Case Number: 666

Council Meeting: OCTOBER 1997

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: Evening Post

Rex Nicholls is a member of the Wellington City Council and mid-August 1997 he indicated he did not intend standing in the Local Body elections to be held in October next year. The news item was reported in the 15 August edition of the Evening Post under the healine “Nicholls to quit council.” The substance of the article made entirely clear that Mr Nicholls would be serving out his elected term.

Mr Nicholls laid a complaint with the Press Council exclusively concerned with the use in the headline of the word “quit.” The essence of his complaint was that he did not intend “to quit” the Council, but not to make himself available at the next election. He said the newspaper headline impugned his integrity by implying that he would “quit” the job for which he had been elected.

The Press Council did not uphold the complaint. The Council noted that the word quit has several shades of meaning conveying - giving up, letting go, stopping, leaving and departing. The word as used in the headline, and confirmed in the body of the story, did not in any manner reflect on Mr Nicholls’ integrity, or carry any objectionable connotation.