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Spin and bullshit

Written By: - Date published: 11:39 am, August 5th, 2010 - 11 comments
Categories: john key, national, wages - Tags: ,

Reprinted with permission from No Right Turn.

Yesterday in the House, John Key made a lot of excuses for his failure to close the wage-gap with Australia. One of those excuses was that

In terms of employment, again, if we use absolute numbers, the difference in employment has widened by 200,000, whereas if we use percentages, the employment rate in New Zealand is actually higher than it is in Australia.

Bullshit. Here’s the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ March 2010 labour force statistics, showing a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 5.3% (meaning an “employment rate” of 94.7%), and the NZ Department of Statistic’s March 2010 Household Labour Force Survey, showing a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.0% (meaning an “employment rate” of 94%). So, Australia’s “employment rate” is higher.

But maybe Key is just confused and using the labour force participation rate, which is 65.1% in Australia and 68.1% in New Zealand. But this isn’t an “employment rate” – its the number of people working or available for work. But I guess if you’re intellectually shallow, skip over things lightly, and (most importantly) desperately looking for statistics to support your case, it’ll do.

Labour has rightly challenged National on its failure to make any progress on its core promise to “close the gap” with Australia. And rather than responding with action, National has responded with spin and bullshit. And that is very telling indeed.

11 comments on “Spin and bullshit”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    New employment data out is even worse: seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 6.8%:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/3993608/Unemployment-rate-rises

    captcha: worries

  2. burt 2

    But maybe Key is just confused and using the labour force participation rate, which is 65.1% in Australia and 68.1% in New Zealand. But this isn’t an “employment rate’ its the number of people working or available for work. But I guess if you’re intellectually shallow, skip over things lightly, and (most importantly) desperately looking for statistics to support your case, it’ll do.

    Reminds me of Labour telling us that only 12% of working age people are paying the top tax rate because the percentage of working people paying it was more like 16%. That was in 2006, 2 years before Labour noticed that their top 5% of earners policy had finally run out of hide it via the statistics potential.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Got anything to back that up burt or is it more of you talking out your arse again?

      • burt 2.1.1

        Draco

        The source page is gone now but I posted a cut-n-paste from it here:

        http://www.thestandard.org.nz/nationals-hoax-on-unemployed-workers/#comment-3738

        While it’s easy to talk in percentages, this sometimes masks the real extent of the problem. In 2000, when the new tax rate kicked in, 194,000 people were paying the 39 percent tax rate. By 2006 the figure had ballooned to 352,000.

        Do the math on the number of people paying the top 5% threshold compared to the number of working age people and the number of employed people yourself. Get back to me when you concede National are almost as bad as Labour at misleading the people for their own political gain. Easy to solve – don’t vote for self serving major parties that like to tell lies to stay in power.

        oh, and do a few google’s on the standard and kiwi blog, I touted the 12% – 16% spin about a few times.

        • Daveosaurus 2.1.1.1

          So, assuming for the sake of this point that your figures aren’t just completely pulled out of your arse, the number of people earning over $60,000 per annum more than doubled during the term of the last Government. You’d have to be wearing a really special set of blinkers to want to paint that as a bad thing.

      • burt 2.1.2

        Oh and on that subject, was 75% of families getting WWF actually 75% of people with families or 75% of people who are of reproductive age ?

        You can produce any statistic you want if you torture the data enough.

  3. George.com 3

    Perhaps one reason that the labour force participation rate is higher in NZ than in Australia is because more kiwis need to be out working in NZ to makes ends meet than in Aussie. Their wage rates are higher which would translate, I would pick, into fewer households needing two incomes. So how is the government doing with lifting wages and closing the wage gap with Australia? When our LFPR starts to come down, maybe then that is an indication that wage rates are catching up.

  4. sukie Damson 4

    If only the bullshit would hit the spinning fan.

  5. pointer 5

    No Right Turn appears to have made the common mistake of assuming the two rates sum to 100% when this isn’t the case by definition. The employment rate is the fraction of the working age population that is employed. The unemployment rate is the fraction of the labour force out of work. So, Key’s claim that NZ has a higher employment rate than Australia’s isn’t bullshit.

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