Case Number: 2849

Council Meeting: NOVEMBER 2019

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: TVNZ

Ruling Categories: Accuracy
Balance, Lack Of
Unfair Coverage


Liz Sewell complained of TVNZ coverage of the issue of refugee policy and its reporting of comment by Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon that restrictions on the families of refugees from Africa and the Middle East were discriminatory. She has not provided an address or phone number.

She complained that the TVNZ coverage only quoted opponents of the policy, in breach of Media Council principle 1 (accuracy, fairness and balance), and that it misled by omission. The coverage did not give a fair voice to other views as it did not report that refugees being processed by immigration New Zealand are already living in safety in refugee camps and do not need to come to New Zealand. TVNZ also did not report the impact on New Zealand residents of removing the family-link restriction in that refugees from Africa and the Middle East commit more crime, pay less tax and take more welfare than other refugees.

TVNZ rejected her complaint, saying it had accurately reported Mr Foon’s views and that it had also reported comment by the Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, Guled Mire, a prominent refugee and Muslim community advocate, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt, amongst others.

Ms Sewell clearly disagrees with taking refugees from Africa and the Middle East and advances arguments that they have adverse impacts. She also presents information including some data from an MBIE report and a list of names gleaned from media reports to back her claim that such refugees are a cost to society and commit more crime.

It is not clear that TVNZ ignored or failed to report any view from any senior figure in the New Zealand community that was available to them which might have reflected arguments similar to Ms Sewell’s. The article sets out what are clearly opinion statements on a matter of immigration policy. It has not been shown that they had no foundation of fact.

Ms Sewell disagrees strongly with the opinions given, but that is not a basis for complaint.


No Grounds to proceed.


Lodge a new Complaint.



Search for previous Rulings.

New Zealand Media Council

© 2024 New Zealand Media Council.
Website development by Fueldesign.