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In this section of the website you can search all our decisions from 1989/90 to the present. The decisions appear in descending order.

Decisions from 1994 appear in HTML. Decisions from 1989/90 to 1993 are attached as PDFs.

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866 Results

Centrepoint Community Growth Trust and TV3 Network Services Ltd - ID1992-003

Three National News, Nightline. Complaint about screening of some shots of vehicles entering and leaving the Trust's property with references to a police raid earlier that year and to charges of sex crimes against children. Direct factual conflict between the parties' versions. Declined to determine (privacy, balance, accuracy, fairness).

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Hoogenboom and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-033 (25 July 2016)

An item on Breakfast reported on a shoot-out during an anti-terror raid in Brussels. During the item, the Europe Correspondent stated, ‘We’ve now heard that one suspect has been neutralised’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the term ‘neutralised’ was not accurate, appropriate or neutral language. The Authority found the choice of language was not a material point of fact in the item, which focused on an anti-terror raid linked to the Paris terror attacks. Further, the term ‘neutralised’ is at times used in the context of reporting on police or counter-terrorism action. The use of this term was not biased against, and did not imply fault on the part of, the Belgian Police.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Controversial Issues 

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Knight and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-028 (22 August 2016)

An item on Sunday exposed the alleged mistreatment of bobby calves by some members of the dairy industry in the Waikato region. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item was an unbalanced and inaccurate depiction of dairy farming, and breached a number of other broadcasting standards. The Authority found the item was sufficiently balanced, as the perspective of the dairy industry was given both within the item and within the period of current interest. The item was not inaccurate or misleading in the ways alleged by the complainant; rather, it focused on instances of bad practice within the dairy industry and did not suggest these were commonplace. Furthermore, the item did not breach the privacy of a local farming family, as they were not identifiable or otherwise referred to in the footage. The broadcaster exercised adequate care and discretion when showing footage of cruelty against bobby calves.

Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Privacy, Violence, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness 

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Hawker and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-025 (25 July 2016)

An item on Seven Sharp discussed whether celebrity endorsement of any particular flag would sway public voting in the New Zealand flag referendum. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast of the personal views of certain celebrities who supported changing the flag resulted in an unbalanced and partial programme. While the item featured several celebrities in support of the alternative flag, it also mentioned some who supported the current flag. In the context of the item this was a sufficient acknowledgement of significant viewpoints on the issue. Furthermore, viewers could reasonably be expected to be aware of the different perspectives on the flag referendum issue.

Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy 

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McDonald and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-021 (25 July 2016)

An item on ONE News reported that a recent avalanche in the Austrian Alps had killed five skiers. The presenter stated the avalanche was ‘reported to be two kilometres wide and five kilometres high’. A second item on ONE News discussed plans for a new dairy factory in Northland. The reporter said, ‘He’s [farmer interviewed] been in the dairy industry for two years and has record low pay-outs, the latest forecast at around four dollars’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the reference to the avalanche being ‘five kilometres high’ and the reference in the dairy item to a ‘Fonterra pay-out of $4 per annum’ were inaccurate and misleading. The precise size of the avalanche was not a material point of fact in the item and the statement referencing four dollars clearly referred to the interviewed farmer’s pay-out and not to the total annual pay-out made by Fonterra.

Not Upheld: Accuracy 

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Holubicki and Sky Network Television Ltd - 2016-020 (27 June 2016)

A Prime News item reported on the trial of a former Nazi guard at Auschwitz and referred to the camp as a ‘Polish camp’. The complainant alleged this statement was inaccurate because it was not a ‘Polish camp’, but was rather a Nazi camp located in Poland. The Authority recognised that the labelling of concentration camps as part of the Nazi regime remains a sensitive issue and one of historical importance, which broadcasters should be mindful of when choosing the language to be used. Nevertheless, in the context of the item the Authority did not consider that viewers would have been misled.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

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Grieve and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-019 (25 July 2016)

An item on 3 News reported that 2015 was the planet’s hottest year on record. The reporter stated that ‘the impacts of that record high are close to home’ and interviewed two New Zealand climate scientists about the finding. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that it was inaccurate and unbalanced for the reporter to imply that recent severe weather events in New Zealand were caused by global warming. The scientists who gave their views in the item were respected local experts, and the inclusion of comment from them localised the findings for viewers in terms of what they might mean for New Zealanders. In terms of the balance standard, global warming is an ongoing contentious issue which is widely discussed so viewers could reasonably be expected to be aware of the range of perspectives on global warming.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Controversial Issues

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New Zealand Fire Service and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-017 (18 November 2016)

An episode of 3D investigated alleged bullying within the New Zealand Fire Service, particularly within volunteer brigades. The episode relied in part on testimony from particular individuals who alleged they had been victims of bullying, and in part on a report, which purported to identify bullying as a significant problem within NZFS. NZFS challenged the credibility of the report and argued that the programme breached the accuracy, fairness and balance standards. The Authority did not uphold the complaint. It found that the programme clearly stated there were questions about the status of the report – which in any event only formed part of the basis of the story – so viewers would not have been misled. NZFS’s response to the allegations was presented at length throughout the programme, including during an extensive interview with the then acting Chief Executive/National Commander of NZFS, which satisfied the requirements of the fairness and balance standards.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Controversial Issues, Fairness

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Seqirus (NZ) Ltd and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-015 (27 June 2016)

3D reported on the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil, and the stories of several girls and their families who believed that they had suffered serious health problems after being vaccinated. It also reported on the as-yet-unexplained sudden deaths of two girls who had recently received the vaccine. The Authority did not uphold a complaint from the maker of Gardasil alleging that the programme misleadingly suggested that Gardasil was unsafe and thus deceived and disadvantaged the public when there was no evidential basis for doing so. The story was well-reported, was measured in its presentation and gave viewers a range of information, which enabled them to make up their own minds about the vaccine. The Authority emphasised the high public interest in the story and in giving a platform for minority voices to be heard.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Responsible Programming 

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RZ and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-011 (17 May 2016)

An item on Sunday exposed the alleged mistreatment of bobby calves by some members of New Zealand’s dairy industry. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the item was unfair to the complainant and breached his and his employee’s privacy, and that the item was inaccurate and lacked balance. Neither RZ nor his employee was identifiable during the footage and they were not participants, or referred to, in the item. The item was also sufficiently balanced, as the perspective of the dairy industry was given both within the item and within the period of current interest. Comments in the item that the complainant alleged were inaccurate were clearly opinion and analysis and thus not subject to the accuracy standard, and the item was not otherwise misleading.

Not Upheld: Privacy, Fairness, Controversial Issues, Accuracy 

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Melville and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-006 (14 April 2016)

An item on Story covered the ongoing story of presenter Heather du Plessis-Allan’s mail-order purchase of a firearm for an earlier item, and the subsequent police investigation and search of her house. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the presenter’s reference to ‘legal loopholes’ within the mail-order firearm purchase system was inaccurate and unfair to the parties concerned because the firearm was procured illegally. The presenter used the term ‘loophole’ rather than ‘legal loophole’ and this was an accurate description of the mail-order system prior to police action. The item further did not unfairly represent the purchase process or otherwise result in unfairness to any individual or organisation referred to.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

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Djurdjevic and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-004 (15 September 2016)

In an episode of The Block NZ: Villa Wars, the complainant was portrayed as a ‘temperamental European tiler’ who allegedly wanted to be paid in advance and went ‘AWOL’ when he was not paid. The Authority upheld a complaint that the complainant was treated unfairly and that key facts about his professional conduct were misrepresented. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the broadcast also breached a number of additional standards.

Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy

Not Upheld: Privacy, Discrimination and Denigration, Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order, Controversial Issues, Responsible Programming

Order: Section 16(4) costs to the Crown $1,500

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Boyce and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-103 (14 April 2016)

Two episodes of Story featured items about self-described ‘professional political campaigner’ Simon Lusk. In the first item, presenter Duncan Garner was shown hunting with Mr Lusk, and Mr Lusk apparently shot two deer. Excerpts of political figures being interviewed about their involvement with Mr Lusk, and of Mr Lusk discussing such involvement, were shown throughout the items. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the items were in breach of multiple broadcasting standards for the way Mr Lusk’s involvement in politics was reported and for featuring footage of deer hunting. The footage of the deer hunting was not so graphic or gratuitous that it would have offended a significant number of viewers, including child viewers. Additionally, nothing in the items was unfair to any individuals, encouraged criminal activity, discussed a controversial issue of public importance, was inaccurate or discriminated against or denigrated any section of the community.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Fairness, Law and Order, Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration 

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Malpas & Oliver and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-102 (12 May 2016)

An item on ONE News reported on concerns around a government-funded survey of health professionals and their views on voluntary euthanasia. It said that the survey was run by researchers who support assisted dying, and that it was alleged that the research was biased and flawed. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the item was unfair to the researchers involved and to the university through which the research was run, as well as inaccurate and unbalanced. Comment was sought from the university and the researchers, whose position was presented in the university’s response and fairly reported in the item. The statements alleged to be inaccurate either had a reasonable basis, were clearly statements of opinion or were matters of editorial discretion.

Not Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy, Controversial Issues

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Wellington Palestine Group and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-101 (12 May 2016)

An item on ONE News reported on incidents of violence in Israel and Palestine. The newsreader said, ‘Road blocks are in place and thousands of police and soldiers are patrolling across Israel as it tries to stop a wave of violence’, and then crossed to a correspondent reporting from East Jerusalem. The item also went on to report on other incidents of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, including in Gaza. The Authority upheld a complaint that the item was inaccurate because East Jerusalem is internationally recognised as being part of Palestine, not Israel, and viewers would have been misled into thinking that much of the violence took place in Israel.

Upheld: Accuracy

No Order 

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Both and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-100 (14 April 2016)

A 3 News item reported on allegations of widespread doping amongst Russian athletes and included a reference to the disqualification of a Belarussian shot-putter at the London Olympics. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging the item was misleading, unbalanced and denigrated Russians by failing to differentiate between Belarus and Russia. The reporter accurately described the Belarussian athlete and the Russian Olympic team, and in the context of the item viewers would not have been misled into thinking Belarus and Russia were the same country. The item portrayed a range of significant viewpoints on the allegations of doping amongst Russian Olympic athletes and did not contain any material which discriminated against, or denigrated, Russians.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Controversial Issues, Discrimination and Denigration

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Craig and SKY Network Television Ltd - 2015-096 (12 May 2016)

A Prime News item reported on the Conservative Party Annual General Meeting, which was the subject of a police call-out because a former Board member attempted to attend the meeting and was issued a trespass notice. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the item lacked balance, was inaccurate and was unfair to the Conservative Party and its former leader Colin Craig. The item was a straightforward news report that was not unfair to the Conservative Party or Colin Craig, who as a public figure should expect to be subject to some criticism and scrutiny. The item did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance that required the presentation of other views and was not inaccurate.

Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Fairness

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MX & FX and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-094 (15 July 2016)

An episode of Neighbours at War featured a dispute between a group of neighbours over a right of way. Two sets of neighbours alleged that their neighbours, a couple (Mr and Mrs X), had been threatening and harassing them. The Authority upheld aspects of a complaint from Mr and Mrs X that the episode was unfair and breached their privacy. The Authority also determined that the broadcaster did not take sufficient action having upheld one aspect of the complainants’ original fairness complaint. The programme contained potentially damaging allegations against the complainants and did not present their side of the story. The programme also broadcast footage of incidents between Mr and Mrs X and their neighbours on the right of way obtained by one neighbour’s friend and a security camera belonging to another neighbour, which was a highly offensive intrusion into their interest in solitude and seclusion. The Authority did not uphold the remaining aspects of the fairness and privacy complaints, and did not find that the item was inaccurate or misleading.

Upheld: Fairness (Action Taken), Fairness, Privacy; Not Upheld: Accuracy

Order: Section 13(1)(d) – privacy compensation to the complainants $500

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Govind and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-080 (28 January 2016)

An item on ONE News reported that an increasing number of beneficiaries were being banned from Work and Income offices due to heightened security as a result of the fatal shootings at a WINZ office in 2014. The reporter interviewed a beneficiary who said that this was ‘no surprise’ because dealing with WINZ is ‘frustrating’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the comments from the beneficiary were irresponsible and encouraged violence. The focus of the item was on security at WINZ offices and the beneficiary was relating his personal experience; the item did not advocate violence.

Not Upheld: Law and Order, Violence, Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Responsible Programming 

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Cleaver and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-079 (28 January 2016)

In an item on Story, an actor approached four different real estate agencies (Ray White, LJ Hooker, Barfoot & Thompson and Harcourts) and asked agents to sell him properties for investment prior to auction and at a lower price, which it was alleged would be in breach of the industry code. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that one of the Story presenters had a conflict of interest because of her family connections to Barfoot & Thompson, which resulted in a breach of standards. The Authority is not in a position to determine whether such a conflict existed, but in any case, the alleged conflict did not manifest as a breach of the broadcasting standards nominated.

Not Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy, Controversial Issues

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Monasterio and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-078 (1 March 2016)

On an episode of Seven Sharp, the hosts discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and interviewed a law professor. The professor explained the contrast between the dispute resolution mechanisms of the TPP and those of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). After the interview, one host asked the other, ‘So these foreign countries could potentially hold the government for ransom down the track? Surely it goes both ways; surely we’ll have some control’. The other host replied, ‘Of course it does. Who did we take to the WTO? We’ve taken a number of countries to the WTO…’ The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this was misleading in that it suggested that TPP disputes would go through a similar process as the WTO, when in fact this was not the case for investor-state disputes. The host’s statement was not technically inaccurate as it appeared to refer to state-to-state disputes rather than investor-state disputes. Additionally, the professor had already articulated the key concepts well, so when viewed as a whole the item would not have misled viewers.

Not Upheld: Accuracy     

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Wildman and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-075 (4 May 2016)

An item on Story investigated an alleged issue within the Auckland property market. It was introduced: ‘Some real estate agents are helping investors and traders… get the houses first [before auction]’. An actor approached different real estate agencies and asked agents to sell him properties for investment prior to auction and at a lower price, which the presenter claimed would be in breach of the industry code. Amy Wildman, one of the agents approached, was filmed with a hidden camera apparently agreeing to sell a property prior to auction. The Authority upheld a complaint from Ms Wildman that she was treated unfairly. The broadcast was damaging to Ms Wildman and did not fairly represent her position, and the use of the hidden camera footage was, on balance, not justified by public interest considerations. The Authority did not uphold aspects of the complaint that the item was also in breach of Ms Wildman’s privacy and inaccurate.

Upheld: Fairness

Not Upheld: Privacy, Accuracy

Orders: Section 13(1)(a) – statement published online; section 16(1) – legal costs to the complainant $1,000

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McDonald and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-073 (28 January 2016)

Seven Sharp featured the story of a man who, due to delays in having minor surgery for a skin cancer cyst, suffered severe health problems. The man said that ‘[The cyst] went from less than a centimetre to 35 centimetres’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the description of the cyst as ‘35 centimetres’ was inaccurate. The exact measurement was not a material point of fact in the item, and it was clearly the man’s own recollection of his experience.

Not Upheld: Accuracy 

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O'Neill and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-072 (1 December 2015)

A ONE News item reported on four investigations by British police into historical child sex abuse allegations against former UK Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath. The reporter said, ‘Information from these inquiries will be fed into a wider inspection that’s being run by New Zealander Justice Lowell Goddard’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that referring to Lowell Goddard as ‘Justice’ was inaccurate. The use of the title was not a material point of fact to which the accuracy standard applied.

Not Upheld: Accuracy 

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McLoon and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-071 (28 January 2016)

Turning Point featured a Christian sermon about the second coming of Jesus Christ. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the programme should have been classified PGR instead of G, and breached various other broadcasting standards. The programme did not contain any material which exceeded its G classification or which threatened broadcasting standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Fairness, Responsible Programming, Children’s Interests, Violence 

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