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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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26 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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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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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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Brock and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-077 (28 January 2016)

An episode of Shortland Street showed the death of a 14-year-old character, Pixie. Pixie had apparently been undergoing chemotherapy and was hospitalised for pneumonia. At the end of the episode, Pixie’s condition rapidly deteriorated and she died. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item should have been preceded by a warning because children could have been disturbed and upset by the content. Shortland Street is rated PGR and frequently features adult themes. While the fictional depiction of a child’s death was potentially upsetting, it was not outside audience expectations and parents had an opportunity to exercise discretion.

Not Upheld: Responsible Programming, Children’s Interests

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Chaney and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2013-029

An episode of Shortland Street on TV2 showed characters smoking cigarettes and dropping their cigarette butts on the ground. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that this breached the good taste and decency, and law and order standards: the footage was acceptable in context and relevant to the developing storyline. It was well within the broadcaster’s right to employ dramatic licence.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order

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Buxton and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2009-017

Shortland Street. Episode contained violent scenes. Programme classification, violence. Upheld. No order.

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Buxton and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2009-016

Shortland Street. Episode contained violent scenes. Programme classification, violence. Upheld. No order.

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Turner and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2008-112

Shortland Street. Episode included violent scenes. Good taste and decency. Upheld, majority. No order.

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Cross and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2008-059

Shortland Street. Scene involved sexual encounter between two characters. Good taste and decency, subsumed. Children’s interests, upheld. No order.

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Denley and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2007-065

Shortland Street. Character's dream. Good taste and decency, children's interests. Not upheld.

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Buckingham and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2002-185

Shortland Street. Episodes about a child of drug dealer in coma having taken a capsule of cannabis oil; drug dealer said she gave child small amounts of cannabis oil to calm him as he was ADHD. Not upheld (good taste and decency, law and order). Not applicable (balance, accuracy).

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Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and Bipolar/Manic Depression Society Inc and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2002-074, 2002-075

Shortland Street. Character with bipolar disorder portrayed as obsessive, delusional and violent. Not upheld (discrimination). Not applicable (balance, accuracy).

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Viewers for Television Excellence Inc and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2001-231, 2001-232, 2001-233

Shortland Street. Episodes involving casual sex, the use of toothpaste to make a child ill, ending an episode with voodoo-inspired fear, adult themes. Not upheld (programme classification, children's interests).

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Percy and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1999-118, 1999-119

Shortland Street. Two consecutive episodes contained a story-line about a nine-year-old boy, previously diagnosed with leukaemia, suffering a relapse and needing further medical treatment. Not upheld: majority (good taste and decency, children's interests).

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Barker and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1998-172

Shortland Street. Storylines which ran through five episodes concerned the intimate relationships of three sets of characters. Not upheld (good taste and decency, programme classification, children's interests).

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Stanton and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1998-097

Shortland Street. Episode included a scene depicting a male and a female character in bed together after sexual activity. Not upheld (good taste and decency, parogramme classification, children's interests).

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Barker and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1997-187

Shortland Street. Episode depicted the attempted murder of one character by another. Children's interests, violence, law and order. Not upheld.

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Gillanders and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1996-058

Shortland Street. Episodes dealt with dog fighting and an unwanted kitten. Complaint about the treatment of animals in Shortland Street. Not upheld (responsible programming, violence).

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McBride and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1996-029

Shortland Street. A character shown simulating self-mutilation as part of an item in his school talent quest. In addition, the storyline over a number of episodes culminated in one of the female characters confronting the father of her child because he had raped her. Not upheld (good taste and decency, discrimination and denigration, children's interests).

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Christian Heritage Party and Gibson and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1996-023, 1996-024

Shortland Street. Episode showed a character's mock crucifixion and subsequent imitation of self-mutilation with a knife. Not upheld (good taste and decency, responsible programming, children's interests).

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Gee and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1995-087

Shortland Street. Storyline involved characters being seized,threatened and tied up by a military style unit. Not applicable (law and order, balance, accuracy, fairness). Not upheld (discrimination and denigration, violence).

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Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child and Gliddon and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1995-032, 1995-033

Shortland Street. A number of episodes had dealt with the alternatives facing a character after becoming pregnant, and finally she decided to have the pregnancy terminated by an abortion. Not upheld (law and order, balance).

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Aitchison and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1995-014

Shortland Street. Episode where two of the characters indulged in casual sex. Not upheld (good taste and decency, children's interests).

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Children's Media Watch and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1994-006

Shortland Street. Episode broadcast between 7.007.30pm dealt with providing medical treatment to a prostitutes' collective, questioning Polynesian family values and the formation of a gay relationship. Not upheld (children's interests).

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Loder and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1993-064

Shortland Street. Incident focusing on misuse of firearms. Declined to determine (discrimination and denigration): standard not applicable.

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