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Decisions
Wicks and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-126 (13 May 2021)
2020-126

The Authority upheld a privacy complaint about an item on 1 News reporting on residents’ concerns about ‘boy racers’ in a particular Christchurch suburb. It featured an interview with a resident reported as being ‘too scared to be identified’. Close-up footage, including a side-on view of part of her face (unblurred), revealed her demographic, gender, the length and colour of her hair, voice, profile of her nose, clothes, watch, a distinctive ring and the side of her glasses. The Authority found these features enabled identification of the interviewee beyond family and close friends. Their disclosure would be highly offensive to an objective reasonable person in her position, given she participated on the understanding she would not be identified. The Authority was not persuaded the defence of informed consent applied to the breach of the woman’s privacy. The broadcaster maintained the interviewee was comfortable with the item broadcast (and later obtained a note from her to this effect). However, the broadcaster did not provide sufficient evidence the interviewee fully understood she would be depicted in a manner that enabled her to be identified, and gave informed consent for this prior to the broadcast.

Upheld: Privacy

No Order

Decisions
Shepherd and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-157 (20 April 2021)
2020-157

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News, which reported on support for euthanasia in the lead up to the referendum. It was based on data from the Vote Compass tool, which had been used by more than 200,000 people. The complainant argued it was inaccurate to report that most New Zealanders, or 77% of Kiwis, were supportive of euthanasia, when only 77% of an unrepresentative group of 200,000 were supportive. The Authority found the report was linked to findings from the Vote Compass tool, and its use by 200,000 people, in a clear and transparent way. It found it was legitimate and of interest to the public to extrapolate the data as it did, and the broadcast was unlikely to mislead.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Perrott and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-160 (20 April 2021)
2020-160

The Authority did not uphold an accuracy complaint about a 1 News item on the use of interlocking concrete blocks to curb coastal erosion on the West Coast. The complaint was that the item inaccurately referred to the location shown in the clip as Granity, rather than Hector, which devalues property in Granity. Given longstanding concerns about coastal erosion spanning across three towns within a small geographical area, including Granity, the Authority did not find any material inaccuracy likely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the item as a whole. 

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Lobb and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-154 (20 April 2021)
2020-154

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a 1 News at Midday item about the United States presidential election lacked balance because it included clips of Joe Biden supporters and Biden’s campaign, but not Donald Trump supporters or the Trump campaign. The US election, while it could be considered a controversial issue of public importance for the purposes of the balance standard, was an issue that was widely covered by the media, including by TVNZ. Balance is not achieved by a ‘stopwatch’ meaning broadcasters are not required to give equal time to alternative viewpoints. The lack of emphasis on Trump supporters and the Trump campaign in this particular item would not have left viewers uninformed and did not breach the balance standard, given the widespread coverage available including of Mr Trump’s campaign and supporters.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
Watson and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-151 (20 April 2021)
2020-151

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News, which reported on the results of a Colmar Brunton poll concerning party support and leader popularity, in comparison to a previous poll, without presenting the margin of error. The complaint alleged the broadcaster misrepresented the significance of the change in results by excluding the margin of error. The Authority found that polling is a speculative exercise and the public understands this, and the broadcast was unlikely to mislead.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Real Nappies Ltd and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-148 (31 March 2021)
2020-148

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on Fair Go dealing with the ‘flushability’ of nappy liners breached the accuracy, fairness, privacy and balance standards. The Authority found the programme was not inaccurate or misleading in suggesting the liners were not ‘flushable’. It found the complainant was not treated unfairly as a result of the broadcast of a recorded ‘cold call’ and the complainant’s views were fairly reflected in the programme. It also found there was no breach of privacy standards and the balance standard did not apply as the programme did not deal with a controversial issue of public importance.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness, Privacy, Balance

Decisions
Smith and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-145 (31 March 2021)
2020-145

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an episode of Shortland Street that included scenes of a man injecting another against his will, removing one of his organs, then drinking alcohol from a glass with a bloodied glove. In the context, including the programme’s nature, classification and intended audience, the Authority found the episode was unlikely to have caused widespread undue offence or distress, or undue harm to child viewers.

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

Decisions
Ancel and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-112 (16 March 2021)
2020-112

A 1 News item reported on studies showing an increase in emperor penguin numbers in the Antarctic, followed by ‘a word of caution’ about the danger posed to the penguin population by climate change. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the second part of the piece, which included a forecast that the global population of emperor penguins could decrease by half by the end of this century, was based on ‘unproven science’. Considering, in particular, the subject matter, language and manner of presentation, the Authority found viewers were likely to interpret the comments and predictions as analysis or opinion to which the accuracy standard does not apply. Given the wide social acceptance of the existence and predicted impacts of climate change, the Authority did not consider the item discussed a ‘controversial issue’. Therefore the balance standard and the requirement to present alternative viewpoints did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance

Decisions
Foster and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-121 (16 March 2021)
2020-121

An item on 1 News (sourced from the BBC) reported on the impact of sea ice decline on polar bears, including a statement by the reporter, ‘At the current rate of warming, the researchers say all but a few polar bear populations will collapse before 2100.’ The complainant alleged climate change was not threatening polar bears as reported in the item. The Authority found the broadcaster was entitled to rely on internationally reputable sources in the report and had made ‘reasonable efforts’ as required by the accuracy standard. Reporting on the predicted future impact of declining sea ice on polar bear survival as shown in studies did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue, so the balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Programme Information

Decisions
Frazer and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-147 (16 March 2021)
2020-147

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the leaders’ debate between Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Hon Judith Collins breached broadcasting standards. The programme carried a high level of public interest. Both debate participants were senior politicians who had a clear understanding of the nature of their participation in the debate and were given fair opportunity to respond to the questions raised.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and denigration, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
PK and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-149 (16 March 2021)
2020-149

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a 1 News item reference to a New Conservative Party policy of ‘repealing gay marriage’ was inaccurate. The Authority found the statement was not inaccurate or misleading, in light of the party’s advertised marriage policy.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
White and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-130 (9 March 2021)
2020-130

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News which reported on the shooting of Jacob Blake by police and the subsequent protests that occurred. The complainant argued the item included false statements, and omitted relevant background information about the incident and about Mr Blake. The Authority found the statements made were not materially inaccurate and were unlikely to mislead viewers in the context, given the wide coverage and commentary available at the time. The Authority also found the omitted background information was not material to the matters reported. The Authority found the balance and fairness standards did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
McKane and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-118 (9 March 2021)
2020-118

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the use of exclamations including ‘oh my God’, ‘holy crap’ and ‘bloody’ in an episode of House Rules, broadcast at 7.30pm, breached the good taste and decency standard. In this context, the language used would not have caused audiences undue offence or harm and it was not beyond what viewers would reasonably expect from the programme.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
McInroe and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-128 (9 March 2021)
2020-128

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a news report covering the US Democratic Convention breached standards by referring to then US President Donald Trump as ‘Trump’ or ‘Donald Trump’ rather than with the title ‘President’. The broadcast was fair to Mr Trump, considering his position and profile as a politician and public figure. It was not misleading to refer to Mr Trump as ‘Donald Trump’ and the report was unlikely to cause widespread offence. The discrimination and denigration standard did not apply to Mr Trump as an individual.

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

Decisions
Frewen and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-146B (9 March 2021)
2020-146B

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview on Q+A, broadcast on TVNZ 1, with the Rt Hon Winston Peters, which included questions about the Government’s COVID-19 response, leaking of information regarding the ‘Green School’ funding, New Zealand First Party funding, the Serious Fraud Office investigation into the New Zealand First Foundation and a tax-payer funded trip of Mr Peters’ two friends to Antarctica. The complainant argued the interview breached the fairness standard because the broadcaster did not give Mr Peters notice of his proposed contribution regarding the various topics raised. The Authority found the wide-ranging and robust questioning was within the scope of what could be expected for a high profile and senior political figure like Mr Peters on matters of significant public interest in the lead up to a general election.

Not Upheld: Fairness

Decisions
Dick and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-139 (9 March 2021)
2020-139

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment on Breakfast in which co-host John Campbell used the word ‘dick’ three times in reference to Donald Trump Jr. The complaint was that this pejorative use of the term ‘dick’ denigrated those, including vulnerable children, with the surname ‘Dick’, and subjected them to ridicule. The Authority acknowledged people with that surname may be more sensitive to its use in general, in broadcasting. However, it found Mr Campbell was referring specifically to Donald Trump Jr and most viewers would have interpreted it as meaning ‘a stupid or contemptible person’ – a widely understood and generally acceptable use of the term. On this basis, the Authority found the broadcast was unlikely to cause widespread offence to the general audience, or harm to children. The Authority was not persuaded people with the surname ‘Dick’ constitute a recognised section of the community to which the discrimination and denigration standard applies but, in any event, found the broadcast did not encourage discrimination or denigration of those people.

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

Decisions
KS and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-135 (9 February 2021)
2020-135

The Authority declined to determine a complaint about the use of te reo Māori across a number of TVNZ broadcasts. Te reo Māori is an official New Zealand language. Its use is a matter of editorial discretion appropriately determined by broadcasters. The Authority declined to determine the complaint because the use of te reo Māori does not raise any issue of broadcasting standards.

Declined to Determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989, in all the circumstances): Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness

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
Walker and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-093 (28 January 2021)
2020-093

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a 1 News item covering the resignation of David Clark as Minister of Health misrepresented the complainant’s views in breach of the accuracy standard. The complainant was shown in a series of vox-pops with members of the public in Dunedin (Mr Clark’s electorate). He complained his comments were taken out of context and shown in response to a different question than the one he was asked. The Authority acknowledged the item did not make clear the particular question the vox-pop participants were responding to, which had the effect of misrepresenting the complainant’s views. However taking the item as a whole, the general audience were unlikely to be significantly misinformed at a level justifying regulatory intervention.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Cable and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-110 (21 December 2020)
2020-110

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment on 1 News in which reporter Maiki Sherman interviewed the Hon Nick Smith about the National Party blocking a proposal to enable Māori to switch more easily between the general electoral roll and Māori electoral roll. The complainant submitted Ms Sherman was aggressive and interrupted Mr Smith and her attitude was racist. The Authority found Mr Smith was not treated unfairly given, in particular, his experience as a politician and the public interest in the issue discussed. Regarding balance, Mr Smith had an opportunity to present his views on the issue and a range of perspectives were presented in the broadcast. The discrimination and denigration standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Fairness, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration

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