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Newton-Wade & Nick Wilson and NZME Radio Ltd - 2022-116 (27 February 2023)
2022-116

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the action taken by NZME in response to a breach of the fairness standard during an episode of Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive was insufficient. The complaint related to an interview with a 16-year-old climate activist about the Schools Strike for Climate movement, and the group’s key demands. During the interview, the interviewee admitted she had recently travelled to Fiji, despite one of the group’s demands being a ban on ‘unnecessary air travel’. This resulted in the host hysterically laughing at, and teasing the interviewee for over a minute. The broadcaster conceded in light of the interviewee’s age and potential vulnerability, the segment breached the fairness standard. The Authority determined it too would have found a breach of the fairness standard, but in the circumstances considered the action taken by the broadcaster was sufficient to address the breach....

Decisions
Miliša and NZME Radio Ltd - 2022-014 (11 April 2022)
2022-014

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the statement ‘a review has found that the deaths of the two people who were isolating at home in Auckland with COVID were both preventable’ when the finding was that the deaths were ‘potentially preventable’. This would not have materially mislead listeners, noting the interviewee featured after these introductory comments stated the deaths were ‘potentially preventable’ and provided context and detail about the review. Not Upheld: Accuracy...

Decisions
Jones and NZME Radio Ltd - 2022-019 (26 April 2022)
2022-019

The Authority has found a statement on Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive breached the accuracy standard. During the programme, the host discussed advice to Aucklanders to stay away from regions in New Zealand over the summer due to the vulnerability of communities with lower vaccination rates. The Authority found it was misleading to only mention the vaccination rate of the Bay of Plenty region when talking specifically about Ōpōtiki, which had a lower vaccination rate than the region as a whole. Where the host was contradicting advice from local authorities about the risks associated with visiting certain areas over the summer, it was important to provide listeners with the correct information. The Authority noted the host could have contextualised the comments more clearly, and the vaccination rates for Ōpōtiki were available on the same government site as the DHB rates. Upheld: Accuracy Not Upheld: Balance No Order...

Decisions
Ffowcs-Williams and NZME Radio Ltd - 2023-092 (31 January 2024)
2023-092

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that action taken by NZME Radio Ltd was insufficient, after the broadcaster upheld a complaint under the discrimination and denigration standard about the use of the phrase ‘you’d have to be on the spectrum’ on Newstalk ZB’s Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive programme. As part of a discussion about the ‘political week that was’, political reporter Barry Soper commented, ‘you would have to be on the spectrum to go out there and vote for them [Te Pāti Māori]’, which the complainant considered was discriminatory towards people with autism. The Authority found the broadcaster’s decision to uphold the complaint, apologise to the complainant, and counsel du Plessis-Allan and Soper on the importance of considering the potential offence and impact of comments on sections of the community, was sufficient in the circumstances. Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration (Action Taken)...

Decisions
Newton and NZME Radio Ltd - 2022-076 (19 October 2022)
2022-076

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the discrimination and denigration standard in relation to comments about a celebrity dining at an Indian restaurant on Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive. The complaint alleged comments made by the host were racist, including questioning how a $97,000 bill could be possible at an Indian restaurant and questioning the choice to go there. The Authority acknowledged the comments had the potential to cause offence, but found they did not meet the high threshold required for a breach of the standard.   Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Tamihere and NZME Radio Ltd - 2022-095 (22 November 2022)
2022-095

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive regarding MPs being infected with COVID-19 and mask-wearing breached multiple broadcasting standards. The Authority found the host’s comment that she would rather get COVID-19 than wear a mask all day was unlikely to seriously violate community standards of taste and decency. The comment did not relate to a recognised section of the community as contemplated by the discrimination and denigration standard or reach a threshold necessary to constitute discrimination or denigration. Nor did the broadcast ‘discuss’ a controversial issue of public importance as required for the balance standard to apply, and the comment at issue was an opinion to which the accuracy standard did not apply and which was unlikely to mislead the audience. Not Upheld: Offensive and Disturbing Content, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy...