ROSALIND DERBY AGAINST KAPITI NEWS

Case Number: 3194

Council Meeting: FEBRUARY 2022

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Kapiti News

Ruling Categories: Bias
Columnists Opinion

Overview

CASE NO: 3194

RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF ROSALIND DERBY AGAINST KAPITI NEWS

FINDING: INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO PROCEED

DATE: FEBRUARY 2022

The Kapiti News published a comment piece by local Mayor K Gurunathan on January 26, 2022, headlined Luxon could renew calls for hospital.

The article picked up on comment by Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon saying there was a need for investment in small hospitals, with the Mayor seeing this as possible support for a new community hospital in the area.

Rosalind Derby said it seemed inappropriate that the Mayor should be favouring the leader of the Opposition party in this overt way. It was tasteless and inappropriate opinion from the Mayor who had influence over “the vulnerable, gullible, naïve and stupid in our district” and “using hospital and health for a persuasive political broadcast is unacceptable.”

Kapiti News editor David Haxton said there was strong support for a small hospital in the Kapiti community. The Mayor highlighted that and felt there could be renewed calls for one, given Mr Luxon’s comments. This column was a clearly marked opinion piece which highlighted an important issue to many, and he did not think it came across as trying to form voter bias.

The Media Council can see no argument for finding this article was in breach of any of its principles. It was clearly opinion in which a speech by Mr Luxon was used to help push for a local hospital. It did not appear to be favouring a political party but, even if it was, that would be a legitimate expression of opinion.

There were insufficient grounds to proceed.

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