web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

NRT: Treasury, National, and child poverty

Written By: - Date published: 2:18 pm, February 28th, 2014 - 10 comments
Categories: Economy, national, poverty, same old national, treasury, welfare - Tags:

no-right-turn-256The original of this post is here at No Right Turn

Today’s Treasury fuckup: they underestimated the number of children living in poverty by 20,000:

A breakdown in communication between Statistics New Zealand and Treasury saw the number of children living in poverty underestimated by tens of thousands.

It also led to the gap between rich and poor being slightly underestimated.

Treasury admitted substantial errors were made in its calculations of disposable income levels in Kiwi families for recent years, but says the results had no effect on the “real world”.

“[T]here are no ‘real world’ impacts on New Zealanders from the miscalculations,” Treasury chief economist Girol Karacaoglu said in a statement.

Treasury has one job: adding stuff up. And its clear that they can’t do it properly. They can’t accurately forecast GDP (they systematically underestimate under it left-wing governments, and systematically overestimate under right-wing ones – almost as if they had an underlying assumption that the economic sky will fall in under the “wrong” government), and now it turns out that they can’t even track income distribution properly. And we’re paying them $78 million a year to do this. For that sort of money, accuracy is the least we can expect.

As for the idea that this had no impact at all, think about that for a minute. Sensible governments pay attention to the empirical evidence and use it to shape their policies and judge their performance. The only way such a massive error could have no impact is if National isn’t doing that on child poverty – that is, if it doesn’t care about it at all. We already knew that, but its useful to have it confirmed by another source.

In many ways what is even more irritating about this screwup is that it isn’t likely to be the children living below the poverty line that has an impact. It is the large numbers of elderly that Treasury has now discovered getting worse off and falling into poverty.  After all they have a vote. Whereas children don’t so the future accumulated costs of their poverty aren’t something that this government will concern itself about.

10 comments on “NRT: Treasury, National, and child poverty”

  1. Tracey 1

    the government doesnt believe poverty can or should be measured so treasury’s error is of no matter.

  2. The Real Matthew 2

    As long as Poverty is measured as an arbitrary percentage of the median wage the statistic is meaningless.

    If John Key left to live in Monaco tomorrow he’d be in poverty over there according to the left wing poverty ideology!

    • karol 2.1

      Measuring child poverty is complex and can differ from one country to another. However, the general rule of thumb stat (income udner 60% of the meidan household income), does show some differences in a given population over time. It does also provide a guide as to the extent of households expericning hardship. There’s some background in this stats NZ paper.

      Within that, more in depth reports, as this one from the Child Poverty report in NZ, differntiates between those children living in hardship, and those experiencing persistent poverty. These show the extent of negative impacts of poverty on the lives of children.

      • The Real Matthew 2.1.1

        You are quite correct Karol to say that measuring poverty is complex which is why taking an arbitrary 60% of median household income doesn’t work. It’s an inequality measure, not a poverty measure. As I suggested in my opening salvo, by that rationale a millionaire in Monaco would be in poverty which I think we can all reason is absurd.

        I believe a superior measure would be a Basket of Goods style measure taking into the account of the essentials.

        It would also be difficult as the same Basket of Goods can cost differing amounts across the same city let alone the same country but such a measure would be superior to an arbitrary percentage measure.

    • Tracey 2.2

      Rubbish.

      The right, while crowing about a rockstar economy, think if you are not scavanging on top of a dump for food, you should shut up and thank your betters.

  3. aerobubble 3

    Labour new chief of staff is a unionist. Workers wages hasn’t been keeping up, forcing families to borrow from loan sharks, etc. So is it any wonder that the sheer hate Key levels at the hiring of a unionist has been accumulating. Of course companies, who aren’t going to enter into good faith agreements with their workers, want to pariah the unionists. Unionists are no different than politicians, or councilors, or any other collective board representative. But Key hates the idea of them.

    And why? Well its simple, a welfare baby himself he unconsciously thinks welfare kept his daddy away from him. This would explain his weird rush down the parliament steps pulling his hair out scream that welfare is evil it took his daddy away, allegedly.

    We have poverty because we’ve had three decades of bad faith agreements by companies towards their employees.

  4. Stephanie Rodgers 4

    There’s something very grim about the statement “[T]here are no ‘real world’ impacts on New Zealanders from the miscalculations”.

    It’s grim because what Karacaoglu presumably means is “the people who we forgot to count as living in poverty were already living in poverty”. Their lives have already been “impacted” by poverty, so from Treasury’s point of view it doesn’t matter if it forgets them or not.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      Precisely Steph. It is also like saying that climate change was not made worse by the mistake. The statement is a cheap shot diversion.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Progressive Rainbow rights? Yeah, nah….
    Legally, New Zealand is perhaps one of the more progressive countries when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights even though we have further to go on the last two. However, the latest Westpac’s Rainbow Acceptance… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 hours ago
  • National’s back to the future on housing sell-off
    National’s newly announced state housing policy is simply a re-run of its failed ideologically-driven 1990s experiment, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “News articles from the mid-1990s uncovered by Labour shows this is just more of the same. ...
    8 hours ago
  • National’s back to the future on housing sell-off
    National’s newly announced state housing policy is simply a re-run of its failed ideologically-driven 1990s experiment, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “News articles from the mid-1990s uncovered by Labour shows this is just more of the same. ...
    8 hours ago
  • National’s back to the future on housing sell-off
    National’s newly announced state housing policy is simply a re-run of its failed ideologically-driven 1990s experiment, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “News articles from the mid-1990s uncovered by Labour shows this is just more of the same. ...
    8 hours ago
  • Waihopai – years on, still the same
    On 24 January, I attended the Waihopai Base protest in my electorate.  It was attended by a great range of people who are all concerned about the direction our country is heading in.  Thank you to all of those who… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 day ago
  • Greens call for ring-fencing of state home proceeds
    The Government must ring-fence the proceeds of any state home sales and spend every dollar raised on more Government-built homes in order to address the housing crisis, the Green Party says.Prime Minister John Key has indicated that his first major… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 days ago
  • English breaks his $6000 wages promise
    Just one month into the new year Bill English has already rowed back on his election promise of real wage rises for New Zealanders, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “During the election campaign National promised Kiwis that the average… ...
    1 week ago
  • National fails to produce evidence justifying attack on RMA
    The National Government is misusing evidence provided in the Motu report on planning rules to justify gutting the environmental protections secured by the Resource Management Act (RMA), says the Green Party today. The Motu group's research into the impacts of… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    1 week ago
  • National fails to produce evidence justifying attack on RMA
    The National Government is misusing evidence provided in the Motu report on planning rules to justify gutting the environmental protections secured by the Resource Management Act (RMA), says the Green Party today. The Motu group's research into the impacts of… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    1 week ago
  • RMA changes won’t knock a dollar off the cost of a new home
    The Government’s proposed changes to the RMA won’t increase the number of affordable homes or knock a dollar off the cost of building a new house, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “Tinkering with the RMA will not solve National’s housing… ...
    1 week ago
  • What is the real ‘price of the club’?
    What price is too high to join a club?  According to the current the New Zealand Prime Minister, the lives of young Kiwi men and women are a part of the package. In his latest BBC interview, John Key fails… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • Palestine – NZ talks loudly in New York, does little at home
    Even though New Zealand has been gently slumbering over the last few weeks, world affairs have been progressing at its usual break-neck speed. There have been a number of significant steps since we all disbanded from the last parliamentary year.… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • DOC debacle means hundreds may have missed out on fishing licences
    Hundreds of families and recreational fishers may have had their holidays spoiled by missing out on their fishing licences, with Conservation Minister Maggie Barry preferring instead to focus on more high profile portfolio priorities over the summer break, Labour’s Conservation… ...
    1 week ago
  • Effective action needed against pirate fishing boats
    New Zealand’s failure to detain pirate shipping vessels poaching endangered species in our region is simply not good enough, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “We send New Zealand naval vessels to the Arabian Gulf to board pirate ships there… ...
    1 week ago
  • Housing affordability crisis gets worse under National
    News that Auckland’s housing is now among the 10 most unaffordable in the world confirms the Government’s housing policy has failed, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After six years in power, National’s housing policies have not fixed the housing… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere