Case Number: 2816

Council Meeting: SEPTEMBER 2018

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: The Press

Ruling Categories: Misleading




Robin McCarthy, a mayoral candidate in the Christchurch local body election, complained thatThe Press published a misleading report of a poll.

On August 27 The Press published an article advising that the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce was hosting a debate of three mayoral hopefuls – Lianne Dalziel, John Minto and Darryl Park. The article gave details of time and place and who would MC the event. It also advised the three had been invited to take part after polling indicated they are leading the 13-strong field of mayoral candidates.

Mr McCarthy was under the impression that The Press had conducted the poll, that they had chosen the candidates and that it was “not independent”.

Kamala Hayman, editor of The Press, advised Mr McCarthy that the poll had been conducted by the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce, who were staging the event. Mr McCarthy saidThe Press should have published a statement to this effect.

“People have a right to know that reporting of a poll surrounding this election has been misleading.It has the potential to put people off from voting if they think there is no point” he said.

Ms Hayman has confirmed the only role The Press has in the debate is in promoting and reporting on it.The event is the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce’s event and it did not even occur to them that it could be assumed it was a poll byThe Press, or that they had chosen the candidates.

The Media Council observes that this complaint seems to be based on a false premise thatThe Press was involved in the poll and the selection of the debate participants.Mr McCarthy has continued with this stance even after being advised it was not so.

The Press did not mislead in its report and there are no grounds for this complaint to proceed.

Finding: No Grounds to Proceed.