Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Time spent on welfare update

There is now a discussion under way at Public Address about what Paula Bennett claimed on Radio NZ this morning, which was subsequently reported in the NZ Herald (see last post).

I still find the latest revelations surprising. Mainly because they weren't part of the Welfare Working Group (WWG) report. Or I would have reacted then.

So I went back and checked. The WWG Issues report said,

As can be seen, there are over 170,000 people who had spent five or more of the last ten years on a benefit. Within this group of people, 100,000 had spent more than nine or more years on a benefit.

What I'd expect. But contrast the NZ Herald report today:

... Some 161,000 people had been on benefits for at least five of the last 10 years, and another 139,000 people had been on benefits for at least 10 years.

Still some mismatch  BUT the second figure is a subset of the first. Not 'and another'.

For the record, the Ministerial Q & A sheet says,  

"More than 161,000 people have received a benefit for at least half of the last 10 years and 139,000 have spent more than a decade on benefit since 1993."

Post note: After some correspondence the NZ Herald on-line is amending their copy.


Keith Ng said...

GAH! A third goddamn answer. Thank you - I really think that is the definitive answer this time.

FYI, that wasn't the NZ Herald misreporting the Minister, it was the Minister getting it wrong when speaking on RNZ.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Keith, I listened back to the interview and didn't hear her say "and another..." But she ran them together and it would be easy to misinterpret. IMO she should make it clear one stat is part of the other. Even better it would be preferable if degrees of dependence could be expressed in less ambiguous terms.