Thursday, October 01, 2020

Academia discovers reality

A comment on Kiwiblog and my reply:


Labour made it so solo Mum’s don’t have to name the father’s of their children was the most stupid thing they have ever done. All it has done is encourage baby farming women to use children while on a benefit as income makers for them. A woman could have a child every couple of years to prevent them from working,all while the guy lives with them. At least that is what my neighbour has admitted to me. She said she has told MSD and HNZ she is a solo Mum while the 3 kids father is living there working full time(they are not married) So now she will never get caught doing it. She even tried to have a 4th kid last year but lost it. Then she’s always claiming poverty and not being able to afford to put the internet on there or to buy her 2 high school aged kids laptops or to fix their car. She is also driving unlicensed at 39ys old after being caught again recently. But she also said they spent 10k last year on a trip to Samoa for the 5 of them. She said she doesn’t working at the moment……makes me so mad but I can’t say anything since she told me not to.


Claiming sole parent benefit while partnered is widespread. In fact Auckland University of Technology knows it. Here they comment on the Growing Up in NZ longitudinal study which kicked off ten years ago: 

"The GUiNZ sample seems to have low sole-parent status compared to a 2009 study that found one-third of families with dependent children were headed by sole-parents (Ministry of Social Development, 2010). This could be because being partnered in the GUiNZ data is not the same as their domestic-purposes benefit status, from which partnership status is inferred by other studies. We find that 70% of those who say they receive the domestic-purposes benefit also answer yes to the question of whether they have a partner – confirming that the sole-parent status derived from GUiNZ is essentially different to those studies which rely on benefit status to infer partnership status.” 


Many more prisoners identifying as Ngapuhi

Corrections Volume Report 2019-20 has just been released. I had a quick scan through for anything particularly noticeable. These two graphs caught my eye:

(The Ngapuhi number is 609 - off the graph.)

The immediate inference is that iwi-affiliated offending and imprisonment is going through the roof. But consider this graph:

This is a conundrum. The iwi-identifying number is increasing whereas the Maori number is decreasing.

4,907 prisoners are Maori. 2,498 state one of the iwi affiliations above. About half.

My conclusion is that prisoners are increasingly identifying with an iwi. I wonder why? Bet there is some sort of incentive. Sudden radical changes in data are usually driven by a specific, but not necessarily obvious reason.

Is the Ngapuhi Treaty settlement actually going to happen??

But the plot thickens. In 2018, from the Minister:

Mr Davis said Māori make up over 50 percent of the prison population, and he wants that number reduced.

"Of that 50 percent, half again, are from Ngāpuhi, my own tribe, so this is personal.

"My tribe of Ngāpuhi is probably the most incarcerated tribe in the world, per head of population, so we really have to look at what we're going to do differently as a country, to turn these figures around."

Yet the just-released stats show there were 668 Ngapuhi prisoners in 2018.

Perhaps Mr Davis is encouraging the trend in order to validate his claim?

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

What was so offensive?

 I wrote the following letter to the DomPost which they published today:

You may well ask, clobbering ball for who?

My original letter said the statistic is "quickly becoming a clobbering ball for disaffected feminists."

The left of politics is dominated by them.


Or paranoia on my part because they simply couldn't fit the extra three words in:-)

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Labour: No target, no commitment, no improvement

The last National government set a series of Better Public Service targets. One was reducing working age benefit numbers to 220,451 by 2018. 

The National government was overt and explicit that reducing welfare dependency was desirable. Bill English was acutely aware of the role it plays in the many negative outcomes adults and children experience.

Labour took over in September 2017 and abandoned the targets. This particular administration has never committed to reducing benefit dependency.

And here's what happened next. I've picked up the line from December 2016 where the BPS graph finishes, and used the same scale on the vertical axis. 

A low of 273,387 was reached in March 2018 - 6 months after Labour took over. (A miss on National's  target by over 50,000.)

Since, the numbers have steadily risen (allowing for seasonal variation) well before the Covid response.

Name suppression

 Did anyone else notice that the killer of a New Zealand police officer in Croydon was named almost immediately whereas the killer of a New Zealand police officer in West Auckland still has name supression?

Sunday, September 27, 2020

It's the trend that matters

There is glee at poll numbers which show Labour can govern alone.

But look at the trend. 

Labour down 10.8% points.

The Thursday poll preceding the leaders debate was similar. Labour down 5 points. That's what I think really threw the Labour leader and led to a tense, unconfident performance.

There's just under three weeks to go and the rate of fall is sharp.

Neither place is comfortable - on a low number rising or high number falling.

But I'm a stickler for trends.

Stuff stubbornly refuse to issue "any correction or clarification"

Last week I posted about one of Stuff's 'The Whole Truth' columns which attempted to fact-check Judith Collins' claim that 400 people a week are losing their jobs. The BFD subsequently picked up my post and a BFD reader complained to Stuff about their column. Stuff then went back and conflated their original workings with the grants data I had used (which is publicly available). The editor in charge of The Whole Truth project wrote to the complainant:

 "The total number of people granted either the JS benefit or CIRP since the beginning of lockdown (using figures from the week ended 27/3/20) is 136,724 (103,772 JS and 32952 CIRP). The number of people who have gone off one of those benefits into work ("cancelled into work") is 31,854."

The latter number is then subtracted. Subtracting "cancellations into work" is wrong. The people cancelling a benefit in any given week are not the people losing their jobs. This type of calculation might be made to estimate the jobs the economy is losing (net difference between jobs dis-established and jobs created) but it doesn't tell us how many people are losing their jobs each week. For argument's sake, hypothetically, 100 people might have found a job last week but that doesn't alter the fact that 400 people lost one.

Recall Stuff's original article states:

"It was a refrain she [Judith Collins] had repeated several times throughout the debate - 400 people a day are losing their jobs under the current government."

Back to Stuff's reply to the BFD reader:

"You then need to subtract the number of people who have been transferred from JS to CIRP or vice versa (5887) so you're not double-counting."

That leaves a total of 98,984 people either still receiving JS or CIRP or have had it cancelled/ended for another (unknown) reason. This equates to 572 people a day (173 days between 23 March and 11 September). This assumes that of those, the 36,300 people who were on a benefit but are not anymore are all still jobless.

However, as outlined in the post, this likely overestimates the number of people who are on a benefit because they have lost their jobs, because it counts all Jobseeker recipients. We highlighted 'work-ready' recipients, subtracting those on the JS benefit for a health or disability reason. Normally, the proportion of 'work-ready' JS recipients is about 57 per cent; this has increased to about 65 per cent during Covid.

Re-running the numbers using 65 per cent of the Jobseeker total, you end up with 62,670 people either still on CIRP or JS or who've gone off it for a reason other than finding a job. This is 362 people a day - pretty much the conclusion our original post arrived at (355 jobs a day).

So now they have reverted back to the initial data they used which is net numbers of people on the Jobseeker Benefit. Not grants.

Having found a way back to their original guestimate- albeit via a different method - the editor goes on the say,

"In our view, the substance of the original post is not affected by these alternative calculations...For this reason, I do not intend to update the post or issue any correction or clarification."

They should.

I'll try to be succinct.

The data they used in their second attempt, the data that matters,  shows 136,724 grants of JS or CIRP over 173 days. Subtract the transfers between the two - 5,887 - which leaves 130,837. Divide that by 173 days and the number is 756. I repeat, cancellations are irrelevant.

Additionally, on the plus side (indicating a higher number), Stuff does not know how many people have lost their jobs and

1/ gone on an emergency benefit (for eg non-residents)

2/ gone on a sole parent benefit because they are single with dependent children under 14

3/ gone on Super full-time

4/ returned to a Supported Living Payment (disabled people also work despite not being required to)

5/ not gone on any benefit because they have savings, a secondary source of income into the household, or other reason

6/ returned to or taken up study and gone onto a student allowance

This is not an exhaustive list of alternatives to going on either Jobseeker or CIRP.

On the minus side, there are overseas returnees going on the Jobseeker benefit. They too may have lost their jobs (mainly in Australia) though it might be a stretch to claim Judith was including those people. And there will be people transferring to a Jobseeker benefit from other benefits eg when a sole parent's youngest turns 14 the parent is transferred from Sole Parent Support to Jobseeker.

Finally, from a journalistic integrity viewpoint, Stuff's email acknowledges "...her claim of '400 jobs lost per day' is likely to be within the right ballpark of what is happening."

Yet the original Stuff article begins in bold with this line:

Many jobs are being lost as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. But not 400 a day.

It could be less. It could be more. Many more.

Stuff  need to acknowledge that the way they calculated how many people a week are losing their jobs was inadequate and therefore, inconclusive. Their article cannot represent 'The Whole Truth' when so many pieces of the jigsaw are missing.