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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. The Authority also found, in the context, the interview did not undermine community standards of taste and decency.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
McDonald and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-004 (25 May 2021)
2021-004

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about a promo for Taranaki Hard. The Authority found the item was within audience expectations for a promo shown during an unclassified news programme. It did not actively promote or glamorise illegal behaviour nor was it likely to cause widespread undue offence or cause harm to children watching.

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

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

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

Decisions
Wilton and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-001 (25 May 2021)
2021-001

Warning: This decision contains language that some readers may find offensive.

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that use of the phrase ‘thank fucking Christ’ in an interview segment during the Aotearoa Music Awards breached the good taste and decency standard. In the context, particularly noting the timing of the broadcast, pre-broadcast warnings and public interest in the relevant segment, the Authority considered the programme unlikely to cause widespread undue offence, or distress, or to undermine widely shared community standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Poll and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-175 (28 April 2021)
2020-175

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that language used in Million Dollar Listing LA breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The programme was rated G and broadcast at 2.20pm on a Sunday. In the context, and given most of the words were censored and did not appear until the final five minutes of the 55-minute programme, overall it was unlikely to likely to cause widespread undue offence or distress, or undermine widely shared community standards. It was also unlikely to alarm or distress any children who were watching. The audible words did not go beyond what viewers would reasonably expect from the programme.

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

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
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
Vorwerk and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-158 (31 March 2021)
2020-158

The Authority declined to determine a complaint about the use of te reo Māori on Newshub Live at 6pm. Te reo Māori is an official New Zealand language. Its use is a matter of editorial discretion appropriately determined by broadcasters. The Authority declined to determine the complaint because the use of te reo Māori does not raise any issue of broadcasting standards.

Declined to Determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989, in all the circumstances): Balance

Decisions
Allison and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-142 (16 March 2021)
2020-124

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that use of the term ‘wanker’ was inappropriate and offensive in breach of the good taste and decency standard. Taking into account the relevant contextual factors, the use of the term was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence, or undermine widely shared community standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Hoare and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-136 (9 March 2021)
2020-136

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Newshub Live at 6pm, in which Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall fund was described as ‘essentially his private slush fund’. The complaint was that this description was inaccurate and suggested illegal practices. In the context, given the public’s general understanding of ‘slush fund’, and the discretionary nature of the Duchy of Cornwall fund, the Authority found the use of the term was not inaccurate or misleading. The Authority also found this term did not undermine widely held community standards, and the balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency, Balance

Decisions
Fransen and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-122 (9 March 2021)
2020-122

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the repetitive use of ‘fuck’ in an episode of 7 Days broadcast at 8.30pm, breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. In this context, the language used would not have caused audiences undue offence or harm and it was not beyond what viewers would reasonably expect from the programme. The programme was adequately signposted to enable audiences to protect children.

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

Decisions
The New Zealand Forest Owners Association Inc and Discovery TV Ltd - 2020-111 (24 February 2021)
2020-111

The Authority has not upheld a complaint from the New Zealand Forest Owners Association regarding a two-part investigation into the impact of carbon farming and the Emissions Trading Scheme on rural communities, particularly around the East Coast. The items examined the shift from sheep, beef and dairy farming to forestry, particularly carbon farming, and interviewed locals as to their perspectives on the impact of this. The Authority found the period of interest relating to the issue discussed in the items was ongoing, and that balance was achieved with significant viewpoints presented in other coverage as well as within the pieces. The Authority also found they were not inaccurate as the broadcaster made reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of material points of fact. Other inaccuracies raised were not material, or were technical, unimportant points unlikely to mislead viewers.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

Decisions
Hector and Discovery NZ LTD - 2020-120 (9 February 2021)
2020-120

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an episode of The Project in which Jesse Mulligan presented his view on whether New Zealand should ‘be more like Sweden’ in responding to COVID-19. Mr Mulligan stated ‘[Sweden's] number of COVID cases is actually going up, the virus is not under control and although their deaths are down, they're seeing more infections every day’. Mr Mulligan’s statement was not materially inaccurate and was unlikely to mislead viewers in the context, including given the wealth of other coverage and commentary available. The potential harm did not outweigh the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Stein and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-096 (9 February 2021)
2020-096

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about a reference to ‘the heebies’ in a Newshub item canvassing reactions to Judith Collins’ appointment as leader of the National Party. The reporter asked then National MP Paula Bennett on camera, ‘Will this give Jacinda Ardern the heebies, do you reckon?’ The complainant argued the term could be interpreted as offensive slang for Jew. The Authority considered most viewers would have understood the term as common slang used to express a feeling of nervousness or anxiety, rather than embedding derogatory connotations about Jewish people as a section of the community. Given the ambiguity around the term’s origins, it found its use in the context was unlikely to encourage discrimination or denigration, or threaten community standards of taste and decency.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
McDonald and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-131 (28 January 2021)
2020-131

The Authority did not uphold an accuracy complaint about a Newshub item describing a new solar paint product as potentially ‘160 times less’ expensive than solar panels. The statement was a technical point unlikely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the item as a whole.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
McDonald and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-115 (28 January 2021)
2020-115

The Authority declined to determine three complaints as they did not raise clear concerns capable of being addressed by the complaints process.

Decline to determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 – in all the circumstances): Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence, Alcohol, Accuracy

Decisions
McDonald and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-102 (28 January 2021)
2020-102

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about a Newshub item interviewing two ‘dare-devils’ who engage in ‘roof-topping’, an activity which the New Zealand Police issued a ‘stern’ warning about. The Authority found the item did not actively promote or glamorise illegal behaviour as it was made clear the activity was illegal and ill-advised. The remaining standards either did not apply or were not breached in the context.

Not Upheld: Law and Order, Children’s Interests, Good Taste and Decency, Alcohol, Balance

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