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December 2016 Edition

We have complained to Television about a broadcast. Its response was as follows:

Further to your email received 25 October we wish to advise the Complaints Committee has completed its enquiry into your formal complaint about The Hard Stuff with Nigel Latta - Selling Ourselves Short shown on 25 October on TVNZ 1.

Your complaint has been considered with reference to Standards 8, 9 and 11 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.
The Decision The Complaints Committee has not identified any breach of the relevant standards and accordingly declines to uphold your complaint. The reasons for this decision are discussed below.
The Programme
The Hard Stuff with Nigel Latta - Selling Ourselves Short
Mr Latta tries to fathom 'The NZ Economy'; looking at how New Zealand had a standard living that was the envy of the world in the 60's and 70's; and how that has changed. During the start of the episode Mr Latta states:
we're rated as one of the best places in the world to do business and we're not corrupt. This issue was not further examined in the programme.
New Zealand is ranked 4th on the Corruptions Perceptions Index 2015.
A country or territory's score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). A country's rank indicates its position relative to the other countries in the index. This year's index includes 168 countries and territories.
Rank Country/territory 2015 Score 2014 Score 2013 Score 2012 Score
1 Denmark 91 92 91 90
2 Finland 90 89 89 90
3 Sweden 89 87 89 88 4 New Zealand 88 91 91 90
5 Netherlands 87 83 83 84
5 Norway 87 86 86 85 2
7 Switzerland 86 86 85 86
8 Singapore 85 84 86 87
9 Canada 83 81 81 84
10 Germany 81 79 78 79
10 Luxembourg 81 82 80 80
10 United Kingdom 81 78 76 74
The Hard Stuff with Nigel Latta - Selling Ourselves Short was certified AO - Adults Only. The AO certificate means programmes containing adult themes and directed primarily at mature audiences. AO programmes may be screened between midday and 3pm on weekdays (except during school and public holidays, as designated by the Ministry of Education) and after 8.30pm until 5am.
Your Complaint
You state:
I wish to formally complain about the episode of Nigel Latta broadcast on TV1 at 8:30pm on Tuesday 27 September 2016. I cannot find this episode on the channels replay facility to refresh my memory. The program was generally about the performance of the NZ economy and lamented that it is not performing as well as might be hoped for the average citizen and went on to show some success stories and some suggested strategies. My complain concerns a statement briefly but firmly made early in the program that there was no corruption inhibiting the performance of the economy. I say this statement is completely untrue and we have one of the most corrupt societies in the western world. I herewith set out evidence which proves this. It is not possible to analysing the economy without considering the extensive corruption contained within.
With the implementation of MMP the major parties have sought ways of staying in power. National and Labour announced they were consulting on matters of common interest but never announced any outcomes.
In 2003 working under this agreement with the National party the Government with the full knowledge of Helen Clark has sought to gain a third term in office by wilfully engaging Securities Commissioners and judges who are prepared to make decisions in specific cases as secretly instructed by the Government. The jurisdiction of the UK Privy Council was terminated and the courts restructured including a large number of female judges. I do not imply that females are more crooked but I do claim that it is and was far less acceptable to challenge the credentials of female appointees. As well as the Government many professionals, professional organisations and the news media have/has allowed themselves to be corrupted to achieve Government ends so making of a most corrupt nation with a consequent very under-performing economy which Mr Latta alluded to with feeble suggestions as to its cause
The Government initiated and aided robberies which I wish to concentrate on are the April 2004 Feltex Carpets IPO whereby a worthless company was "sold" to a vulnerable section of the investing public for $250m and a 2014 purported deposit in of $US150 in a major Portuguese bank by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund about a week before the bank was revealed as having failed. These robberies have been initiated to provide funds to purchase licences to cheat at summer Olympic games from corrupt Olympic officials. These particular robberies would cover the 2004 and 2016 Olympics. There will have been other robberies which cover the intervening summer Olympics. NZ had "outstanding" results at all these Olympics. In addition there have been "enabling" and associated robberies where individuals have pocketed the proceeds. NZ has followed and been assisted by Australia with regard to robberies for Olympic cheating. The Dick Smith IPO of last year was no doubt a robbery to pay for Australian medals which also have been "exceptional". Both countries are clearly following the practices on eastern European countries and West Germany in the 1970s when these countries had ridiculously high medal counts. We are looked upon with scorn from elsewhere.
While I am sure you the broadcaster has a better knowledge of this corruption than I do I set out briefly the overwhelming evidence that it is occurring.
1 The Feltex IPO prospectus see emphasised the long term stability of Feltex without explaining that with the acquisition of the Melbourne plant of Shaw Industries the nature of Feltex had become very different. Feltex did not take over any of the carpet brands of Shaw. With falling tariffs Shaw had obviously decided that it had become cheaper to supply the Australian market by manufacturing outside the country. It no doubt had an agreement with the owner of Feltex to limit this competition until that owner sold Feltex.
2 Feltex was in the process of moving its head office to Australia but this was not disclosed in the prospectus which was only issued in New Zealand.
3 Feltex had been losing revenue at the rate of 5% p.a. due to falling market share but this was not disclosed in the prospectus. Feltex allowed for a 1% increase in market share in its projections for 2005 which equates to a 3% increase in its revenue attributed to increase in market share.
4 On page 91 of the prospectus Feltex claimed that the carpet market had grown by greater than an average of 1% over the previous 10 years and hence a 1% increase in Feltex's sales due to increasing market share was allowed for in its projections. . On page 37 it purports to provide evidence of this market growth.. It shows a graph of the size of the Australian Carpet market for the 11 years 1993 to 2003. It claims that over this period the market grew by an average of 1.7% p.a. compounding. The size of only two of these years (ie 1993 and 2003) were taken into account in making this calculation and one of these was the least significant of the years on the graph and outside the 10 year time frame. Using least squares regression analysis on the sizes of the latest 10 years the size of the market in 2005 is predicted to be 3% less than the size for 2003 not 2% greater than 2003 which Feltex has allowed for in its projections.
5 Unjustified assumptions of market size and market share, being some 10% to 12% above that which was happened has caused Feltex to fail. Feltex paid its scheduled dividends so that the vendor would not be required to refund the subscriptions. It is clear that immediately after the IPO concluded a cash injection has been made from the IPO proceeds into Feltex's revenue account to keep Feltex's revenue up to budget so the IPO proceeds would not have to be returned. This is because revenue increased without any corresponding increase in costs.
6 At the time of the Feltex IPO Eion Edgar was chair of Forsyth Barr, one of two lead brokers for the IPO. This issue was to be his swan-song and he retired as chair soon afterwards only to resume it when Feltex collapsed and has held the position ever since. He was also 4 chairman of the Investment committee of the Accident Compensation Corporation at the time of the IPO. ACC was virtually (South Canterbury Finance another) the only NZ institution to subscribe to the IPO and put in $9m, presumably as a lead for amateur investors. Edgar was also chair of the NZ Olympic Committee at that time. Prior to the IPO he received a high NZ honour which he later converted to an knighthood. Edgar has made a career of mixing sport with business especially in the Otago area. In recent years he manipulated the market of Blis shares by selling some and reducing the price so that he would receive a greater allocation of shares in a conversion of preference shares.
7 Joan Withers became a director of Feltex Carpets, its only female director, just days before the Feltex IPO was launched. She quit the directorship about a year later just days after Feltex issued its first profit downturn notice, citing having got a job as Fairfax NZ CEO where she drastically purged the staff. She has since gone one to chair various Government related commercial organisations including Mighty River Power which sponsors NZ's highly "successful" rowing squad. She cares not about having deserted Feltex in its hour of need of a good recovery plan. She is now a director of ANZ bank New Zealand despite this bank having held almost all the Feltex debt and reportedly being still out of pocket. Former All Black captain David Kirk appointed Withers as Fairfax NZ CEO and then took a place on the board of Forsyth Barr.
8 Extensive use was made of personnel experienced in the operation of the white South African Government. Tim Saunders was chair of Feltex, Des Tolan was its Chief Financial Officer and Kevin Simpkins was special advisor to the Securities Commission on its Feltex "investigation". Simpkins died of a heart attack last year (2015), the strain of his crooked actions no doubt having got too much for him. Simkins received numerous awards over his high status career no doubt to keep up his invincibility. He does not seem to have been credited with any successful prosecutions.His South African career or when he came here is seldom mentioned.
9 Lianne Dalziel resigned all her ministerial posts including Minister of Commerce about 2 months before the launch of the Feltex IPO. The rumour was that she was having some mental health problems but there is no other evidence of this. Clearly she did want to be involved with the IPO. Former Christchurch mayor Garry Moore joined Forsyth Barr as its Christchurch branch manager in 2002 no doubt as part of a plan to shore up the "prestige" of this crooked firm. He remains there. Radio New Zealand often have Moore as a panellist but never mention his employment.
10 The Australian "ethical investment" company Hunter Hall is alleged to have subscribed $39m, nearly 15% to the Feltex IPO making it by far the largest subscriber.. Feltex directors were said to have met Mr Hall of Hunter Hall in London to sew up the deal. However the Annual Report of Feltex Carpets for the year to 30 June does not list such a company among its 10 largest shareholders and gives the percentage of shares held overseas as 0.34%. It may be possible for these shares to have been held by a variety of nominee companies. It is likely this Hunter Hall contribution is another instance of help rendered by the Australian Government See
11 Australians Jane Diplock and Keitha Dunstan were appointed to the Securities Commission around 2003. A special "school" was set up in Victoria University for Dunstan to head. Diplock was appointed head of the commission and "served" ten years in that position. This Commission had a majority of females on its board around 2007. An all female quorum comprising these two Australians, Annabel Cotton and one other "investigated" the Feltex IPO prospectus around 2007. Its findings are in part IV of this report: In paragraph 62(a) it tells of the 1% growth assumption and says it was said this growth was said (in the prospectus) to be below the average growth over the past 10 years but does not say that it had verified that claim. Similarly in 62(c) it does not say it that it had verified the feasibility of the strategies resulting in a 1% increase in market share.
12 The Finance house Credit Suisse has allowed its name to be used in connection with the vendors and promoters of the Feltex IPO. Its name at least was withdrawn from the NZ sharebroking scene prior to the IPO. It did not so withdraw in other countries. In year 2000 it represented both the ACC and businessman Cliff Cook (one representation under the name Credit Suisse F B and the other under the name C S First Boston) when ACC bought half a million of National Mail shares from Cook just days before National Mail announced it was quitting the mail business with the shares losing almost all their value. Cook was a close associate of Peter Fitzsimmonds who was on the National Mail board. The other lead broker of the IPO, First NZ Capital evolved fron Credit Suisse in some sort of management buyout. The 2014 leak from the NZ Superannuation fund of $US150m was arranged by Goldman Sachs and similar international "finance house" to Credit Suisse.
13 "Businessman" Tony Gavigan was on hand to offer Court redress to Feltex IPO subscribers as they realised they had lost capital. Gavigan is a former executive of Fay Richwhite who had been the subject of numerous enquiries into corrupt proceedings. His function has been to put up a weak case so that corrupt judges would have an easier task in dismissing the case against the Feltex IPO instigators. Gavigan's case did not mention the overstatement of carpet market growth. By this turning on of legal services the aggrieved subscribers did not get the opportunity to put up a case for themselves. The Court of Appeal decision has just been released but few of the news media have mentioned it. Gavigan also but up a long drawn out case for shareholders in Southern Petroleum which has yielded them nothing.
14 NZ's 2004 Olympic medals wins appeared to be very shoddy with few of the results forecast as possibilities. Sara Ulmer had to be held on her bike to recover, a most uncommon sight.
15 Such mammoth corruption could be expected to result in deaths and surely has. Paul Phillip Wison and David Patrick Gaynor have died young because they have not had the maturity to cope with the exposure to the corruption which they have come across at an early age. Paul's mother was a marketing manager at Feltex at the time of the IPO who no doubt was made to go along with corrupt forecasts when Paul was 14. No doubt he has tried to tell school associates of what the Government was up to and met universal ridicule. David's father Brian was a journalist whose job has been to severely criticize the Feltex IPO and similar proceedings without directly accusing anyone of corruption. Brian Gaynor severely criticised (late) businessman Craig Norgate in an article in mid 2010. David and a daughter of were in year 10 at Kings college. Verdict of fellow students would be that Brian Gaynor was in the wrong. In mid 2011 David was obliged to attend a function hosted by Norgate. Understandably he took booze and drugs before doing so and died as a consequence several hours later. The Coroner Ian Smith died "unexpectently" a day or so after I emailed the Wellington coroners saying that a report into the death of Paul Wilson was long overdue. These coroners had refused to correspond with me concerning Paul's death, no doubt under instruction. I since found out that the case had been allocated to Mr Smith. I believe the situation he was in disturbed him deeply. The replacement coroner was only prepared to go back 12 hours in considering events leading to Paul's death. He too would not correspond with me. Perhaps these deaths in themselves have had little or no effect on the economy but they help highlight the extent of the corruption.
Television has a clear duty to clearly present this commercial and political corruption to the public. It has a clear duty not to go along with any presenter such as Mr Latta who claims that the economy is not badly affected by corruption.

6 The Relevant Standards


When controversial issues of public importance are discussed in news, current affairs or factual programmes, broadcasters should make reasonable efforts, or give reasonable opportunities, to present significant points of view either in the same programme or in other programmes within the period of current interest. Guidelines
8a For the standard to apply, the subject matter must be an issue 'of public importance', it must be 'controversial' and it must be 'discussed' in a news, current affairs or factual programme.
8b No set formula can be advanced for the allocation of time to interested parties on controversial issues of public importance. 8c The assessment of whether a reasonable range of other perspectives has been presented includes consideration of the following, where relevant:
the programme's introduction and the way in which the programme was presented, for example: o whether the programme purported to be a balanced examination of an issue
o whether the programme was clearly signalled as approaching a topic from a particular perspective (eg, authorial documentaries, public access and advocacy programmes, partial or politically aligned programmes)
o whether the programme was narrowly focused on one aspect of a larger, complex debate
the nature of the discussion (was it a serious examination of an issue, or was the issue raised in a brief, humorous or peripheral way)
the nature of the issue/whether viewers could reasonably be expected to be aware of views expressed in other coverage, including coverage in other media (eg, is it an ongoing topic of debate, such that viewers can reasonably be expected to have a broad understanding of the main perspectives on the issue)
the likely expectations of the audience as to content
the level of editorial control of the broadcaster over the programme content.
Before considering a complaint under this standard, the Complaints Committee must determine whether the issue being discussed is a 'controversial issue of public importance.'
The Broadcasting Standards Authority has typically defined an 'issue of public importance' as something that would have 'a significant potential impact on, or be of concern to, members of the New Zealand public' (refer BSA decision 2005-125). A 'controversial issue' is defined by the BSA as one which has topical currency and excited conflicting opinion or about which there has been on-going public debate (e.g. BSA decision 2006-076).
The issue of corruption in New Zealand is not one which was "discussed" in The Hard Stuff with Nigel Latta - Selling Ourselves Short. Given the findings of the the Corruptions Perceptions Index 2015, the Committee does not agree that this statement is controversial. In reference to your other comments, the programme did not discuss the Feltex IPO or the Olympics. No breach of standard 8 has been identified.
7 STANDARD 9 - ACCURACY Broadcasters should make reasonable efforts to ensure that news, current affairs and factual programming: is accurate in relation to all material points of fact
does not mislead. > Guidelines
9a The requirement for accuracy does not apply to statements which are clearly distinguishable as analysis, comment or opinion, rather than statements of fact.
9b The standard is concerned only with material inaccuracy. For example, technical or unimportant points unlikely to significantly affect the audience's understanding of the programme as a whole are not material.
9c In the event that a material error of fact has occurred, broadcasters should correct it at the earliest appropriate opportunity.
9d The assessment of whether the broadcaster has made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy includes consideration of the following, where relevant:
the source of material broadcast (eg, whether the programme is produced by a reputable organisation or relies on an authoritative expert)
whether the broadcast was live or pre-recorded
whether there was some obvious reason to question the accuracy of the programme content before it was broadcast
whether the broadcaster sought and/or presented comment, clarification or input from any relevant person or organisation
the extent to which the issue of accuracy was reasonably capable of being determined by the broadcaster.
The purpose of this standard is to protect the public from being significantly misinformed. The audience may be misinformed in two ways: by incorrect statements of fact within the programme; and/or by being misled by the programme. Where statements of fact are at issue, the standard is concerned only with material inaccuracy. Technical or unimportant points unlikely to significantly affect the audience's understanding of the programme as a whole are not material. Being 'misled' is defined as being given 'a wrong idea or impression of the facts'.
You state:
My complain concerns a statement briefly but firmly made early in the program that there was no corruption inhibiting the performance of the economy. I say this statement is completely untrue and we have one of the most corrupt societies in the western world.
Given the findings of the the Corruptions Perceptions Index 2015, the Committee does not agree that this statement is misleading or inaccurate. In reference to your other comments, the programme did not discuss the Feltex IPO or the Olympics. No breach of standard 9 has been identified.

Broadcasters should deal fairly with any person or organisation taking part or referred to in any broadcast. Guidelines
11a A consideration of what is fair will depend on the nature of the programme (eg, news and current affairs, factual, dramatic, comedic or satirical). Context should also be considered, including the public interest in the broadcast. 11b Participants and contributors should be informed, before a broadcast, of the nature of the programme and their proposed contribution, except where justified in the public interest, or where their participation is minor in the context of the programme.
11c Whether informed consent was required or has been obtained from a participant or a contributor may be a relevant consideration in determining whether that participant or contributor was treated fairly (guidance on what constitutes 'informed consent' is found in the privacy guidance at the back of this Codebook).
11d If a person or organisation referred to or portrayed in a broadcast might be adversely affected, that person or organisation should usually be given a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment for the programme, before a broadcast. What is 'fair and reasonable' will depend on the circumstances.
11e Doorstepping an individual or organisation as a means of obtaining comment will normally be unfair, unless all legitimate and reasonable methods of obtaining comment have been exhausted.
11f Edited excerpts should fairly reflect the tenor of the overall events or views expressed.
11g Broadcasters must not broadcast information obtained by misrepresentation or deception (including by hidden camera or covert recording device), except where justified by the public interest.
11h Individuals, and particularly children and young people, featured in a programme should not be exploited, humiliated or unfairly identified.
11i Where programmes deal with distressing circumstances (eg, grief and bereavement) broadcasters should show discretion and sensitivity.
This standard is designed to protect those people and organisations taking part or referred to in broadcast. You have not made a complaint in this regard. No breach of standard 11 has been identified.
Right to Refer to Broadcasting Standards Authority and Time Limit
In accordance with section 7(3) of the Broadcasting Act you are hereby notified that it is your right, should you be dissatisfied with this decision, to refer the matter to the Broadcasting Standards Authority, P O Box 9213, Wellington, as provided under section 8 of the Act, for the purpose of an investigation and review of the decision. You have 20 working days after receipt of this letter to exercise this right of referral.
Yours sincerely
Complaints Committee

We have referred this decision to the Broadcasting Standards Authority with the following comments:

We are not satisfied with the response of Television New Zealand in response to my formal complaint of 25 October 2016.
In trying to justify Mr Latta's "we are not corrupt" statement TVNZ seem to put a lot of weight on the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International. Our concern is with actualities not perceptions. TVNZ itself creates invalid perceptions by its false statements such as this one by Mr Latta which we are complaining about. We are not sure who's perceptions TI record but think it is that of foreigners who do business with New Zealanders. NZ probably scores quite well from that aspect. Tipping has never been widespread here and public employees (or any employees) hardly ever ask for an unofficial payment in order that a job gets done. But hard working lower class citizens seeking to invest some savings in order to get ahead are often wilfully robbed by the Government to fund causes to keep the Government or the Opposition in power, as my Feltex example demonstrates. The poor stay poor. TVNZ has a business section and a political section but it does not investigate. NZ's sharemarket is small because people are sick of being robbed. Hence the economy as a whole diminishes. Then the Government tries to catch up by secretly allowing developments to be done on the cheap such as Pike River and Statistics House, BNZ centre, Defence house, etc etc. And we get a Governor General who as a Telecom director allowed a subsidiary, Southern Cross Cables which was then yet to make a profit, pay Telecom $260m in "dividends" with borrowed money which Telecom declared as revenue to partially alleviate a fall in its profits. Reddy has been appointed GG to keep the old parties in office come what may.
NZ's monitored non-corruption perception is going downward. A 3 point fall in 2015 follows a 5 point fall in 2012. Only Lesotho, Fiji, Brazil, Guatemala, Syria and Angola had bigger falls in 2015, and only Chile, Macedonia, Kosovo and Gabon had an equal slide with New Zealand. That is not good company to keep.
People are reluctant to change their stated perceptions but eventually they face up to it.
Australia has always been below New Zealand on the perception index in recent times because TI itself has published an article on a syndicate of employees on the Sydney Harbour ferries creaming off a portion of the takings as additional revenue for themselves. No such story concerning New Zealanders has been published as far as we know but of course there would be plenty to chose from such as some people who emptied parking meters in Wellington helping themselves to a portion of the takings over a considerable period of time. Perceptions are easily manipulated by such publication or non-publication. The earnings trends of Feltex as at April 2004 are fixed and undisputable for anyone who wants to look.
Australia also started its Olympic cheating several Olympiads before New Zealand. It takes time before the perceivers whoever they are to cotton on, ie there are lags in the system.
With regards to Standard 8 - Balance: The program was about the failure of the economy to perform as it might for many people. This is a topic of concern to the NZ public about which there has been ongoing debate. But there has been lack of balance in this program because the major cause of this under-performance, corruption particularly Government corruption, has been denied in one stressed sentence.
With regard to Standard 9 - Accuracy, at issue should be matters of substance, not stated perceptions of some unknown people. It can never be proved that they have said what they thought. TVNZ also do not consider the trend in this lagged index. TVNZ has reported extensively on the Feltex IPO in the past but will not discuss it now. Similarly why would the NZ Superannuation Fund go out of its way to deposit hugely in a Portuguese bank other than to "lose" the funds as per a Government request. Its executive Whineray has worked for the same people who marketed the Feltex IPO. TVNZ are ignoring such corruption. The "we are not corrupt" statement is completely wrong hence as inaccurate as it could possibly get. The only way to prove it wrong is to cite examples as I have done.
With regard to Standard 11 - fairness it is unfair that the 8000 subscribers to the Feltex IPO, for example, should be told that their loss was not the result of corruption. They were referred to in the broadcast by a firm statement saying that they do not exist. These numbers are not a marginal inaccuracy.
Please face up to fact that there is pervasive corruption within the New Zealand Government.

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