The Broadcasting Standards Authority has fined TV3 $2,500 for broadcasting news items claiming the Ministry of Social Development had hired popular Auckland drag queen 'Buckwheat' to motivate staff.
At the time of the story, TV3 was told that Buckwheat's creator Edward Cowley wasn't wearing a dress when he was employed as a facilitator, but both news items had begun by stating that the Ministry had hired "a prominent drag queen" to motivate and galvanise staff.
The Authority ruled that the item "breached standards relating to accuracy, fairness and balance", reports the NZPA.
The item, which showed National MP Judith Collins taking issue with the idea of a drag queen being hired to motivate staff, was broadcast on 3 News and Nightline in August last year.
Ministry of Social Development chief executive Peter Hughes complained to the Broadcasting Standards Authority that the item was unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair.
Cowley is an experienced professional facilitator and was employed as a facilitator â€“ not a motivational speaker, explains Hughes.
The Authority declined to order TV3's owner TVWorks to broadcast a statement summarising the decision, believing the statement would confuse viewers.