Statistics New Zealand

Oh look another Labour crisis solved

In June Labour were claiming that food prices were too high, especially prices of milk products.

They said that it was awful that Coke cost less than milk, which seemed a bizarre comparison. And David Farrar pointed out to them that they picked the one month in the last two years when in fact milk was cheaper than Coke. Subsequently, after they declared a crisis Stats NZ released figures for the June quarter that showed that food prices had slumped.

And now, stats are out to show a further decline in prices for the August quarter.

New Zealand food prices declined in August, as weaker prices for cheese, butter and fresh milk drove down the price of groceries, and meat prices fell, making up for stronger fruit and vegetable prices.

The food price index fell 0.5 percent in August from July, following two months of gains, Statistics New Zealand said. The decline was 0.4 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. Prices were up 0.4 percent compared with August last year.   Read more »

Greens propose locking in never ending pay rises for MPs

The Green party think they are onto a winner…locking in never ending pay rises for MPs…except they think that sometimes pay will go down.

The Green Party is urging for a change to how MPs’ salaries are set, in a bid to curb their annual pay rises.

That would make a difference of thousands of dollars in the amount MPs received extra each year.

In a policy announced today, Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said MPs’ salaries should only rise to match the rise in median incomes in dollar terms.

MPs usually receive an annual increase that largely rises in line with pay rises in the general population – though because it is in percentage terms, not dollar terms, it can be worth significantly more.

During the global financial crisis MPs asked for a zero pay increase.

Norman said under the Green Party’s policy MPs’ salaries would rise or fall by the same dollar amount that median incomes increased or fell.

“Rather than the current annual review carried out by the Remuneration Authority that sets MPs’ salaries, the Remuneration Authority would be required to apply the annual change in median individual income supplied by Statistics New Zealand.

And here is what that Statistics New Zealand media weekly income data shows:

Source data from Statistics NZ

Source data from Statistics NZ


Read more »

Oh how desperate

How desperate must you be for relevance when you attack statisticians. Labour really are going for the world crown of the Nastiest party.

Labour’s candidate for the Auckland electorate of Te Atatu yesterday suggested Statistics New Zealand had “massaged” the latest figures on building consents to paint a rosier picture than was correct.

Statistics New Zealand had released building consents for September which found a 17 per cent seasonally-adjusted fall and a 14 per cent fall when apartments were excluded.

“But the headline on the Statistics New Zealand press release read: Trends for new home approvals continue to rise,” Tywford said.

“Talk about spin!”

Statistics New Zealand’s “enthusiasm” could be excused in less partisan times, he said.

“But during an election period when National is patting itself on the back for doing as good a job as anyone could in terms of keeping the economy ticking over, it is impossible not to see a lack of neutrality in the department’s media release.”

Trying to make a 17 per cent decline look like an increase was the “sort of behaviour” expected of Prime Minister John Key or National’s campaign manager Steven Joyce, Twyford said.

“It’s not what you expect of an organisation that has always – until now – prided itself on being fiercely independent of political bias.

“It is inexcusable for Statistics New Zealand to give even the appearance of bias during an election campaign.”

StatsNZ hits back:

However, Statistics New Zealand chief executive Geoff Bascand said the government agency took seriously its responsibility to explain and present statistics in a meaningful and accurate way.

“As Government Statistician, I am fiercely protective of my statutory independence in the production and release of statistics.”

Volatility in building consents over past months had caused Statistics New Zealand to judge its trend series of figures as the most useful indicator of movement in building activity, he said.

It had also reported the seasonally-adjusted figures within the first paragraph of its statement and more detailed information had been included.

“Statistics New Zealand has an obligation to release objective statistics.

“We will continue to do this at all times.”

Attacking statisticians has all the electoral appeal of advocating the volume of advertisements be controlled. Labour really are the nasty party and anyone at all is a target right now.