Fairfaxian denial, yet again
It was New Zealand’s leading political story this morning; the National-led Government have spent around $200m on roading consultants since coming into office.
Radio New Zealand broke it, the New Zealand Herald picked it up straight away and led the politics section online with it. But, it seems that John Key’s mates at Fairfax just didn’t have the heart for such embarrassing news about their favourite political party, so according to stuff.co.nz, it simply didn’t happen. Not a word.
Of course, regular readers of this blog know that this is nothing new, with Fairfax Media regularly avoiding stories – no matter how newsworthy – that are damaging to their chums in the National Government. And, this blowout is extremely damaging, coming as it does as the Government preach austerity, cut public services, and within a week of annoucing massive job cuts at Kiwirail. Yes, it seems that the National-led Government can’t find anything in the budget to invest in public transport and state-owned rail, but they are happy to provide jobs for the boys when it comes to their pet roading projects. Could it have anything to do with the strong association between the National Party and the road transport lobby? Could it be the dirty covert hand of big oil at play? Or, is it simply a matter of National doing what they do best – making their rich mates richer at the expense of New Zealand. In truth, it’s probably a combination of all of this, plus a little pressure from their mining billionaire owner Gina Rinehart thrown in for good measure.
With all of these powerful backs getting scratched, one would think that any real journalist would be itching to get into this story, but it seems that Fairfax are happy just to join in the back scratching, and ignore National’s dodgy accounting altogether.
According to the New Zealand Herald:
“Labour transport spokesperson Phil Twyford told Radio New Zealand it was an “eye-watering amount of money” to be spending on consultants in the current economic climate.
“$200m could buy a lot of useful transport infrastructure and services,” Mr Twyford said.
Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter questioned the impartiality of the advice given to NZTA by consultants.
“In does beg the question of whether the transport consultants’ industry is actually giving advice that’s totally neutral or whether they’re recommending projects they know are going to result in more work for them,” she told Radio New Zealand.”
Great story eh? But, Fairfax Media don’t really do the Opposition, especially when their arguments are harmful to the National Party. So, the issue got the old Fairfaxian denial treatment, just like so many others noted by this blog over the past three years.
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