Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Carmel clutching at straws again

Here's Carmel Sepuloni clutching at straws again.

She is reported in today's DomPost:

Fewer people coming off a benefit and moving into work shows a "stalling economy" and a "failing Government", says Labour.

But the Government says Labour had gotten its maths wrong on figures the party obtained.

While the real numbers of beneficiaries moving into work had decreased, the overall percentage of people going into work had actually gone up, as the total pool of beneficiaries decreased, said Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.

At the end of March 2015, 284,260 working age people were receiving a main benefit.  That was down from 295,000 people in June 2014, according to the Ministry website.

"At the same time the New Zealand Income Survey shows an extra 27,500 people were receiving government transfers - primarily benefits and superannuation - as their main source of income compared to 12 months ago.

"Crucially, there was a 38.85 per cent increase in the number of people aged between 50 and 59 years on these transfers between 2014 and 2015," Sepuloni said.

The definition for 'government transfers' is

Government transfers: income from benefits, working for families tax credits, paid parental leave, student allowances, ACC payments, New Zealand Superannuation, and veteran's and war pensions.

At June 2015  1,193,800 people received income from government transfers.
At June 2014  1,166,300 people received income from government transfers.

There's the 27,500 increase she cites.

The increase relates almost entirely to people receiving Super (which is irrelevant to the working age arguments.)

In fact she could have checked exactly how many by consulting the Benefit data tables at MSD

The number of people receiving Super or a veteran's pension rose by 25,983 between June 2014 and June 2015.

The number receiving income from government transfers aged 50-59 rose from 32,600 to 40,500 or 24% not "38.85 percent". Some of this rise will be attributable to younger partners of newly qualified Super recipients becoming dependent on government transfers.

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