Chester Borrows calls out lazy media

Chester Borrows, who is one of the wets in National writes a brilliant opinion piece at Fairfax:

In my book kids come first. No matter how frustrating the parents’ situation may be. Situations of their own volition, stupidity, criminality, or just bad luck, if there are kids involved, it pushes all my buttons. I will fall over myself helping and always have. I’m big enough to admit that I probably made decisions last week that I wouldn’t make a second time. We have all made mistakes and I own mine but don’t want them thrown in my face every time I am in need of being cut a little slack. So the starting point is that if there are kids involved, they didn’t have any choice because some adult made a decision for them on their behalf. So let’s think of the kids first.

The whole premise behind providing welfare…it’s for the kids.

Now, about those families who are living in every garage in South Auckland that Andrew Little has told us about but can’t find.  Those ones we can see same time; same channel every night – are there a few questions we’d like to ask them? Hell yes.  

To the woman who was asked where were they all living before living in the car? And who said “At home with my parents but then I got kicked out.” I want the media to find out why. To the mother of 10 children living in a carport I would like the reporter to explain that if she is on her own and her children are all school age, that she is entitled to $1500 per week from WINZ – which may not be much with 10 children – but what happened to that money this week. With an accommodation supplement on top of that her income would be much closer to $2000 per week. And another question she could be asked, bearing in mind she has probably been renting previously is, why she moved? Has she got a good rent record? Did she always pay rent on time? Was the accommodation ever damaged? Did she have to move because of the harsh and unfair treatment of the landlord or what? None of the answers affect the bottom line which is that it is all about the kids. But I want to know.

I call this pimping the poor, often with little or no background information. Borrows is right, you don’t get to have 10 kids without having lived somewhere else before. Not all of those kids were born under a bridge.

I don’t think I am a mean person, but I have got a bull-dust detector set on high beam and I know when there is a lot more to the story. If a person is happy enough to be on television and be held up as a victim of bad times, then let us hear the full story. Remember when a beneficiary went on TV and  told her version of her tragic plight and Paula Bennett told the WINZ side of the story. The uproar was deafening. The betrayal of trust by the Minister was labelled a huge abuse of power. But the truth came out.

Indeed it did, like the ratbag unionist calling Ports of Auckland an uncaring employer when he had a free holiday and the best part of a year off after his wife croaked.

Others being in bad circumstances does not make us become cold and uncaring towards them, or unsympathetic towards their circumstances. It doesn’t mean we all want to see people living in cardboard boxes under bridges, or begging on the street. It doesn’t mean we say it’s their own damn fault. The opposite is generally true. We open the doors to our homes, we open our wallets and give of our time energy and resources to help, we drop off groceries and raid our own firewood supplies to help with heating, especially when kids are involved.

I pay taxes, that’s what I do.

Knowing the full facts doesn’t absolve us from a responsibility to help. But I am stuffed if I am going to be denied the knowledge of those full facts because a news agency can’t be bothered asking the questions. Alternatively, maybe they have decided that we don’t need to know because it doesn’t fit with the angle they are taking on a particular story.

When my bull-dust radar is screaming, the only way to turn it down is to know the truth. Let the fourth estate step up on this occasion.

Well said Chester. The problem is the Media party who seem to be agenda driven rather than news driven.

In recent weeks we have seen these shabby housing hits, driven by a political party, and also the hits against the fishing industry, again driven by a political party, including their President Nigel Haworth. When they are invariably proved wrong there is no re-balancing by the media, which shows it was political from the get go.


– Fairfax

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