About the show
Fair Go is one of New Zealand's longest-running and best-rating
programmes. It combines a unique weekly mixture of hard-nosed
investigative reporting with light-hearted stories related to
consumer affairs. Programme motto: "If you've been ripped off,
short-changed or given the runaround and nobody wants to know... we
Fair Go handles just about every imaginable consumer complaint - except family matters such as matrimonial disputes, child custody cases and straight commercial cases where two businesses are in dispute.
The programme is for individual New Zealanders battling bureaucracy, victims of rip-offs or fighting for their rights. It doesn't matter whether the fight is with a local shop, a megacorporation or the government. The programme will not handle cases unless the complainant is prepared to be part of the story on television.
Generally, Fair Go wants a written outline of your problem and
copies of relevant documents (please do not send originals) and/or
correspondence, along with a daytime phone number.
Fair Go began in 1977, the creation of presenter, Brian Edwards, and producer, Peter Morritt. At the time it was seen as breaking new ground. It would not simply deal with consumer issues, it would investigate complaints from viewers and if those complaints were justified, it would name names. The biggest fear at the time was that the programme would attract huge lawsuits. Lawyers were hired to check every word on the script and the fears turned out to be groundless.
The other novel factor in the show was the high personality profile of its presenters and reporters. Not only Brian Edwards, but remember the outrageously clad Judith Fyfe and Hugo Manson. Philip Alpers took over the fronting when Brian moved on and made an instant impact with his immaculate white suits and fedoras. Other more recent high-profile presenters include Kerre Woodham, Carol Hirschfeld, Rosalie Nelson and Liane Clarke.
When Fair Go began it was shown in two 10-12 week seasons each year. But with the popularity of the show, and the huge number of complaints sent into the programme, it was decided in 1993 to produce one long season which would run for almost for the entire year.
As the show matured, the complaints it dealt with involved higher stakes. Fair Go's biggest cash settlement was for over $350,000. There have been several other settlements involving six figure sums.
But the show will go into battle for one cent (and has) if the issue behind the dispute is an interesting one. Fair Go has always considered entertainment and humour as suitable partners for its more investigative work.
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