MARTIN HECTOR AGAINST THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD
Case Number: 3379
Council Meeting: FEBRUARY 2023
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Principle: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Polls and Surveys
The New Zealand Herald published an article on December 13, 2022, headed: NZ avoids climate-change divide in push for action. The first paragraph stated: “A Herald commissioned poll shows most Kiwis think New Zealand should go harder to combat climate change.”
Martin Hector complained that this was inaccurate, as 43 percent did not hold this opinion. The 57 percent who did think this was not “most”, so the article was misleading.
The Media Council believes that the New Zealand Herald was accurate when it used the word “most”, which can loosely be taken to mean a majority. The word “majority” was used to describe the poll results in the standfirst underneath the heading, which reads in part: “Herald poll finds majority of Kiwis want stronger stand”. Clearly 57 percent is a majority and the fact that only 18 percent said they disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 24 percent had no strong view makes it even more defensible to use the word “most”. No principles are breached.
Decision: There were insufficient grounds to proceed.