Of course the new stats are politically manipulated – look at our child poverty denial

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As TDB pointed out last month, the new system used to collect the Unemployment rates are a political sack.

Removing people who look for work on the internet so the unemployment rate comes down IS a scam.

Frank picked up the story again this week and Grant Robertson followed that up.

The main statistician refutes this is idealogical, and she’s probably right in that, but it is a means to bring the unemployment rate down which makes the Government look good. Pretending people who look for work online aren’t job seeking is just a fallacy, it’s a means of bringing down the unemployment rate regardless of left or right.

It’s Government elites looking after Government elites.

There is real fear now within the Public Service that any stats that come out making the Government look bad will get you quickly buried. Scientists have already stated this pressure in NZ and the Government does all it can to ignore the stats to begin with.

Paula Bennett refuses to get a clear picture of the number of children in Poverty because then she would have to do something about it.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Look at how no one seems to have any idea who much money National shovelled into motels for the homeless…

Govt admits data vacuum on motel help

The Government has no idea how much money it lent to beneficiaries to stay in motels, the Ministry for Social Development has admitted.

It means there is no data which shows how much taxpayer money was borrowed by people on benefits and no broad understanding as to the level of need for emergency housing assistance.

It’s a knowledge vacuum which has been criticised by social commentators and political opponents who have asked how the Government can manage the situation when it has no data to guide its decisions.

…we have a Government in constant denial and that denial requires stats and data  that are always watered down, look at how our denial of child poverty is so noticeable that International Newspapers are commenting…

New Zealand’s most shameful secret: ‘We have normalised child poverty’

The Saitu children are not alone in their desperation. A third of New Zealand children, or 300,000, now live below the poverty line – 45,000 more than a year ago.

Unicef’s definition of child poverty in New Zealand is children living in households who earn less than 60% of the median national income – NZ$28,000 a year, or NZ$550 a week.

The fact that twice as many children now live below the poverty line than did in 1984 has become New Zealand’s most shameful statistic.

“We have normalised child poverty as a society – that a certain level of need in a certain part of the population is somehow OK,” says Vivien Maidaborn, executive director of Unicef New Zealand.

“The empathy Kiwis are famous for has hardened. Over the last 20 years we have increasingly blamed the people needing help for the problem.

“If you can’t afford your children to have breakfast, you’re a bad budgeter. If you aren’t working you’re lazy. But our subconscious beliefs about some people ‘deserving’ poverty because of poor life choices no longer apply in today’s environment. We have to ask ourselves as a society, are we really prepared to let our children grow up this way?”

…denial requires a super structure of myth and half truths, that’s what we are consistently seeing with this Government.

21 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t even remotely understand how looking for a job on the internet would mean you aren’t unemployed. It doesn’t even make sense!

    • One could argue that employed people could look for another job or a better job or a different job.
      But lets face it, the reason the method of measure changed is to make the numbers look better.
      Of course oppposition should be smarter and request statistics nz to ammend previous statistics accordingly so the comparison can be valid. How can you compare previous measured that did include online job seeking with a measure that doesn’t? But even without ammendments, the % of unemployment when National took office was much lower.

    • I have a full time job. I look at job ads, because i am curious. Does that make me unemployed?
      I hope that countries have the same rules so we can compare them.
      Stastics nz is independent. I hope this isn’t a campaign to politise it.

      • I have a full time job. I look at job ads, because i am curious. Does that make me unemploye

        No, David. That makes you employed, looking at job ads, because you are curious.

        Just as I might look at stories of deep-sea divers – but that doesn’t make me want to become one.

        I think you’re missing the point entirely. This is the Age of the Internet; where would people be looking for jobs?

        The definition of being unemployed, according to Statistics NZ (until they change this definition as well);

        – were without a paid job, and
        – were available for work, and
        – had either actively sought work in the four weeks ending with the reference week, or had a new job to start within the next four weeks.

        ref: http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/Labour-force-categories-in-HLFS.aspx

        So your idea of “looking because you’re curious” might apply if you’re looking at dodgy websites, not not for purposes of defined unemployment.

  2. Excellent piece, Martyn! Nailed it perfectly.

    Never in our history has the phrase “lies, damned lies, and statistics” been more apt.

    Orwell’s ghost must be weeping at what is happening.

  3. The data vacuum is a deliberate strategy. If you don’t measure something, you can’t be crucified for it when things turn to custard. This government only likes statistics that make them look good. Everything else is either a case of “Let’s distort it beyond all recognition in order to make black look white!”, or “We have no data. Nothing to see here. Move along.”

    Frankly, the ministers may as well say to their scientists and statisticians, “Only bring me data that makes me look wonderful. If it doesn’t make me look wonderful, go away and try again. Or just shut up about it.”

  4. Thank you, Martyn.
    Cancer statistics (my random choice) : http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/selected-cancers-2011-2012-2013
    Homelessness/sub-standard housing: 41,000 (+) : http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/305536/one-in-100-nzers-are-homeless-study
    Cleanliness of NZ’s water and air: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC1606/S00013/greens-top-10-list-of-nzs-dirtiest-rivers-a-farce.htm
    Child/infant abuse and deaths : http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11607959
    Child Abuse statistics : https://nzfvc.org.nz/news/child-abuse-statistics-and-policy-change
    Animal abuse statistics (2014): http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11352040
    Total prison population (2015): http://www.corrections.govt.nz/resources/research_and_statistics/quarterly_prison_statistics/CP_December_2014.html#total
    Drug/alcohol addiction : https://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/drug-information/drugs-in-new-zealand
    Reported in today’s Herald: Mental Health – contacts by text, phone and face-to-face for help by children and youth aged up to 19 years: 562,554
    And on and on and on…..

    Total population of NZ (est) 4.471 million (2013)
    Total amount of dollars, perks, incentives paid to/taken by and pocketed by MPs – not disclosed.

    This government is NZ Inc. a Private corporation. Treasury is an Inc. a Private corporation. The whole kit and caboodle is an Inc. John Key wears two hats – PM NZ and CEO NZ Inc. Incs are run for profit and used for political maneuvering in the international arena (like sending “support troops” to Vietnam war, Iraq/Libya/Syria/Afghanistan wars (and elsewhere not made known). US Inc is about to be exposed and has already been brought down quietly. The Zionist Bankers are being stopped in their tracks by BRICS and AIIB and those not surrendering are being “taken out”. NZ Inc has but a short time left. All New Zealanders will soon be given an opportunity to put things right with compassion, integrity and fairness for all. For the first time EVER we will know democracy. An eye-blink away.

  5. We have been told that Statistics NZ acted independently from the government and followed ILO standards with the change to exclude persons only looking at online ads on the web from “unemployed” or persons “actively seeking work”.

    I am confused though, as this is what the ILO states:
    http://laborsta.ilo.org/applv8/data/c3e.html

    “(1) The “unemployed” comprise all persons above a specified age who during the reference period were:

    (a)
    “without work”, i.e. were not in paid employment or self-employment, as defined in paragraph 9;
    (b)
    “currently available for work”, i.e. were available for paid employment or self-employment during the reference period; and
    (c)
    “seeking work”, i.e. had taken specific steps in a specified reference period to seek paid employment or self-employment. The specific steps may include registration at a public or private employment exchange; application to employers; checking at worksites, farms, factory gates, market or other assembly places; placing or answering newspaper advertisements; seeking assistance of friends or relatives; looking for land, building, machinery or equipment to establish own enterprise; arranging for financial resources; applying for permits and licences, etc. ”

    Also look at this:
    “(2) In situations where the conventional means of seeking work are of limited relevance, where the labour market is largely unorganized or of limited scope, where labour absorption is, at the time, inadequate, or where the labour force is largely self-employed, the standard definition of unemployment given in subparagraph (1) above may be applied by relaxing the criterion of seeking work.

    (3) In the application of the criterion of current availability for work, especially in situations covered by subparagraph (2) above, appropriate tests should be developed to suit national circumstances. Such tests may be based on notions such as present desire for work and previous work experience, willingness to take up work for wage or salary on locally prevailing terms, or readiness to undertake self-employment activity given the necessary resources and facilities.”

    Read this excerpt:
    “…especially in situations covered by subparagraph (2) above, appropriate tests should be developed to suit national circumstances.”

    This means, there is some room to set particular guidelines and rules within the ILO standards, to develop a measurement “to suit national circumstances”.

    That means the Statistics NZ chiefs have simply used some discretion as to redesigning the way they measure unemployment under the HLFS, and one has reason to ask, upon whose advice was this done?

    We should send OIA requests to the Minister, to ask for all Ministerial directives or other communications that have been sent to Statistics NZ in this regard, maybe Frank will make the effort, being some kind of expert in the field.

    It all sounds dodgy and murky what goes on, and we know, on Planet Key, murkiness is the rule, while smoke and mirrors and many other tricks create a mirage for the public to think, hey, nothing to see, nothing to hear, move on.

    Something here stinks.

    Also of interest and relevance:
    http://laborsta.ilo.org/applv8/data/c2e.html
    http://laborsta.ilo.org/applv8/data/icsee.html

    It appears again, the ILO adopts a kind of “minimalistic” approach in setting rules and standards for measuring employment and unemployment, and it will largely have been influenced what the governments of the day in the more powerful member nations decided and had voted on, what was then set as such rules.

    The ILO is hardly a left wing, socialist workers’ organisation, it is simply a UN organisation where representatives of all the member nations sit and discuss matters that they are authorised to discuss, not more and less, so who cares what they think, after all Statistics NZ will have decided what the neoliberal government may have considered best to have as sets of rules.

  6. The ILO made up of representatives of 187 member countries, of government, employers and workers representatives (2 to 1)!!!

    http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/mission-and-objectives/lang–en/index.htm
    http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/decent-work/lang–en/index.htm

    “The International Labour Organization (ILO) is devoted to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, pursuing its founding mission that social justice is essential to universal and lasting peace.

    Only tripartite U.N. agency, the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers representatives of 187 member States , to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men.”

    So we have GOVERNMENT, EMPLOYER and worker representatives, and we know what the world looks like. It can be said, two to one is the balance of powers of forces at the ILO, against the workers’ representatives, and the rules they set at minimalistic social protection rules, same as stats to measure unemployment, to which the Statistics NZ have moved (downwards) in “adjusting” the way downward, the way they measure our unemployment.

    What a masterstroke again, by the Key led government, neoliberalism is truthism, absolute truthism now, the Ministry of Truth has spoken.

  7. I may also remind “Go(o)sman” and others, from the right, that in a country like Germany, they have different ways of measuring unemployment, and those working less than 15 hours a week are according to government stats still counted as “unemployed”:

    https://www.destatis.de/EN/FactsFigures/NationalEconomyEnvironment/LabourMarket/Methodology/ILO_LabourMarket.html

    “The unemployment definition based on the ILO criteria, which is required for international comparisons, differs from the definition of the number of registered unemployed according to the German Social Security Code (SGB), which is the basis of the figures published by the Federal Employment Agency. For a person to be recorded as registered unemployed, the SGB requires that the person is registered with an employment agency or a local institution and seeks an employment of at least 15 hours per week. In line with the SGB, it is however possible to perform a job of less than 15 hours for additional earnings despite being registered as unemployed.”

  8. The John Key NatCon Job.

    And man and boy ,… has this country been conned for the last 9 years or has this country been conned?….

    How could anyone ever have wanted to vote for that deceitful little political runt?

    • ‘How could anyone ever have wanted to vote for that deceitful little political runt?’

      I know of people who would be described as progressives who voted National back in 2008 because they were utterly disgusted with what Helen Clark was doing to NZ. They believed at the time that anything would be better than more of Helen Clark and were determined to get rid of her -which is why Key got in.

      The great mystery is why people continue to vote for their own enslavement and impoverishment; part of the answer seems to be that the corrupt corporate media have now established such a degree of mind control over such a large portion of the populace that Key (or any of the gang of liars and thieves) say black is white and the media will report it as being so; another part is that home owners have been fooled into thinking the present property bubble is sustainable and that a 2-bedroom apartment in Auckland really is worth $600,000, and will be worth $700,000 next year.

      The current level of insanity and mendacity will not just continue but will increase, until the system becomes so corrupt, inefficient and unstable it collapses.

      Whether the collapse comes later this year or nearer to 2020 is anyone’s guess because internationally everything is manipulated and the western political system is bound together with lies.

  9. And yet NGO’s working with the homeless and in other areas have to spend precious time and money gathering statistics and writing reports, otherwise they lose any public funding. Where does all that information go? Disappears into the Govt’s data “black hole”

  10. We do not need to look for more internal Labour assassins or saboteurs, the Spinoff is delivering the death knell to progressive thought and expression:

    http://thespinoff.co.nz/featured/18-08-2016/labours-loan-write-off-a-solution-in-search-of-a-problem/

    So Eric Crampton, a US imported smart arsed “academic” who used to rant on at Sciblogs, clearly showing is bias towards ACT Party and right neoliberal ideas, is now also a leading reporter or articulator of affairs on Spinoff, spinning out of control into the universe.

    What a shit crap website that has become I only realised a few weeks ago, when they declared a “war” to fight for the Unitary Plan and developers, now they offer Crampton a post to argue the government should get its shit together and bring back interest on student loans.

    Do any idiots out there, that still are doubters, need any more convincing, that the greatest threat we have, does not only come from neoliberals we already know, such as Key, Seymour and others, but that does also come from so called “urban liberals”, the do well professionals, the new uppity bourgeois class of young, aspiring, private owners of apartments, in a city full of the nice things they desire, as they have seen in the better off quarters of “global cities” overseas?

    I declare WAR on them, these self entitling little jerks, that think, they can exploit the despair of those south of the Mangere Bridge, to argue and fight for a private enterprise, developer and speculator run city that will offer them new privileges, while they can perhaps, on their student academic justified salaries affordable apartments they own, but others have to live in new ghettos of tiny holes up to high levels in dense space, that others have to live in.

    It is time to draw new lines, and to rethink, what is truly progressive, social, fair and inclusive, as we are not going to get it through the crap that goes on.

    It is time to indeed declare a war against the self entitled and smart brigade, who are desperately striving to become the new elite of Auckland and New Zealand.

    FUCK the Spinoff!

  11. The best thing to do about National’s stats is simply to assume they are lies, you probably won’t go wrong.

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