TENANTS FINED $2600 FOR BREAKING FIXED TERM LEASE

The above, a classic silly season New Zealand Herald lead heading certainly caught my attention. Why? Because leases are civil matters and beyond the jurisdiction of fining authorities, such as courts. Sure enough when I read the accompanying story which turned out that far from a fine, the amount was a compensatory award for loss of income by a tenancy Tribunal.

Two points.

First, this everyday trivial matter testifies to the impossible task facing newspapers finding actual news which people haven’t already received electronically. In short a beatup to fill the space.

Second; although it was written by a senior property reporter who should have known better, I’ll charitably assume she penned it while drunk with despair, understandable given the impossible task facing print media to find news not already on the table electronically.

In an earlier age before newspapers death rattle began, it would have been picked up by a sub-editor, now the domain of half-hearted hacks. Then again in such an earlier age the Herald would not have run it at all as it’s simply not news.

What next I wonder? “Jay-walking rife in Albert Street”, “budgie escapes from pensioner’s cage”, “car runs out of petrol”; none of those headings would surprise today.

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