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Dom Post’s patronising propaganda over prices and wages

June 15, 2011

National’s cheerleaders announce: “Wages rising faster than food prices”

If it wasn’t so tragic, it might even induce a laugh.  According to the headline on page two of today’s Dom Post “Wages are rising faster than food prices”.    This may come as a surprise to you.  It certainly did to me, and I’m sure it will to the families of the 200,000 New Zealand children living in poverty, but there it is, in black and white on the politics page of the capital’s only daily newspaper; “Wages rising faster than food prices”. 

Clearly the real story here is the Opposition’s claim that people are descending into poverty because of the increasing cost of living, but Fairfax weren’t going to let that get in the way of angling this story – like most others – in favour of the National-led Government, whose outrageous claims are essentially portrayed as gospel by this one-sided publisher.  What they don’t explain is that these figures are based on dodgy Rightwing maths, and ‘average wages’ reflect the fact that the top five percent of New Zealanders are doing much better, while everyone else is struggling.  National’s tax-switch ensured that their rich mates did very nicely out of the recession thank you very much, but for the Government and Fairfax to claim that this makes ‘everyone’ better off is patronising rubbish.  According to Statistics New Zealand, fruit and vegetable prices have increased 12.8 per cent in the year to May, with all food prices increasing by 7.4 per cent.  Hands up who’s had an eight per pay increase in the last year?

This is absolute propagandist nonsense, typical of the doublethink this newspaper expects us to buy into every single day.  While there is some Opposition comment in this story, it’s overwhelmed by the headline and general angling of the piece so that the overall impression is that those nice guys in the National Party are, of course, telling the truth.  But, just to make sure we don’t read too much from the Opposition, the story itself is buried at the bottom of page two – below the much more important picture-story about that nice John Key’s son, Max.

Leading today’s politics page is yet another dose of accountability-free “analysis”, looking at the awful state of New Zealand’s public service.  But of course, there is no mention anywhere that the 7,000 people on surgery waiting lists of between six months and two years, might be the result of cuts to the health sector under the National-led Government.  Oh no, no.  There is no questioning of the Ministry of Health’s decline under Minister Tony Ryall, or any analysis of exactly why people are now waiting up to two years for surgery in New Zealand.

This, despite the grudging acknowledgment in today’s political briefs, that under intense and prolonged questioning in the House, Tony Ryall finally admitted that there is a shortfall of $156m in the Budget’s health funding.  Same paper, same bloody page, so why the lack of any connection between these two stories?   And, why no real coverage of the admission?  “Bias” doesn’t even begin to cover it!

There is also a report on page two informing us that Pharmac is now officially off the table in any negotiations over a free trade deal with the United States.   As reported on this blog on Sunday, Fairfax’s Star Times newspaper accused Phil Goff of being “extreme” for advocating for this very thing, despite that paper devoting almost three pages to virtually the same conclusion.  We can only assume that this is now a “sensible and moderate” decision, because the National Party have decided to agree.  The hypocrisy here is without measure. 

Finally today, Fairfax get stuck into Darren Hughes and the Labour Party again – just for good measure.  This time they lead the letters to the editor with the bold healine “Hughes affair has destroyed his credibility, and Phil Goff’s”.  Now, maybe I’m old fashioned, but shouldn’t letters to the editor provide a variation of real people’s opinions, not simply prop up the outrageous prejudice and bias of the host publication?  Speaking of prejudice and bias, managed to slant Phil Goff’s defence of the way the Hughes saga was handled into an admission of guilt, completely avoiding Goff’s reassertion – as noted by the NZ Herald – that this whole debacle was actually a “trial by media”…..oh, and erm…guess which media company led the charge…


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