Deconstructing the government’s report card

Written By: - Date published: 12:21 pm, July 7th, 2015 - 10 comments
Categories: benefits, class war, crime, education, poverty - Tags: , , , , , , ,

The government has awarded itself a nice report card:

Crime and welfare-dependency down – Government report card

The number of children living in benefit-dependent households has dropped by 42,000 in three years, new government figures show.

Some of the specific indicators are good. But with respect to that headline claim, it would be good news if the drop meant families moving out of poverty, but it doesn’t. It means that people are being pushed off benefits by tighter criteria and punitive processes. That’s why we see the rise of the working poor, and why we see headlines like these:

Working poor at ‘crisis’ point
NZ children suffer higher relative hardship than 20 European countries
Poverty blamed for leap in infectious disease admissions
Disease figures a national ’embarrassment’
Auckland homelessness: Rough sleepers tally doubles
Demand high at Auckland City Mission
Auckland beggars: ‘Don’t judge us’
Hamilton plan to ban rough sleeping
Tough times blamed for surge in food parcel demand
Big demand puts pressure on foodbank
Kiwi kids face school year without the essentials

Back to the report card:

Across the education targets, more students are leaving school with a qualification of NCEA Level 2 or more. The rate of 18-year olds who achieve a NCEA Level 2 qualification has risen from 74 per cent to 81 per cent; the target is 85 per cent by 2017. And among 25 to 34-year-olds, 54.2 per cent had a qualification at Level 4 or above – up from 51.4 per cent.

By coincidence, also in the news today:

NCEA pass rates increases ‘don’t reflect genuine increase in learning’

Skyrocketing NCEA pass rates “clearly indicate” unrealistic grade inflation in New Zealand’s schools, an international expert says. …

The internationally-recognised Programme for International Student Achievement (PISA), on the other hand, showed falls in the achievement of fifteen year-old New Zealand students in reading, mathematics and science between 2009 and 2012.

Schools are upping their NCEA pass rates – and who can blame them – but it doesn’t mean that kids are learning more, as the falling scores on international tests show. Put enough pressure on any outcome measure you want and you will get the “results” that you want to see.

Back to the report:

Total crime since 2012 has dropped 17.6 percentage points, with violent crime down 9.1 points and youth crime 37.3 points. The rate of reoffending dropped 9.6 points.

This is genuinely good news of course, falling crime, yay! It is part of a strong international trend in “Western” countries, probably due to the changing popluation structure (aging). National’s contribution to falling crime, however, appears to be limited to cutting funding to police.

In short, as usual, lies, damn lies, and statistics. The Nats’ report card is a mess, and that’s before we even get started on the economy and the environment.

10 comments on “Deconstructing the government’s report card”

  1. Grant 1

    Hah! Falling crime indeed? All the crims just relocated to Counties were they reported as something else. We’re on first names basis with the Eagle Crew, they spend so much time over our place. Every day has 6 or more emergency vehicles within earshot.
    Methinks they just pick the numbers they want NOT the true ones.

    • It looks like there’s been a recent trend towards downplaying reporting of crime- it looks good because your minor incidents go off the books, and your major crimes become minor incidents. Even if police are exercising discretion more and deciding it’s less necessary to charge people, the incidents should still be reported.

  2. adam 2

    I made a comment on my work yesterday on the Greek thread. I’m not sure how to link that.

    Today, this morning – as the weather so bad, we just dealt with medical and housing issues. On that front alone, this government is a failure.

    One that they need to be slammed on is domestic violence – as they have gone beyond crisis creation.

    May I just say, thanks goodness for the Auckland Action Against Poverty – and I know I’ve said it before to them on the phone – but let me say here – you people are wonderful, and thank you for coming to West Auckland, even if it is only one day a week. It gives people hope.

    • Molly 2.1

      … Right-click the date and time under any comment and you will then be able to “Copy Link Location” for that specific comment. Then use that as your link.

  3. Keith 3

    Does anyone else find it amazing after sizeable police budget cuts totalling a third of the 2008 budget under Collins and Tolley, and a frozen budget ever since, that they have managed to reduce crime by a similar amount? I mean it is equivalent of turning water into wine! It’s a bona fide miracle and yet this smoke and mirrors exercise has escaped any form of critical thinking (sure we don’t have a MSM worth mentioning)

    Of course it is only logical that total crime reporting will drop if police officers, who report crime as a proactive part of their jobs, are unable to do their job because of budget cuts

    In this illusion National are using an old adage as policy, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Apply that to crime, its still all around only no one is doing anything about it so it ceases to exist! The trouble is this façade will come back to haunt us if its not starting to already!

    • tc 3.1

      The same way health looks ‘OK’ despite being about 25% underfunded now after 6+ years of team shonkey.

      Easy when you reclassify what consitutes who is on a waiting list and gag the senior levels by stacking DHB boards then flog the clinical staff using aggressive management practices. ‘Shazam’ look at how well we’re all doing.

  4. McFlock 4

    Juking the stats.

    What really pisses me off about it is that it puts pressure on the next administration to do similar, otherwise they get accused of e.g. rising crime even though they’re simply reporting its true levels so they can then address its causes. All because the current regime confuse “metrics” with “outcomes”.

  5. Tracey 5

    Crime is not the problem in NZ that our politicians (of many persuasions) tell us. It’s a beat up (pun intended). I also recall Ms Collins sending a cheery newsletter to her papakura folk crowing about dropping the crime rate in their areas but it turned out some stuff have been left off the reporting.

    ALL governments do this, both the beating up on crime for votes,, and the fudging of figures. Shame on all of them and shame on us for buying it.

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