Last week I was kicked out of my home, given 48 hours to leave, because I wrote a newspaper article my landlord didn’t like.
I was working as a reporter for Fairfax Media in Nelson, living in a motel room with my boyfriend, which we were forced to do due to the Nelson rental property shortage. We paid $260 a week, but on Wednesday last week after this article appeared, the motel manager rang me saying he did not like the article or its headline and as a result my tenancy was terminated.
I was shocked. I never envisaged this reaction. The article was not controversial, or exposing any great injustice. It simply reported what was happening; Nelson residents desperate for affordable accommodation and motels fighting to get visitors.
I went and explained this to my landlord, but the problem was he didn’t like the tone of the article, or all the facts that were printed. Despite my repeated requests he was unable to point out anything that was untrue. The article was and still is correct.
Never the less, I received formal written notification stating I had to leave the room immediately and have it ready for inspection.
I struggled to make sense of my termination – I thought that when I left working in Dubai and returned to New Zealand there would be no censorship. I could write articles sharing accurate information, informing the public.
In New Zealand it seems the risk of censorship is still there, it’s just a little more subtle.
Luckily, I’m no longer homeless, thanks to a kind offer from other Nelson residents, but the accommodation saga in Nelson continues – read here.
I have no regrets about the truth I wrote. Perhaps it’s harder for others to face.