RON SHAW AGAINST THE WAIRARAPA TIMES AGE

Case Number: 3363

Council Meeting: DECEMBER 2022

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Wairarapa Times-Age

Principle: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance

Ruling Categories: Misleading
Data

Overview

The Wairarapa Times-Age published an article on November 26 headlined On the Road to nowhere: Government falls short. Ron Shaw complained under Principle (1) that it was inaccurate and unbalanced.

The suggestion in the story that SH2 over Remutaka Hill was particularly dangerous was inaccurate and ignored how busy the road was. “In the 10 years from 2011-2021, there were at least 22 million vehicle journeys across the hill. Twenty serious injury accidents in 10 years is around one accident for every 1,100,000 vehicle journeys and seven fatalities is one for every 3,200,000 vehicle journeys,” Mr Shaw said.

He also queried the selection of the two experts quoted. One was well known for her opposition to cars and the other had long advocated for cyclists to be given priority on SH2 regardless of the impact on commuters or freight operators, he said. He suggested other commentators who would be more qualified to comment.

The Wairarapa Times-Age replied saying they regularly quoted one of the experts suggested by Mr Shaw on matters to do with the condition of Wairarapa roads and the proposed speed reduction and would continue to do so.  

The Media Council considers that no inaccuracy has been shown, and readers can draw their own conclusions about the dangerousness of the road from the figures quoted. The two people quoted are entitled to express their opinions about road safety, and The Wairarapa Times-Age says it has quoted those with different perspectives in other stories. Principle (1) states in part: “Exceptions may apply for long-running issues where every side of an issue or argument cannot reasonably be repeated on every occasion” and the Council considers that this applies in this situation, as road safety in this region is an ongoing subject for debate. No principles have been breached.

 Decision: There were insufficient grounds to proceed.

 

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