20 Jan 2012

Poverty documentary cleared of any electoral breach

10:10 pm on 20 January 2012

A controversial documentary on poverty broadcast just before the election last year has been cleared of any breach of the Electoral Act.

The documentary by investigative journalist Bryan Bruce led funding agency New Zealand On Air to seek legal advice over whether it could be in breach of the Electoral Act or the Broadcasting Act.

NZ On Air said it had been accused of political bias following the airing of Inside Child Poverty: A Special Report on TV3 on 22 November.

The Electoral Commission has ruled the documentary was not an election programme under the Broadcasting Act as it did not debate or comment on political parties or candidates contesting the 2011 poll.

It said the programme did not blame the existing Government for the problem of child poverty but laid the blame at successive Governments over a 30-year period.

The maker of the documentary, Bryan Bruce, says TV3 deserves an apology for a suggestion it was unethical to show the programme so close to an election.