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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.

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925 Results

Dorf and Television New Zealand Ltd - ID1992-002

Tonight. Complaint about presenter's comment about the Royal Family. The necessary Complaint Referral Form was twice sent to the complainant, followed by reminders, but there was no response. Declined to determine (good taste and decency).

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Lowry and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-051 (10 August 2018)

An item on 1 News discussed former MP Steven Joyce’s valedictory speech in Parliament. The item focused on Mr Joyce recounting in his speech an incident where he had a sex toy thrown at him at Waitangi several years earlier. Footage was shown of Mr Joyce recounting this story during his speech, and of the incident at Waitangi. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this broadcast and in particular showing the footage of the sex toy breached the good taste and decency standard. Given the incident was newsworthy and attracted widespread coverage at the time, as well as the light-hearted nature of Mr Joyce’s speech, and the broadcast’s target audience, the Authority found the broadcast was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress. The Authority also found the broadcast was not unfair to Mr Joyce as he personally raised and joked about the incident in his speech. The broadcaster’s choice to highlight this aspect of the speech was an editorial decision open to the broadcaster.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Fairness

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Mclean and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-046 (10 August 2018)

During an episode of Shortland Street, one of the characters, Harper, used the exclamation ‘Oh, Jesus…’ to express her shock and disgust at a flood of sewage in her new home. A promo for this episode, broadcast during the weather report on 1 News, also included Harper using this expression. The Authority received a complaint that this language was blasphemous and offensive, and in the case of the promo, inappropriate for broadcast during 1 News at 6pm when children might be watching. The Authority acknowledged that the complainant, and others in the community, might find this type of language offensive. However, the Authority has consistently found that these type of expressions are commonly used as exclamations in our society. This was reflected in recent research undertaken by the Authority, which found that the level of unacceptability for some blasphemies was decreasing among the members of the public who were surveyed. Overall, the Authority considered the broadcast of this language did not cause harm to an extent which justified limiting the right to freedom of expression, and did not uphold the complaint.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Discrimination and Denigration  

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Reekie and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-045 (10 August 2018)

An episode of The AM Show featured an interview with Hon. Kelvin Davis regarding the Government’s scheduled series of nationwide Hui with Māori. The programme also discussed legal action taken by prisoners against the Department of Corrections over strip searches, and a short clip of comments by host Duncan Garner on this issue was included in a promo for The AM Show broadcast that evening. A complaint was made that Mr Garner’s comments in relation to the first topic amounted to racist ‘slurs’ against Māori and were dismissive of the Crown’s efforts to fulfil its Treaty obligations, and that the discussion of the second topic trivialised prisoners’ ‘serious abusive treatment’. The Authority did not uphold either aspect of the complaint. The Authority found that, while some of the comments made by Mr Garner could be considered controversial and provocative, this was robust political discourse which carried public interest, and did not go beyond audience expectations. Comments were also made by the other hosts and panel guests which gave a countering view. In this context upholding the complaint would unreasonably restrict the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy, Balance

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Ockey and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-024 (18 June 2018)

Warning: This decision contains language and themes that some readers may find offensive.

National Treasure is a four-episode fictional mini-series telling the story of a famous comedian’s life falling into chaos following allegations against him of historical sexual abuse. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the word ‘fuck’ in the first two episodes, or a conversation about oral sex in the first episode, breached the good taste and decency or children’s interests standards. The Authority acknowledged that some viewers may find this content challenging or offensive. However, taking into account relevant contextual factors including the nature of the programme, the pre-broadcast warning for coarse language and references to rape, the Adults Only classification, the time of broadcast and audience expectations, the Authority found the harm alleged to have been caused did not justify restricting the right to freedom of expression. The programme was not targeted at child viewers and was broadcast in the Adults Only timeband.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests

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Maher and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-023 (21 May 2018)

During a 1 News Coming Up teaser, presenter Simon Dallow referred to an upcoming item on 1 News, saying: ‘Plus a warning for mums to be; research showing C-section babies face long-term health issues.’ The full item reported on research findings from the University of Edinburgh that babies born through caesarean section were ‘far more likely to suffer from obesity and asthma’, but went on to explain that it was not the caesarean section which caused the health problems, as these could be due to the mother’s health, and further research is needed. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the teaser was sensationalist and misleading, in breach of the accuracy standard. Due to the short duration of the teaser, which was designed to pique viewers’ interest and attract viewers to the later news bulletin, it was necessary for Mr Dallow to briefly summarise the main point of the research, and was not reasonable, at this point, to provide a full explanation of the research and its implications. Viewers understand the nature of news teasers, and were able to watch the full item to get the full story, so they were unlikely to be materially misled by the short teaser.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency, Programme Information   

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Holding and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-019 (24 May 2018)

An episode of Shortland Street featured a character using the phrase (according to the accompanying closed captions), ‘You’ve got no freaking idea…’ The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this phrase breached the good taste and decency standard because in the complainant’s view, the character actually said ‘f***ing’. The Authority noted that if broadcasters wish to broadcast sanitised versions of unacceptable words, then it is their responsibility to make it clear that it is not the offensive word that is being uttered, but rather a word which is distinctly aurally different. Here, where there was some uncertainty about what was said, the Authority did not uphold the complaint. However the Authority urged broadcasters to be careful in future, on the basis that if there is some murkiness and it is open for viewers or listeners to think that an inappropriate word has been used, the Authority may find there has been a breach of broadcasting standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Cape and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-018 (21 May 2018)

The first segment of The AM Show’s daily panel, featuring panel guests Dr Don Brash and Newshub reporter Wilhelmina Shrimpton, discussed Dr Brash’s views on the use of te reo Māori in New Zealand, specifically in RNZ broadcasting without translation. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this panel discussion lacked balance and was unfair to Dr Brash. The Authority found that, while the panel discussion was robust and Dr Brash’s opinion was tested by the panel, Dr Brash was given a fair and reasonable opportunity to present his point of view in the time allowed. Given the level of public interest in the issue discussed, Dr Brash’s position as a public figure and his experience with the media, the Authority found that the panel discussion did not result in Dr Brash being treated unfairly and viewers would not have been left misinformed as to his position on the issue.  

Not Upheld: Fairness, Balance, Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

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Cape and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2018-013 (18 April 2018)

Saturday Morning featured a segment in which presenter Kim Hill interviewed former MP and spokesperson for lobby group Hobson’s Pledge, Dr Don Brash, about the use of te reo Māori in New Zealand, specifically in RNZ broadcasting, without translation. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the interview was unbalanced and unfair. The Authority found that, while Ms Hill asked Dr Brash challenging and critical questions, Dr Brash had a reasonable opportunity to put forward his competing point of view, and listeners would not have been left misinformed with regard to Dr Brash’s position. Given the level of public interest in the interview, Dr Brash’s position and his experience with the media, the Authority also found Ms Hill’s interview style did not result in Dr Brash being treated unfairly.

Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration, Good Taste and Decency

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Six Complainants and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-010 (22 May 2018)

Three episodes of a British dating game show, Naked Attraction, were broadcast on TVNZ 2 at 9.30pm on Friday 10, 17 and 24 November 2017. During each episode, a clothed individual selected a date from six naked individuals, who were gradually revealed in stages from the feet up, with no blurring or pixelation of nudity. Six complainants referred their complaints about these episodes of Naked Attraction to the Authority, complaining that the programme contained a high level of full frontal nudity and sexual discussion, which was offensive and contrary to standards of good taste and decency. The complainants also submitted that the programme denigrated, or was discriminatory towards, both participants and viewers, and was broadcast at a time on a weekend night when children were likely to be watching. The Authority did not agree with the complainants that this programme ought not to have been broadcast at all. It observed that, while the programme may not have been to everybody’s taste, it contained many body-positive messages and those involved in the programme spoke positively of their experiences. However, the Authority upheld the good taste and decency complaints on one aspect, finding the pre-broadcast warning did not adequately signpost the extent of nudity and sexual references in the programme for viewers.

Upheld: Good Taste and Decency. Not Upheld: Children’s Interests; Discrimination and Denigration

No Order

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Frewen and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-106 (9 March 2018)

An item on Seven Sharp discussed the case of a woman and an offensive message which was sent to her by a City Councillor. The road sign which was captured in the message read, ‘Jesus is cuming… open your mouth’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that showing the road sign during the segment was potentially offensive to Christians, in breach of the good taste and decency standard. The Authority acknowledged that people may find the wording of the sign offensive. However, taking into account relevant contextual factors, including the nature of the programme, the relevance of the sign to the subject matter of the item, signposting of the lewd nature of the sign, and audience expectations of Seven Sharp, the Authority did not consider the use of the phrase threatened community norms of taste and decency, or justified restricting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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13 Complainants and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-101 (4 April 2018)

The first two episodes of a British dating game show, Naked Attraction, were broadcast on TVNZ 2 at 9.45pm on Friday 27 October 2017, and 9.30pm on Friday 3 November 2017. The essence of the programme is that a clothed individual selects a date from six naked individuals, who are gradually revealed in stages from the feet up, with no blurring or pixelation of nudity. Thirteen complainants referred their complaints about these episodes of Naked Attraction to the Authority, complaining that the programme contained a high level of full frontal nudity and sexual discussion, which was offensive and contrary to standards of good taste and decency. The complainants also submitted the programme was broadcast at a time on a weekend night when children were likely to be watching. The Authority did not agree with the complainants that this programme ought not to have been broadcast at all. It observed that, while the programme may not have been to everybody’s taste, it contained many body-positive messages and those involved in the programme spoke positively of their experiences. However, the Authority upheld the good taste and decency complaints on one aspect, finding the pre-broadcast warning did not adequately signpost the extent of nudity and sexual references in the programme for viewers, meaning viewers did not have all the information they needed to decide whether to watch or continue watching.  

Upheld: Good Taste and Decency. Not Upheld: Children’s Interests. No Order.

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Anderson and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2017-094 (2 March 2018)

During a segment broadcast on The Edge, the radio hosts made several references to the names ‘Mark Hunt’ and ‘Mike Hunt’, with the apparent intention to imply the phrase, ‘my c***’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this conversation breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found that, while the conversation was gratuitous and immature, the hosts did not explicitly use the phrase, and the segment as a whole was not so extreme or offensive that it went beyond audience expectations of The Edge radio station. The Authority also declined to uphold the complaint under the children’s interests standard, finding children were unlikely to understand the conversation, mitigating the broadcast’s potential harm.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children's Interests

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Stewart and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-093 (16 February 2018)

Warning: This decision contains language that some readers may find offensive.

During an episode of the crime thriller series Paula, one of the characters used the phrase ‘Jesus fucking Christ’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of this phrase in the context of the programme breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority acknowledged that many people may find this phrase offensive. However, taking into account the nature of the programme, the pre-broadcast warning for frequent use of coarse language, the Adults Only classification, the time of broadcast and audience expectations of the programme, the Authority did not consider the use of the phrase threatened community norms of taste and decency, or justified restricting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Keam and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-090 (15 December 2017)

During the 1 News Vote 17 Leaders Debate, moderator Mike Hosking questioned Bill English about a damaged fuel pipeline in Auckland that caused disruption to flight services, using the phrase ‘for God’s sake’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Mr Hosking’s use of this phrase was blasphemous and offensive. The Authority has consistently found that variations of ‘God’, ‘Christ’ and ‘Jesus Christ’ are commonly used as exclamations and in this case, Mr Hosking used the phrase to express his own, and voters’, frustration at the Government’s management of the fuel crisis. In these circumstances, the Authority found that the alleged harm did not outweigh the important right to freedom of expression, particularly in the lead up to a general election.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Thomas and SKY Network Television Ltd - 2017-082 (27 October 2017)

A campaign advertisement for the Ban 1080 Party (an election programme for the purposes of the Election Programmes Code) was broadcast at 5.20pm on 9 September 2017 on Prime, during a G-classified fishing programme, Addicted to Fishing. The advertisement featured a voiceover discussing the purported use and effects of sodium fluoroacetate (1080 poison) on New Zealand’s fauna, in particular deer. The advertisement included a number of close-up images of dead deer allegedly poisoned by 1080, some of which appeared to be frothing at the mouth. A complaint was made that the broadcast of these images at a time when children may be watching was upsetting and inappropriate, in breach of the good taste and decency standard (which applies under Standard E1 of the Election Programmes Code). The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding that, while the images may be confronting for some viewers, they related to Ban 1080’s main political policy message, and in the context the high threshold necessary to find a breach of the good taste and decency standard was not met. The Authority emphasised the importance and value of political expression, particularly in the lead up to a general election.

Not Upheld: Election Programmes Subject to Other Codes, Good Taste and Decency

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Lough and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-080 (15 December 2017)

An item on 1 News reported on the outbreak of a cattle disease on a farm in South Canterbury. The item featured an interview with a farmer who used the expression ‘for Christ’s sake’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this expression was offensive and unacceptable to broadcast during children’s normally accepted viewing times. The Authority found there was public interest and high value in hearing an authentic voice from a New Zealand farmer as part of the news report. The Authority also noted it has consistently found that variations of ‘Christ’ and ‘Jesus Christ’ are commonly used as exclamations, and in this case, the interviewed farmer used the phrase to express his frustration and strong support of the affected farm owner. The content of the interview did not go beyond audience expectations of the news, therefore it was not necessary to broadcast an audience advisory. In these circumstances, the Authority found that the alleged harm did not outweigh the right to freedom of expression, both of the farmer to express himself in his own words, and of the broadcaster to broadcast the item, including the farmer’s views.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests

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Rameka and Māori Television Service - 2017-070 (20 September 2017)

A campaign clip for the Ban 1080 Party (an election programme for the purposes of the Election Programmes Code) was broadcast on 10 September 2017 on Māori Television. The clip featured a voiceover discussing the purported use and effects of sodium fluoroacetate (1080 poison) on New Zealand’s flora, fauna and waterways, accompanied by footage of animal carcasses and 1080 baits in water. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the election programme was misleading and breached the Election Programmes Code and the Free-To-Air Television Code. The Authority found that the election programme did not contain statements of fact that were misleading, inaccurate, or indistinguishable from opinion. The claims made within the context of the broadcast were statements of political advocacy and opinion, made for the purpose of encouraging voters to vote for the Ban 1080 Party. The Authority emphasised the importance and value of political expression, particularly in the lead up to a general election, and in this context it did not consider the high threshold for finding a breach of standards was met.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Distinguishing Factual Information from Opinion or Advocacy, Good Taste and Decency, Fairness, Balance

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Lewis and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-069 (16 November 2017)

An item on Newshub reported on the shooting of two Israeli police officers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. The segment featured footage of officers being chased and shot at, followed by footage of a man being surrounded and shot at, a blurred shot of a dead body on the ground and a body bag on a stretcher. The Authority upheld a complaint that the item breached the good taste and decency, children’s interests and violence standards. The Authority recognised the public interest in the item and that it reported on important and newsworthy events. However, the Authority considered the item should have been preceded by a warning for the potentially disturbing violent content, to enable viewers to make an informed viewing decision, and allow an opportunity to exercise discretion.

Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence

Not Upheld: Law and Order

No Order

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Shore and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-064 (16 November 2017)

During a sports news segment on Breakfast, the sports presenter was discussing American golfer Jordan Spieth’s victory at the British Open Championship. At the end of the segment the presenter remarked, ‘Yeah, they don’t have very good humour the British, do they? They probably didn’t get [Mr Spieth’s] speech.’ A complaint was made that this comment was ‘racist and untrue’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding the comment was not malicious and was unlikely to cause widespread offence, therefore any potential harm caused by the broadcast did not outweigh the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy

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Moore and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-059 (21 September 2017)

An item on Newshub reported on the rescue of an American woman who had been held captive as a sex slave by a serial killer for two months in South Carolina. The item featured newly-released footage of the woman’s rescue, and showed her chained to the wall of a shipping container by her throat. The item also featured footage of the woman’s appearance on the American talk show, Dr Phil, during which she discussed her kidnapping. The item was preceded by the following verbal audience advisory: ‘A warning: some viewers may find our next story disturbing’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this audience advisory was inadequate given the nature of the footage, which was violent, inappropriate for children and further breached the featured woman’s privacy. The Authority found, taking into account contextual factors such as Newshub’s target audience and audience expectations of news programmes generally, that the audience advisory was adequate for the content shown. A level of maturity was required to understand the full implications of the footage, and therefore the item would not have unduly disturbed child viewers. Finally, the broadcast did not result in a breach of the woman’s privacy, given the information was available in the public domain at the time of broadcast and no private information was therefore disclosed.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence, Privacy

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Dandy and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-057 (27 October 2017)

An episode of a weekly mixed martial arts championship highlights and commentary programme, MMA: One Championship Weekly, was broadcast on TVNZ DUKE at 8.30am on Saturday 15 April 2017. The primary focus of the episode was a build-up to an upcoming match between Eduard Foyalang and Ev Ting scheduled for 21 April 2017. The episode profiled each of the fighters with reference to their backgrounds and family life. It also included 5-6 minute clips of their previous fights against other opponents. Mr Dandy complained that the use of footage from MMA fights was offensive and inappropriate to broadcast at a time when children may be watching television unsupervised. The Authority found that, taking into account the context, including that MMA: One Championship Weekly is an unclassified sports highlights show, the target audience of both the channel and the programme, and signposting at the beginning of the programme about the martial arts content, the fight footage used did not breach broadcasting standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence

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Ross and Māori Television Service - 2017-045 (4 September 2017)

East West East: The Final Sprint, an Albanian comedy film about an amateur Albanian cycling team, was broadcast on Māori Television at 8.30pm on 23 April 2017, during the school holidays. The film followed the cycle team as they made their way to France to take part in a race, only to learn that a revolution was underway in Albania, to which they chose to return. The film featured brief sexual scenes and material. East West East: The Final Sprint was preceded by a verbal (te reo Māori) and written (English and te reo Māori) audience advisory, warning that certain scenes and language may offend. The Authority found that the package of information about the film, including the film’s classification, 8.30pm broadcast and audience advisory, sufficiently prepared viewers for the sexual content contained in the film. The Authority found the sexual content was sign-posted for viewers and was in keeping with the quirky humour of the film. As such, the Authority found that the harm alleged to have been caused by the broadcast did not outweigh the right to freedom of expression, of both the broadcaster to screen the film, and of audiences to view it, and found no breach of the good taste and decency standard.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Stranaghan and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-033 (17 July 2017)

A short news item during Breakfast reported that the body of a German hostage, who had been beheaded by militants in the Philippines, had been recovered. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the item depicted a ‘severed head’, which was offensive and unacceptable to broadcast, especially during a time when children were likely to be watching television. In the context of a very brief news report, the item would not have exceeded audience expectations and would not have unduly offended or disturbed viewers. The content shown was not graphic or at a level which required a warning to be given, and the story carried public interest. While the news item was broadcast at a time when children were likely to be watching television, Breakfast is an unclassified morning news and current affairs programme, it is not targeted at child viewers and there is an expectation of adult supervision during this type of programming.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence

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Kittel and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-024 (26 May 2017)

An episode of Friends featured Rachel discussing a dream in which she and Chandler had sex, and later telling the group she had a dream about her, Chandler and Joey. Monica was dating Ethan, who claimed to be a senior in college and revealed that he was a virgin. The couple were shown kissing on the couch and then lying in bed together, when it was revealed that Ethan was in fact a senior at high school. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this episode breached the good taste and decency standard by containing sexual material unsuitable for children at the broadcast time of 4.30pm. Any visual sexual content was implied and verbal references to sex amounted to innuendo which was unlikely to be understood or imitated by younger viewers. While the Authority acknowledged that this was the first instance of this particular episode being broadcast at 4.30pm, it considered the low-level sexual content of the episode did not go beyond well-established audience expectations of the programme and did not threaten current norms of good taste and decency.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency  

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