Decisions

Thompson v RNZ (16/021)

Content: “How to sidestep NZ tax disclosure rules”. Thursday 23 June 2016

Publisher: RNZ

Complainant: R. Thompson

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An article published by Radio New Zealand (RNZ) on its website alleged Complainant R. Thompson, “specifically advised” his clients to avoid countries with information sharing agreements with New Zealand and instructed his clients to avoid any countries that might enter into double tax agreement with New Zealand.

The Complainant said the article contained factual inaccuracies and as he was not asked to comment, it was unbalanced and unfair.

The Complaints Committee considered the reference to the “disclosure rules” in the headline was not ideal but was a reasonable representation of the kinds of agreements referred to in the article. The Complaints Committee held the headline was not in breach of Standard 1 Accuracy and this part of the complaint was Not Upheld.

The Committee ruled the reference to “specifically advised” was misleading as it was not adequately substantiated and was in breach of Standard 1 Accuracy and was Upheld.

The Complaints Committee considered the Complainant should have been contacted prior to the article being published. It held as this had not occurred, the article lacked a reasonable range of viewpoints and the Complainant was not treated fairly, in breach of Standard 2 Balance and Standard 3 Fairness.

The complaint was Upheld, in part.