In this section of the website you can search all our decisions from 1989/90 to the present. The decisions appear in descending order.
Decisions from 1994 appear in HTML. Decisions from 1989/90 to 1993 are attached as PDFs.
Four of the fields that appear at the top of individual decisions – Channel/Station, Programme, Standards, Standards Breached – have links that call up other decisions with the same information.
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During the Saturday Morning programme on RNZ National, Kim Hill interviewed Dr Don Brash about his views on the use of te reo Māori in New Zealand. At one point in the interview Ms Hill put to Dr Brash, ‘Is this a political position on your part? I mean, we know your political position, for example, which says that the government has no responsibility to address the overrepresentation of Māori in negative social stats’. Dr Brash asked Ms Hill when he had said that, to which Ms Hill replied, ‘I’m quoting you. I think it was about seven years ago’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Ms Hill’s statement was materially inaccurate. While Ms Hill’s reference to Dr Brash’s views may have been loose or approximate, overall it was not material to listeners’ understanding of the item as a whole, which focused on Dr Brash’s opinion about the use of te reo Māori without translation, particularly in RNZ broadcasting. Further, Dr Brash was given sufficient time during the 32-minute interview to rebut Ms Hill’s statement and to clarify his position. The Authority therefore found that the harm alleged to have been caused by the broadcast did not outweigh the right to freedom of expression in this case.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
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
Saturday Morning featured a 25-minute interview with the Vice President for Energy and Environment Policy at a think-tank in the United States. The interviewee discussed a range of matters to do with environmental policy, including her current concerns, initiatives put in place under the Obama administration that may be threatened by the Trump administration, and how to make climate change a relevant issue to voters. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the item was unbalanced, as it only presented the ‘progressive, liberal’ perspective on climate change. The Authority considered that, in the context of an interview focused on the professional opinions and experiences of a particular individual, listeners would not have expected the full spectrum of views on climate change to be presented. The Authority noted that climate change is an ongoing and regularly discussed issue, and alternative perspectives are presented from time to time in various media. Audiences have a reasonable level of awareness of the significant perspectives on climate change and would not have been uninformed by the absence of a detailed discussion of the ‘conservative’ viewpoint during this particular item.
Not Upheld: Balance
An interview was broadcast on Saturday Morning with a British comedy writer and producer. Following a discussion about causing offence to audiences, the interviewee recalled his time as a radio host and a complaint he received from the Bishop of Oxford about a crucifixion joke. He could not remember the joke, and the presenter invited listeners to ‘…send in a series of very funny jokes about the crucifixion to see if we can approximate it’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the presenter’s remark was against common decency and offensive to Christians. The remark was not intended to trivialise or make light of the act of crucifixion or the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and did not reach the threshold necessary to encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, the Christian community.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration
An interview was broadcast on Saturday Morning with a Swedish historian and author. During the interview, the presenter allegedly quoted former Finance Minister, Sir Roger Douglas. At the end of the item, the presenter also read out negative and critical comments from listeners about the interview. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the presenter’s statement, allegedly attributed to Sir Roger Douglas, was inaccurate, and that reading out the comments received was offensive. The statement was not a material point of fact in the context of the item and would not have affected listeners’ understanding of the item as a whole, which was focused on the views and work of the interviewee. Further, listeners were unlikely to have understood the statement to be a direct quote from the former Finance Minister, and would not have been misled. In the context of the item and the programme, the comments read out by the presenter, while critical and expressed in strong or provocative language, did not reach the threshold necessary to breach standards of good taste and decency.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency
An interview was broadcast on Saturday Morning with the President of Catholics for Choice (CFC). He spoke about CFC’s position, and his own views, on contraception, marriage equality and abortion, contrasting these views with the Catholic Church’s stance on these topics. The Authority did not uphold a complaint made by Right to Life that a representative of the Catholic Church should have been given the opportunity to respond to the ‘allegations’ made by the CFC President. The item was introduced and presented from the narrow perspective of CFC, which did not represent the views of all Catholics or of the Church hierarchy, and this was made clear during the interview. The Authority considered that most listeners would have been broadly aware of the Catholic Church’s stance in relation to the topics discussed and a rebuttal was not required to balance the interview. The Authority also did not uphold the fairness complaint, as the connection between CFC, Family Planning and Planned Parenthood was clearly outlined at the beginning of the item, and the item did not result in unfairness to the Catholic Church.
Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness
Saturday Morning featured an interview with a filmmaker about his recent documentary Going Clear about the Church of Scientology. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the interview was unbalanced, unfair and biased against the Church. The focus of the interview was the filmmaker’s perspective and his experience making the film; it did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance which required a balancing viewpoint to be presented. The nature of the programme was such that the broadcaster was not required in the interests of fairness to inform the Church prior to broadcast or invite its comment in response. In any case the broadcaster did invite a Church spokesperson to appear on a future programme and the broadcast also referred listeners to the Church’s website if they wished to get the Church’s perspective on the film and the issues discussed.
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Fairness
Radio New Zealand National broadcast an interview with the President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which provides reproductive health and education services in the United States. The Authority did not uphold two complaints that the interview was unbalanced. The interview was clearly focused on the views and experiences of one woman, and the US political landscape as it relates to these health issues is not of public importance in New Zealand so balancing viewpoints were not required.
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Fairness