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Heinz and TVWorks Ltd - 2014-024

Members

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

Complainant

  • Douglas Heinz of Wellington

Dated

2nd May 2014

Number

2014-024

Programme

Campbell Live

Channel/Station

TV3

Broadcaster

TVWorks Ltd


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

An item on Campbell Live included brief footage of a person starting a lawn mower without the rear grass flap on. The Authority declined to determine the complaint that this breached standards of law and order, on the basis it was frivolous and trivial. The footage was extremely brief and part of a light-hearted story in an unclassified current affairs programme targeted at adults, so it could not be said to have encouraged or condoned criminal activity.

Declined to Determine: Law and Order


Introduction

[1]  The final episode of Campbell Live for 2013 contained a round-up of stories from the year, including very brief footage of a person starting a lawn mower without the rear grass flap on. The programme was broadcast on 20 December 2013 on TV3.

[2]  Douglas Heinz made a formal complaint to TVWorks Ltd, alleging that the programme glorified and condoned criminal activity by showing a lawn mower ‘being operated… in a flagrant, showing-off manner’ which put the ‘operator of the mower, other members of the berm-mowing [team], and members of the public in the general vicinity… in danger of being injured/killed by bits of lawn debris’.

[3]  The issue is whether this complaint raises any issues under the standards contained in the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice, which warrant our determination.

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

Does this complaint raise issues of broadcasting standards which warrant our determination?

[5]  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

[6]  We have reached the view it is appropriate to decline to determine Mr Heinz’s law and order complaint under section 11(a) on the basis it is frivolous and trivial. The complaint relates to extremely brief footage of a person starting a lawn mower without the safety catch on, during an unclassified current affairs programme aimed at adults. The action of starting a lawn mower in this manner is not illegal, and in any event, the fleeting footage did not encourage or condone such action, but was simply visual wallpaper for a light-hearted story on volunteer berm-mowing.

[7]  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
2 May 2014

Appendix

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

1                  Douglas Heinz’s formal complaint – 6 January 2014

2                 TVWorks’ response to the complaint – 12 February 2014

3                 Mr Heinz’s referral to the Authority – 10 March 2014

4                 TVWorks’ response to the Authority – 17 March 201


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