BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Goulstone and TVWorks Ltd - 2009-160

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Tapu Misa
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
  • Peter Goulstone
TVWorks Ltd
TV3 # 3

Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Target – hidden camera trial evaluated six car grooming companies – complainant’s business sign was shown in establishing shot for another company’s evaluation – allegedly in breach of fairness

Standard 6 (fairness) – broadcaster could have taken more care but shot was brief and the programme made it clear which company was being evaluated – not unfair to complainant – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


[1]   During an episode of Target, broadcast at 7.30pm on TV3 on Tuesday 4 November 2009, the presenter summarised the results of a hidden camera trial in which an actress hired six different car grooming companies. Target hid a ten-dollar note in the back of the car and some change in the front seat as a test of the car groomers’ honesty.

[2]   One of the companies, based in Hamilton, was introduced with an establishing shot which included the business signage of another company, Peter Goulstone Motors. The company being reviewed was identified twice in a graphic on screen, and twice verbally by the presenter. The person sent to clean the car took the ten dollars from the back seat, and Target gave them an overall rating of 4 out of 10.


[3]   Peter Goulstone made a formal complaint to TVWorks Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that it was unfair to show his company’s sign because it implied that it was connected to the company being evaluated which was shown stealing money. He said in fact his company was next door, and he considered that “the way the camera went straight to my signage” was “totally unacceptable and unfair”.


[4]   Mr Goulstone nominated Standard 6 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice in his complaint. It provides:

Standard 6 Fairness

Broadcasters should deal fairly with any person or organisation taking part or referred to.

Broadcaster's Response to the Complainant

[5]   In response to the fairness complaint, TVWorks said:

While we agree that the director could have been more careful in the use of the wide shot, it was used to establish the location of the business under review. However, on balance we do not think that your business has been treated unfairly as the shot was fleeting and the piece also twice verbally mentioned the exact name of the business under review, and twice again graphically. This enabled a clear distinction between the two.

[6]   However, TVWorks said that it had asked the production company to provide the complainant with a letter on Target letterhead that could be displayed, outlining that his business was not associated with the business that was reviewed on the programme.

[7]   TVWorks concluded that “on balance, no breach of the code has occurred”.

Referral to the Authority

[8]   Dissatisfied with the broadcaster’s response, Mr Goulstone referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. He noted TVWorks’ argument that viewers were unlikely to associate the two businesses, saying that in fact five people had asked if he was part of the company that was evaluated on the programme. He also noted that no other businesses were shown to establish the location of the other companies being reviewed.

[9]   Mr Goulstone submitted that TVWorks should apologise to him in writing and on air, and give him compensation for “loss of good name” as a result of being connected with a dishonest business.

Authority's Determination

[10]   The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix. The Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

[11]   Standard 6 states that broadcasters should deal fairly with any person or organisation taking part or referred to in a programme.

[12]   The Authority agrees with the parties that the establishing shot complained about by Mr Goulstone was careless. However, the Authority notes that the shot was very brief, and that there was clear identification of the company that was being evaluated, both verbally and in on-screen graphics. In these circumstances, the Authority considers that viewers would have been unlikely to associate Mr Goulstone’s business with the company under review.

[13]   The Authority therefore considers that Mr Goulstone and his business were not treated unfairly or negatively portrayed in breach of the fairness standard. It acknowledges TVWorks’ offer to provide the complainant with a letter for display clarifying that his business was not associated with the business that was reviewed on the programme.

[14]   Accordingly, the Authority declines to uphold the Standard 6 complaint.


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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Peter Radich
23 March 2010


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

1.           Peter Goulstone’s formal complaint – 4 November 2009
2.          TVWorks’ response to the complaint – 4 December 2009
3.          Mr Goulstone’s referral to the Authority – 8 December 2009
4.          TVWorks’ response to the Authority – 14 December 2009