Carlaw and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-002 (12 May 2016)
- Peter Radich (Chair)
- Leigh Pearson
- Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
- Paula Rose
- Graeme Carlaw
ProgrammeHooked in NZ
BroadcasterTelevision New Zealand Ltd
[This summary does not form part of the decision.]
During an episode of Hooked in NZ, the host and others were shown not wearing lifejackets while on a fishing boat. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that it was irresponsible to broadcast footage of people fishing without wearing lifejackets. Although the Authority understood why certain parts of the footage shown in the programme were a cause of concern for the complainant regarding water safety, these issues were unable to be addressed under the responsible programming standard.
Not Upheld: Responsible Programming
 During an episode of Hooked in NZ, the host visited the Far North of New Zealand and went fishing at his childhood fishing spot with family and close friends. While on the fishing boat, the men were shown not wearing lifejackets.
 Graeme Carlaw complained that broadcasting footage of people fishing without wearing lifejackets promoted irresponsible behaviour.
 The issue is whether the programme breached the responsible programming standard as set out in the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.
 The programme was broadcast on TV ONE on 15 November 2015. The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.
Did the broadcast breach the responsible programming standard?
 The responsible programming standard (Standard 8) requires broadcasters to ensure that programmes are correctly classified and screened in the appropriate time-band.
 TVNZ noted that the responsible programming standard relates to ensuring that programmes are correctly classified. It said that Hooked in NZ was classified G and this classification was shown at the beginning of each programme segment. TVNZ maintained that the content of the episode was consistent with the G classification. It argued that the footage of the men fishing without lifejackets was incidental to the programme, which showed how the host and his family fished in the Far North. TVNZ did not consider unsafe fishing practices were glamorised in the episode, which was a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ record of what happened at the time.
 The responsible programming standard is primarily concerned with programme classifications, timebands and advisories (including warnings). Contrary to what the title of the standard may suggest, it is not designed to address general programme content that some people may consider to be ‘irresponsible’.1 Mr Carlaw’s concerns about the promotion and glamorisation of irresponsible behaviour, specifically fishing without wearing a lifejacket, are unfortunately not the kind of matter envisaged by Standard 8. In terms of the objectives of Standard 8, we agree with the broadcaster that the content of the programme in question, a local fishing show, was consistent with its G classification and no warning or other advisory was necessary. The programme did not contain any material which breached the responsible programming standard and so we cannot uphold the complaint.
 Having said that, we wish to make some general comments in response to the complaint. We agree with Mr Carlaw that promoting water safety is important, including wearing lifejackets. Throughout the programme the host did make several comments about the importance of safe boating and fishing practices, including having an additional smaller boat alongside the main fishing boat, timing the boat’s launch between big waves, having the correct gear and ensuring every man on the boat knew his role. This seemed to us somewhat contradictory in parts, particularly when the fishermen were shown launching their boat into the open sea over big waves and at some speed, and the men were not themselves wearing lifejackets so evidently did not have the ‘correct gear’. Nevertheless, we agree with the broadcaster overall that water safety was not the main focus of the programme and most viewers would have been preoccupied with the men’s fishing.
For the above reasons the Authority does not uphold the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
12 May 2016
The correspondence listed below was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:
1 Graeme Carlaw’s formal complaint – 15 November 2015
2 TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 14 December 2015
3 Mr Carlaw’s referral to the Authority – 6 January 2016
4 TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 17 March 2016
1 In the new Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, which applies to programmes broadcast on or after 1 April 2016, this standard has been renamed Programme Information.