New Zealand Law Society - News report failed to include housing agency’s response

News report failed to include housing agency’s response

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The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has upheld a complaint that a news report lacked balance and accuracy.

Māori Television aired a story on Te Kāea on 30 October 2018 about how hapū Te Parawhau felt they had been shut out of negotiations on the sale of a piece of land, known as Pūriri Park in Northland, to Housing New Zealand (HNZ).

The BSA upheld HNZ’s complaint under the balance standard, finding the omission of HNZ’s point of view from the initial broadcast likely prevented audiences from arriving at an informed and reasoned opinion about the sale and HNZ’s involvement. The authority also upheld HNZ’s complaint under the accuracy and fairness standards, finding that while Māori Television aired a follow-up broadcast featuring comment from Te Parawhau and HNZ, this broadcast did not remedy the harm caused to HNZ by the initial broadcast of inaccurate information about the land sold.

In response, Maori Television says it “went above and beyond” to satisfy HNZ’s request for further comment on a story, despite HNZ’s contribution to the confusion surrounding the property sold. It also said a legitimate story was reported about people’s experiences with HNZ and the agency was given plenty of opportunity and air time in the follow-up story to respond.

The BSA says that HNZ was likely to be adversely affected by the broadcast and was not provided with a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment.