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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.

Four of the fields that appear at the top of individual decisions – Channel/Station, ProgrammeStandards, Standards Breached – have links that call up other decisions with the same information.

Please note that you will need to select specific standard/s, as well as a broadcasting code, to return decision results.

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722 Results

MacKenzie and Television New Zealand Ltd - ID1995-001

60 Minutes. Employment of social worker. Declined to accept the referral (time-barred).

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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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Foggo and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-030 (25 July 2016)

A ONE News item discussed two changes proposed as part of a review of Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS): first, dealing with 17-year-old offenders within the youth justice system rather than the adult justice system; and second, lifting the age that people can remain in CYFS care. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that footage of young skateboarders and riders shown during the item implicitly associated them with youth crime, which was unfair. The skateboarders and riders did not take part and were not referred to during the item at a level that triggered the fairness standard. The footage simply associated them with typical activities for people their age and was in the nature of visual wallpaper. It did not associate young skateboarders and riders with youth crime.

Not Upheld: Fairness 

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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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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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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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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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Carter and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-008 (12 May 2016)

An item on Story reported that Auckland purchasers of homes near areas of cultural significance for Māori may need to get consent from iwi before undertaking any structural building work, as part of the Auckland Unitary Plan. As an example of one of the areas of cultural significance, the presenter reported from an empty field, saying, ‘So this is what an area of cultural significance looks like. This is called a midden… it’s pretty much a rubbish dump. We looked it up – “midden” is an old Danish word for “domestic rubbish dump”’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the item discriminated against and/or denigrated Māori and was unfair. While acknowledging the presenter’s tone could be seen to be culturally insensitive and dismissive, the Authority found this did not reach the high threshold necessary to encourage discrimination or denigration. Additionally, comment was included from the iwi named in the item, so they were not treated unfairly.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness 

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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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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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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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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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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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Solanki and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-069 (1 December 2015)

During The Chase, a British quiz show, the host introduced one of the trivia experts as ‘“The Governess” Anne Hegerty – big brain, big bo…ots?’ to audience laughter. The Authority declined to uphold a complaint that the host commented on Ms Hegerty’s ‘big boobs’ which was discriminatory against women, distasteful and unfair to Ms Hegerty, among other things. While the comment may have offended some viewers, it did not reach the threshold necessary to find a breach of broadcasting standards.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Good Taste and Decency, Fairness, Responsible Programming, Accuracy 

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Both and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-068 (1 December 2015)

An item on 3 News discussed New Zealand’s efforts to remove the veto power held by permanent member states on the United Nations Security Council. Both the presenter and reporter referred to a recent example of Russia exercising its veto in relation to a proposed tribunal to investigate the crash of flight MH17. The Authority declined to uphold a complaint that the item was misleading and unbalanced because Russia in fact was supportive of investigating the MH17 tragedy and holding those responsible to account, but was not in favour of setting up a tribunal on the matter. The item was materially accurate and the reference to Russia’s exercise of the veto power did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance which triggered the need to present alternative views.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Controversial Issues, Law and Order, Fairness

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McCully and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-053 (1 March 2016)

An item on ONE News covered ‘the Foreign Minister’s controversial payment of $11.5 million towards businessman Hmood Al-Ali Al-Khalaf’s Saudi farm’. It reported that Minister Murray McCully had ‘struck the deal to avoid a $30 million legal threat’, but then denied that there had been a legal threat. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item was inaccurate and unfair to the Minister by failing to distinguish between Mr Al-Khalaf merely assessing his legal position and actually threatening legal action, and consequently misrepresenting the Minister’s position. The issue arose through the use of ambiguous language, both by the broadcaster and by the Minister, and did not justify the Authority upholding a breach of standards.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

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AFFCO Holdings Ltd and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-050

Two items on 3 News reported on two cases of Talley's Group paying compensation to employees for work accidents at its freezing works. The items featured interviews with both workers and referred to their Employment Relations Authority (ERA) cases. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the items were inaccurate and unfair to AFFCO Holdings Ltd, the subsidiary of Talley's Group which owns the freezing works. The broadcaster was entitled to report key parts of the ERA judgments, and AFFCO was given a fair opportunity to comment.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

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Fisher and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-044 (1 March 2016)

An item on ONE News covered the quarrying of a Dunedin landmark, Saddle Hill, and featured interviews with three people opposed to the quarrying. The reporter stated that quarry owner Calvin Fisher did not respond to his request for an interview, although an offer had been made to ‘replace the hill once the rock has been taken away’. TVNZ upheld Mr Fisher’s complaint, finding that insufficient attempts were made to contact Mr Fisher and the reporter unfairly represented that he was not willing to comment. TVNZ apologised in writing to Mr Fisher, removed the story from its website and discussed the upheld complaint with the reporter and management. However the Authority upheld Mr Fisher’s complaint that this action was insufficient to remedy the breach. The nature of the breach required further action from the broadcaster, such as a public acknowledgement or apology or a follow-up broadcast that included comment from Mr Fisher and/or an alternative perspective in support of the quarry.

Upheld: Action Taken (Fairness, Accuracy, Controversial Issues)

Order: Section 16(4) $750 costs to the Crown 

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White and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-042

An item on Fair Go investigated a case of alleged elder financial abuse by a man, P against a 90-year-old woman, E. The programme also featured P’s ‘mentor’ (M), a spokesperson from E’s bank and comment from E and her grandson. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item was unfair, inaccurate and unbalanced. Both P and M were given a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment, the broadcaster made reasonable efforts to ensure the item was accurate and the item did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance which required the presentation of alternative views.

Not Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy, Controversial Issues

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Aranyi & Others and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-036

At the end of an episode of Seven Sharp, host Mike Hosking offered his views on the incident of Prime Minister John Key’s repeated pulling of a café waitress’ ponytail. He described the waitress’ motivations for speaking out as ‘selfish’ and ‘a puffed up self-involved pile of political bollocks’. The Authority upheld complaints that this was unfair to the waitress. While public figures can expect criticism and robust scrutiny, in the Authority’s view the waitress was not a public figure. The format of the ‘final word’ segment did not allow for a response from the waitress so she was unable to defend herself in this context. The Authority did not uphold the remainder of the complaints.

Upheld: Fairness

Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration

No Order

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Insley & Soryl and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-028

A segment on Breakfast featured an interview with the chair of the Eating Disorders Association, who discussed that some individuals may mask eating disorders with particular ‘fad diets’. Although the chair did not specifically mention veganism, banners shown on-screen during the segment read, ‘Fears teens use veganism to restrict food intake’ and ‘Fears people use veganism to restrict food intake’. The Authority did not uphold complaints that the banners were misleading by suggesting veganism was an eating disorder and encouraged bullying of vegans. Viewers would not have been misled by the broadcast as a whole or encouraged to bully vegans. In any case, vegans are not a section of the community to which the discrimination and denigration standard applies.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness, Responsible Programming

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