Case Number: 2877

Council Meeting: MARCH 2020

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Mediaworks

Ruling Categories: Accuracy


On February 26 Newshub published an opinion column by Duncan Garner Out of control immigration to blame for Auckland’s water shortage.

In a forthright style he says “Now Auckland may face official water restrictions. And here’s the bit the PC mad officials won’t tell you – we have filled Auckland city to the brim. Immigration is out of control.

“Half a million more people over ten years and stuff all new infrastructure to cope. … We should be asking our public officials why they didn’t build new dams.It’s not like immigration has been a closely guarded secret.”

Catherine Arrow complained that Mr Garner’s “ill-judged racist observations are both dangerous and deliberately inflammatory.”She says it was also inaccurate as Stats NZ December 2019 figures show the nett migration fell to 43,800 and that 34,200 were returning New Zealand citizens. Immigration was not out of control.

The Media Council notes that this was an opinion piece. Although it has an anti-migrant theme Mr Garner doesn’t name any specific groups of migrants by race or origin so it is hard to see how it could be deemed racist.

Further Mr Garner speaks of migration adding to Auckland’s population over a ten-year period, not just over the last year.

His real target is not immigrants but the local body officials who have ignored the pressure the undoubted increase in population would put on Infrastructure.

Mr Garner is entitled to express this opinion.


There are insufficient grounds to argue a breach of principle for the complaint to proceed.