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R. Howell and C. Rist
DATE OF MEETING
18 July 2017
No Grounds to Proceed
Advertisement: The television advertisement for Greenpeace focused on the pollution of
rivers stated, in part "New Zealand's once pure rivers are becoming contaminated. In some
places our drink water may be as risk. Intensive dairy farming is one of the major sources of
The Acting Chair ruled there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.
Complainant, R. Howell, said: The Greenpeace add showing at the moment is extremely
misleading and I find it extremely offensive!! It does not meet the basic principles 2, 3 and 4.
I believe it also breaches the following rules - 2, Truthful Representation, it does not in any
way represent any truthful sound information an is derogatory misleading falsified
scaremongering against Farming an mainly the Dairy Industry! 4, Decency, it clearly
contains derogatory misleading information aimed at offending one of New Zealands biggest
industrys! 6, Fear, it is clearly trying to implant fear into naivie viewers who are likely to be
mislead by extremely extremely exaggerated false information. (eg Farmers purchase their
own pivots, government taxes are not used to purchase farmers pivots for irrigation) 11,
Advocacy advertising, Greenpeace have not clearly stated that this is their opinion, one of a
minority an frankly endanger the lively hoods of thousands of people an could encourage
people into a un- healthy uninformed nutritional lifestyle. 12, Safety, encourages uninformed
people to commit indecent acts "lets do something about it" it is well known they break an
enter, trespass, damage an destroy businesses possessions, endanger livestock an
potentially peoples lives. It doesn't meet the code for environmental claims, particularly A,G
an H. Greenpeace is a cult an this add clearly to a first time complainant is in breach of
multiple standards an guidelines. Its endless pickings an whom ever decided it should have
been aired needs to read the guidelines, rules, regulations, codes etc. To myself an multiple
others I have spoken to this add was not looked upon with a unbiased view an is completely
Duplicate Complainant, C. Rist, said shared similar views and said, in part: the
advertisement was "trying to turn the general public against farmers because they are not
telling the full truth about water pol ution... and they also show images of a protester with
the hashtag #SICKOFTOMANYCOWS."
The relevant provisions were Basic Principle 4 and Rules 2, 4, 6, 11 and 12 of the
Code of Ethics and Principle 2 and Guidelines 2(a), 2(g), and 2(h) of the Code for
The Acting Chair noted the concerns of the Complainants that the advertisement gave a
misleading impression of the farming industy's effect on the pollution of rivers.
Turning to the advertisement, the Chairman confirmed the advertisement, by Greenpeace,
was in the category of advocacy advertising and was intended to raise awareness about
Greenpeace's view on the contamination of rivers. She said both the identity and the
position of the Advertiser were clear, in compliance with Rule 11, and therefore the
advertisement should be reviewed in the context of advocacy advertising, which is
advertising designed to express an opinion. As such, and in the interests of freedom of
expression under Section 14 of the Bill of Rights Act 1990, a more liberal interpretation of
the Code was appropriate
The Acting Chair noted the precedent Decision (16/400) about another Greenpeace
advertisement dealt with comparable issues to those raised by R.Howell and C. Rist. In
Decision 16/400 the Advertiser said, in part:
"The context of this advertisement is that there is an ongoing national debate of
significant public interest around the use, management, regulation, allocation and
pollution of water resources. One of the major issues is the harmful impact of
intensive dairy farming on water quality and how that impact may be managed and
reduced. This impact is widely scientifically documented and implicitly acknowledged
by the dairy industry itself.
Greenpeace is an environmental advocacy organisation, funded by private
donations from individuals and receives no government or industry funding. Based
on substantive publically available scientific information, Greenpeace holds the view
that industrial dairy farming is having a substantial negative impact on the health of
waterways in New Zealand, and that the effects of planned irrigation schemes and
projected expansion of industrial dairying will worsen impacts and further degrade
The Complaints Board agreed that the statements made in the advertisement considered in
Decision 16/400 were general statements about the pollution of New Zealand rivers, which
would not come as a surprise to most New Zealanders and the advertisement did not allege
that the dairy industry alone was solely responsible for the pollution of New Zealand rivers.
Taking into account the findings in 16/400, the Acting Chair noted the advertisement before
her said intensive dairy farming was one of the sources of pollution and, in the context of a
message from an environmental organisation, it was unlikely to mislead people and had
been prepared with a due standard of social responsibility.
Accordingly, the Acting Chair ruled there was no apparent breach of Basic Principle 4 or
Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics and the complaint had No Grounds to Proceed.
Acting Chair's Ruling: Complaint No Grounds to Proceed