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The Standard

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

Written By: - Date published: 1:26 pm, March 25th, 2008 - 32 comments
Categories: dpf, im/migration, national, spin - Tags: , , ,

David Farrar appears to be throwing his weight in behind National Party’s “New Zealand Sucks” campaign with another misleading post on migration to Australia.

Titled “The exodus grows”, DPF’s take on the most recent stats is that the rate at which people are “fleeing New Zealand” is accelerating.

It’s perhaps disguised as one of David’s curiously obsessive posts on numerical detail but don’t let that fool you – the clue is in the emotive language.

As is increasingly common over at Kiwiblog the post’s singular purpose is to reinforce a perception that National’s doing its best to fuel. Their pollsters have identified “emigration to Australia” as a hot-button issue and advised them not to let reality get in the way of perception.

new graphAs we’ve reported before, the country’s not emptying out at all – to Australia or anywhere else.

Last year not only did 99.33% of us choose to stay, but total net inflow exceeded outflow – more people are coming here than leaving.

The sky isn’t falling. This is the Nats playing politics. Their deafening silence in terms of a policy solution to the “problem” their pollsters have cooked up is telling.

32 comments on “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”

  1. Steve Pierson 1

    He says “people left NZ forever”. in the stats, a permanent emigrant is a new zealander who leaves intending to be away longer than a year and a foreigner who leaves having been here longer than a year. Most of the kiwis, and some of the foreigners, come back.

    Farrar knows that, of course.

  2. infused 2

    You’ve already been rebutted on kiwiblog.

  3. Ruth 3

    I hate this rhetoric too. Contrast this to the American view. Those from the right, left, far right, far left ALL have a love of their country.

    Incidentally many US top execs who have been transferred here for a 12 month contract have stayed. They have eschewed salaries of millions because this is a great place to live and bring up kids.

  4. Tane 4

    Must have missed that one infused – do feel free to elaborate.

  5. infused 5

    I’m sure you can read.

  6. higherstandard 6

    Ruth

    I think you’d be wrong to assume that those from all side of the political spectrum don’t love NZ.

    They may be collectively a bunch of dickheads and you’ll certainly see more garbage written and professed during an election year but underneath it all I wouldn’t question the patriotism on the left or the right.

  7. Tane 7

    I’m sure you can type too, infused. Or are you incapable of making an argument without reference to Davey’s talking points?

  8. infused 8

    It’s already been debated before, same old shit over again. Debating it again isn’t going to change anything.

  9. the sprout 9

    this is all good though, National are innoculating the public against their own whinging by shouting wolf every time they think someone might be listening.

    it just makes their message boring and lacking credibility, which is great should they ever actually have something important to say.

    btw, the “NZ Sucks Campaign” is excellent framing and sums National’s position nicely.

  10. infused 10

    the sprout: I could swear that was thestandard to be honest. Only no one listens.

  11. Ruth 11

    Higher standard if they do love this country they have a funny way of showing it.They bash it at every oppportunity.

    With the John Key hate sites like this one most of the time, and the Helen Clark hate sites, it is easy to get tarred by the negativity if you stand too close. I’ve cut down on the political blogs I read because of it.

    You should blog, you say interesting things.

  12. When I talked to Davey about this issue face to face, he attributed this supposed “mass exodus’ to the centralization of capital resulting from economies of scale (melbourne, sydney) and free movement of capital (globalisation). Essentially his theory was that the labour was just following the capital, and it had little to do with the tax regimes, or the respective policies of the NZ and Aus governments (corporate tax in NZ compares fairly well to Aus).

    New Zealanders don’t fare too badly when it comes to personal income tax either.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Income_Taxes_By_Country.svg

    So not only is fiddling the figures to create the impression of a “mass exodus”, but he doesn’t really actually believe that this fake problem is government’s fault. Sometimes he really can be a very confusing man. I wonder if he confuses himself sometimes.

  13. oh and on the subject of confusion – I recently copped a one-week ban for being mischievous on kiwiblog. Only that was three weeks, and I’m unable to log in under my usual name. I even tried logging in under a different pseudonym, asking davey if I could contribute under my usual one. But each time I do this, I’m screened, and am no longer to log in under even the new pseudonym. I think davey’s had enough of my impudent questioning of his misleading spin!

  14. John 14

    Why oh why do the Nats think New Zealand is such a hole? It is hard to understand the National Party NZ Sucks Campaign, when New Zealand is a dream destination for many people in the US, UK, and Europe(especially true for those who have already visited at least once). The world loves us and John Key and David Farrar hate us. Go figure.

    If the grass is so green in Australia, why is David Farrar still here? Is he so bad at what he does that he can’t get a job in his dream country?

  15. higherstandard 15

    John

    I don’t think there is any evidence to suggest that The National Party, John Key or David Farrar hate NZ on the contrary their desire to make a difference, debate issues and in Key and the Nats case run for public office demonstrates just the opposite.

  16. I wonder what sort of person raises his conspiracy theory here about me secretly banning him, rather than e-mail me directly again.

    The Roger Nome user alias got restored two weeks ago (and I think I emailed you to say this) and as I said you just need to reset the password. Everyone else suspended has managed this pretty easily. If people have a problem doing it themselves I can set a password for them.

    I disabled your new alias because RodHide could be seen to impersonate Rodney Hide. I stated this twice on the blog before I did so.

    And returning to The Standard’s rather desperate reliance on PLT net migration, it is confusing two semi-separate issues.

    The level of inwards migration is effectively set by the Government. Yes there are factors such as NZers returning home (and that has also been dropping) but the Govt can and does adjust the requirements for migration with the points system, language requirements etc etc.

    If the Govt wanted to, it could have 150,000 or even 200,000 migrants a year coming here. As a non third world country there is almost no limit to how many people would move here if they could.

    So while the net migration figure is of some importance (if one does not have positive net migration then the population probably shrinks) it doesn’t mean the outwards migration figure is not also important, and of concern that it has been so dramatically increasing. You can deny there is a problem by arguing net migration, but frankly you look like people in denial.

    As an example there is a big difference between say losing 40,000 people a year, and having 44,000 people migrate here and between losing say 200,000 people a year and having 204,000 people a year move here. There are also economic costs to losing people who have embedded in the local economy as oppossed to having new workers from overseas. That is not an argument against immigration – I am a fan of it, but that simply replacing someone in NZ, with someone else is not the same as retaining them in the first place. A bit like an employer would rather keep staff longer than have 30% staff turnover annually.

    So while net PLT migration is a useful indicator for some things, it is one which can change dramatically by govt policy as there is near infinite demand from people to live here. And even if policy does not change, it is better to retain people than replace them.

    Now having said that I would not discourage people leaving to do their OE, but you want most of them to come back. And the stats again show that the number of NZers returning is actually dropping, despite the numbers leaving going up. That is a concern.

    So I think I am on much stronger ground in saying there is a problem, than the attempt to use the above graph to say “Hey it is all fine here”. You are out of touch with NZers if you think there is not widespread concern over how many people are leaving – the social dislocation for families is a big factor. People are talking about this *all* the time.

    As Roger Nome points out it is not my view that govt policy is the biggest factor involved. The view I expressed to him is that people tend to migrate from city to bigger city, not country to country, and this shows in internal and external migration. But this is not to say govt policy can not influence that overall trend, and also can not help persuade people to come back from overseas. I believe govt policy definitely can affect the rate.

    A bit like how water vapour affects global temperatures far more than carbon emissions, but that isn’t to say we shouldn’t have god policy on carbon emission!

  17. randal 17

    as has been shown by reputable economists it is impossible to encourage mass immigration here because for one reason the cost of paying for infrastructure to accomodate them would not be paid for over the working life of the persons unless new zealanders would put up with third world slums and therefore population increase must be achieved incrementally. for another reason where are the jobs that the pro business lobby would provide? there is no reason for most industry now so promoting more is like chasing chimeras which seems to be the nats favourite pastime besides whipping up emotions and confusing people with dubiuos arguments.

  18. Noddy (used to be Dr.No) 18

    David’s “curiously obsessive posts on numerical detail” still don’t quite match up to your curiously obsessive posts on David himself…

  19. John 19

    Hey Higher

    I take it your job in the National Party campaign is to raise questions about other people’s posts without providing evidence of your own. I like it. Good technique. Did they teach you that in Slippery John’s Office?

    Tell me, what statements do you have from John Key and David Farrar that are positive about New Zealand? Seems to me they only like to point out the negatives. Sometimes I wonder if the Aussies are paying them to advertise on behalf of Australian employers.

    Most people seem to be pretty happy living here – evidence 99.33% didn’t leave last year and more arrived from overseas than left.

    So, tell us with references and in their own words what do John Key and David Farrar love about New Zealand?

  20. higherstandard 20

    John

    No actually I’m a healthcare professional on the Nth Shore of Auckland.

    If you want to see positive comments from Farrar and Key I’d have a look at their respective histories, websites and press releases.

    I think you make the common mistake of mistaking politics and campaign speak with one’s love of their own country. While I frequently disagree with politicians on all side of the political spectrum I respect that they are all to some extent driven by making a positive difference to NZ despite being misguided at times.

    Your comment regarding most people being pretty happy living here is correct of course most people love living in NZ that should preclude them saying that wages are higher in Australia and that a proportion of the population are hurting with rising cost of living and mortgage rates.

    Perhaps rather than me finding soundbites about what Farrar and Key love about NZ you could email them directly I got ward rounds to do.

    Have a good day.

  21. randal 21

    dont let your political fulminations get in the way of providing a competent medical service service free of outside distractions…i.e. keep your mind on your job..and I see when david farrar takes a hit he runs off and starts whingeing on trade me opinions…what a flea!

  22. DPF:

    “The Roger Nome user alias got restored two weeks ago (and I think I emailed you to say this) and as I said you just need to reset the password. Everyone else suspended has managed this pretty easily.”

    As you know, I’ve already done that several times Mr Farrar. Each time I’ve done it “your comment is awaiting moderation” has appeared on my first posting – then it has disappeared. Following that, I’m unable to log in under that password. Now I’m unable to even log in under “Roger Nome” with a new password (Also – you never did email me about this).

    Apparently a similar fate has befallen young James Sleep at Kiwiblog. At “newzblog” – he posted saying that he had talked to a “young nat” who had claimed to be your employee. The young nat, then (as young people do) purportedly mouthed off, saying that you run your business out of National Party headquarters. Sleep then insists that he took this information to you, and since hasn’t been able to post on kiwiblog.

    http://newzblog.wordpress.com/2008/02/08/david-farrar-puts-silence-on-potential-unmasker/

    http://newzblog.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/truth-will-out/

    Now in my opinion you have every right to ban people from your blog. It is however sad for you, and the National Party that you have trouble being honest about it.

  23. The standard has also posted about the issue here ….

    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=1061

  24. James has posted several times on my blog since then. But you know RN that defaming me on this blog is not the best way to put me in a good mood to spend some time helping you out.

    But regardless e-mail me what password you want and I will set it for you. If your first post is held (like everyone else’s) it will be cleared in time.

    Oh and if someone can translate what Randal is complaining about for me, that would be useful. I actually take the time to post a detailed reply here (which no one has responded too substantively) and he suggests I have run off. And what trade me has to do with anything I don’t know. The mug owner (someone who is very much of the left) emailed me and asked if I would promote his auction, and I did.

  25. Why hello DPF – any chance you’ll let me back on your blog anytime soon? I mean even after all these months your little coterie of freaks seem to be taking my name in vain on close to a daily basis and well, it just doesn’t seem fair to deny me right of reply now does it?

  26. Benodic 26

    David- while it would matter if 200,000 people were leaving a year to be replaced by 204,000 immigrants that’s not what’s happening.

    Only .67% of New Zealanders left last year and they were replaced, with no discernable economic impact and by people who were, overall, more skilled.

    There is no mass ‘exodus’ and New Zealand is not emptying out. You’re just scaremongering.

  27. DPF:

    “But you know RN that defaming me on this blog is not the best way to put me in a good mood to spend some time helping you out.”

    Defaming you? Do you know that it can be considered an act of defamation to insist that someone has been defaming you when they haven’t?

    “But regardless e-mail me what password you want and I will set it for you.”

    Well I’m a bit miffed as to why I can’t do this myself now. i.e. only a few days ago I was able to, but the last several times I’ve tried have been unsuccessful. I will however take you up on that. I look forward to rejoining the discordant chorus that is kiwiblog.

  28. Hi Sod-

    Hey, one little piece of advise, should you be allowed the distinguished privilege of posting on kiwi blog again – don’t bring up Curia Market Research. I reckon we’re closer to the truth on this than is comfortable for our beloved Davey.

  29. Do you mean I shouldn’t mention the fact he runs it out of National party HQ and it does mostly National party work (oh, and work for it’s third-party allies)? Or do you mean I shouldn’t discuss the possibility that this work is effectively a kickback for his blogging work?

  30. Yeah, all that stuff Sod. It really must be giving him a bit of stress. I reckon lots of people who read DPF’s blog visit blogs that point these things out anyhow.

  31. Sod – Actually I sometimes wonder if it’s worth hitting up a PI for the job? To clear it up once and for all. I wonder if Wayne Idour is still in business? i.e. every serious candidate in the 2008 primaries is in the authoritarian-right quadrant of the political compass.

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/usprimaries2008

  32. ..Can a moderator please delete that last post?

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