Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd - ID2016-054 (15 September 2016)
- Peter Radich (Chair)
- Leigh Pearson
- Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
- Paula Rose
- Allan Golden
ProgrammeNine to Noon
BroadcasterRadio New Zealand Ltd
Channel/StationRadio New Zealand
[This summary does not form part of the decision.]
Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon bulletin included two segments titled ‘What do schools need to do to protect against fraud?’ and ‘Top tips for global investment’. Mr Golden lodged a complaint with RNZ alleging that the segments breached broadcasting standards. RNZ did not accept Mr Golden’s correspondence as a formal complaint on the basis it related to matters of personal preference which are not covered by the broadcasting standards regime. The Authority considered whether it had jurisdiction to accept Mr Golden’s referral of the matter to the BSA. It found it was open to RNZ to find that Mr Golden’s correspondence did not raise matters of broadcasting standards which triggered the formal complaints process. As a valid formal complaint was not made in the first instance, the Authority did not have jurisdiction to accept Mr Golden’s referral of his complaint.
 Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon bulletin of 22 June 2016 included two segments titled ‘What do schools need to do to protect against fraud?’ and ‘Top tips for global investment’.
 Allan Golden lodged a complaint with RNZ alleging that these segments breached the accuracy, fairness and programme information standards. He considered the segments ‘wilfully ignore[d] that the New Zealand Government at Prime Ministerial level is actively involved in fraud’ and theft, and that any consideration of theft and the investing climate must be seen in light of this information.
 RNZ declined to accept Mr Golden’s correspondence as a formal complaint. It considered that Mr Golden’s concerns were matters of personal preference and therefore fell outside of the broadcasting standards regime.
 Mr Golden referred his complaint to the Authority on the basis that he was dissatisfied with the broadcaster’s decision.
 The issue is whether the Authority has jurisdiction to accept Mr Golden’s complaint referral.
 The members of the Authority have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.
Does the Authority have jurisdiction to accept Mr Golden’s complaint referral?
 Mr Golden argued that both segments did not address matters which he considered ought to have been included.
 RNZ’s position was that Mr Golden’s correspondence indicated his views and preferences about who should have been interviewed, and what should have been reported, in the two items. It noted personal preferences were not covered by the formal complaints regime. Accordingly, it did not assess the correspondence as a formal complaint under the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice.
 In his referral to the Authority, Mr Golden stated that he was not expressing a preference as to who should have been interviewed in the items, but rather expressing his concern that the items should have presented ‘an accurate picture of theft and investment considerations in New Zealand’. Mr Golden argued that no complaint under the Broadcasting Act ‘would ever be valid if it was permissible to tell all complainants that their idea of how a broadcast should have been done is merely their preference’.
 RNZ requested that the Authority review the validity of Mr Golden’s complaint ‘referral’, on the basis that his original complaint of 22 June 2016 did not raise issues that could be determined as part of the formal complaints process. It maintained that the ‘referral’ was ‘baseless’, with only the most tenuous connection between the programmes and the ‘complaint’ made.
 In our view it was open to RNZ to decline to accept Mr Golden’s correspondence as a formal complaint. Mr Golden’s concerns about Nine to Noon in essence conveyed his own personal preferences about how the topics discussed in the two segments should be reported, rather than raising matters of broadcasting standards that can be addressed under the Radio Code. Section 5(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 states, ‘Complaints based merely on a complaint’s preferences are not, in general, capable of being resolved by a complaints procedure.’
 As Mr Golden’s complaint to RNZ and his referral to this Authority did not fall within the scope of the formal complaints process, we have no jurisdiction to consider his referral.
For the above reasons the Authority declines jurisdiction to accept Mr Golden’s complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
15 September 2016
The correspondence listed below was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:
1 Allan Golden’s complaint to RNZ – 22 June 2016
2 RNZ’s response to Mr Golden – 4 July 2016
3 Mr Golden’s referral to the Authority – 13 July 2016
4 RNZ’s response to the Authority – 20 July 2016
5 Mr Golden’s final comment – 31 July 2016
6 RNZ’s final comment – 10 August 2016