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Decisions
Garrett and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2019-079 (4 February 2020)
2019-079

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a segment on Morning Report about the release of the Department of Corrections’ strategy ‘Hōkai Rangi’, aimed at reducing the proportion of Māori in prisons, breached the balance standard. The broadcast included a pre-recorded interview with Corrections Minister, Hon Kelvin Davis, followed by a discussion between host Susie Ferguson and guests Sir Kim Workman and Julia Whaipooti about the issues for Māori in the corrections system and whether the strategy would help to address these. The following morning, the National Party’s Corrections spokesperson David Bennett was interviewed on Morning Report about why the National Party was critical of the strategy. The complaint was that the interview with Sir Kim and Ms Whaipooti was unbalanced and one-sided....

Decisions
Newton and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-137 (16 October 2020)
2020-137

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 was biased and unfair, and breached the fairness and balance standards. The Authority found the robust questioning was within the scope of what could be expected of a high profile and senior political figure like Mr Peters on matters of significant public interest in the lead up to a general election....

Decisions
Robertson and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-038 (22 August 2016)
2016-038

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on ONE News Tonight reported on a pro-rail rally in Whangarei, which occurred in reaction to KiwiRail’s decision to discontinue part of the North Rail Link. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item was unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair. The item included a variety of significant viewpoints on KiwiRail’s decision, and it did not imply that the Government’s or KiwiRail’s views on the issue were more valid than other views. In the context of a brief news report, the pro-rail rally was accurately conveyed, and no individual or organisation was identified by the complainant as being treated unfairly. Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, FairnessIntroduction[1] An item on ONE News Tonight reported on a pro-rail rally in Whangarei, which occurred in reaction to KiwiRail’s decision to discontinue part of the North Rail Link....

Decisions
Egan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-002 (2 June 2021)
2021-002

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview on Newshub Nation, featuring electrical engineer and Pike River Mine researcher, Richard Healey. Mr Healey commented on his claims of ‘new crucial evidence’ the miners could have survived the explosions and of the existence of a pipeline which could be used to recover more evidence. The complaint alleged Mr Healey’s claims were speculative and unsupported by evidence, were not challenged by the host and caused emotional harm to the victims’ families. The Authority acknowledged the sensitivity of the matters discussed, which also carried a high degree of public interest. It found the broadcast clearly presented Mr Healey’s claims as one theory and from a particular perspective. The wide range of information and coverage available over a long period of time since the original events reduced any risk of viewers being misled or significantly misinformed....

Decisions
Council of Licenced Firearms Owners Inc and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-038 (23 July 2018)
2018-038

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]During Breakfast, host Hayley Holt had a conversation with the 1 News US Correspondent about recent school protests in America seeking gun reform. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Ms Holt’s statement that ‘[w]e, I – here in New Zealand, we think they should ban all guns of course’ was unbalanced and likely to mislead viewers. The Authority found that Ms Holt’s statement was one of generalised opinion and analysis, not a statement of fact. The Authority also noted that this segment solely focused on gun control issues in the USA, not New Zealand, and in this context Ms Holt’s brief comment did not trigger the requirements of the balance standard. Not Upheld: Accuracy, BalanceIntroduction[1] During Breakfast, host Hayley Holt had a conversation with the 1 News US Correspondent about recent school protests in America seeking gun reform....

Decisions
Spring and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-072 (6 September 2021)
2021-072

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint regarding a news item which included a quote from Liz Cheney calling Donald Trump’s claims that he had won the 2020 US Election ‘dangerous lies’. The complainant was concerned about RNZ referring to some politicians as liars but not others. The Authority found the content of the complaint did not relate to the substance of the broadcast, and was not capable of being properly determined by a complaints procedure. Declined to Determine: Programme Information, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989)...

Decisions
Laroche & Breed and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-132 (20 December 2021)
2021-132

The Authority has declined to determine two complaints under various standards, including discrimination and denigration, about an item on Seven Sharp on 28 September 2021. The item reported on employment issues relating to the COVID-19 vaccine. Following an interview with an employment lawyer, the presenters discussed a hypothetical dinner party where a guest turned out to be unvaccinated. The complainants were concerned about the treatment of people that were not vaccinated, who do not amount to a relevant section of society for the purposes of the discrimination and denigration standard. The remainder of the complaint reflected the complainants’ personal views and/or was unrelated to the broadcast. In all the circumstances (including scientific consensus around the safety of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic), the Authority considered it should not determine the complaints....

Decisions
Lerner and New Zealand Media and Entertainment - 2016-039 (25 July 2016)
2016-039

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]During an editorial segment on KPMG Early Edition, host Rachel Smalley discussed the standing down of British Labour MP Naz Shah after accusations of anti-Semitism. Ms Smalley went on to question why criticism of Israel is often viewed as criticism of the Jewish faith, referring to comments she made during a broadcast in 2014 which were critical of Israel and the ‘abuse’ she received in response. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that Ms Smalley’s reference to her previous comments was misleading – partly because she did not refer to the Authority’s finding that one of her previous statements was inaccurate – and that the item was unbalanced....

Decisions
Boswell and Television New Zealand - 2016-073 (19 January 2017)
2016-073

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]Various items on Breakfast featured a weather reporter providing weather forecasts from Airbnb accommodation, as part of a competition for viewers to win Airbnb vouchers. During the items, the reporter interviewed three New Zealanders who rented out their accommodation through Airbnb, as well as an Airbnb representative, about the service. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that these items failed to cover key information about Airbnb, resulting in inaccurate and unbalanced broadcasts that were also in breach of the law and order standard. The items were in the nature of advertorials, being programme content that was not news, current affairs, or factual programming to which the accuracy and balance standards applied....

Decisions
Cowan and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-058 (21 September 2017)
2017-058

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on Newshub reported on the Government’s upcoming review of KiwiRail’s operational and funding models. The item featured interviews with Transport Minister, Simon Bridges, NZ First leader, Winston Peters, and Prime Minister Bill English. The reporter commented that KiwiRail had been a ‘black hole’ for tax payers and ‘a giant problem for this Government’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item was unbalanced and unfair to KiwiRail. Given the nature of the item, which was a straightforward news report about the Government’s proposed review, viewers would not have expected to be provided with information about the historic benefits of rail or the history of KiwiRail. The Authority also found that, although the reporter’s use of language could be considered critical, the item did not result in KiwiRail being treated unfairly....

Decisions
Brill and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-028 (18 June 2018)
2018-028

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]Two items on 1 News reported on extreme weather events in New Zealand, with an item on 8 January 2018 focused on the release of NIWA’s 2017 Annual Report and a 12 January 2018 item reporting on clean-up efforts on the West Coast, following torrential rain and flooding. Brief references were made during these items to the impacts of climate change in New Zealand and particularly on extreme weather events. The Authority did not uphold complaints that these items were inaccurate and unbalanced because climate change was not occurring in New Zealand and the number and intensity of extreme weather events was also not increasing....

Decisions
End-of-Life Choice Society NZ and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-094 (1 October 2020)
2020-094

The End-of-Life Choice Society NZ (EOLCS) complained about an item on The Project which included an interview with the author of the book, The Final Choice, in the lead-up to the binding End of Life Choice referendum. EOLCS was concerned that the interview portrayed the book as ‘an independent assessment of the issue’, which was biased and inaccurate. The Authority noted its role is limited to applying the relevant broadcasting standards and guidelines and determining whether any harm was caused which outweighed the right to freedom of expression; it is not the Authority’s role to determine whether the author is ‘independent’, or her personal view on the topic....

Decisions
Garbutt and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-140 (9 March 2021)
2020-140

A complaint about an interview between Susie Ferguson and Hon Judith Collins regarding issues which arose in the preceding day’s Leaders’ Debate was not upheld. Given the level of public interest in the interview and Ms Collins’ position and experience with the media, the Authority also found Ms Ferguson’s interview style did not result in Ms Collins being treated unfairly. Given the framing and structure of the interview, there was no lack of balance. The question about Ms Collins’ motivations for praying (and her photograph being taken) in a chapel was not likely to encourage the different treatment, or devalue the reputation, of Christians. The accuracy standard did not apply as the relevant statements were comment, analysis or opinion. Not Upheld: Fairness, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy...

Decisions
Wakeman and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2022-057 (31 August 2022)
2022-057

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that two items on 1 News concerning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine breached the balance, accuracy, discrimination and denigration, and fairness standards. The first item reported on possible war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine, and the second on New Zealand providing further financial and military aid to Ukraine. The Authority found the broadcaster made reasonable efforts to present significant points of view in the items, and the accuracy standard was not breached. While the complainant was concerned the broadcasts discriminated against Russian people, the Authority found the broadcasts did not refer to Russian people generally, and rather referred to the Russian government or its military. The fairness standard did not apply. Not upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness...

Decisions
Parlane and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-023 (16 June 2017)
2017-023

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on Checkpoint discussed the return of a child after she went missing off the coast of New Zealand with her father. Extensive media coverage reported that the pair had sailed to Australia on a catamaran and that the family was involved in a custody dispute, with proceedings pending under the Care of Children Act 2004. The item aired after the child had been located and featured an interview with the child’s mother, who discussed her fears for her daughter’s safety, and their reunion. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this item breached the child’s privacy and treated her unfairly. The information discussed during the interview was in the public domain at the time of broadcast, and the topic was treated sensitively and respectfully by the interviewer....

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

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....

Decisions
New Zealand Defence Force and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-024 (15 July 2021)
2021-024

The Authority has not upheld a complaint from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) about an interview with Nicky Hager discussing the results of an Australian enquiry into its Defence Force and the implications for the NZDF. The Authority noted the high public interest in the broadcast and found that as it was clearly coming from Mr Hager’s perspective and other news bulletins signalled other views, the balance standard was not breached. The broadcast was not unfair to the NZDF. It is a government agency that can reasonably expect public scrutiny. In addition, comment from the Defence Minister was sought and included in later news bulletins. Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness...

Decisions
Barron and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2022-009 (11 April 2022)
2022-009

A segment on Sunday Morning interviewed Dr Maxime Taquet to discuss his research on long COVID. The complaint was the segment breached the accuracy, balance and discrimination and denigration standards as it (amongst other reasons) portrayed long COVID as a psychological rather than a neurological disorder. The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding the broadcast did not imply long COVID was a psychological disorder. It also did not breach the balance or discrimination and denigration standards as the broadcast clearly signalled it was presenting Dr Taquet’s views and did not discriminate against, or denigrate, people affected with long COVID. Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Shore and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-064 (16 November 2017)
2017-064

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]During a sports news segment on Breakfast, the sports presenter was discussing American golfer Jordan Spieth’s victory at the British Open Championship. At the end of the segment the presenter remarked, ‘Yeah, they don’t have very good humour the British, do they? They probably didn’t get [Mr Spieth’s] speech. ’ A complaint was made that this comment was ‘racist and untrue’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding the comment was not malicious and was unlikely to cause widespread offence, therefore any potential harm caused by the broadcast did not outweigh the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy  Introduction[1] During a sports news segment on Breakfast, the sports presenter discussed American golfer Jordan Spieth’s victory at the British Open Championship....

Decisions
Brenner and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2019-029 (6 November 2019)
2019-029

A complaint that Malcolm Brenner was treated unfairly when interviewed for a segment on Dom, Meg and Randell about his previous sexual relationship with a dolphin has been upheld. MediaWorks interviewed Mr Brenner about his relationship with a dolphin but ultimately decided not to broadcast the interview in full. They did however broadcast a small segment of the interview in which one of the hosts called Mr Brenner ‘sick’ and stormed out of the interview. The Authority found that Mr Brenner was treated unfairly and was not adequately informed about the nature of his participation in the broadcast. In particular, he was misled into thinking a four minute version of the interview would be broadcast (rather than only the brief segment including the host’s reaction to him), when the final broadcast had already occurred....

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