Last month the OECD released a report, Divided We Stand, that showed that   New Zealand's income gap has grown faster than any other developed country over the past 20 years. The report says its refutes the neoliberal argument that  economic growth trickles down to those in need. The  report has received sparse coverage in the mainstream media. The Press in Christchurch, for instance, has other priorities - like blaming the victims of the economic policies that have wrought so much damage on New Zealand society. Once again, the newspaper is going into bat for the Key government.

In the hazy and slow news days of summer what is a poor corporate media to do  to fill the newspapers and eat up the hours of talkback radio? What are lazy right wing bloggers  going to have to  do to stoke up the prejudices and the bigotry and try to shore up support for  a  Government that is presiding over  the wreck that is the New Zealand economy?

When in trouble - bash a beneficiary.  That's always good for a few brownie points with the redneck brigade. And its so easy to do! No thinking required! 

As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so beneficiaries will be bashed by a media looking for easy targets as opposed to doing any real work - like investigating the increasing level of poverty in New Zealand for instance.  And how come the rich just keep getting richer anyway?

In Christchurch, like elsewhere in the country, the food banks could be barely cope with the demand for  food parcels in the days preceding Xmas.

But my local newspaper, The Press, has  conveniently forgotten about this  and is claiming there a demand for workers to fill unskilled and low paid  jobs. How many jobs exactly? The newspaper doesn't say. So couldit  be ...10 jobs ? 20 jobs ? 100 jobs ? 1000 jobs ?  Or is the entire story just another beat-up?

The Press then followed  with a story about a  Christchurch baker Diane McPherson who claims she  has had an absolute nightmare' trying to find staff for the past four months.

She told  The Press: "I've had a couple of guys tell me, ‘Oh, it's easier on the dole...'

Which guys? No names are mentioned.  Of course The Press, as a responsible  newspaper ,  would have sought out the other side of story and not just  relied on Ms McPherson's version of events. That's what a responsible newspaper would have done but The Press didn't.

It just uncritically accepted Ms McPherson's version of events.   Does it matter that she  is apparently a supporter of the National Party? The Press didn't get  round to mentioning that either.

There seems to be whole lot missing from these two stories - like facts, for instance.

 But The Press has been down this road before.

In August last year it trumpeted the Government's big claim that   Fletcher Building  was 'planning' to hire 1000 workers by the end of the year.

The story appeared in the newspaper the very same day that the  Minister of Social Development, Paula Bennett, was in Christchurch. 

The  Government's press release said that Bennett was in Christchurch to see  'employers working alongside Work and Income to give New Zealanders jobs.'

The press  sheet  went on to say that '...Fletcher Building will give Work and Income access to a vast array of work opportunities within this internationally recognised company.'

Someone on The Press regurgitated the Government's propaganda:   'Fletcher Building is seconding a Work and Income staff manager to help it recruit more beneficiaries for jobs in the Canterbury rebuild.'

The whole story was a load of Government hot air, as I wrote at the time.

And, surprise, these '1000 new jobs for Christchurch' never  materialised. 

But we're not even a fortnight  into 2013 and The Press is at it again, acting as a cheerleader  for the Government's draconian welfare policies.

The underlying agenda is, of course, uncritical  support for Bennett's continued war on beneficiaries and the welfare state. It's so  much easier to cut benefits and harass beneficiaries when newspapers like The Press,  without any evidence, can claim that there are  jobs waiting to be filled but beneficiaries won't take them.

All this does is whip up an atmosphere of intimidation of against beneficiaries and supports the government's continued neoliberal agenda.

Note: The disaster capitalists are getting all excited about extracting big profits from Christchurch. But workers apparently  won't be sharing in the good times - the working class will  have to make do with the derisory minimum wage.


  1. As Gomer Pyle would say, well goooooolly gee surprise surprise suprise!

    We in New Zealand could do with some more real journalists but I gotta wonder where they would come from in all honesty.

    Thanks for exposing yet even more stitch ups that the public are paying for in every sense of the word time and time again and it shows no sign of letting up either with things still spiralling downward like a whirlpool for the majority.

    This site is a regular view for this kiwi along with Franklin elocal and the John Ansell wordpress site as I cant abide the ever present dare I say propaganda of anything deemed mainstream.

    All the best good people and carry on. The Truth does matter and I dont refer to that rag of Slaters.


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