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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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493 Results

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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Leighton and NZME Radio Ltd - 2018-034 (23 July 2018)

During Hauraki Breakfast, hosts Jeremy Wells and Matt Heath discussed smoking marijuana, in relation to several National Party MPs who had recently publicly stated they had never tried it. The hosts took calls from listeners who had also never tried marijuana and asked them why they had never tried it. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast promoted and encouraged the use of marijuana. The Authority found the broadcast amounted to a comedic discussion of smoking marijuana that did not go beyond established audience expectations of Radio Hauraki, Hauraki Breakfast or the hosts. The Authority noted that humour and satire are important aspects of free speech, and found that on this occasion, there was insufficient risk of harm to justify limiting the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Law and Order, Children’s Interests

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RK and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-025 (24 August 2018)

An item on 1 News reported on an alleged ‘mistake’ by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), which the reporter, Andrea Vance, said ‘cost the taxpayer a quarter of a million dollars’. The item referred to MFAT’s action in waiving the diplomatic immunity of an MFAT employee – the complainant – to allow child custody and matrimonial proceedings to be heard in an overseas court. According to Ms Vance, MFAT’s actions were disputed by the complainant’s ex-partner, resulting in MFAT issuing an apology and payment of ‘legal bills’ to both the complainant and the complainant’s ex-partner. The Authority upheld aspects of a complaint from the MFAT employee that the item was inaccurate, unbalanced and unfair. It was important, in the interests of ensuring viewers were properly informed and were not misled, for the broadcaster to have provided alternative perspectives on the issue of legal costs, namely that MFAT denied payment of the complainant’s costs. Further, it should have been made clear to viewers that a legal expert featured in the item did not have specific knowledge of the complainant’s case and was commenting only generally on the applicable law. The Authority noted the public interest in this item and the efforts made by the broadcaster to protect the identities of those involved, and did not uphold the complaint under the remaining standards.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness, Balance. 

Not Upheld: Privacy, Children’s Interests, Programme Information.

No Order.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Campbell and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-019 (26 April 2017)

A promo for the latest season of 7 Days showed comedians featured on the programme preparing the show’s host for the ‘potentially hostile environment’, by heckling and pelting him with objects. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this promo trivialised the issue of bullying. The promo was a parody sketch of the type of heckling typically made by contestants during an episode of 7 Days, and common to live comedy programmes of this genre. It sought to recreate this live comedy environment in a humorous, satirical and highly exaggerated way, and in this context, the promo did not condone, encourage or trivialise bullying behaviour.

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

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Sanders and Apna Networks Ltd - 2017-017 (9 August 2017)

Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai (Say… You’re in Love), a Bollywood romantic thriller film, was broadcast on free-to-air television channel APNA TV between 3pm and 6pm. The film featured action scenes containing violence. The Authority upheld a complaint that the film breached a number of broadcasting standards. The film was broadcast unclassified and with an incorrect programme description, which meant audiences were unable to make an informed viewing choice and were unable to regulate their own, and their children’s, viewing behaviour. The film’s inclusion of violent imagery such as beatings, shoot-outs, murder and dead bodies, and the visual depiction of these acts occurring onscreen, warranted an AO classification and later time of broadcast on free-to-air television. The film’s content would have been outside audience expectations of the programme, and child viewers, who were likely to be watching at the time of broadcast, were unable to be protected from material that had the potential to adversely affect them. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the law and order standard.

Upheld: Programme Information, Children’s Interests, Good Taste and Decency, Violence; Not Upheld: Law and Order

Orders: Section 13(1)(a) broadcast statement; section 16(4) costs to the Crown $1,500

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Lobb and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-013 (26 April 2017)

An episode of Shortland Street featured a storyline about the developing relationship of a young same-sex couple, and included several scenes of the two kissing, including shots of them from the waist up in bed together. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that these scenes breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The Authority acknowledged there is value in programmes such as Shortland Street, which provides entertainment and reflects contemporary society and evolving social issues and attitudes. Shortland Street is a PGR-classified medical drama series that has screened in the 7pm timeband for many years. It is well known for featuring adult themes. In that context the level of sexual content did not threaten current norms of good taste and decency, nor would be likely to adversely affect any child viewers. The depiction of kissing in itself did not go beyond what is expected of the PGR classification, and no further sexual activity was shown. Given the nature of the programme and the PGR classification, any child viewers could reasonably be expected to be under adult supervision, and viewers were given the opportunity to make a different viewing choice for themselves and their children.  

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

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Hurrell and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-086 (8 March 2017)

Promos for South Park, Tosh.O and Bombshell: The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior screened during the wildlife programme Africa’s Fishing Leopards, which was classified G. The promos contained potentially offensive language, which was censored, and verbal references to an ‘act of terror’ and ‘murder’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that it was inappropriate to broadcast promos for AO-classified programmes during G-programmes, as they contained adult themes. The Authority noted that it is acceptable to screen promos for AO programmes during G programmes, provided that the promo complies with the classification of the host programme. It found that in this case, the use of censored coarse language did not breach standards, but noted that in order to maintain a G classification, broadcasters must take care to adequately edit any AO or PGR content. The promos did not contain any other material which was adult in nature or would have adversely affected child viewers. The balance standard does not apply to the promotion of fictional or comedy programmes (only news, current affairs and factual programmes).

Not Upheld: Children’s Interests, Balance

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Ball and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-074 (15 December 2016)

An episode of Cold Feet, a British comedy-drama series which followed the intertwining lives of three couples at different stages in their relationships, contained sex scenes. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the sex scenes breached the children’s interests and good taste and decency standards. Cold Feet was not targeted at child viewers, it was classified Adults Only and broadcast during an appropriate timeband, and was preceded by a specific warning for sex scenes. The level of sexual content was not overly explicit and was justified by the episode’s narrative context. Overall the broadcaster adequately ensured child viewers could be protected from adult content, and the episode would not have offended or surprised the general viewing audience.

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

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Hodgins and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2016-071 (2 December 2016)

Two Entertainment Tonight episodes, classified PGR, were broadcast prior to children’s programme Sticky TV, which was classified G. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the Entertainment Tonight episodes contained content that was unsuitable for children, and that PGR programmes such as this should not be broadcast immediately prior to children’s programming. Taking into account the context of the broadcast, the Authority found the Entertainment Tonight episodes were within audience expectations of the programme and the PGR classification. The episodes did not contain any strong or adult content, particularly during the transition to Sticky TV, and would not have adversely affected any child viewers when subject to adult supervision.

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

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Johns and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-049 (20 September 2016)

An episode of the British cartoon, Grizzly Tales, which was classified G (General), featured a young girl called Victoria Spew who threw tantrums until she vomited to get her way. At the end of the episode, Victoria was sucked into the vacuum cleaner her mother had bought to clean up after her. The cartoon showed Victoria’s teeth being pulled from her gums, and organs and body parts falling into the bag. The episode ended with Victoria’s body parts trapped in the vacuum cleaner. The Authority upheld a complaint that this episode of Grizzly Tales was unsuitable for young children. The programme was classified G and so was required to be suitable for all children under the age of 14. While this episode may have appealed to older children, the Authority did not consider it was appropriate for preschool children, who were likely to be watching unsupervised early in the morning. The Authority did not make an order.

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

No Order 

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Andersson and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-043 (22 August 2016)

An item on Seven Sharp featured a young girl who was passionate about pig hunting. The item contained footage of the girl and her father on a pig hunt, including footage of the pig bailed up by dogs, as well as the young girl holding the pig’s heart after it had been gutted, and carrying the carcass. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The subject matter of the item was clearly signposted by the hosts, who also provided a warning about the content. Viewers and caregivers were therefore given a reasonable opportunity to exercise discretion or make a different viewing choice. In any event, the footage shown during the item was not overly gory or gratuitous, and while some viewers may have found it unpleasant to watch, the broadcast of hunting footage is generally acceptable in New Zealand so long as standards are maintained.

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

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Office of Film and Literature Classification and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-029 (22 August 2016)

An episode of Criminal Minds featured the murder of three restaurant workers during an armed robbery, prompting the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit to re-open a similar cold case that occurred six years earlier. The episode contained violence and drug use. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the episode breached broadcasting standards relating to responsible programming, children’s interests and law and order. The Authority found that while the episode contained challenging content, it was classified AO and was preceded by an adequate warning. The programme’s classification, pre-broadcast warning and established reputation as a crime drama enabled viewers to make an informed viewing decision. The programme did not contain visual acts of violence, and the drug use was not portrayed in an instructional or encouraging manner and was part of the episode’s narrative context.

Not Upheld: Responsible Programming, Children’s Interests, Law and Order

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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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Perrett and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-092 (1 March 2016)

During the course of a panel discussion on Paul Henry about cruise ships, the participants briefly talked about penis enlargement. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this discussion was ‘vulgar’ and inappropriate for a time when children could be watching television. Paul Henry is aimed at adult viewers and the conversation, which was brief and inexplicit, did not go beyond audience expectations of the programme and its presenters.

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

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Davie and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-090 (1 March 2016)

The host of Paul Henry said ‘bastards’ when referring to phone scammers and said the word ‘God’ several times as an exclamation when discussing the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this language breached broadcasting standards. It would not have offended a significant number of viewers or adversely affected any children who might have been watching.

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

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Hamblyn and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-084 (28 January 2016)

A promo for Aquarius, shown during Seven Sharp, included a brief shot of a partially clothed injured male character surrounded by female characters tending his wounds. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the ‘sexualised’ promo was inappropriate for a time when children could be watching television. The promo did not depict any sexual activity or full nudity, and the shot complained about was fleeting and indistinct. The content was consistent with expectations of a PGR classification and the host news and current affairs programme, and any child viewers would have likely been supervised by adults.

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

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Duncan and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-083 (28 January 2016)

A promo for Step Dave, broadcast during The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, showed two female characters kissing and brief sexual innuendo. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that it was inappropriate to screen such an ‘overtly sexual’ promo during a children’s movie. The promo included low-level sexual innuendo which was unlikely to be understood by younger viewers, and unlikely to disturb or offend most viewers in the context of the PGR host programme.

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

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