Case Number: 3403

Council Meeting: 26 JUNE 2023

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Principle: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Headlines and Captions

Ruling Categories: Defamation/Damaging To Reputation

  1. The New Zealand Herald published an article on March 24, 2023, headlined Posie Parker: Did immigration NZ get her decision right? The item reported the comments of senior law lecturer Eddie Clark who said the public deserved more information on the decision to allow Ms Parker,  (Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull) to enter the country.
  2. Mr Clark suggested if the same criteria used to deny entry in 2014 to the Odd Future hip-hop group were applied to Ms Keen-Minshull, her entry would also have been declined. Odd Future were excluded on the grounds that their lyrics were basically misogynistic and homophobic and that there had been crowd control issues at a previous show in Boston.
  3. Liz Park complained that in making the comparison Mr Clark was misrepresenting Ms Keen-Minshull as a person of bad character and a potential threat who should also have been refused entry. This was a false and defamatory comparison and wrongly suggested that she should have been denied entry due to concerns for public order. The reality was that the violence that occurred at Ms Keen-Minshull's rally in Auckland was caused by protesters.
  4.  She also complained the headline was inflammatory, sensationalist, suggested that Immigration NZ made a mistake, and encouraged readers to view authorities as prone to errors of judgement.
  5. The New Zealand Herald editor said Mr Clark was entitled to offer his opinion on whether Immigration NZ made the right decision. The article did not suggest that Ms Keen-Minshull was similar to Odd Future. The relevance was that Immigration NZ invoked the same "threat to public order or public interest" test in both cases. Mr Clark was entitled to offer his opinion on whether the right decision was made. His comments were largely neutral and the key point he made was that the public deserved to know more about the reasoning for this decision.
  6. The editor added that the headline accurately framed the issue and had to be read in conjunction with the article it summarised.
  7. The Media Council does not consider the reporting of Mr Clark's comments or the headline to be a breach of any of its principles.  The comments were an expression of opinion set out in moderate language by an expert on immigration on an immigration matter. The complainant may disagree with the views expressed but the Herald was merely reporting that expert's opinion on an important topic. The headline fairly reflected the content of the article.
  8. The Council decided there were insufficient grounds to proceed.


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