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Decisions
Donald and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-033 (2 August 2021)
2021-033

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Seven Sharp in which Hilary Barry made comments about the safety of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine and about ‘anti-vaxxers’, including suggesting those who do not want to be vaccinated could ‘jump on a ferry and go to the Auckland Islands for a few years, and then when we’ve got rid of COVID-19…come back’. The complaint alleged these comments breached the good taste and decency, discrimination and denigration, balance, accuracy and fairness standards, by suggesting the safety of the vaccine was almost without question, and denigrating those with a different view. The Authority found Ms Barry’s comments were unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress or undermine widely shared community standards. It found the broadcast did not address a controversial issue so the balance standard did not apply. The fairness, discrimination and denigration and accuracy standards also did not apply or were not breached.

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

Decisions
Family First New Zealand and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-046 (2 August 2021)
2021-046

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about four items on Morning Report covering an open letter to Government calling for ‘a major overhaul of the drug laws’. The Authority found the items did not breach the balance standard, as, while they discussed a controversial issue of public importance to which the balance standard applied, a reasonable range of perspectives were included, particularly given they were reporting on the publication of the open letter. In the context of items covering a challenge to the status quo, and when debate around drug reform is an ongoing issue in New Zealand, it was unlikely that listeners would have been left uninformed or unaware there were other perspectives on this issue.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
Hector & Casey and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-052 (2 August 2021)
2021-052

Two complaints about a report on ‘explosive scenes at Parliament’ including a comment from Willow Jean Prime MP that statements from the National Party ‘really sound[ed] like “she asked for it, her skirt was too short. She was drunk”’ were not upheld. The Authority found the omission of Ms Prime’s subsequent withdrawal of the statement was not material to the story, and her specific comment was opinion to which the accuracy standard does not apply. The balance standard did not apply as the statement did not concern a controversial issue of public importance, and there was no unfairness to the National Party.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness, Balance

Decisions
Mosen and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-044 (2 August 2021)
2021-044

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Morning Report including an interview between reporter Phil Pennington and Minister for the Environment Hon David Parker, regarding toxic waste contamination at Tiwai Point. During the interview Mr Parker described himself as being ‘blind’ on the state of contamination at Tiwai Point. In the introduction to the interview, presenter Susie Ferguson referred to this comment, and in the course of examining Mr Parker’s awareness of the issue Mr Pennington queried it twice. The complainant submitted the use of ‘blind’ in this way denigrated people who are blind as it equated blindness with ignorance. The Authority found the use of ‘blind’ in this context did not meet the high threshold required to find a breach of the discrimination and denigration standard.  

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Mulgan & Winkler and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-032 (2 August 2021)
2021-032

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News that discussed ‘growing calls’ for New Zealand’s right to silence laws to be urgently changed. The complaint was the item failed to present the views of the many authorities who support the status quo, or include relevant historical context, and used unduly emotive language to advance an unbalanced narrative. The Authority noted the balance standard allows for significant viewpoints to be presented over time, within the period of current interest, and does not require every programme to canvass all significant views on a particular topic. It found there was extensive coverage around the time of the broadcast that provided a range of views and information on the right to silence in cases of child abuse. It also found the broadcast approached this issue from a particular perspective and did not purport to be a balanced examination. In the context, the Authority found the broadcast did not breach the balance standard.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
Right to Life New Zealand and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-054 (2 August 2021)
2021-054

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about coverage on The AM Show of proposed changes to safe zones around abortion clinics. The statements alleged to be inaccurate were comment, opinion or analysis, to which the accuracy standard does not apply. The balance standard did not apply as the separate news bulletins did not amount to a discussion; and in any event, differing perspectives from Abortion Rights Aotearoa and Voice for Life NZ were included. The fairness standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Wightman and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-060 (2 August 2021)
2021-060

The Authority has not upheld a privacy complaint about an item covering ‘an early morning street brawl’. The complainant was briefly shown in the item speaking to police at the scene of the brawl. The Authority found that while the complainant was identifiable, the item did not disclose any private information over which she had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Not Upheld: Privacy

Decisions
Bell & Wolters and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-036 (21 July 2021)
2021-036

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about Mike Hosking’s statement on Mike Hosking Breakfast that the Duchess of Sussex was a ‘shallow, self-absorbed, attention-seeking, woke bandwagon-riding hussy’. The Authority found it was not likely to cause widespread, undue offence in the context. Although the discrimination and denigration standard applied, as the word ‘hussy’ may refer to and reflect upon women as a section of society, the comments did not meet the threshold justifying regulatory intervention.

Not upheld: Good taste and decency, discrimination and denigration

Decisions
Climie and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-017 (21 July 2021)
2021-017

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News that reported a third marine heatwave in four years in Auckland and Northland. It described the causes of the heatwave in terms of subtropical winds and global warming, and its consequences in terms of sea level rises and ocean acidification, and included comments from local experts. The complaint was that the broadcast misled viewers to believe the higher ocean temperatures in Northland and Auckland were due principally to climate change and the warming effects were global (when actually the heatwave was driven by a natural climate event, occurring locally). The Authority found the broadcaster made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy, including reliance on authoritative experts, and the broadcast was unlikely to mislead viewers.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Grimwood and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-018 (21 July 2021)
2021-018

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about RNZ’s election night broadcast. During a discussion about the likely make-up of the incoming government based on preliminary election results, one guest commentator remarked that climate change was ‘not a “technical” portfolio, it’s an existential crisis’, to which the host said, ‘yeah okay, I’m not going to get into that now’. The complaint was that this breached the balance standard on the basis climate change was of fundamental relevance to, and should have been the focus of, a discussion about the future of politics and elected representatives. The Authority found this was a matter of editorial discretion and did not raise issues under the balance standard, in the context.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
Higgins and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-22 (21 July 2021)
2021-022

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that use of the phrase ‘how the hell’ in an item on Breakfast breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found the use of the word would not have caused widespread undue offence or distress or undermined widely shared community values.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Kane and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-031 (21 July 2021)
2021-031

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about comments made by Jack Tame during his morning show including the statement ‘Māori don’t just deserve special treatment, but are contractually guaranteed a form of special treatment under the Treaty’. The Authority found, in context, the comment amounted to analysis to which the accuracy standard does not apply. The comment was not the focus of the discussion, and an opinion-based segment such as this is not required to provide alternate perspectives under the balance standard. The remaining standards did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness

Decisions
Maharey and Television New Zealand Limited - 2021-040 (21 July 2021)
2021-040

The Authority has not upheld a complaint a Sunday feature about sexually explicit social media sites breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. In the context, particularly noting the public interest value of the feature, audience expectations, and nature of the programme, the Authority considered the broadcast was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence, or undermine widely shared community standards. The Authority found the content did not go beyond what the audience could reasonably expect of the programme, and the introduction was sufficient to signpost the type of content to be expected.

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

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

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

Decisions
Oluwole and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-023 (21 July 2021)
2021-023

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about comments made by a caller on Newstalk ZB’s Tim Roxborogh show. The caller was explaining why he ‘fell out of love with Cuba’ and expressing disbelief that a place so close to the United States could be characterised by what he described as ‘poverty and the sheer nothingness of everything’, also saying, ‘you’re not in Africa… you are 90 miles from America’. The complaint was that this remark equated the entire African continent and its people with poverty, was discriminatory, and was not challenged by the host. The Authority acknowledged the complainant’s concerns, but found the passing reference by a caller did not reach the high threshold for a breach of the discrimination and denigration standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Scarlett and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-043 (21 July 2021)
2021-043

In a Seven Sharp item, a presenter expressed his surprise by asking an interviewee ‘how the bejesus did a snake get into New Zealand’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint the item breached the good taste and decency standard. While acknowledging terms such as ‘Jesus’ and its variations like ‘bejesus’ may be offensive to some, the Authority found expressions of this nature used as exclamations, will not likely cause widespread undue offence or distress, or undermine widely shared community standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Stranaghan and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-041 (21 July 2021)
2021-041

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a broadcast on the criticism faced by London Police following their actions in stopping a vigil for murdered woman Sarah Everard, as participants were not abiding by the COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time. The Authority found the item was not unfair to the London Police Chief or the London Police. It did not actively encourage non-compliance or seriously undermine law and order. The balance standard was not applicable as the item did not amount to a ‘discussion’.

Not Upheld: Fairness, Law and Order, Balance

Decisions
Wilson and Discovery NZ - 2021-026 (21 July 2021)
2021-026

The Authority has not upheld a complaint a news item about sex workers and escorts opening up about their work on social media breached the good taste and decency, children’s interests and programme information standards. The Authority noted the public interest in the broadcast and considered the content was within audience expectations for the news. In this context, the Authority found the item was unlikely to cause widespread offence or undermine community standards. The Authority also found the introduction to the item was sufficient to inform viewers of the nature of the coverage, enabling them to adequately protect themselves and their children from the content by choosing not to watch.

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

Decisions
Collie and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-008 (15 July 2021)
2021-008

During Mike Hosking Breakfast on Newstalk ZB, Mike Yardley (standing in for Mr Hosking) briefly mentioned the flouting of COVID-19 rules by two named Sky News UK journalists and stated: ‘veteran journalist Adam Boulton is also involved in this’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint the broadcast breached the accuracy standard by misleading listeners to believe Mr Boulton was one of those who flouted the rules. The Authority acknowledged that, without further clarification, the broadcast may have created that impression. However in all the circumstances the potential harm in a New Zealand broadcasting context was not at a level justifying regulatory intervention.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Cant and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-030 (15 July 2021)
2021-030

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a 1 News item looking at the housing crisis on Waiheke Island. One affected resident who was interviewed said he ‘[felt] like a gypsy wandering around, living out of suitcases and boxes’. The complaint was that the use of the word ‘gypsy’ was derogatory and evokes prejudicial biases towards the Roma community. While the Authority has previously acknowledged the potential harm in the use of the word, in this particular context it did not outweigh the interviewee’s right to express himself and describe his experience. This expression and the item as a whole carried high value and public interest and did not warrant regulatory intervention or restricting the important right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

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