authority did not uphold a complaint that use of the term ‘wanker’ was inappropriate and offensive in breach of the good taste and decency standard. Taking into account the relevant contextual factors, the use of the term was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence, or undermine widely shared community standards.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
The Authority declined to determine three complaints as they did not raise clear concerns capable of being addressed by the complaints process.
Decline to determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 – in all the circumstances): Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence, Alcohol, Accuracy
In an episode of The AM Show, Opposition Leader Hon Judith Collins suggested a fellow interviewee should stop talking or she would give him a bruised nose (like she had at the time). The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast breached the violence standard. The Authority found Ms Collins’ comment justified by context and unlikely to incite or encourage violence against men.
Not Upheld: Violence
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview conducted with then-Minister of Health, Dr David Clark, on his breaches of the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 ‘lockdown rules’. The complainant argued that the interview amounted to harassment and bullying, and breached the fairness standard. The Authority found that the robust questioning was within the scope of what could be expected of a public figure being interviewed on a matter of significant public interest, particularly given the expectation as to how politicians will be treated by the media.
Not Upheld: Fairness
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. In the context, the only comment that could be interpreted as extending beyond the individual players (‘it’s their upbringing’), did not reach the high threshold for finding the broadcast encouraged the denigration of, or discrimination against, all English people as a section of the community. The panellists’ comments were clearly opinion meaning they were not subject to the accuracy standard, and they did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance so the balance standard did not apply.
Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy, Balance
The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Mark Richardson’s response to a gift from a guest on The AM Show breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. Noting contextual factors, including audience expectations of the programme and of Mr Richardson, the Authority did not consider that Mr Richardson’s comments were likely to cause widespread undue offence or distress, undermine widely shared community standards or adversely affect children. The Authority also did not uphold a complaint that a discussion about beer brands breached the alcohol standard. While the Authority found that the positive comments regarding Peroni could be regarded as promotion of the Peroni brand, the Authority considered that any promotion of alcohol was socially responsible in the context.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Alcohol
A complaint that an episode of The AM Show breached the balance standard was not upheld. The episode featured multiple segments that addressed various climate change related issues including interviews with a Fonterra representative about its sustainable farming practices, an interview with sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke about their marine conservation initiative ‘Live Ocean’ and a panel discussion about the recently founded Sustainable New Zealand Party. The Authority found that while climate change issues are controversial issues of public importance, none of the segments amounted to unbalanced discussions for the purposes of the standard.
Not Upheld: Balance
The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the word ‘douche’ following an interview with Hannah Tamaki breached the good taste and decency standard. The complaint was that Mrs Tamaki was referred to as a ‘douche’, which was not an acceptable way to refer to a woman. The Authority noted that the word was used on two occasions. The first use of the word originated from audience feedback saying Mrs Tamaki was ‘on the same page as [Donald Trump]; and that ‘Trump’s a douche’. The host’s later comment promoting an upcoming item – ‘from douches to [chef] Nadia Lim’ – was ambiguous as to whether or not it was intended to refer to Mrs Tamaki. In any event, the Authority did not consider the use of the word threatened community standards of good taste and decency in the context.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
In an episode of The AM Show, host, Duncan Garner, interviewed economist Cameron Bagrie on the topic of dropping interest rates. During the interview, Mr Bagrie commented regarding the risk of people no longer putting money in the bank, saying, ‘the banks need the money in the bank, because they gotta … get a dollar in the door before they can put the money out the door in the form of a loan.’ The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the item breached the accuracy standard. The Authority found that Mr Bagrie’s statement was clearly distinguishable as analysis, comment or opinion so the accuracy standard does not apply.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
During a segment on The AM Show that discussed immigration to New Zealand host Mark Richardson said: ‘we’re clearly not getting enough English immigrants to become traffic officers’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Mr Richardson’s comment was discriminatory to nationalities that are ‘not English’ in breach of the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority found the complainant did not identify a ‘section of the community’ for the purposes of the standard. The Authority also found that, considering audience expectations of The AM Show and Mr Richardson, the light-hearted nature of the comment and other contextual factors, the comment did not reach the threshold required to be considered discriminatory or denigratory.
Not Upheld: Discrimination and denigration
During a segment of The AM Show, which discussed how different sections of the community had united in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks, host Duncan Garner said he’d like ‘the gangs’ to nominate a person to ‘look after’ the alleged attacker. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Mr Garner’s comment breached broadcasting standards. The Authority found, upon consideration of contextual factors, including the glib nature of the comment, that while it was discordant with the tone of the broadcast and may have caused offence to some, it did not go beyond audience expectations of Mr Garner or The AM Show. The Authority concluded that any restriction of the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression on this occasion would be unreasonable.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence, Law and Order
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
During a segment on The AM Show, host Duncan Garner referred to an individual as a ‘woolly woofter’. A complaint that the use of this term breached broadcasting standards, as it was homophobic and offensive, was not upheld. The Authority found that, while some viewers may have found the term inappropriate or offensive, the use of the term was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or seriously violate community norms. In the context of the programme, upholding the complaint would unreasonably restrict the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Law and Order
The Authority has not upheld four complaints about a segment on The AM Show, which featured host Duncan Garner criticising parents who do not vaccinate their children, using terms such as ‘murderers’ and ‘bloody idiots’, and stating they should be ‘stripped of their right to spread their message and their viruses’. The Authority found that, taking into account audience expectations of Mr Garner and The AM Show, alongside other contextual factors, Mr Garner’s comments did not breach broadcasting standards. With regard to the balance standard, the Authority found that, while the anti-vaccination movement was a controversial issue of public importance, Mr Garner’s comments did not amount to a ‘discussion’ for the purposes of the standard, but reflected his own personal views on the issue. The Authority acknowledged that Mr Garner’s comments may have caused offence to some viewers but overall the harm alleged did not reach the threshold requiring a limitation on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Children’s Interests, Violence, Law and Order
The Authority has not upheld a privacy complaint about items on Newshub and The AM Show, which reported on a Police raid of a gang house and featured footage of the complainant’s property, with the house number blurred. The Authority found that the privacy standard did not apply in this case, as the complainant was not identifiable in the broadcast and no private information or material was disclosed about them. As the house was only filmed to the extent visible from the street, the broadcaster did not intrude upon the complainant’s interest in solitude or seclusion in a way that was highly offensive. The Authority recognised the public interest in the broadcast and found that the harm alleged to have been caused by the complainant did not outweigh the right to freedom of expression.
Not Upheld: Privacy
A news segment on The AM Show about name suppression included a clip from an interview with former Attorney-General, Chris Finlayson QC, which had been broadcast live on air earlier in the programme. The clip from the interview played during the news item related to Mr Finlayson’s comments about bullying allegations in Parliament, rather than his views on name suppression laws. The broadcaster acknowledged this clip placement was in error. A complaint was made that this error was significantly inaccurate, as it would have misled viewers as to Mr Finlayson’s views regarding name suppression laws. The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding that while the broadcaster made an error in playing the clip during that particular news segment, it was not significantly misleading in the context of the item as a whole. The Authority acknowledged the technical mistake and did not uphold the complaint.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that comments made by Duncan Garner on The AM Show regarding Don Brash’s visit to Te Tii Marae as a part of Waitangi Day celebrations breached broadcasting standards. During the broadcast, Mr Garner made comments about Dr Brash’s potential reception at Te Tii Marae including: ‘good luck Don, nice knowing you and yeah I think you need security’, ‘hope you return in one piece’ and ‘Rest in Peace’. The Authority found Mr Garner’s comments were unlikely to undermine widely shared community standards and did not amount to unduly disturbing violent content, considering the context of the broadcast and the flippant nature of the comments. The Authority also found the balance and fairness standards were not breached.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence, Balance, Fairness