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The Standard

Politicheck New Zealand factcheck website

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, February 22nd, 2014 - 69 comments
Categories: blogs, internet - Tags:

Politicheck, a local version of fact check websites such as the US sites Factcheck and Politifact, and the Australian website Politifact Australia was launched this week.  The front page says the following:

Politicheck.org.nz’s goal is to analyse all statements made during the election by all parties and say whether or not based on evidence available they are telling the truth. The website looks to operate on a similar level to the US political fact checking website – Politifact.com – although we have no affiliation with that website.

It is in the interest of all New Zealanders that we hold our politicians accountable for what they say or print, as they are the voice of this nation chosen to represent us. All fact checking will be shown through a transparent process, open to the public, ready for scrutiny. There is currently no unbiased source of fact checking of New Zealand politics for the public with this sort of transparency. No newspaper, website or news network is entirely impartial. Also there is no one reference point to see how truthful politicians have been during the election.

This is a totally not-for-profit venture aimed at making sure that all politicians and their policies are kept in check as current New Zealand media reports political statements with little to no objective analysis of what they have said, or are not as accessible as the main news networks. Hopefully through providing information rather than emotion and soundbites – we can change the conversation around politics from a popularity contest to actual policy, facts and data applicable to all New Zealanders.

If you would like to help out – please check the volunteer section for more details.

The release of the website is to try and stimulate interest and to seek out volunteers.  It looks like they intend to get to work once a team has been assembled.

The person behind the website is Rory McCarthy who has set out information about himself including the fact that he is a Green Party member.  There is a need for this type of website and it will be interesting to see how this particular effort develops.

69 comments on “Politicheck New Zealand factcheck website”

  1. karol 1

    Excellent.

    I see they have yet to assemble the team of fact checking contributors. What kind of skills/experience would it require?

    • mickysavage 1.1

      I am sure a diversity of skills would be appreciated and someone with the time to and ability to assemble and analyse information.

      Key deserves a fact check website of his own.

      BLiP?

      • srylands 1.1.1

        It is an excellent idea. It does not need a diversity of skills.

      • phillip ure 1.1.2

        blip should be on the governing body..(included in the logo..?..)

        ..his/her local expertise/efficiency in this area ..is unmatched..to my eye..

        ..and this is a great idea..

        ..instead of smashing my forehead into blunt objects as politicians’ serial-lying passes always unchallenged..by the bought/paid-for corporate-media trouts..

        ..i can now flick those common-occurances onto this august body..

        ..very good..

        ..for nz politics..my forehead..my furniture/walls..

        ..(and i am sure i will be linking to them..a lot..)

        phillip ure..

      • Disraeli Gladstone 1.1.3

        Winston Peters would require his own ‘wiki’.

      • karol 1.1.4

        The site outlines the process, and indicates some elements of the kind of expertise looked for, which includes:

        They first argue against the issue. They then argue for the issue. If they cannot find evidence they must list the process they went through in order to find evidence.

        Depending on the political affiliation of the party/politician affected, an impartial researcher or someone from the same side of the political spectrum verifies their findings – and states whether they agree or disagree

        It also mentions the kind of expertise looked for in volunteers:

        At the moment we are are interested in volunteers with a media, research, or politics background (preferably over three years in a relevant field but all candidates will be considered) with free time and a passion for getting to the truth in politics.

        They/he is also looking for an editor.

        • veutoviper 1.1.4.1

          Here is Politicheck’s Twitter feed – https://twitter.com/PoliticheckNZ

          The latest tweet calls for bloggers who want to have a connection to their website to contact media@politicheck.org.nz

          I read about Politicheck (NZ) on Andrea Vance’s Twitter account a few days ago. The related conversation between Vance and others (including Rory) indicated that Politicheck is at a very early stage, and according to one person in the conversation “a project by a uni student”. Rory’s bio on the Politicheck website appears to confirm this to a degree.

          So, while I find the concept and aim very exciting etc, I am a little cautious at this stage that it will be up and running to a sufficient degree etc to make a real impact in this election year. Not being negative, and considering contacting them myself. .

          • Stephanie Rodgers 1.1.4.1.1

            One possible issue I can see is timeliness – it’s going to be difficult for a volunteer team to balance the need to be rigorous with the media’s short attention span. If a politican tells a porky it needs to be exposed within 24 hours or people have moved on (unless it’s a massive issue. Or about someone’s private sex life.)

            • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.4.1.1.1

              I don’t think there’s any sense in losing sleep over that.

              “A lie runs round the world while the truth is still getting its boots on”.

              The effects of ongoing fact checking will be cumulative, and politicians have a tendency to recycle their lies.

      • David H 1.1.5

        Jeeze Mickey, at least let them get a first breath before hitting them with the heavy artillery. That is a BLiP list.

    • Pasupial 1.2

      Karol

      From “Volunteer” page:

      “At the moment we are are interested in volunteers with a media, research, or politics background (preferably over three years in a relevant field but all candidates will be considered) with free time and a passion for getting to the truth in politics.”

      The experience requirement counts me out for now (and lack of free time too). Given the meticulous research of your posts, I imagine that you have just the right kind of background for this initial phase. I’ll probably hold off till Politicheck start asking for proofreaders (tedious work, but easier to fit into a toddler focused day).

      Though if you do go ahead with this, please leave yourself sufficient time to continue crafting your excellent contributions to TS!

      [edit: see you beat me to it]

      • karol 1.2.1

        Oh. Thanks, Pasupial. I wasn’t thinking about myself as a fact checker, so much as wondering how good the fact checking would be – ie via the credentials of the fact checkers.

        The time commitment is a biggie. I do like researching, but there’s more to fact checking than that – need to be able to analyse, weigh up at least two possible points of view on it, etc.

  2. tricledrown 2

    A start would be Bill Englishs claim that under National child poverty has got better.
    Fact is that 60,000 more children live in poverty since 2008.
    In 2008 170,000 children lived in poverty.
    2014 the number of children living in poverty exceeded 250,000 a massive increase.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      There have been many children born since 2008.

      What’s (most) important and comparable is the rate of childhood poverty, not the absolute number.

      • Puddleglum 2.1.1

        Hi Lanthanide,

        I think that’s debatable.

        Is it better to have 1 million children in poverty out of a population of 5 million children (rate of 1 in 5) than to have 250,000 children in poverty out of a population of 1 million children (rate of 1 in 4)?

        As well as the quantitative utilitarian calculation of the absolute amount of suffering (which is obviously greater in the first case), there’s also the potential for ’emergent’ effects as absolute numbers increase, irrespective of rates (i.e., critical mass and concentration effects for all sorts of negative outcomes). Given human sociality, it’s likely that negative effects are not just additive with each individual affected.

        • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1

          Yes, but we’re not talking about 5 million or 1 million children. We’re talking about a slow, but steady, population growth. So the rate of childhood poverty and whether it has increased over those years or not is more relevant than the total number of children now in poverty.

          It seems very likely that the rate of poverty will have gone up, just eyeballing the raw numbers alone, but it is worth knowing if that is the case, and also how much the rate increased.

          • Puddleglum 2.1.1.1.1

            I agree that rates are useful for comparison but it’s important to be clear about what’s being compared and just what the comparison means in relation to social problems.

            I was trying to highlight that changes in absolute numbers (irrespective of the rate) are potentially just as concerning, in their own right, as relative rates of poverty (at times T1 and T2).

            Even if any increase in absolute numbers represented a reduction in the rate, that is not necessarily what we should take as a ‘good sign’ in relation to poverty in New Zealand. Surely, the aim is to reduce the absolute number of people in poverty, not just reduce the rate at which individuals find themselves in poverty?

            It’s a bit like saying that reductions in the rate of carbon emissions from each vehicle is all we need to focus on in relation to climate change when, in fact, the real concern should be the absolute amount of carbon being emitted as the ‘population’ of vehicles increases.

            Comparison of rates, that is, could give us a misplaced sense of satisfaction over how we are dealing with poverty (or climate change). If more and more people are poor in New Zealand that should be sufficient cause for concern (if more and more carbon is being emitted into the atmosphere, that should be sufficient cause for concern).

            Of course, a reduction in rates is better than the same rate or increased rates when the population is increasing. But it could be argued that that is only because it represents a smaller increase in the absolute number of people experiencing the problem, and not that it represents a reversal of the problem to the point that it is becoming less of a problem. (Which, in fact, goes to support the view that our concern is actually with absolute numbers, not rates.)

            A focus on rates could lead to people claiming – incorrectly – that ‘child poverty’ (or, simply, ‘poverty’) is reducing, when it isn’t; it continues to increase (i.e., more children are living in circumstances defined as poverty). It would be equivalent to claiming that carbon emissions are reducing when, in my example, they continue to increase in absolute terms.

            The importance of this point, btw, is not just technical or definitional. It concerns how we might go about dealing with poverty (or ‘climate change’) in policy terms.

            A universal benefit – superannuation – pretty much eliminated elderly poverty. Other approaches could have reduced the rate of poverty in that group but, with boomers retiring, still seen the actual number of elderly people in poverty increasing.

            If poverty is ‘wrong’ or ‘unacceptable’ then the aim is for fewer and fewer individual people in society to be experiencing it, in absolute terms. Policy must aim to achieve that, not just reduce its rate (especially given an increasing population, steady or otherwise).

            It would be possible to use measures of rates to achieve the same end, I suppose, but unnecessarily complicated. That is, you could say that the aim is to get the rate of poverty decreasing at a rate greater than the rate of increase in the population (So, if population increases by 2% you’d want the rate of poverty to decrease by at least 3%, to round up). But, then, why use rates at all? Why not just talk absolute numbers?

            ‘Rates’ are just the statistical expression of the notion of ‘efficiency’. Concerns with efficiency are fine for many of our pursuits. They shouldn’t be the focus for things like poverty.

            Should the aim have been to abolish slavery or just reduce its rate (incidence) even as numbers of slaves increased (i.e., they were being used more ‘efficiently’ per unit of economic activity)?

          • greywarbler 2.1.1.1.2

            Are you thinking Lanthanide that there is an acceptable level of poverty, a sort of base cyclical rather than a structural one, and that there should be an economic equation on which to judge where increases result in active concern? When thre would be a marginal increase in child poverty which indicated a situation that went beyond normal to requiring some study by a committee of experts?

            • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Actually I was thinking two things:

              1. There will likely always be a base level of child poverty. Of course we should take all practicable steps to reduce it as much as possible, but eventually there’ll be a tiny little core of children, whom in order to get them out of poverty, will need to become wards of the state (or something like that), which becomes expensive, as well as fraught with moral questions, and ultimately will result in some children being mistreated under that system as well. Fundamentally, humans aren’t perfect and in any system, people will fall through the cracks.
              2. Watching the rate reduces the effect of the ‘noise’ of births on the signal of poverty. If we know the rate of poverty is decreasing, we can look at the policies and procedures in place and judge that they are working, and look what to do to make them more effective or work better. Conversely, if the rate is rising, we can look at the policies and procedures and judge they are not working, and try and do something different.

              I do have to admit that Puddleglum above makes a very compelling argument, though, in that a falling rate can easily be used as justification for not trying to improve the system further, which ultimately doesn’t help those who need it.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.2

          This problem is twofold. Developed countries don’t have “poverty” as it pertains to the developing world.

          So the biggest problem we face is our increasing inequality, which is the main driver of social ills in developed countries (apart from the Greenhouse Effect).

          However, we have also started to exhibit a small but increasing amount of developing world problems.

          The short terms solution is to raise taxes on the wealthy to help them pay for the damage done by their support for the National Party. The long term solution is to use our resources to lift everyone, rather than just those at the top.

      • Psycho Milt 2.1.2

        What’s (most) important and comparable is the rate of childhood poverty, not the absolute number.

        Strikes me this is exactly where a fact-checking site would come in. Is one side saying child poverty has decreased because the rate has, while the other side is saying it’s increased because the raw number has? Both positions are defensible, so if you know the basis for those positions you’re less likely to bandy words like “liar” about and blog comments threads may become slightly less ridiculous.

      • David H 2.1.3

        And how it’s measured? Is it income, or chattles +income, or one parent or two? Someone has to work out how to measure child poverty properly, because Pullya and Shonky have no idea or inclination to have these number reported correctly.

  3. ianmac 3

    Sounds great to me. The care with which Karol and others stick to the facts would make the writers on the The Standard ideally suited.
    Wonder how Whaleoil would fit as truth finder?

  4. Skinny 4

    This will cause a dilemma for the spin merchants of the National party who have got away with unfettered dibble for the last 6 years. Jolly good stuff young man, go get em!  

  5. Bearded Git 5

    Great idea-all Standardistas should share on Facebook and Twitter accounts today.

    We need this up and running well before the election.

    • David H 5.1

      @ B Git And for those of us that think that Farcebook and Twatter are a waste of time? And so don’t use them.

  6. Hi Everyone,

    First of all thanks for the exposure. I wanted to clarify a few points. While I am currently a Media Design School student – I am 30 years old, I have worked in the IT industry for six years, studied politics/law and psychology at an undergraduate level, and now my long term goal of game development for pro-social games.

    The reason things are not pushing forward immediately (and the reason for the soft launch) is that we need to err on the side of caution with who we recruit. I have researchers so far from all sides of the politics spectrum volunteering. My goal is to have a large team who won’t have to dedicate much time each per week to making this happen. I also have an advisory team who is assisting me in this process consisting of university professors, bloggers from both left and right wing websites (avoiding those at the very fringes as there will be no way to please them), and some within the business world to assist with marketing, website development, and legal issues.

    As the main aim is to be impartial I would rather delay the hard launch of the website until I feel that I have a team who I can rely on to perform their duties, and hold truth as the most important value over any political preference (as I do).

    While we will strive for near 100% accuracy, to say that we will achieve that would be naive, which is why our processes will be open to the public. This is meant as a shared resource for all New Zealanders to try and restore some of the faith and goodwill we have in our politicians – as long as they tell the truth.

    I will hopefully have some very substantial announcements in regards to staff in the next few weeks. With final candidates being selected for the role of Editor just recently. Once I have my Editor I can begin pushing forward with getting our first batch of articles.

    So thanks for the feedback and support, know that sure while I may be “just a student”, I do have a wealth of experience, study and research behind setting this venture up.

    Regards,

    Rory

    • ianmac 6.1

      Good on ‘yer Rory.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 6.2

      Excellent idea and excellent work, Rory McCarthy – & a big thank you! 😀

    • veutoviper 6.3

      Thanks for that clarification and update, Rory.

      My comment at 1.1.4.1. was not meant to question your credentials etc, but merely passing on what I had read on Twitter. I am sure you know who the person is who made the comment I quoted.

      As I said, I was not being negative at all just cautious. There is a real need for this fact checking and I am impressed at the wide range of people getting involved to ensure impartiality, and the approach you are following in setting up Politicheck.

      And I am now thinking even more about volunteering!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.4

      Despite my cynicism (see below) I think this is a good idea. It’s past time we had some evidence-based policy around here.

    • weka 6.5

      Thanks for posting Rory and all the best with the project. Looks like a game changer if you get it right, so appreciate your explanations about timing and process.

    • jolly good..

      ..and in the interests of ongoing-transparency/consumer-confidence..

      ..could you please tell us the names of these ..’non-fringe’/easier ‘to please’ left/right bloggers..?

      .. who are deciding the form/function of this beast..?

      ..i am sure many of us would like those details..

      ..(and to be frank..that you even use those terms/pre-judgements/assumptions on yr part..

      ..does set a little/wee ‘acceptable-gatekeepers’ alarm-bell going off for me..eh..?..i do hope that is not the case..and imagine if you had included the biggest fact-bender of all..farrar..in yr ‘easier to please’ bloggers..eh..?..that would be a serious eye-opener/possible-glitch just there….eh..?..)

      ..and while you are at it..

      ..in this spirit of disclosure..cd u also tell us who these ‘professors’/’business-world’ bloggers are..

      ..i am sure we would also like to know that..

      ..y’know..!..start as you intend to carry on..eh..?

      ..and i do think this/such transparency is crucial..

      ..don’t you..?

      ..thank you..

      ..phillip ure..

      • phillip ure 6.6.1

        and rory..y’know how the green political-spectrum is a big one..

        ..from left-socialist to right-libertarian….

        ..could you tell us where you sit on that band..?

        ..and if ..say..farrar/hooten are part of yr ‘trusted-advisers’..?

        ..’cos..y’know..!..if it walks like a rightwing attack-machine being set up to attack a/the new government/coalition..

        ..and talks like one..

        ..it probably is one..eh..?

        ..and if farrar is working with you/’trusted’ by you..(!)

        ..do ask him about tania heke..eh..?

        ..the beers..the pizza..

        ..he will know ‘who’ that is..eh..?

        ..and i am sure will have his explanations for you..

        ..eh..?

        ..phillip ure..

    • flip 6.7

      @Rory

      Great idea. Love to see something done as it will contribute to a more informed participatory democracy (something I go on a bit about) and will be intriguing to see how well your processes work. It looks like it’ll take a chunk of money. Shame the media seem to have abdicated their responsibility in this area given the resources they have.

      Normally facts are true up to a point or from a particular angle or in a particular world view. Just not always the complete truth. It is very much how you say things as well.

      Be interesting to see what you go after first, how you address balance and how long from publication to verification it will take. (Time for the process)

      Presumably you will not only publish falsehoods but also those that on checking turn out to be ‘true’.

  7. Sanctuary 7

    Rory is a dirty Greenie??? He kept that under his hat. Anyway, he is a great guy and his efforts here are both sincere and badly needed. Good luck to him!

  8. greywarbler 8

    It would be our ‘Novonzpedia’!

    I give the translation of ‘novo’ from urban dictionary, below. (Using their explanation of ‘novo’ it becomes ironic, a comment on the politicians and hangers-on whose verbiage we would examine.) And the more unsure they became of the site, the more they would ridicule it and its name, and the more attention they would draw to it.

    (Think on the French – Le Canard enchaîné (French pronunciation: ​[lə kanaʁ‿ɑ̃ʃɛˈne]; English: The Chained Duck or The Chained Paper) is a satirical newspaper published weekly in France. Founded in 1915, it features investigative journalism and leaks from sources inside the French government, the French political world and the French business world, as well as many jokes and humorous cartoons. -Wikipedia-)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Canard_enchaîné

    Novo
    A word used to describe the actions, attitudes, beliefs, and dispositions (among other things) of a lazy, apathetic, and above all worthless individual.

    Due to its unusual etymology (which will not be introduced in the interest of brevity), the word can assume a polysemous form — that is, it can mean everything, yet simultaneously mean nothing. In addition, it is extremely versatile in terms of its usability
    (i.e., it can take the form of a noun, verb, adjective, etc.).
    Phrase: “You Novo’d it!”
    Translation: “You half-assed it!”

    Phrase: “This is Novo.”
    Translation: “This is boring/stupid/worthless/…”

    • David H 8.1

      “Novo
      A word used to describe the actions, attitudes, beliefs, and dispositions (among other things) of a lazy, apathetic, and above all worthless individual.”

      So in other words Novo’s, would be the whole of the National Party.

      • greywarbler 8.1.1

        David H
        I thought that it was such an interesting word with so many meanings and inferences. It has direct meanings relating to new – and it has ironic, sarcastic meanings in the urban dictionary usage.

        The free dictionary has the meaning of de novo – from the beginning, anew.
        The Latin Word List – The Latin Word Novo has many meanings, mainly: to make anew, refresh, revive, change, alter, invent.

        It could mean looking anew at old actions, attitudes etc from the National Party. And could extend to the old Labour Party.

        So I suggest it for a name myself. It’s not just what it seems, and going beyond simple is what’s needed to winkle out the truth from pollies doings.

  9. Lanthanide 9

    Excellent. I heard a radio interview on This Way Up last year about Politifact in Australia, and they were saying they were considering moving into NZ with this being election year.

    About time.

  10. One Anonymous Bloke 10

    Reality’s liberal bias will see the site labelled as “Left-wing” before you can say boo!

  11. aj 11

    As I expect many statements considered will contain shades of grey, perhaps a ranking from 1-10 could be considered. 1 a total lie, 10 a complete truth.
    Individual politicians and parties could then be given average scores over time, which will be a useful measure.

    • Lanthanide 11.1

      Politifact already do this, so presumably this new site would also follow that system.

      Off the top of my head, politifact have such conclusions as “mostly true”, or “true with few exceptions” and “pants on fire lie”, as well as just straight ‘true’ and ‘false’.

  12. One Anonymous Bloke 12

    A humble suggestion: that the ambit is extended to include government departments and other institutions (looking at you, Treasury, ACC, Dr. Bratt) that act like political parties.

  13. Clemgeopin 13

    Some issues, policies and statements to examine:

    [1] State asset sales are good for the country.
    [2] Huka lodge is being sold to the Chinese.
    [3] Charter schools are good for the country.
    [4] The Greens Solar power scheme does not stack up.
    [5] National favours the wealthy.
    [6] Labour-Green’s joint power policy will not reduce power bills to the consumer.
    [7] Political polls are a good indication of the actual election result.
    [8]……
    [9]……
    [10]…..

  14. xtasy 14

    This is an interesting development, and I will follow with interest, what ‘Politicheck’ will present us.

    In the meantime, it may be worthy to note, that at least some of New Zealand’s otherwise more “conservative” investment-, share-market- and business-advisors, like for instance Brian Gaynor, are starting to question the STATISTICS we get presented by government:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11207443

    It appears he does share concern about the reliability of for instance unemployment figures in New Zealand.

    Besides of that, he mentions yet again, how “shaky” and unreliable economic data from Mainland China is, which is now the largest or second largest trading partner of NZ. There are signs that big bubbles are about to burst. It seems that Key, English and Joyce have had too many fancy “wet dreams” about the economic prospects New Zealand may have, by exporting ever more milk powder and baby formula to there, feeding the supposed “rock star economy”.

    As things can move fast on the trade and economic front, the present “low” for the opposition may yet change unexpectedly later in the year, especially also once interest rates start rising, pinching the many excessively debt laden “home buyers” in their bottoms.

    Presently too many are lulled into the habitual, blinding consumerist habit, that is those that can spend a bit, and they forget that all is not quite what it seems.

    Bring out the TRUTH, thanks!

    • greywarbler 14.1

      It would be wise to start presenting the facts clearly. If the economy goes belly up at some time, the NACTs will have a nice line of lies, smutty stuff, fudged facts, muddled stats ready to go that will place the blame on Labour unto the third and fourth generations!

      • xtasy 14.1.1

        Yes, the Nats and ACT will probably blame it on Labour and Greens having “sabotaged” economic confidence in New Zealand AND in China, and hence it is again all about the mindset, that must in their views be the problem.

        To them it is like that: Labour and Greens = borrow and spend, and then take a runner. It is also “collective” responsibility and guilt.

        While that is absolute rubbish, they tend to get away with such propaganda too often.

        People who vote left have a “mental illness”, it must in their eyes mean, so we should all be sent into work camps for REHAB. That is perhaps why MSD keep hanging on to Dr David Bratt, their “Work will set you free” Principal Health Advisor, for greater agendas the Nats are yet to announce, after next election.

  15. Philj 15

    Xox
    My father used to say, “the Truth shall set you free, but first, it will really piss you off!”

  16. BEATINGTHEBOKS 16

    Fact or opinion, hmm, is a widely held opinion a fact? Statistics are the simplest of lies, sometimes. If poverty is defined as income 60% of the median it will exist for as long as it is measured. Does that mean its a fact or an opinion? This is the business of politics. But the idea has some merit, lot a lies in politics .

    • McFlock 16.1

      If poverty is defined as income 60% of the median it will exist for as long as it is measured.

      Um, no. There is no reason why that statement would be true, other than a political unwillingness toaddress poverty and inequality.

    • Lanthanide 16.2

      It might seem like that, but it’s actually not the case. Median means “middle number”, ie 50% of numbers are above, and 50% are below. But it doesn’t have any bearing on how far above or below those numbers are.

      Quick example:
      2, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 7, 9, 9, 10, 10, 12, 12, 13, 14, 16, 16, 18, 19, 20.

      That’s 20 numbers. The median (middle number) is 10. 2, 2, 3 and 4 are less than 60% of the median, and 6 is exactly 60% of the median.

      We can change the distribution like this:
      6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10, 10, 12, 12, 13, 14, 16, 16, 18, 19, 20.

      There are still 20 numbers, the median (middle number) remains 10, but now all of the lowest numbers are at least 60% of the median. Note also in this example that everything in the top 50% has not changed at all, only those numbers below the median were altered.

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  • Recovery needs more than a rebrand
    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    4 days ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    4 days ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    4 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    4 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    4 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    4 days ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    4 days ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    4 days ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    5 days ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    5 days ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    5 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    5 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    6 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    6 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    6 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    1 week ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    1 week ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    1 week ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    1 week ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    1 week ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    1 week ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    2 weeks ago

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