Beware of a Finance Minister who is selective in the use of statistics. This was Bill English’s answer to a patsy question in Parliament about National and the economy:
It is the comprehensive economic package that the Government is pursuing, and if I can draw attention simply to one aspect of it, it is our multibillion-dollar investment in infrastructure, which is keeping thousands of people in work and retaining skills in New Zealand. For instance, over half of all non-residential building permits in the last 3 months were issued for public sector projectsâ€”the highest percentage in 20 years.
Public sector projects in the last three months the highest percentage in 20 years? But here’s why – the other permits are for private sector commercial projects and they are well down, as the following comment about the same set of stats shows:
New Zealand’s commercial property sector stayed in the doldrums last month with permits for new construction down to a five-month low, while consents for new homes, excluding apartments, slid to their weakest level since January.The value of non-residential consents shrank 40% to $289 million in May from a year ago, according to Statistics New Zealand data, and was down from $327 million in April.
It’s time he got taken up on this stuff. He’s been getting away with it for too long. We need the real oil about the New Zealand economy, not more wool over our eyes.