Tag Archives: REALLY STUPID

Front page NEWS @!&^#$%

ODT 17.5.13 Budget page 1 lowres

Received from Grahame Sydney
Friday, 17 May 2013 5:35 p.m.

Just in case you were nursing some warm notions that our proudly independent local newspaper slaved to keep a balanced, objective approach to the day’s news and its presentation, a glance at today’s dominating front page story by Dene Mackenzie on yesterday’s National Party Budget might prove instructive.

Under the banner headline “It’s a Win for the South”, Mackenzie begins the story as follows:

“Budget 2013 provides plenty for the South” (my italics) then goes on to state “Most attention was directed towards the Budget’s focus on the lack of housing in Auckland and on the rebuilding of Canterbury – but there was certainly something for those in business south of the Waitaki.”

Given the statement that “most attention” was directed at Auckland housing and the rebuilding of Canterbury – by which single stroke Christchurch now becomes Canterbury – it’s hard to see where the “Win for the South” emerges triumphant, unless of course you’re in business south of the Waitaki.

Tough bikkies if you’re not in business…

The article then goes on to state that “Mr English’s Budget was reasonably exciting for the South”, listing at the top of its illustrations the allocation over the next four years of money for an additional 20 places at Otago Medical School, though not necessarily in Dunedin. Exciting indeed !

Further evidence of the “Win for the South” apparently lies in the additional money for aged care and dementia services, because “the South has an ageing population (and) regional medical services should be in line for some of that money.” Hmmmmmm.

I suppose Mackenzie would also claim a significant win for the lower latitudes in the $19 million taken from the general education allocation to fund John Banks’ charter schools project. That’s what you get with cynical coalitions.

However the best comes mid-way in the lead story, Mackenzie plainly stating the ODT’s biased position as follows:

“The major disappointment of the day was the failure of the Opposition to land a significant blow on what was Mr English’s fifth Budget.”

and
“Labour leader David Shearer resorted to cliches, calling it a “blackjack Budget””

and
“Green Party co-leaser Russel Norman demonstrated again his inability to read a balance sheet.”

and
“Apart from the three leaders saying National was, in various ways, catering for its “fat-cat developer mates” there was nothing for the Government to worry about from yesterday’s Opposition statements and speeches.”

Hey, here’s a bold idea:
Why not try keeping the front page news stories to reporting the facts, with some effort at balance, and let readers make their own decisions on matters of interpretation ? The Op Ed columns are the place for heavily-weighted opinion like this.

Grahame Sydney
Cambrian Valley, Central Otago

{ODT Online says —Editor: The article was clearly marked ‘Budget Comment’ in the ODT print edition. That it was not marked as such online was an error which was rectified.}

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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