Fact checking Key

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, March 22nd, 2011 - 16 comments
Categories: john key, making shit up, wages - Tags: , ,

Nice to see that the fine art of Real Journalism isn’t completely extinct in NZ. A piece on Scoop yesterday covering the PMs presser on paying for the Christchurch earthquake:

Today’s post-cabinet press conference concentrated on the Government’s proposal to pay for the costs of the Christchurch earthquake and rebuilding through spending cuts on other areas (excluding education and health).

And so on. The interesting bit came at the end of the summary:

Fact check: The Prime Minister states that “the bulk of New Zealanders” earn 40 to 75 thousand dollars a year.

According to Statistics New Zealand’s New Zealand Income Survey results for the June 2010 the median income (the amount which half the people in the country earn below) was $529 per week, which equates to $27508 per year. According to the survey’s technical notes the collected data was cash only, pre-tax (gross) income wherever possible, and did not include any non-cash fringe benefits.

Or by this table the median weekly income for those in paid employment is $767 ($39884 per year).

So either way It’s not possible to muster a majority starting at $40,000 and going up.

Which leaves Scoop at a bit of a loss as to what the Prime Minister means.

Fact checking the bland assertions of these lying Nats? Fact checking Mr Smile and Wave himself? Well stone the crows. Just imagine if this revolutionary idea was to catch on…

All of my posts for March will finish with this note. While life goes on as usual outside Christchurch, let our thoughts be with those who are coping with the aftermath, with the sorrow of so many who were lost, and with the challenges ahead.

16 comments on “Fact checking Key”

  1. Steve Withers 1

    Interesting. Thanks for this. Debate on these items is often of the apples and oranges variety…where the PM will talk about avergage wages and Labour or someone else will come back with median wage…which isn’t the same thing….

    But this example is pretty clear cut. The PM is wrong if the numbers cited here are correct.

  2. apples are yum 2

    “The Prime Minister states that “the bulk of New Zealanders” earn 40 to 75 thousand dollars a year.”

    It’s possible what that means is that people who earn 40k – 75k are the bulk of the National voting demographic. It’s an address to those who are the target of the speech. A bit like what another sector of the political spectrum like to do. They use the phrase “the people”, which also doesn’t include a portion of the population. Sometimes it doesn’t include any of the public and just means the Party has decided. Isn’t politics fun?

  3. BLiP 3

    I don’t doubt for a moment that John Key believes what he’s told.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      It should be a pretty easy misconception to fix. Only needs a single question in Parliament – does the Prime Minister stand by his statement that the bulk of New Zealanders earn $40-75k/year when the median full time income is $39,800 therefore meaning a full half of the population necessarily earn less than $40k?

      I suspect John would answer with something like “the stats aren’t accrate, achully”.

      Having said that, though, I myself find the stats a bit unbelievable, it simply doesn’t gel with what I see out on the streets (or in the shops – look at all the expensive brands in the supermarkets; maybe most people are just stupid when it comes to shopping and swayed by advertising?). There must be a lot of income hiding going on. I also think that there are probably lots of home businesses in NZ that really aren’t hugely viable as far as businesses go, eg they might bring in $10-20k revenue per year, but the reason the business exists is to claim tax writeoffs on household expenditure that would’ve taken place anyway if the business wasn’t there. Do the income statistics take into account these tax breaks?

      • Adrian 3.1.1

        I know what you are getting at L, but if you run a business from home and have ever been IRD audited you would have found that there is not a lot that you can get away with. I’ve got a mate who contracts in IT, lives in the SI but is having to pay back all his travel expenses ( plus penalties) incurred going to Auckland “because he used to live there” and he had some of his clients before he moved. Sure you can claim for an office etc, but boy it better not be one cm2 bigger than claimed or you’re in the shit. So I don’t think the mythical “home business” avoids all that much, unless you are the likes of a Hotchin et al.

        • William Joyce 3.1.1.1

          “I suspect John would answer with something like “the stats aren’t accrate, achully”.”

          He would say that, then smile as he says something like “blah blah blah …under nine years of Labour”.

          Then he would say something like “and besides, you’ve got big ears, so there!”

          Then he would sit down with the self-satisfied grin of a newly pubescent schoolboy who thinks he’s said the wittiest things ever and all the chicks will be oh so impressed with him now.

          It’s a shame all New Zealanders don’t get to seem his behaviour in Question Time

  4. Rosy 4

    Now to see if the MSM picks it up – I mean if they copy press releases verbatim then this is great! Otherwise lost in the ether

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    The voting public love to be told that they are earning less than most other people.

    Keep it up John Key.

  6. Bright Red 6

    IRD tells us the number of taxpayers with total incomes in each $1,000 band http://www.ird.govt.nz/resources/a/b/ab683b0044853cf4bfd3ff73c2f44a51/income-distribution-income-band.xls

    23% of taxpayers, 799,220 out of 3,438,370, had taxable incomes between $40K and $75K in 2009 (latest year with figures available)

    69%, 2,363,470, had taxable incomes of less than $40K

  7. Hilary 7

    Doesn’t the bulk of New Zealanders earn about $15,000? I recall a graph on the standard showing most NZers earning around that (all adults I presume). I would say that a much smaller number are in the $40-70,000 bracket.

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      The numbers are in the post there – a peak at $27,500 for individual adults per year.

      It’s significantly skewed to the low end due to pensioners and others on benefits, as well as lots of part time work by students in high school and university.

  8. davidr 8

    Perhaps he mean’t the bulk of New Zealanders who are tax revenue positive earn 40-75k.

    • Marty G 8.1

      perhaps he meant the bulk of people with incomes between $35K and $80K earn $40-75K.

      and what’s ‘tax revenue positive’ anyway? Can you show some stats on that?

  9. felix 9

    They aren’t “akshull” figures, they’re “aspurashinill” figures.

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