The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has ruled that two similar terms of using the Lord's name in vain were neither blasphemous nor offensive.

The first complaint came after the 1 News Vote 17 Leaders Debate where moderator Mike Hosking questioned Bill English and Jacinda Ardern.

Hosking was quizzing National Party Leader Bill English about a damaged fuel pipeline in Auckland that affected flights out if its airport.

In frustration at English's response, Hosking uttered the words "for God's sake".


The authority found the alleged harm did not outweigh the important right to freedom of expression, especially in the lead-up to a general election.

They said the variations of "God", "Christ" and "Jesus Christ" are commonly used as exclamations.

In Hosking's case, he used the phrase to express his own and voters' frustration at the Government's response to the ordeal.

The second complaint came after a farmer used the expression "for Christ's sake" when talking about a report on 1 News on the outbreak of a cattle disease in South Canterbury.

The authority found that there was a public interest and high value in hearing an authentic voice from a New Zealand farmer as part of the report.

It noted that the farmer used the expression to express his frustration and strong support of the affected farm owner.

The complaint was not upheld.

Mike Hosking: Sorry New Zealand. I'm guilty of an unspeakable crime. I misled you.