- Date published:
8:23 am, August 14th, 2019 - 62 comments
Categories: making shit up, national, same old national, Simon Bridges, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uncategorized, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: statistics, statistics nz
I appreciate that has only been 23 years since the first MMP election but National is still fixated with the idea that electorates are the most important thing. If this news about its response to problems with the Census is anything to go by.
From Henry Cooke at Stuff:
The National Party still plans to dispute any new electorate boundaries drawn for the 2020 election based on the 2018 census, despite a review finding the data was sufficient.
This position could cause a legitimacy crisis for the next election as the largest opposition party could reject the basis of the election itself.
The damning independent review of last year’s Census 2018, released on Tuesday, found multiple failings in the way the census was carried out.
But it also said Statistics NZ “should” be able to cover for its failings enough to meet top-level population goals for the census, which included the numbers used to redraw electorate boundaries.
There are big holes in the data, particularly the iwi response rate, that mean that the data is not useful for some significant purposes. But for the electoral system the basic data, who lives where, has an estimated 98.6% accuracy and this is more than enough for the purposes of setting electorate boundaries.
But this has not stopped National from playing politics with the issue. Again from Stuff:
National’s statistics spokesman Jian Yang said administrative level data was simply not accurate enough to draw such important boundaries with.
“We are not confident that this information from other sources will be accurate enough to draw up the boundaries for the electorates,” Yang said.
“In the past, every census cycle half of families would move. Even if you get the data from other sources, it doesn’t mean the information is accurate.”
“It is unprecedented, I don’t know how we can proceed with this level of data.”
Yang restated the National Party’s desire that the 2020 election be run with electoral boundaries from the 2013 census, and that the census due for 2023 be brought forwards so new boundaries can be drawn for the election that year.
“At this stage if we do not have confidence in this data then we should not go ahead with the redrawing of the electorate boundaries. We might have to wait until next time.”
Electorates are not the exact same size. There is a 5% tolerance which dwarfs concerns about the Census’s accuracy. And the basic figure, 98.6%, is actually higher than the target of 98%. It is also more accurate than the results from the last Census.
And besides this is an MMP environment. Concerns about some electorates being slightly bigger than others do not matter. Putting to one side the electoral shenanigans that National has engaged in over the years the Party vote is the vote that determines which parties form the Government. Every party vote is worth the same. It does not matter in which electorate it is cast.
Raising false concerns about the validity of the electoral system will do the country a disservice. And it is so Trumpian it jars.
Of course National is trying to blame the Government for the Census problems. Given that it was in power when the scheme was designed and the budget set this is more than a little disingenuous.
And this morning Simon Bridges went all hold my beer on us and questioned the validity of Statistics NZ’s GDP data. I wish he would stop. Writing almost daily posts about the weird things he is saying is not something that I relish.
Bridges backed up Yiang’s suggestion that the country should stick to the 2013 boundaries. Shame on him.
It feels like we are descending into American style politics where hard data is questioned for political purposes and the setting of the electoral system is politicised and scrutinised for advantage. Can calmer heads in National please stop this.