Lies, Damned lies and Statistical Lies – ** UPDATE **






A few days ago, this blogger reported how Statistic NZ had implemented a revision which would materially affect how unemployment stats were counted;

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On 29 June 2016, Statistic NZ announced that it would be changing the manner in which it defined a jobseeker;

Change: Looking at job advertisements on the internet is correctly classified as not actively seeking work. This change brings the classification in line with international standards and will make international comparability possible.

Improvement: Fewer people will be classified as actively seeking work, therefore the counts of people unemployed will be more accurate.

The statement went on to explain;

Change in key labour market estimates:

  • Decreases in the number of people unemployed and the unemployment rate

  • Changes to the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate range from 0.1 to 0.6 percentage points. In the most recent published quarter (March 2016), the unemployment rate is revised down from 5.7 percent to 5.2 percent 

  • Increases in the number of people not in the labour force 

  • Decreases in the size of the labour force and the labour force participation rate

The result of this change? At the stroke of a pen, unemployment fell from 5.7% to 5.2%.

Simply because if a person was job-searching using the internet they were “not actively seeking work“.

Which beggars belief as the majority of jobseekers will be using the internet. It is the 21st century – what else would they be using?


Four days later, our esteemed Dear Leader, John Key, was interviewed on TV1’s Q+A by Corin Dann;


key - corin dann - q+a


Key told Dann;

“The unemployment rate in New Zealand is now falling pretty dramatically.”

Well, it would, wouldn’t it?

Of course unemployment would fall “pretty dramatically” if  government statisticians are cooking the numbers.

It did not take Key very long to use the “revised stats” to his advantage.

Expect more BS from National ministers congratulating themselves about how well their “job creation” policies are working.







TVNZ: Q+A – Interview with John Key

Statistics NZ: Household Labour Force Survey – Revisions to labour market estimates

Scoop media: On The Nation – Patrick Gower interviews John Key

Previous related blogpost

Lies, Damned lies and Statistical Lies




You know I can't do your ghost jobs John




= fs =


  1. An unemployed friend of mine spent most of his time job-searching on the Internet. He obviously wasn’t unemployed at all.

    Ever wonder why no action is taken to reduce the awful impact of fast food and sugary drinks on NZ health?

    Everywhere we look there are scams, rorts, cover-ups and lies, as NZ gets ‘progressively’ driven off the cliff by the maniacs in power.

    Yeah, the chocolate ration has been increased from 30 grams to 25 grams. Doubleplusgood. All hail Big Brother.

    FFS what is the matter with people in NZ? Can they be SO stupid? (Don’t answer that.)

    • The brains of most have been taken over by subtle messages contained in all commercial advertising, spin press releases and media presentations, that all are “positive” about our powers that be, and negative about anyone daring to dissect reality.

      Keep them busy with the modern day gadgets, glaring screens, incessant inundation with ‘pleasant” and “stimulating” stuff, trivial and insignificant, so it does not rock the boat, and keep them also under constant control by leaving them out of control, so they depend, feeling they need all there is, and hence, no-one dares think outside the square or circle, nobody will dare go into withdrawal, as they all fear losing even more control of their lives and minds.

      ‘1984’ and Orwell’s visions and fears have materialised.

  2. I just don’t understand how actively looking for a job makes you not unemployed no matter where you look for work.

    • It doesn’t. This change is obviously for political reasons and not one based on statistical purposes.

  3. When a politician has access to a bean counter anything is possible. It’s our responsibility to get this government cleaned up and cleared out.

  4. I don’t know why the National government doesn’t pass a bill making unemployment illegal. If they do that then they can legitimately declare they have “solved” the unemployment problem. Unemployment at zero, hurrah! hurrah! National pulls it off again!
    The only problem with that is the crime statistics, they will shoot through the roof with all those unemployed crims mucking about.
    My point is that the National government basically treats the unemployed (and welfare dependants) as crims and that’s why they offer them the very basics of help. The same mentality was used to justify work houses in early Victorian England. Give them just enough to keep away starvation but still expect them to work their fingers to the bone, be grateful and fearful of asking for more (like Oliver Twist).

  5. .. so what was the point of this Govt rolling out broad band in NZ if you are not meant to use it?

  6. Fudging the numbers for the Government propaganda purposes frank I guess under the umbrella of MBIE (Minister of Business innovation & employment) developed in the often phoney reports under the MBIE task known as “Innovations”

    As I said we need a Royal commissioned report into this MBIE now.

  7. Simply because if a person was job-searching using the internet they were “not actively seeking work“.

    When I heard of this change I wrote this:

    I don’t even look in the papers any more as the types of jobs I’m looking for simply aren’t even advertised in the papers and you can’t walk in off the street to get them either (not that anyone on the unemployment benefit can afford to go round walking in off the street to ask for a job – getting around is expensive).

    That change just converted a few thousand unemployed people actively looking for work into people who are ‘discouraged’ and thus not counted as being unemployed. And it also means that all those people on WINZ courses aren’t looking for work either because all they do all day is browse the internet looking for work.

    Wonder how much political pressure they were under to make that change.

    It’s obvious that it was political pressure that was brought to bear to get that particular change as any statistician worth their salt would have been looking for better ways to count the unemployed, the under-employed, the stay at home and look after the kids employed, those who are discouraged and those who are actually unemployed.

    They certainly wouldn’t have been looking for ways to bias their results the way that this change has done.

  8. “There is NO depression in New Zealand, there is NO unemployment in New Zealand, there is no tax haven in New Zealand, there is no corruption in New Zealand, there is no mass surveillance in New Zealand, there is no housing crisis in New Zealand, there is no dairy crisis in New Zealand, there is no child poverty in New Zealand, there is no untruth in New Zealand, as ALL that I, the Esteemed Dear Leader with Shining Glory Halo above my head, tell you, that is NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, I swear by my white collar and blue tie. Amen”

    By John The Magnificent Master Key, your ETERNAL LEADER, whose statue will be erected for ETERNITY, once he joins all others in the “heaven” of thieves, liars and traitors “down under”, aka as HELL.

    • I grew up in Pakuranga, Auckland, in the 70’s. My father ran a business in East Tamaki, so we would often be driving back and forth along Te Rakau Drive. At the southern end of Gossamer Drive (the East Tamaki end, where the industrial sector began) there was a pipeline (wastewater? chemical disposal? I never knew) that had been graffittied. We always read it, and I remember it still to this day:

      “Prices rise and profits hop,
      Pay stays low so buying stops,
      Goods won’t sell so workers sacked,
      Don’t look now, depression’s back.”

      Either that writer was decades ahead of their time, or we as a country are now decades behind ours.

      • “Either that writer was decades ahead of their time, or we as a country are now decades behind ours.”

        Probably both is true.

  9. The grand illusion keeps on going and gets more tragic by the week.
    Its a joke but no one is laughing except Key and the spin doctors.

  10. So, now we know. The Soviet politburo’s propaganda arm survives within the National government.

    • The capitalist’s propaganda arm has always been far better than the politburo’s. After all, the majority of people actually believe the lies that it tells whereas everyone understood that the politburo was lying.

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