Karl Du Fresne - Asshole of the Week Award | The Jackal

11 Dec 2011

Karl Du Fresne - Asshole of the Week Award

It appears that the right wingers didn't like the documentary Inside Child Poverty all that much. There has even been a formal complaint to the Electoral Commission about the program. They're obviously a bit ticked off that the excellent doco told the truth so close to an election.

The hour long program was made by Bryan Bruce and highlighted the growing use of food banks, increasingly mouldy damp houses, and rising medical and electricity bills.

This information is nothing new to those who work at the coal face of the poverty problem, with Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson saying:

"Here at the mission, we are seeing more and more families coming to us in desperate need, with children who are not being fed, clothed or housed adequately, and who are not receiving adequate medical care."

Despite the many promises of consecutive governments, nothing has been done to address our growing impoverishment. Confirmation of worsening inequality came earlier this month in the form of an OECD report that showed inequality in New Zealand has grown the fastest out of all OECD countries. On Wednesday, the NZ Herald reported:

"There is nothing inevitable about high and growing inequalities. This study dispels the assumption that the benefits of economic growth will automatically trickle down to the disadvantaged," said OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria.
The income gap was also widened further by tax and benefit changes which have become less redistributive in most countries since the 1990s. Income taxes on the rich have been lowered, and welfare benefits for the poor have been cut.

That's why it's so disgusting to see some of the misinformed articles that came out against the documentary. The worst of these was written by Karl Du Fresne and appeared in the Dominion Post last Tuesday. Here's a paragraph from the hateful article called Documentary misses the mark on NZ child poverty:

This was a disgracefully simplistic, emotionally manipulative programme, but fortunately not everyone was fooled. This newspaper published letters from people who had grown up in state houses and pointed out that the mould Bruce was so appalled by in some of the homes he visited could be avoided simply by proper ventilation in other words, opening windows.

The answer is not for people who have mould in the houses they rent to open the windows in winter, as this will do nothing to reduce mould once it's established.

Considering that another OECD report showed New Zealand rentals were overpriced by 43%, and a recent BRANZ study found 59% of NZ houses are not maintained properly, the answer is for the landlords to remove the mould and ensure houses are safe to reside in, not to blame people trapped in poverty for their predicament.

For his blame the victim mentality and hateful bigotry, Karl Du Fresne has effectively won himself an Asshole of the Week Award.