Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Spin and bullshit

Yesterday in the House, John Key made a lot of excuses for his failure to close the wage-gap with Australia. One of those excuses was that

In terms of employment, again, if we use absolute numbers, the difference in employment has widened by 200,000, whereas if we use percentages, the employment rate in New Zealand is actually higher than it is in Australia.
Bullshit. Here's the Australian Bureau of Statistics' March 2010 labour force statistics, showing a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 5.3% (meaning an "employment rate" of 94.7%), and the NZ Department of Statistic's March 2010 Household Labour Force Survey, showing a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.0% (meaning an "employment rate" of 94%). So, Australia's "employment rate" is higher.

But maybe Key is just confused and using the labour force participation rate, which is 65.1% in Australia and 68.1% in New Zealand. But this isn't an "employment rate" - its the number of people working or available for work. But I guess if you're intellectually shallow, skip over things lightly, and (most importantly) desperately looking for statistics to support your case, it'll do.

Labour has rightly challenged National on its failure to make any progress on its core promise to "close the gap" with Australia. And rather than responding with action, National has responded with spin and bullshit. And that is very telling indeed.