Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Close Up – item about a Tui Brewery event, the “drought shout”, organised to boost morale of farmers struggling through droughts – allegedly in breach of liquor promotion standard
Standard 11 (liquor promotion) – broadcast amounted to liquor promotion but was not socially irresponsible – not upheld
This headnote does not form part of the decision.
 An item on Close Up, broadcast on TV One at 7pm on 10 April 2008, looked at the impact of a drought from Waikato to Canterbury which had left the farming community struggling. In a bid to improve morale, the Tui Brewery and several agricultural suppliers put on a “drought shout” for farmers.
 Part of the item looked at the story of one farmer and how he was struggling to cope with the drought. He was shown having to resort to cutting down trees for his cattle to eat.
 In the remainder of the item, the Close up reporter travelled by bus with some of the farmers to the Tui brewery, and then spoke to people who were at the event. There were shots of barbeques, competitions and people socialising and dancing. Farmers who were interviewed in the item said they were having a great day and they appreciated a break away from their farms. People were shown holding or drinking from Tui bottles, standing in front of Tui billboards and the Tui brewery, or mentioning Tui. The Tui logo was shown numerous times throughout the item.
 Cliff Turner made a formal complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that the item breached the liquor promotion standard, specifically guideline 11b.
 Standard 11 and guidelines 11b and 11c of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice are relevant to the determination of this complaint. These provide:
Standard 11 Liquor
In the preparation and presentation of programmes, broadcasters must observe restrictions on the promotion of liquor appropriate to the programme genre being broadcast. Liquor Promotion should be socially responsible and must not encourage consumption by people who are under the legal age to purchase liquor.
Liquor Promotion comprises:
promotion of a liquor product, brand or outlet (‘promotion’)
liquor sponsorship of a programme (‘sponsorship’)
advocacy of liquor consumption (‘advocacy’)
11b Broadcasters must ensure that Liquor Promotion does not dominate programmes.
11c Broadcasters are not required to exclude promotion from coverage of an actual event
or situation being broadcast where promotion is a normal feature of the event but
must take guideline 11b into account.
 TVNZ noted that the segment on the “drought shout” was four minutes and 19 seconds in duration within a 30-minute programme. It said that liquor promotion did not dominate the item, which focused on the extent of the drought and the difficulties it caused for farmers.
 The broadcaster also pointed out that guideline 11c states that:
Broadcasters are not required to exclude promotion from coverage of an actual event or situation being broadcast where promotion is a normal feature of the event but must take guideline 11b into account.
 TVNZ maintained that the Close Up item consisted of coverage of an actual event being held by a brewery, and that the emphasis of the item was that “the drought-plagued farmers need a break”. Liquor promotion did not dominate the viewing period. Accordingly, the broadcaster declined to uphold the complaint that Standard 11 had been breached.
 Dissatisfied with TVNZ’s response, Mr Turner referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. He said that although he did not record the Close Up item, he recalled that Tui beer received several visual and verbal references. He argued that the item was “a free advertisement for Tui” and that liquor advertisements were not permitted on television at 7pm.
 The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix. The Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.
 A determination under Standard 11 involves first deciding whether the broadcast amounted to “liquor promotion” in the form of promotion, advocacy or sponsorship as defined in the standard. The Authority considers that the extent of the coverage of the Tui brand during the “drought shout” item, including frequent shots of the Tui logo, Tui billboards, the Tui brewery building, and Tui beer bottles and crates, as well as numerous verbal references to Tui, amounted to liquor “promotion” as defined in Standard 11.
 Once the Authority has made a finding that the broadcast amounted to liquor promotion, it must determine whether that liquor promotion was socially responsible. The Authority notes that this item, in the context of a news or current affairs programme, contained a surprising degree of promotion for the Tui brand. It also considers that the item portrayed liquor consumption as a positive and necessary part of the event. However, none of the individuals interviewed or featured in the item were noticeably intoxicated. The farming community was simply shown relishing a much-needed day away from their drought-plagued farms.
 In his referral, Mr Turner noted that liquor advertisements are not permitted to be broadcast at 7pm. Paid advertisements for liquor must not be screened between 6am and 8.30pm1, but there are no time restrictions on “liquor promotion” as defined in Standard 11 of the Free-to-Air Television Code. The time of broadcast will, however, always be a factor in the Authority’s assessment of whether liquor promotion was socially responsible. In this case, the programme was a current affairs show targeted at adults, and it was broadcast during a PGR time-band.
 For the reasons given above, the Authority considers that the liquor promotion in the “drought shout” item was not socially irresponsible and, accordingly, declines to uphold the complaint that Standard 11 was breached.
For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
13 August 2008
The following correspondence was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:
1. Cliff Turner’s formal complaint – 11 April 2008
2. TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 7 May 2008
3. Mr Turner’s referral to the Authority – 10 May 2008
4. TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 27 June 2008
1See Principle 4 of the Advertising Standards Authority’s Code for Advertising Liquor.