Well done TVNZ

October 16th, 2010 at 9:59 am by David Farrar

reports:

A ONE News investigation into a study that claims is cheaper than water has found that’s not always the case.

The report by the University of Otago, based on Department of Statistics figures, found a glass of water costs 67c, while a standard drink of beer costs 64c and a standard drink of cask wine costs 62c.

At the supermarket, the cheapest water ONE News could find came in a three litre container, which cost $2.57.

The cheapest wines in the same quantity on the other hand were priced at $22 and the cheapest beer, in a 12 pack and about five litres in quantity, was $18.40.

Applying the same calculations used in the Otago study, the glass of water cost less at only 21c, while the beer pack cost $1.10 for a glass and the cask of wine cost 71c for a standard drink.

The Otago study author, Associate Professor Nick Wilson, blamed price fluctuations for the difference.

“When you look at some specials, [alcohol] is actually cheaper than bottled water in some cases and at other times it may not be.”

Wilson is also sticking to his call for increased taxes to push the price of alcohol up.

I’m really pleased that TVNZ, unlike most media, didn’t just report the so called study as gospel and repeat it unthinkingly. They went out and tested the results and found they are bunkum.

The study seems to have cherry picked data so it could compare the most expensive bottled water to the cheapest ever alcohol, and come up with a conclusion that alcohol is now cheaper than water.

TVNZ have shown this is crap – that bottled water is under a third the price of the cheapest wine. Will other media report this as they reported the original study?

Also they are not comparing apples and apples. Water is in fact almost free as a product. when people buy bottled water they are buying it for the convenience. The correct comparison to bottled water would be the cost of alcohol in an on license – where you are also not paying so much for the alcohol, but for the convenience also.

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21 Responses to “Well done TVNZ”

  1. mawm (211 comments) says:

    Associate Professor Nick Wilson from Otago Uni, like hysterical global warming alarmists, has an agenda and no amount of truth is going to get in his way.

    I wonder if he too is dependent on producing alarmist pseudoscience for his funding?

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  2. Yvette (2,687 comments) says:

    “The Otago study author, Associate Professor Nick Wilson, blamed price fluctuations for the difference.”

    I can’t remember his exact words in the news item [yesterday ONE NEWS at 6] but he said that they were ‘lucky’ with the price of water – which would indicate to me that this is a case of ‘scientific’ research with a conclusion in mind when searching for evidence to support it.

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  3. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,790 comments) says:

    You wanna buy cheap water? Turn on your bloody kitchen tap, for God’s sake.

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  4. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    A comparison of the cost of water vs the cost alcohol is about as meaningful as the cost of water vs the cost of an air fare to Uruguay.

    The two are not competing products and, in a competitive market place, the supply and/or demand of either is not gong to impact the supply and/or demand of the other.

    It is not the evils of the alcohol empire conspiring to make alcohol cheaper than water – alcohol isn’t cheaper than free [actually at 'no additional cost' to your rates and other taxes.]

    Bottled water pricing is what it is because that is what people will pay for it.

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  5. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    Horror of horrors!
    A news media organization reporting the facts after reporting the opinion.
    What is the world coming to?

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  6. Lazybum (259 comments) says:

    I challenge Nick Wilson, I will not call him Professor to go home, get a glass of water from a tap, cost $0.01. After that, get a tap of water and see how much that costs.

    The answer is that bottled water is the largest marketing con ever and to compare supermarket prices is not valid at all.

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  7. nickb (3,658 comments) says:

    Associate Professor Nick Wilson from Otago Uni, like hysterical global warming alarmists, has an agenda and no amount of truth is going to get in his way.

    Did you seem him on TV1 last night? Looks like the kind of guy who hasn’t drunk his entire life.

    Does anyone else think it is chilling that this puritan fuckwit is receiving public funding to research ways to restrict what we can do with our own bodies?

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  8. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    I calculated the cost per litre from my tap back in ’07 and it came to $0.00143/litre. So you’re an order of magnitude out Lazybum.

    What people completely miss with bottled water is
    a) most people reuse the bottle over and over (for some reason that doesn’t work with booze) and
    b) you’re really not paying for the water in most cases – you’re paying for it to be convenient and pre-chilled.

    Same way that I paid $10 for a medium size bag of gravel. Sure, I could have found a river somewhere and grabbed my own but it wasn’t worth the trouble (and fuel) to find the right river with just the right consistency of gravel.

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  9. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    I don’t think any comparison between water and wine is possible. They are different products for different purposes. Equally validly compare the cost per ml of a spanner.

    Kudos to TVNZ for doing a bit of research. Hats off to you.

    The Otago researchers have been caught out badly misleading the public. Can the idea that these are impartial scientific researchers please – finally – be put to bed? This is the corrupting influence of money in science.

    I wonder if he too is dependent on producing alarmist pseudoscience for his funding?

    Ya think?! I imagine his job description goes something like: “Bring to the public’s attention using any available means the dangers of alcohol and drug consumption.” Could the man be less objective in this?

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  10. redqueen (452 comments) says:

    Well, it’s good to see that TVNZ is setting the standard of quality control in the country. I aplaud Otago for hiring such a person, it must be tough to find suitable ‘academics’ these days, what with all the politicians that now seem to be called ‘professors’ (are they professing a particular belief, perhaps?). I entirely agree, DPF, that this is an example of simple assessment, when I go to my local pub it cost around $6 for a handle of beer (about 450ml). That equates to around $39.75 per three litres or about $13.25/l. That’s around 10x the price of water and based on already very high duties being imposed. So saying we need ‘more taxes’ is proposterous and an example of fuzzenomics.

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  11. backster (2,074 comments) says:

    I agree with BEN it is a case of dishonest deceit and brings into question all their research on any matter. It is equally deplorable that most of the media accepted it as fact and based their commentaries on it.

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  12. Pete George (22,754 comments) says:

    It’s good that TVNZ have thought, have done some research and reported correctly on this. It was simple common sense ignored or forgotten by the repeaters. It’s sad that when something like this is done it stands out so much as if it was abnormal.

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  13. Psycho Milt (2,253 comments) says:

    …the cheapest beer, in a 12 pack and about five litres in quantity, was $18.40.

    Yeah, but you see, these TV journo types have champagne tastes. They don’t class stuff like Rheineck or Canterbury Draught as beer (and it’s certainly easy to sympathise with that view), so they don’t find any “beer” at 12 to 14 dollars a slab.

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  14. Zarchoff (100 comments) says:

    Bloody well done to TVNZ for actually checking the numbers rather than blindly reporting this “research” as fact. New World have 10 litre containers of water for $10 – thats $1 per litre. So I should be able to buy a flagon of beer for $2. or a keg for $50?

    To blame anomalies on price fluctuations is just bollocks. According to the research numbers a bottle of 12.5% wine costs 65 cents per std drink (100ml) which means the whole bottle costs about $5 – please please please show me where I can buy this wine.

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  15. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    Zarchoff – I’m not sure you’d want to drink that wine if we found it for you. I’d guess it was something that the supermarket couldn’t move because nobody would drink it – getting rid of unsaleable stock.

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  16. Michael (894 comments) says:

    I read this in the paper this morning in Melbourne, thought it was a bit of a wind-up.

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  17. Rex Widerstrom (5,254 comments) says:

    Yes, well done TVNZ. But assigning a junior to pop down to Woolies and price check is hardly a breakthrough in investigative journalism… it’s fundamental research that should be done on every story.

    Now we’ve done the “write down the prices, divide by litres and see which adds up to the most” exercise, let’s see if we can move on to something more challenging. Nothing too ambitious to start with… how about an analysis of accident statistics to see how many of those that are attributed to speed also involved a driver who was drunk / texting / dropping a cigarette on their genitals / doing their mascara / having sex / speeding by more than 20 km/h over the limit rather than allowing finger-waggling, moustache bristling cops to tell us we’re all reckless lunatics and that speed cameras are a road safety tool without questioning any of their assumptions or statistics.

    That’ll do for a start. When you’ve worked that one out, come back to me for your next assignment.

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  18. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Look at him. Typical Marxist academic. Wait, what’s this?

    His research interests include: … disarmament and peace and conflict studies

    Publications include:

    “Deaths from international terrorism compared with road crash deaths in OECD countries.”

    “Is any involvement with the UK military unethical?”

    “Nuclear weapons are another post-communist health hazard.”

    Just another nutcase, everyone move along.

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  19. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    @Rex,

    Now you’ve blown it pal! Sellman will now do a study now comparing how many people have been killed by people over the limit on (expensive) water vs those over the limit on (cheaper) alcohol.

    Because the linkages there are as natural as the pricing comparisons.

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  20. kiwiAnthony (28 comments) says:

    I want to stop masturbating.

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  21. wolfjung (59 comments) says:

    Not sure what agenda Assoc.Prof Nick is pushing, though he needs to step outside the perimeter of his academic umbrella and engage his real-world brain.

    The study would have been more useful if it normalised the data against the contents in the packaging, the packaging is the most expensive component hence rendering this study completely useless. This is a typical study to expect from a social studies student. When you buy a bottle of water or beer, the cost of the packaging far outweighs the product cost and of course beer is penalised with additional excise tax.

    Buy beer from Lion Nathan and Drink water from your tap, this BS about bottled water from Evian springs coming from 1000 km beneath the earth’s surface giving it an age of 500 million years, is just BS like Nick’s study.

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