We have an External Complaints Policy which relates to complaints about:

  • A funding policy or process
  • The behaviour of a NZ On Air employee or Board member acting in their capacity as an employee or Board member.

Please read the Policy below and the associated Procedure for making a complaint, and how we will deal with it.

If your complaint is about a potential breach of a Broadcasting Standard or Media Council rules, regardless of whether it is NZ On Air funded, you must take your complaint firstly to the broadcaster/platform where you saw/heard/read the content, and then to either the Broadcasting Standards Authority or the NZ Media Council depending on which applies.

As a funder we are explicitly not allowed to have any editorial control of content (see Broadcasting Act). The agencies exist to deal with this type of complaint.

If your complaint is about our decision to fund a piece of content you don’t like then before you complain to us please take a moment to read the following:

Decision-making process
  • We receive hundreds of content funding applications each year. Our staff assess every application against the relevant criteria for the funding round, and consider a range of matters such as (but not limited to) the strength of the idea, the experience of the production team, the potential audience, cost, other financial backing, and what other ideas the proposal is competing against in the round.
  • Recommendations are then made to either the Staff Investment Committee (which is made up of the Senior Leadership team) if the project is worth less than $1m, or to the Board if the project is worth more than $1m. (Board members are independent, non- partisan directors with a broad range of professional expertise - read more here.)
  • The members of these two decision-making groups then read all the proposals and funding recommendations and meet to make the decisions collectively. These two groups have between them considerable experience in weighing up the merits of proposals and making decisions in the interests of a wide range of audiences.
  • Please note we do not reconsider funding decisions where we have followed our decision-making process correctly.
Range of content

We fund hundreds of pieces of content each year - about 700 in the 2021/22 year. Within this number there's a huge range of content intended for a diversity of audiences. It's not one-size-fits-all - which means that a piece of content that doesn't appeal to you may actually be very appealing to someone from a different demographic. We are required, under the Broadcasting Act, to support content that serves many different audiences beyond what you might consider 'mainstream'. The act explicitly states, for example that we provide for the interests of women, youth, children, people with disabilities, different ethnic communities, and differing religious beliefs. We must also promote te reo and te ao Māori.

You can get an idea of the breadth of this content by viewing our Watch & Listen page.

Other sources of information
  • It may be that you just need to find out a bit more about some content you are concerned about. We publish every funding decision on our website, and also announce funding in media releases, which contain more information about the projects.
  • Please use the funding decisions search tool here or use the site search tool typing in the name of the content, or go to Media Releases.
  • You can also seek information under the Official Information Act. Please read more about this here.

If you still believe you have a complaint that needs to be heard please email your complaint to info@nzonair.govt.nz with Formal complaint in the subject line.

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint as quickly as we can. Your complaint will then be directed to the most appropriate person in the organisation to assist with a response. Your complaint will be responded to within 10 working days.

If you are unhappy with the response you can ask for the matter to be referred to the Senior Leadership Team, where at least one member of the SLT will review the matter raised and response given and come back to you with any further response deemed appropriate.

Please correspond with us courteously. Bad language, abuse and tirades are unnecessary and will not be responded to.