Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd - ID2018-097 (18 February 2019)
- Judge Bill Hastings (Chair)
- Paula Rose
- Wendy Palmer
- Susie Staley
- Allan Golden
BroadcasterRadio New Zealand Ltd
Channel/StationRadio New Zealand National
[This summary does not form part of the decision.]
The Authority has declined to determine a complaint that an individual on The Panel should not have been on the programme due to ‘corrupt practices’ and therefore the broadcast was inaccurate. The Authority found that the arguments raised in the complaint had no direct correlation to the standard raised.
Declined to Determine: Accuracy
 A segment on The Panel featured the host and two panellists, one of whom the complainant submitted should not have been involved in the broadcast.
 The item was broadcast on 26 September 2018 on RNZ National.
 Allan Golden complained one of the panellists should not have been on The Panel due to the ‘highly corrupt’ practices which Mr Golden alleged the person’s organisation was engaged in.
 RNZ responded saying Mr Golden failed to identify any inaccurate statements and that his complaint would be better characterised as ‘feedback’.
 In considering this complaint, we have listened to a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.
Outcome: Declined to Determine
 Section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 authorises this Authority to decline to determine a complaint if it considers that, in all the circumstances of the complaint, it should not be determined by the Authority.
 In this case, the Authority considers it appropriate to exercise its section 11(b) discretion on the following grounds:
- The complaint relates to a matter of editorial discretion (as to who the broadcaster chooses to interview) and a complainant’s preferences (as to who he considers should have been interviewed). Such complaints are not, in general, capable of being resolved by a complaints procedure.1
- The arguments raised by Mr Golden in support of his complaint have no connection to, or bearing on, the accuracy standard to which he points
- Mr Golden has made a number of complaints on unmeritorious or spurious grounds over the past several years2 and has previously been provided with this guidance from the Authority (in its previous decisions).
- The Authority does not consider this to be an appropriate use of its time and resources.3
 In regards to RNZ’s request that the Authority impose a ‘financial penalty’ on Mr Golden, we note that the Authority’s empowering legislation allows only for awards of costs between the parties, and not fines. In other words, costs awards are designed to recompense, not penalise. We remind Mr Golden that it may be open to the broadcaster to request reimbursement of reasonable costs incurred in dealing with his complaints in the future.
For the above reasons the Authority declines to determine the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
Judge Bill Hastings
18 February 2019
The correspondence listed below was received and considered by the Authority:
1 Allan Golden’s formal complaint – 30 September 2018
2 RNZ’s response to the complaint – 26 October 2018
3 Mr Golden’s referral to the Authority – 12 November 2018
4 RNZ’s confirmation of no further comment – 7 December 2018
1 See section 5(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
2 See for example: Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. ID2017-073; Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. ID2017-034; Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2015-010
3 Guidance: BSA Power to Decline to Determine a Complaint, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 63
4 See section 16(1) and (2) of the Broadcasting Act 1989