Unverifiable claims

Stuff reports:

While 7-year-old Emma battles a lung disease at Starship children’s hospital, her mum is facing another struggle against “discrimination” as she tries to find a place for them to live.

The family is one of many finding it difficult to put a roof over their heads in Auckland, as the Government comes under pressure to deal with those living in cars, garages and on the streets.

Mother-of-three Rhiannon, 44, told at a Green Party event she had been struggling to find a house after her landlord decided to sell their current place in March.

She had been made redundant two years ago while her relationship also ended, and faced “discrimination” from private landlords and property agents when trying to find a rental.

“As soon as you tell them you’re a sole parent with three children, or that you’re on a Work and Income benefit, they’re not interested in you in this kind of competitive market.” …

Work and Income had offered to lend her money for the family to stay in a boarding house, but she didn’t want to take her children there.

They were on the Housing New Zealand waitlist, but were told it would take at least 18 months to find a place – even though they were high-priority because of Emma’s health.

“I felt like being sick – I was sitting in my car when they rang me and said that, and I just felt like I was going to have a breakdown.”

Rhiannon said she and Emma were currently at Starship children’s hospital while her other two children stayed with family and friends, but she wanted a proper roof over their heads.

“I’m a good tenant, I’ve always paid my rent, and I just really want to get my kids together and back to their schools and live a normal life.”

What is interesting in this story is no surname is given. The media asked for it, but it was refused. Despite this the media have reported the claims.

Now I’m not saying that the situation is not exactly as it has been portrayed. It could well be, and probably is. There are some people who have very tough circumstances and need more assistance.

But there have been dozens of other cases where claims have been made, and further information has come out which gives a different version of events.

Without a surname, it is simply impossible to verify the claims. Media should refuse to report such claims, unless they can be verified. Otherwise it is just propaganda.

Without a surname, you can’t check if there have been any cases at the Tenancy Tribunal involving the person, – for example.

I would have less of an issue with the surname being supplied to the media and then being asked not to publish it – because at least then the media themselves could verify the claims. But the media have agreed to report the claims, without having any information to allow them to verify it. That is a very bad thing.

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