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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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938 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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Barnao and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-002 (2 April 2019)

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

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has not upheld a complaint that an episode of 7 Days, in which a panellist said an Australian Santa would say ‘G’day cunts’, breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority acknowledged that the language was coarse and may have offended some viewers. However, taking into account relevant contextual factors including the nature of the programme, which is targeted at adults, audience expectations, the Adults Only classification, the warning for ‘bad’ language at the beginning of the programme, and the time of broadcast, the Authority found that any potential for harm did not justify a restriction on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Taylor and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-106 (26 February 2019)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an episode of Breakfast, in which the phrase ‘he rooted my missus’ was read out on air, breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found that while the phrase was coarse and may have offended some viewers, the term ‘rooted’ was unlikely to undermine or violate widely shared community norms. Overall, the Authority found that any potential for harm did not justify a restriction on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Flutey & Rzesniowiecki and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2018-102A-B (13 March 2019 )

Two complaints about a segment on The AM Show that reported on threats to public officials over the Government’s use of 1080 were not upheld. The Authority found that the portrayal of the anti-1080 campaign was not misleading or unfair, noting that the broadcast identified the threats as coming from the ‘fringes’ of the anti-1080 movement. The Authority also found that a comment made by host Duncan Garner during the broadcast, implying Willie Apiata should be sent to harm the people who made the threats, did not breach broadcasting standards. The Authority noted that the comment was flippant, and when weighed against the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression, it did not reach a point that justified the limitation of that right.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy, Privacy, Fairness

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Ngapo & Tolungamaka and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-099 (13 March 2019)

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about episodes of Shortland Street, which followed the ongoing storyline of a threesome between a married couple and their nanny. The Authority acknowledged that some viewers might find this storyline distasteful and that some scenes and references might have raised questions for children. However, the Authority found that various contextual factors, including audience expectations of the long-running television drama and a warning for sexual material, prepared audiences for the likely content and minimised the potential for undue harm. The sexual material and references contained in these episodes were relatively inexplicit, with no nudity or sexual activity beyond kissing shown. Finally, the fictional sexual activity took place between consenting adults and no illegal or seriously antisocial activity was portrayed during the programme. The Authority therefore found no grounds to justify restricting the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order

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Keeley and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-094 (4 February 2019)

During an episode of Seven Sharp the presenter Hilary Barry welcomed a temporary presenter, Matt Chisholm, who responded by saying ‘it’s bloody good to be here’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the word ‘bloody’ breached the good taste and decency standard, finding the use of the term in the context of this programme was not inappropriate or unnecessary. The Authority has consistently found this expression to be colloquial language commonly used as an exclamation in our society. The Authority noted that Seven Sharp is aimed at adult viewers and the expression was not intended to be aggressive or pejorative. Overall, the Authority found that any potential for harm by the use of this term did not justify a restriction on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Bartlett and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-093 (4 February 2019)

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

During an interview on Breakfast about a proposed cull of Himalayan tahr, the Minister of Conservation, Hon Eugenie Sage, appeared to use the word ‘cunters’ when referring to the educational effort undertaken by tahr hunters. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the Minister’s use of this word during this interview breached the good taste and decency and discrimination and denigration standards. The use of the word was an accidental slip of the tongue and it was clear that the Minister intended to refer to ‘hunters’ during this section of the interview. The use of the word was not deliberate nor was it used with any malice or invective. The Minister herself acknowledged that she could have enunciated the word ‘hunters’ more clearly during the interview and apologised for any offence it caused. Overall, the Authority found that the use of this term, in the particular context, did not meet the threshold tests for breach of the relevant standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

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Hendry and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2018-084 (18 December 2018)

A complaint about comments, made by contestants about a landscaper during an episode of The Block, was not upheld. During the episode, a new landscaper started work on the property of contestants, Chlo and Em. Em referred to the landscaper and said, ‘Who’s that new meat on The Block? Come over.’ Chlo then said ‘Some fresh meat for Em’. The complainant submitted the references to the landscaper as ‘meat’ were sexist, unacceptable and amounted to sexual harassment. The Authority highlighted the importance of context when considering whether comments of a sexual nature have breached broadcasting standards. The Authority noted that, in some contexts, these comments could be considered to be inappropriate. In this case, however, the comments did not go beyond audience expectations of The Block. They were not explicit or graphic, nor were the comments made with malice or nastiness. The Authority also did not uphold the complaint under the discrimination and denigration standard, finding the comments did not contain any malice or invective.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

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Sarah and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-079 (27 November 2018)

During an episode of Shortland Street, characters Lincoln and Jack took Nicole out for drinks to take her mind off her attacker. Lincoln, who was previously in a relationship with a man, was shown taking an illegal drug which he gave to Nicole. Later in the episode, Lincoln and Nicole were shown in bed together. In the episode broadcast the following evening, Jack asked Lincoln about being gay and sleeping with Nicole. Lincoln replied that he did not have to ‘put a label on it’, saying, ‘I’m just me’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the programme’s portrayal of Lincoln’s sexuality, by a straight actor, could have damaging effects on young viewers or those struggling with their sexuality. The character explained that he preferred not to use labels and there was no suggestion that Lincoln’s sexual orientation changed under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or that his sexual orientation was ‘a phase’. While the Authority acknowledged that ensuring diversity in casting was an important issue, the casting of straight actors to play gay or queer characters was a decision for the broadcaster. The actor’s portrayal of Lincoln was part of the programme’s fictional narrative, which in context was not in breach of standards. The Authority therefore did not identify any grounds which would justify restricting the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression or dramatic license in this case.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Programme Information, Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Alcohol, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

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Hummelstad and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-077 (14 November 2018)

A complaint about a Newshub item in which the presenter commented, ‘And I thought the only reason we watch Aussie Rules [AFL] was for the short shorts’, has not been upheld by the Authority. The Authority found that the comment, while inappropriate, did not reach the threshold to be considered a serious violation of community norms of good taste and decency. The Authority acknowledged the importance of contextual factors in considering whether the standards have been breached, including the nature of Newshub as an unclassified news programme and audience expectations of the broadcast. The Authority recognised that the statement was not made with malice or nastiness and found the comment did not breach the discrimination and denigration, balance or fairness standards.

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

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Hyslop & McElroy and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-073 (14 November 2018)

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about two episodes from the second season of British dating game show, Naked Attraction, broadcast on TVNZ 2 at 9.30pm on Friday 27 July 2018 and Friday 3 August 2018. 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. The complaints alleged these episodes of Naked Attraction 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 was degrading and breached the privacy of the participants. The Authority found that while the programme may not have been to everybody’s taste, it was preceded by a clear warning, contained many body-positive messages and those involved in the programme spoke positively of their experiences. Given the tone of the programme, there was no element of exploitation or humiliation of participants and it was clear that they had given their consent to appear on the programme. Overall, the Authority did not consider that the alleged harm caused by the broadcast outweighed the important right to freedom of expression, taking into account the above contextual factors and the protections available to viewers, including a detailed warning, to help them make an informed choice about whether to watch the programme.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Privacy

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Haverland and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-070 (14 November 2018)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a promo for Body Fixers, which included a brief shot of a woman exposing her hairy lower stomach area to a team of beauty therapists. The complainant initially complained to the broadcaster that the promo showed a man exposing his pubic hair. The Authority viewed the promo broadcast at the date and time identified by the complainant, and was satisfied that the promo showed a woman lifting her shirt to expose her lower stomach area, rather than a man pulling down his pants to show his pubic hair. The Authority nevertheless went on to consider the promo against the good taste and decency standard, finding that, in the context of a programme about beauty therapy, the fleeting shot of lower stomach body hair was unlikely to cause undue or widespread offence and distress. Upholding the complaint would therefore represent an unjustified and unreasonable limit on the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency  

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Hall & Large and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-061 (10 October 2018)

Two complaints regarding an episode of Shortland Street were not upheld. In the episode a new character appointed CEO of the Shortland Street hospital commented, ‘Puffed up, privileged Pakeha men drunk on control, terrified of change… we are the future, Esther, not them,’ referring to the hospital’s management. Complaints were made that this statement was sexist, racist and offensive to white men. The Authority reviewed the programme and relevant contextual factors, including established expectations of Shortland Street as a long-running, fictional soap opera/drama, and concluded the character’s statement did not breach broadcasting standards. It found upholding the complaints in this context would unreasonably limit the right to freedom of expression.

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

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Amery and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-057 (10 October 2018)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an episode of Breakfast, in which the hosts and viewer feedback discussed people stealing at supermarket self-service checkouts by putting in the wrong code for items they are purchasing. The Authority found the programme did not actively encourage viewers to steal or break the law in breach of the law and order standard. Across the programme as a whole, the hosts and viewers offered a range of views on the ethics of stealing at self-checkouts, including strong views against such behaviour, and clearly acknowledged it was ‘theft’ and illegal. The tone of the discussion was consistent with audience expectations of Breakfast and its hosts, and would not have unduly offended or distressed viewers, so the good taste and decency standard was also not breached.

Not Upheld: Law and Order, 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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