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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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162 Results

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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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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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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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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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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South Taranaki District Council and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2014-149

Campbell Live covered a story about an eader (a pit for raw milk waste) in the town of Eltham in Taranaki that was allegedly making local residents ill. The South Taranaki District Council complained that the item was inaccurate and unfair. The Authority found that this was an important story which carried high public interest and that much of it was accurate and well-reported. Nevertheless, a number of statements conveying the gravity of the problem with the eader did not have a sufficient basis and were overblown, which was misleading and unfair. Accordingly the Authority upheld some aspects of the complaint.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

No Order

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Ranfurly Village Hospital Limited and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2014-034

Campbell Live broadcast two items that were critical of Ranfurly Veterans Home and Hospital, relating to an incident in which a resident, Q, was found lying on the driveway after falling from his power chair. The Authority upheld one aspect of the accuracy complaint in relation to another incident involving a resident, F, and upheld the complaint that the items were unfair to Q, and to Ranfurly. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the residents’ privacy was breached. The Authority did not make any order as only limited aspects were upheld.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

Not Upheld: Privacy

No Order

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Noble and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-030

Neighbours at War reported on a dispute between the complainant and his neighbour over who was entitled to the letterbox number ‘1’ on their street. The complainant did not take part in the programme, and his neighbour made a number of allegations against him, including that he had sex on his deck, mowed the lawn in his underwear, watched his neighbours in their spa bath, and disturbed them with loud music and security lights. The broadcaster upheld two aspects of his fairness and privacy complaints, but the Authority found that the action taken by the broadcaster to remedy the breaches was insufficient. The programme overall painted the complainant in a very unfavourable light and without his side of the story, which was unfair. The Authority considered publication of this decision was sufficient and did not make any order.

Upheld: Fairness (Action Taken), Privacy (Action Taken), Fairness

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

No Order

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CG and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2013-082

An episode of The Claim Game, a reality series about insurance claims, profiled a claim involving a house fire, where the tenant did not have contents insurance. The Authority upheld the complaint from the tenant that the programme breached her privacy and that she had been treated unfairly. The broadcaster could not demonstrate that the complainant had given consent to appear in the programme, and she had made her objections known to both the broadcaster and the production company before this third repeat broadcast, which occurred four years after the filming took place.

Upheld: Fairness, Privacy
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Children’s Interests

Order: Section 13(1)(d) – compensation to the complainant for breach of privacy $1,000

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Craig and 4 Others and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2013-034

In two items broadcast a week apart on Seven Sharp, the presenters made comments about the leader of the Conservative Party, Colin Craig, relating to his opposition to the Marriage (Definition) Amendment Bill. The Authority did not uphold the complaints relating to the first broadcast, as it was balanced and was not unfair to Colin Craig. However, the second broadcast, which was a satirical piece, went too far and amounted to a personal attack on Colin Craig which was unfair. The Authority ordered the broadcast of a statement including an apology to Colin Craig, and $1,500 costs to the Crown.

Upheld: Fairness

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

Orders: Broadcast statement, $1,500 costs to Crown

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Pompallier Catholic College and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2012-122

Close Up reported on comments made by the Principal of Pompallier Catholic College in a school newsletter, objecting to gay marriage. The item claimed that the Principal suspended a teacher, who was interviewed by Close Up, and that students who opposed the comments were "threatened". A news ticker on Breakfast the following morning echoed the claims. The school argued the programmes were misleading and unfair, because the teacher was suspended for reasons other than his objection to the Principal's views, and no students were threatened. The Authority found that Close Up did not fairly present the reasons for the suspension, which created an unfairly negative impression of the Principal and the College, who were not given a fair chance to comment. It said the item should have couched the "threats" as allegations or the students' views, rather than unequivocal statements of fact. The Breakfast ticker was not material in the context of the programme.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

No Order

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Moore and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2012-107

An item on Fair Go, broadcast on TV One, included an interview with a group of Christchurch women who wanted to cancel their gym contracts due to temporary closure or relocation of premises following the February 2011 earthquake. The item’s focus was on two gyms in Christchurch and whether they were within their rights to enforce the contracts or were being unreasonable. The Authority upheld the complaint that the item breached the fairness and accuracy standards: it contained comments from two women which suggested their issues related solely to relocation, that the complainant’s gym refused to refund them and that they would be significantly out of pocket, but it omitted important information about the women’s individual circumstances relating to the contracts, creating a misleading impression which was not mitigated by the opportunity given to the complainant to respond. The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

No Order

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Dr Z and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2012-074

A Close Up item focused on a New Zealand doctor who was offering an experimental stem cell treatment to people with Multiple Sclerosis. Hidden camera footage was obtained by a patient, and parts of it were broadcast in the story. The Authority upheld the complaint from the doctor that he was treated unfairly and his privacy was breached. The doctor was not given a fair opportunity to comment for the programme, his privacy was invaded through the use of a hidden camera, and, as the raw footage from the consultation was unavailable, the broadcaster could not demonstrate that the level of public interest in the footage outweighed the breach of privacy.

Upheld: Fairness, Privacy
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues

Orders: Section 16(1) – legal costs to the complainant $5,500

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Whyte and Televison New Zealand Ltd - 2012-070

A One News item reported on a “skimming” scheme in which the accused allegedly “fleeced money from customers who used eftpos machines inside at least one Auckland business”. The item referred to and showed footage of the Brooklyn Bar in Auckland where, according to one customer, he had had his card “skimmed”. The Authority upheld the complaint that this breached the accuracy and fairness standards: the item wrongly singled out and identified the Brooklyn Bar as having been targeted by the fraud, which created the impression the business was unsafe; the complainant was not provided with a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment and correct the information; and the broadcaster failed to make proper inquiries. The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

No Order

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Ashton and Payne and Māori Television - 2012-054

An item on Te Kāea, broadcast on Māori Television, reported on an Anglican deacon who was allegedly stood down after making a complaint about a man he alleged had been the subject of a sexual abuse inquiry. The Authority upheld the complaint that this breached the accuracy and fairness standards: it is not the Authority's role to determine the nature of the the alleged sexual abuse and its portrayal in the item; the item omitted other reasons for the deacon's suspension, which was misleading; the item was unfair to the church and the Bishop because the broadcaster did not have a sufficient foundation for broadcasting serious allegations and did not appear to take any steps to corroborate the essential facts of the broadcast; and given the seriousness of the allegations, the church was not provided with a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment. The Authority did not agree that the item breached the controversial issues standard as it did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance.
The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues

No Order

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Harkema and TVWorks Ltd - 2012-042

Five Campbell Live items featured the complainant, Margaret Harkema, a former director of the Valley Animal Research Centre, and investigated concerns that she was using TradeMe to rehome beagles that were bred or used for testing. The Authority upheld her complaints that the programmes were unfair, misleading and breached her privacy.

Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy, Privacy

Not Upheld: Law and Order

Orders: Section 13(1)(d) $2,000 compensation to the complainant for breach of privacy; Section 16(1) $12,000 legal costs to the complainant

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FS and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2012-036

A re-broadcast of an episode of the reality TV series The Inspectors showed an Environmental Health Officer carrying out a routine spot check at a Dunedin fish and chip shop and making critical comments about the state of the premises, downgrading it from a ‘B’ to a ‘D’. The inspection took place in 2009 and the programme was first broadcast on TV One in 2010. The complaint was about the latest broadcast in January 2012. The Authority upheld the complaint that this broadcast breached the privacy and fairness standards: the shop owner was identifiable even though his face was pixellated; any consent given was not informed and did not extend to the broadcast of the footage three years after filming; there was a high level of public interest in the footage at the time of filming but not three years later; and it was fundamentally unfair to broadcast footage three years after filming – the disclaimer at the start of the programme was not sufficient to mitigate the unfairness in this respect.

The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the programme breached the accuracy standard as it did not contain any material inaccuracies. The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Privacy, Fairness
Not Upheld: Accuracy

No Order

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Hodson and TVWorks Ltd - 2012-012

Campbell Live reported on a woman who, after she miscarried, unsuccessfully sought a refund for baby items purchased from the complainant’s business. The reporter door-stepped the complainant and her co-owner, and footage of this was broadcast. The Authority upheld that the broadcast breached the fairness, accuracy and privacy standards. No previous attempts had been made to obtain comment before door-stepping the shop owners; covert filming and recording of the conversation meant that the owners were not properly informed of the nature of their participation; the owners specifically stated that they did not want to be filmed or recorded; and the tone of programme was negative towards the owners and their position was not adequately presented. The owners were identifiable, and the item disclosed private facts. The Authority ordered payment of $500 to the complainant for breach of privacy and payment of $750 legal costs to the complainant.

Upheld: Privacy, Fairness, Accuracy

Order: $500 compensation to complainant for breach of privacy, $750 legal costs to complainant

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Wang and TVWorks Ltd - 2011-133

Campbell Live featured a story about a tenant whose family allegedly suffered health problems as a result of living on a property that contained traces of methamphetamine. The Authority upheld the complaint that the item breached the accuracy and fairness standards: it overstated evidence, creating the impression that a ‘P’ lab had existed when the contamination was marginal and could have been caused by smoking, and it failed to include a report which found no trace of methamphetamine. The misleading impression as to the source, location and quantity of methamphetamine contamination, as well as the implication the complainant had done nothing to remediate the problem, resulted in an unfairly negative representation of the complainant, and the complainant’s comments as included were insufficient to counterbalance the damaging implications made about him. The Authority did not uphold the complaint about discrimination and denigration, as the standard does not apply to individuals. The Authority ordered TV3 to pay $1,400 towards the complainant’s legal costs.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration
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Order: $1,400 costs to complainant

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George and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2011-132

A TV One documentary entitled A Rotten Shame investigated New Zealand’s leaky homes crisis and sought to expose systematic failures in the building industry that had led to the crisis. The presenter door-stepped a building inspector responsible for inspecting a house eleven years earlier, which had since developed serious problems and had to be demolished. A portion of this interview was included in the programme. The building inspector complained that this breached the controversial issues, accuracy and fairness standards. The Authority held that the action taken by the broadcaster in upholding the door-stepping aspect of the fairness complaint was insufficient. The Authority did not uphold any other part of the complaint: the item focused on systematic failures which led to the leaky homes crisis rather than on the complainant, it included the complainant’s viewpoint, and it did not create a misleading impression about the complainant’s culpability. The Authority ordered TVNZ to pay $500 towards the complainant’s legal costs.

Upheld: Fairness (Action Taken)
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Fairness

Order: $500 costs to complainant

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JS and TVWorks Ltd - 2011-122

An item on Campbell Live featured two reporters dressed in full burqas using hidden cameras to film the public’s reaction. It included footage of a woman refusing the reporters entry to her shop and questioning their style of dress. The footage was rebroadcast on 3 News and The Jono Project. The programmes made negative comments about the woman’s behaviour. The woman in the footage complained that this breached the privacy, fairness and accuracy standards. The Authority upheld the fairness complaint: the footage was obtained through misrepresentation and the complainant was not informed of the nature of her participation, and the complainant should have been given an opportunity to respond to the negative portrayal of her in the programmes. The Authority did not uphold the privacy and accuracy complaints: the broadcasts did not disclose any private facts and the filming occurred in a public place; the 3 News and Campbell Live items would not have misled viewers into believing the reporters were genuine Muslims, while The Jono Project was not a factual programme to which the standard applied. The Authority ordered TVWorks Ltd to pay $2,000 costs to the Crown.

Upheld: Fairness
Not Upheld: Privacy, Accuracy

Order: $2,000 costs to Crown

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Noble and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2011-117

An episode of the reality TV series Police Ten 7 reported on an alleged assault and robbery at a supermarket car park in Wellington. The police interviewed the victim, a man with cerebral palsy and consequent speech impairment. The voiceover made comments questioning the veracity of the victim’s story and the broadcast included two shots of his footwear, a pair of women’s high heels. The Authority upheld the fairness complaint: the man was not adequately informed of the nature of the programme and of his participation, and there was insufficient public interest to justify broadcasting the footage without first informing him. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the programme breached the privacy, accuracy, and discrimination and denigration standards: the man was identifiable but no private facts were disclosed and filming was in a public place; the commentary reflected the unusual circumstances and genuine views of the police; and the discrimination and denigration standard does not apply to individuals and the broadcast did not encourage the denigration of, or discrimination against, a section of the community. The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Fairness
Not Upheld: Privacy, Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration

No Order

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Beckett, Cox and Warren and TVWorks Ltd - 2011-047

Campbell Live. Interview with “moon man” Ken Ring about his earthquake predictions. Upheld (fairness). Not upheld (controversial issues and accuracy). No order.

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MQ and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2011-033

Police. Contained footage of complainant from 1990s being arrested and taken to police station to detox after solvent abuse. Upheld (privacy and fairness). Orders ($1,000 costs to complainant for breach of privacy, $1,000 costs to Crown).

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Nova Limited and TVWorks Ltd - 2010-170

Campbell Live. Item claimed that modelling agency was refusing to put forward a model work because of her hip measurements. Upheld (accuracy, fairness). Not upheld (controversial issues). No order.

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