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The broadcasting standards which apply to television and radio programmes are contained in the Codes of Broadcasting Practice. There are four Codes and these cover

The Codes all contain 'standards'. These outline what is required of broadcasters when they broadcast programmes in New Zealand. Each standard has a number of associated 'guidelines' which assist broadcasters and the public in interpreting the standards. It is the wording of the standard that is most important; even if a programme appears to breach a particular guideline, it still may not breach the overall standard depending on the circumstances.

To make a formal complaint, you need to choose the relevant Code and then nominate which standards you think were breached.

The Codes are reviewed every five years, or sooner if required. Broadcasters develop the Codes in consultation with the BSA. During the development process the public are given an opportunity to comment on the draft revised Code. If you would like specific information on the Code review timetable, please contact us.

All Codes can be downloaded from this website or you can obtain printed copies by contacting us.

You can download the Codes in Māori and other languages by going to the home page of each Code: Free-to-Air Television Code, Radio Code, Election Programmes Code.

The Pay Television Code is due for review and a translation into Māori will follow the review.

Download PDFs of the Codes of Broadcasting Practice:

free to air

Free-to-Air PDF (56 KB)

pay television

Pay Television PDF (56 KB)


Radio PDF (56 KB)

election programmes 2011 cover

Election Programmes PDF97 KB