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Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2013-086

Members

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga

Complainant

  • Allan Golden of Wellington

Dated

1st April 2014

Number

2013-086

Channel/Station

Radio New Zealand National

Broadcaster

Radio New Zealand Ltd


Summary [This summary does not form part of the decision.]

A panel discussion on Afternoons with Jim Mora suggested that fraud in the ‘Māori sector’ is often treated differently to other fraud. The Authority declined to determine the complaint that the programme breached standards because the panellists should have made reference to the ‘2004 Feltex IPO fraud’ as an example of ‘non-Māori fraud’. The complainant’s concerns were matters of personal preference and editorial discretion, and the Authority’s decisions on previous complaints should have put him notice of the likely outcome of this complaint.

Declined to Determine: Accuracy


Introduction

[1]  During a panel discussion on Afternoons with Jim Mora, one of the topics was the criticism levelled at a Native Affairs investigation into the potential misappropriation of public funds by the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board. One of the panellists said that while the investigation was being considered by some to be ‘Māori bashing’, his opinion was that the investigation was valuable journalism. The host and panellists then suggested that fraud in the ‘Māori sector’ is often treated differently to other fraud, as follows:

Panellist 1:    Anything to do with public funds, in my mind, if there is any smell about it, or any
                   question about it, it’s open to be scrutinised…

Panellist 2:    …I guess there’s this element that maybe the approach to fraud, in the Māori sector, is
                    just a little bit racist …I mean there’s fraud across the public and private sectors…

Panellist 1:    Yes, but… those other frauds are well exposed, well publicised, all over the place…

Host:            By Pakeha journalists.

Panellist 1:    Absolutely.

[2]  The item was broadcast on Radio New Zealand National on 25 October 2013.

[3]  Allan Golden made a formal complaint to Radio New Zealand Ltd (RNZ), alleging that the statements claiming that non-Māori fraud is ‘open to be scrutinised’ and ‘well exposed’ were inaccurate as they failed to acknowledge a ‘major cover-up’ involving the ‘2004 Feltex IPO fraud’.

[4]  The issue is whether the complaint raises any issues under the standards contained in the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice, which warrant our determination.

[5]  The members of the Authority have listened to a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Did the item breach broadcasting standards?

[6]  Section 11(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 authorises this Authority to decline to determine a complaint if it considers the complaint is frivolous, vexatious, or trivial. The policy behind section 11 is that the time and resources of the Authority, which are, in the end, sustained by the people of New Zealand, should not be wasted in having to deal with matters which objectively have no importance.1

[7]  We have reached the view that it is appropriate for us to decline to determine this complaint under section 11(a), on the basis it is trivial. Mr Golden’s complaint is trivial because it relates to matters that were not discussed in the broadcast, namely, the collapse of Feltex Carpets Ltd.

[8]  We also think this complaint is bordering on vexatious, as he continues to refer complaints about similar matters to us, despite the Authority’s previous rulings. Mr Golden’s concerns are based on his personal views of Feltex, and are matters of personal preference and editorial discretion, not issues of broadcasting standards.2 Our decisions on two of his previous complaints relating to Feltex,3 ought to have put him on notice of the likely outcome of this complaint.

[9]  We therefore decline to determine the complaint.

 

For the above reasons the Authority declines to determine the complaint.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Radich
Chair
1 April 2014

Appendix

The correspondence listed below was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:

1                  Mr Golden’s formal complaint – 31 October 2013

2                 RNZ’s response to the complaint – 27 November 2013

3                 Mr Golden’s referral to the Authority – 1 December 2013

4                 RNZ’s response to the Authority – 14 January 2014


1Practice Note: Section 11 powers to decline to determine a complaint (Broadcasting Standards Authority, June 2013)

2See section 5(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

3Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2013-028 and Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2010-167