By NAOMI LARKIN

Top TVNZ presenter Paul Holmes has been criticised by the Broadcasting Standards Authority which found that the Holmes shows on the "brain drain" lacked balance and impartiality.

The authority upheld complaints by Paraparaumu viewer Simon Boyce that two items on Television New Zealand's Holmes programme, shown on October 4 and 6, breached broadcasting standards.

The items were instalments of a three-part series, which included a third item on October 5, dealing with the perceived "brain drain" whereby young, educated people were leaving the country for better jobs and lifestyles overseas.

The series stemmed from the Lost Generation campaign, initiated by Auckland marketer Richard Poole, involving newspaper ads signed by more than 600 people, who wanted the Government to stop the slide.

Controversy struck when it was revealed that Business Roundtable chief executive Roger Kerr helped to pay for the ads.

Mr Boyce went to the authority after his initial complaint to TVNZ was not upheld. Under the decision, released yesterday, the authority ordered TVNZ to screen, within one month, an approved statement explaining why the complaints were upheld. TVNZ must pay $2000 costs.

The authority said "very little attempt was made to provide balance."

Of Holmes, the authority said: "In his enthusiasm for the story, the presenter failed to demonstrate the impartiality required of him."

It said Holmes failed to challenge Mr Poole's credibility in "the forceful manner which would be expected of an impartial broadcaster."