4 Oct 2013

Labour says complaint over RNZ out of order

12:17 pm on 4 October 2013

The Labour Party says a formal complaint laid with Radio New Zealand over its coverage of the proposed Ruataniwha Dam is out of order.

Last month, Radio New Zealand revealed a draft Department of Conservation submission on the dam project said the Hawke's Bay Regional Council proposal could harm the rivers involved.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council has laid a complaint to the broadcaster saying it was concerned the story had the potential to misinform and confuse the public.

The council says the stories claimed the dam could "poison the Tukituki River" and Radio New Zealand's journalist Peter Fowler reported that "scientific experts point to established evidence that in its attempt to save the river the Regional Council could actually kill it".

It says those statements are not factual and were not part of the draft DoC submission document.

Labour Party leader David Cunliffe says the broadcaster was well within its rights to report on the submission, which raises important issues about the health of the Tukituki River.

He says the Council appears to be in danger of blurring its role as advocate for the dam and consenting authority.

Radio New Zealand says it's considering the complaint but stands by the story and its reporter.