AMANDA EASTON AGAINST RNZ

Case Number: 2985

Council Meeting: FEBRUARY 2021

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Radio NZ

Ruling Categories: Accuracy

Overview

On October 21, 2020 RNZ published Rate of assaults in Wellington CBD 10 times higher than nations average. The introduction readWellington’s nightlife district has the highest proportion of assault and sexual assault crimes in New Zealand.

The piece referred to an analysis of the country’s crime statistics by Dot Loves Data. It included a comparison with Hamilton Central and Auckland CBD’s Queen Street. In a separate piece there was a video of an interview with Dot Loves Data government director, Justin Lester (former Wellington mayor).

Anita Easton complained initially to RNZ and when not satisfied with their response, complained to the Media Council.

Ms Easton complained that the articles “reported as fact that Wellington has a rate of assaults 10 times higher than the national average. This does not appear to be true.”

Noting that the RNZ response said both items made it clear that the stats were referring to the Wellington CBD and not the overall region of Wellington, Ms Easton said she did not believe it was clear as there were references to Wellington as a whole. She also said it was unfair to use the number of residents in the nightlife area as a basis for the methodology, rather than taking into account the number of people who go into the area [to party]. She considers it a sales pitch for Dot Loves Data.

The Media Council believes it is clear that the statistics relate to the CBD. This was set out in the headline, the introduction, the reference to the Cuba-Courtenay precinct, and the comparison with other cities’ CBDs.

Additionally the information relating to the Police response to the assaults makes it clear it concentrates its efforts on the party district.

There was a public interest in making this information available.

If Ms Easton has concerns about the methodology of the data input she would need to take that up with Dot Loves Data, but it seems the RNZ reports accurately reported their findings.

Finding: Insufficient Grounds to Proceed.

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