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Decisions
McDonald and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-005 (25 May 2021)
2021-005

The Authority did not uphold an accuracy complaint about a Newshub item describing a storm in Australia as a ‘one in 100 year storm’. The statement was a technical point unlikely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the item as a whole.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
McCaughan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-165 (25 May 2021)
2020-165

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the phrase ‘pissed off’ in the opening to a news item breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The phrase was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or cause specific harm to a child audience.

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

Decisions
Povey and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-173 (25 May 2021)
2020-173

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that various 1 News items referring to Joe Biden as the ‘president-elect’ before confirmation by the United States Electoral College breached the balance, accuracy and fairness standards. The Authority found this was a technical distinction that would not have altered viewers’ overall understanding of the items, therefore it was not a ‘material’ point of fact for the purposes of the accuracy standard. To the extent the items touched on the outcome of the United States election, which in some circumstances may amount to a controversial issue of public importance triggering the balance standard, the Authority was satisfied the standard was not breached taking into account the perspectives acknowledged within the items as well as in a wide range of other coverage both by TVNZ and media generally. The Authority also found the items did not result in any unfairness to President Donald Trump.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Andrews & Murray and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-153 (13 May 2021)
2020-153

A number of news bulletins on Morning Report reported findings from fact-checking group First Draft about political spending on Facebook advertising in the lead-up to the 2020 General Election and referendums. Two complaints alleged the bulletins inaccurately reported pro-cannabis group Make It Legal NZ had misleading ads removed from Facebook. The Authority did not uphold the complaints, finding although the morning bulletins were misleading and the broadcaster did not make reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of those reports, a later news bulletin during Midday Report was sufficient to clarify and correct the misleading impression created earlier. The Authority also found Make It Legal was not treated unfairly, as it is a lobby group that could reasonably expect a level of public scrutiny, and it was given a fair and reasonable opportunity to respond to the morning news items.  

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Gibbs and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-156 (28 April 2021)
2020-156

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Morning Report which briefly discussed soil contamination at, and the possible repurposing of, a chemical plant site in Paritutu, New Plymouth. The complainant, an interviewee on the broadcast, argued the item misrepresented likely contamination levels by citing test results from outside of the plant site, and through a comment that the site was cleaner than that at Mapua. The Authority found the statements complained about either were not materially inaccurate, or were clearly distinguishable as opinion, to which the requirement for factual accuracy does not apply. The broadcast was unlikely to mislead listeners. The balance and fairness standards either did not apply or were not breached.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Julian and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-152 (20 April 2021)
2020-152

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item summarising latest election poll results on Newshub breached the accuracy standard. The standard applies only to statements of fact, and the statements in question were clearly distinguishable as news analysis.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

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
Morton and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-150 (20 April 2021)
2020-150

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a question during a social welfare debate on Morning Report suggesting an ACT Party policy ‘smacks of eugenics’. In the context it was not outside audience expectations for Morning Report and political debate. It would not have caused widespread offence. The complaint did not raise any issues under the balance standard. The question was comment and analysis, to which the accuracy standard does not apply. Ms McKee and the ACT Party were treated fairly in the context of the debate.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

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
Wilding and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-161 (20 April 2021)
2020-161

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a comment by Mark Richardson on The Project regarding the Green Party and its responsibility for the protection of native trees. The statement was an opinion not subject to the accuracy standard, and was not unfair to the Green Party. The programme information standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness, Programme Information

Decisions
Wright and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-143 (20 April 2021)
2020-143

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a Newshub Nation item reporting poll results on support for Auckland Central constituency candidates was misleading, as it excluded undecided voters. The Authority found the results were not inaccurate or misleading in the context of the whole item. There was lengthy discussion that followed concerning the poll results and the views of each of the candidates, and at the end of the item, the reporter advised more than 20% of voters still had not decided which candidate to support. Overall, the Authority did not find actual or potential harm that justified regulatory intervention or limiting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

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
Markula and Mediaworks Radio Ltd - 2020-144 (31 March 2021)
2020-144

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview between Magic Talk host Ryan Bridges and World Health Organisation Special Envoy Dr David Nabarro. The complainant argued the interview contained inaccurate information about Sweden’s approach to COVID-19 and mask wearing, and inaccurately suggested Dr Nabarro advocated New Zealand adopt Sweden’s approach. The Authority found the relevant statements were comment, analysis or opinion to which the accuracy standard does not apply. It also concluded they were not materially inaccurate or misleading in the context of the interview. The standards of good taste and decency, balance and fairness either did not apply or were not breached.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency, Balance, Fairness

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
Swatch and Radio Virsa - 2020-012 / 2020-059 (31 March 2021)
2020-012 / 2020-059

The Authority declined to determine two complaints as they did not raise any issues of broadcasting standards that warrant a determination.

Decline to determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 – in all the circumstances): Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy

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 Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-125 (16 March 2021)
2020-125

An item on RNZ’s Midday Report reported ‘Scientists warn polar bears may become extinct by the end of the century because of climate change.’ The complainant alleged climate change was not threatening polar bears as reported in the item. The Authority found the statements in the item were clearly framed as predictions, and attributed as being the scientists’ view. Therefore, they were analysis and opinion (rather than statements of fact) and the accuracy standard did not apply. 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
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
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

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