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Ong and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-086 (13 October 2021)

An item on RNZ’s Midday Report covering reports of violence against protesters at Kennedy Point Marina included interviews with a protester, and the developer of the site. The Authority has not upheld a complaint the item breached the balance and fairness standards. The Authority found the item presented a reasonable range of perspectives and developer Kitt Littlejohn was given a fair and reasonable opportunity to present his point of view. Given the level of public interest in the item, Mr Littlejohn, in his position, could reasonably expect the media’s scrutiny and the programme was unlikely to leave listeners with an unduly negative impression of him. Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness...

Jaspers and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-095 (19 April 2017)

Leigh Pearson declared a conflict of interest and did not participate in the determination of this complaint. Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on 1 News reported on the Labour Party’s ‘Ready for Work’ policy, which offered unemployed young people employment on the minimum wage in environmental and community projects for six months. The item reported that, according to Labour, the scheme would cost $60 million per year for 10,000 participants. However, the $60-million sum was actually ‘based on participants taking up the scheme for just four months, not the promised six’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item was based on inaccurate and unsubstantiated conclusions made by the reporter featured in the item, which was misleading and damaged the credibility of the Labour Party....

McCaughan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-166 (25 May 2021)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a news item reporting on the Rt Hon Winston Peters’ likelihood of not returning to Parliament after the General Election. The item did not discuss a controversial issue, so the balance standard did not apply. It was not unfair to Mr Peters, given his position as an elected public figure and experience dealing with the media. Coverage of political issues close to Election Day is not in itself a breach of broadcasting standards. Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness...

Maysmor and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-048 (21 July 2021)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about multiple images of needles and vaccinations being performed shown in two Newshub Live at 6pm items reporting on COVID-19. The Authority found the images were unlikely to cause widespread undue offence. There is a high public interest and value in news reporting about the vaccination programme. In the context of a news item, the images would not adversely affect child viewers. The balance standard did not apply. Not Upheld: Good taste and decency, Children’s interests, Balance...

Boyce and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-143 (16 February 2022)

The Authority has not upheld complaints about a press conference by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and comments by Professor Michael Baker regarding restrictions for persons who do not have a COVID-19 vaccination. It found the discrimination and denigration standard did not apply to either broadcast and the balance and law and order complaints were not upheld in respect of the second complaint. The interview with Professor Baker was clearly signalled as approaching the issue from his perspective and there has been widespread discussion in other media about whether restrictions on people that are unvaccinated are justified. The Authority found listeners were in a position to arrive at informed and reasoned opinions regarding this issue. It also found the broadcast did not encourage any illegal or antisocial activity. Not Upheld: Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance...

Sanders and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-021 (30 June 2017)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on 1 News reported on Prime Minister Bill English’s experience during Waitangi Day, including a phone call with the President of the United States of America, President Trump. During an introduction to the item, the newsreader referred to President Trump’s ‘anti-Muslim travel ban’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the newsreader’s statement was inaccurate and unbalanced. The focus of this item was not the precise terms of Executive Order 13679 or its implications, but rather Bill English’s experiences on his first Waitangi Day as Prime Minister, during which his phone discussion with President Trump took place. In this context, the newsreader’s shorthand description of the Order was acceptable. The Authority pointed out, however, that broadcasters should take care when adopting commonly used shorthand terms, as this may not always be sufficient to meet standards of accuracy....

WR and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-059 (26 October 2018)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ] The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment on The Project that discussed whether bystanders should step in if they see parents treating their children in a way they do not agree with. At the beginning of the segment the presenters described an incident in which a father (the complainant) allegedly disciplined his son by denying him afternoon tea. Another parent reported this to Oranga Tamariki, who later found no cause for action and dismissed the complaint. The complainant argued the segment omitted important details about the incident, and was unbalanced and unfair. The Authority acknowledged the significant effect these events have had on the complainant and his family....

Graf and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2019-071 (16 December 2019)

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that an interview on Morning Report with Martin Sellner, the leader of an Austrian far-right group, was unbalanced or misleading. Interviewer Corin Dann questioned Mr Sellner on the donation he had received from the alleged Mosque attacker and Mr Sellner’s choice to give some of the money to Victim Support, a charity assisting victims of the Mosque attacks. In response to other questions, Mr Sellner also provided some comment regarding his ideologies. During the interview, Mr Dann questioned whether Mr Sellner had a role in radicalising the alleged attacker and whether Mr Sellner felt any responsibility for the attacks. The Authority found that the balance standard was not breached considering the clear approach of the broadcast, focussing on the perspective of Mr Sellner, the introduction prior to the interview and Mr Dann’s questioning of Mr Sellner....

McGovern and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-050 (14 September 2020)

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that comments made by Paul Henry during Rebuilding Paradise with Paul Henry undermined the Director-General of Health’s directions regarding compliance with COVID-19 Alert-Level conditions. Mr Henry noted there were no new cases of COVID-19 on the day of broadcast and commented, ‘I don’t want Dr Ashley Bloomfield to threaten me and you with the “if New Zealanders aren’t good at Level 3, they won’t get to Level 2” warning. I realise people think he walks on water, but I don’t. …Obedience in the population is the job of the police and, god help us, the reluctant [Police] Commissioner’. Noting the importance of the right to freedom of expression and that Mr Henry was clearly giving his views on a topic of high public interest, the Authority found no actual or potential harm that justified regulatory intervention....

Pascoe and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-085 (9 December 2020)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment of Newshub Nation which discussed the National Party’s top Members of Parliament (MPs) under then leader Todd Muller. In the segment, reporter Tova O’Brien asked ‘Why is it that all of these women do the mahi and then this dude gets the treat?’ The question referred to Mr Muller being rewarded as leader over his top three female MPs, Hon Nikki Kaye, Hon Amy Adams and Hon Judith Collins. The complaint was that reference to Mr Muller as ‘that dude’ was in bad taste, unbalanced, unfair and sexist. The Authority found the comment was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress as contemplated under the good taste and decency standard. The fairness standard was not breached as the comment would not have left the audience with an unduly negative impression of Mr Muller....

Grammer and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-070 (24 August 2021)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the accuracy and balance standards about an item discussing the impact of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (the HSNO Act) on medical research, particularly in the context of COVID-19 vaccines. The item contained opinions from three scientists, which were not subject to the factual accuracy requirement and were presented accurately. The item was not required to include detail about how the HSNO Act regulated outdoor use of genetic modification compared to medical or laboratory use, as this was not material to the broadcast. The item also contained differing views, so balance was achieved within the programme. Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance...

Erickson and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2022-129 (7 March 2023)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a 1 News segment on the Military’s bid to replace two 757 planes breached broadcasting standards. The complainant alleged statements – linking Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ‘hitching a ride’ on the Canadian Prime Minister’s VIP plane, with the ability and age of the Air Force’s 757s – breached the accuracy, balance, and fairness standards, due to the failure to include the Prime Minister’s full statement on why she caught the flight. The Authority found the broadcast was materially accurate, and the balance standard did not apply as the complainant’s concerns did not relate to a controversial issue of public importance. The broadcast was not unfair to Ardern.   Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness...

Kāinga Ora and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2023-007 (7 June 2023)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Morning Report and a summary bulletin that discussed complaints about Kāinga Ora tenants forcing people to leave their homes. Kāinga Ora complained it was not given an opportunity to comment on one of two situations discussed during the broadcast, which led to the item being unbalanced, and was unfair to the agency. Noting the issue, and numerous similar cases, had been discussed over a number of months in RNZ reporting, the Authority found it was not required in the interests of either balance or fairness for Kāinga Ora to be given a specific opportunity to comment in relation to that particular case. In any event, the Housing Minister’s response, which referred to Kāinga Ora treating complaints seriously and its updated processes for dealing with complaints, was adequate to address the issues raised. Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness...

Jennings and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2023-019 (14 June 2023)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint an item on Newshub Live at 6pm, reporting on a draft report by the Ministry for Primary Industries | Manatū Ahu Matua proposing to ban many events in the sport of rodeo, was unbalanced and unfair. While the complainant was concerned the item lacked ‘pro‑rodeo’ perspectives, the Authority found the item made reasonable efforts to present significant points of view in the item, noting audiences can be expected to be aware of pro-rodeo perspectives as part of ongoing media coverage. The fairness standard was not breached in respect of the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association (who were provided an opportunity to comment and were not otherwise treated unfairly) and did not apply in respect of other individuals or organisations named by the complainant given they were not referred to in the broadcast, as required by the standard. Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness...

Rolston and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2023-024 (26 July 2023)

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint an item on Newshub Live at 6pm breached the accuracy and balance standards, for including a statement linking the Auckland Anniversary floods to climate change. The complainant considered the broadcast should not have contained reference to climate change, and that climate change should not be presented as fact. Given the Authority has previously found the existence of climate change caused by humans is not a controversial issue of public importance for the purpose of the balance standard, and the accuracy standard is only concerned with material statements of fact, the Authority considered it appropriate to decline to determine the complaint. Declined to Determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989, in all the circumstances the complaint should not be determined): Accuracy, Balance...

Visions of a Helping Hand Charitable Trust and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2022-132 (9 August 2023)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint concerning a Sunday investigation report looking into issues with emergency housing in Rotorua, and a follow-up item on 1 News. The majority of the Sunday broadcast focused on allegations against the largest contracted emergency housing provider in Rotorua, Visions of a Helping Hand (Visions), and its contracted security company Tigers Express Security Ltd – both led by CEO/Director Tiny Deane. Visions complained the broadcast was unbalanced, misleading, and unfair to Visions, Tigers Express Security and Deane. Noting the very high public interest and value in the story overall, the Authority found most of Visions’ concerns with the broadcast could have been addressed had it provided a substantive response to the reporter on the issues raised – who had made numerous attempts over more than a month to obtain comment from Visions and Deane....

Hutt and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2023-040 (12 September 2023)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an episode of The Feed discussing issues faced by rainbow communities breached multiple standards. The complaint alleged the programme, which was aimed at children, was one-sided in favour of the ‘trans lifestyle’ and did not include balancing content about the ‘heterosexual lifestyle’, and accordingly amounted to illegal gender reassignment therapy or grooming. The Authority found the programme content carried high value and public interest by raising and exploring issues and perspectives in relation to rainbow communities, and through promoting diversity and inclusion. It was satisfied the programme would not cause widespread offence or adversely affect children. The other standards either did not apply or were not breached. Not upheld: Offensive and Disturbing Content, Children’s Interests, Promotion of Illegal or Antisocial Behaviour, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness...

O’Brien and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2023-059 (3 October 2023)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint an item on 1 News, reporting on the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam in the region of Kherson, Ukraine, incorrectly attributed responsibility for the incident, and shelling of the region after the incident, to Russia. The Authority noted the broadcast did not state, either expressly or implicitly, who was responsible for the dam’s destruction. Further, while the Authority acknowledged the broadcast may have implied Russia was responsible for some shelling in the Kherson region, this suggestion was not inaccurate, and the broadcast did not state Russia shelled the region after the dam’s destruction. It accordingly found no breach of the accuracy standard. The remaining standards did not apply. Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness...

GS and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2023-090 (29 November 2023)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that it was inaccurate and unbalanced for an item on Newshub Live at 6pm to claim there are two main ways to teach literacy in New Zealand when there are several. The item concerned the National Party’s proposed policy to make ‘structured literacy’ the compulsory teaching method in New Zealand schools. The Authority found the simplified statement was materially accurate, and any technical inaccuracy in the description of literacy teaching methods would not have affected the audience’s understanding of the programme as a whole. In the context of a brief news item, focused on National Party policy, the Authority also considered the item to have included sufficient perspectives on the issue of literacy teaching methods. Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance...

Barnett and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-055 (10 October 2018)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a newsreader’s use of the term ‘rogue state’ in the introduction to a news item, referring to North Korea. The item reported on the resumption of peace talks between the leaders of the United States and North Korea, and segued into an investigation about the effects of economic sanctions on the people of North Korea. The complaint was that using the term was biased and lacked balance, and the term was better suited to describe the United States. In its decision the Authority noted that the term complained about was used only once, fleetingly, in the newsreader’s introduction and would not have affected viewers’ understanding of the item as a whole....

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