Determine if your complaint is about advertising or promotion

It is useful to know if your concerns relate to an advertisement for alcohol or the promotion of alcohol within broadcasted TV and radio programmes.

Click on the flowchart below to help you work out the best process.

Is my complaint about advertising or TV/radio programming? Do I make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority or Broadcasting Standards Authority?

What types of complaints does the Broadcasting Standards Authority cover? 

Making a complaint to the relevant Broadcaster

If you feel that a TV or Radio programme has breached the relevant BSA Code, you must FIRST make a formal complaint in writing to the Broadcasters  within 20 working days after the programme was aired.

Determine if your complaint relates to the:


You can find the list of Broadcasters here.

The BSA provides very clear and informative guidance on how to make a complaint to them. For more details about the complaint process, please check here.

Although Standard 7 directly applies to alcohol promotion there may be other standards in the Codes which are also worth considering in your complaint.

Use the helpful checklist below to help with your complaint. There are different checklists for Free-to-air TV, Pay TV and Radio.

Checklist to assess compliance of Free-To-Air TV programmes with the BSA Code

Checklist to assess compliance of Pay-TV programmes with the BSA Code

Checklist to assess compliance of Radio programmes with the BSA Code

Write your compaint. Use the letter template below to help you. Also provided is a weblink to assist you in finding the right Broadcaster to send your complaint to.

When writing the formal letter, it is important for you to mark ATTENTION – FORMAL COMPLAINTS DEPARTMENT

Click here to download the blank formal complaint form provided by the Broadcasting Standards Authority

The BSA has provided a contact list of broadcasters in NZ, please click here

Allow enough time for your complaint to reach its destination within the 20-working day deadline if you are posting it.

The Broadcaster will make a decision on your complaint

Once the broadcaster has received your formal complaint, they must make a decision within 20 working days (or 40 working days if extension is required).

If you are not happy with the Broadcaster's decision

If you are not satisfied with the decision, you can then refer your formal complaint to the BSA within 20 working days of the broadcaster’s decision (or within 60 working days of the broadcast if you have not received a decision).

The BSA will then decide if the programme breached the standards. A written decision will be sent to you and if you are not happy with the BSA decision, you may appeal the BSA decision to the High Court within one month after you were notified of the decision. All decisions are posted online.