Behind the headline

March 21st, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The headline:

A global survey has found that one in every six Kiwis ran out of money for food in 2011-12 – more than in all except eight other developed nations.

Sounds shocking.

The shock finding contrasts with other data in an annual survey by the Paris-based OECD that put New Zealand near the top of the 34 developed countries on social indicators such as people’s perceived health status and employment rates, and above average on relative .

So on most indicators doing well, so let’s do a shock headline on the one indicator that isn’t, which is based on three year old data.

The NZ figure matches Statistics NZ’s annual household economic survey which asks people if they have not enough, just enough, enough or more than enough money to meet “everyday needs for such things as accommodation, food, clothing and other necessities”. Those who said “not enough” rose from 16.2 per cent in 2007 to 18.5 per cent in 2010, but fell to 17.6 per cent in 2011, 16.6 per cent in 2012 and 14 per cent last year.

So the real headline should be fewer families unable to make ends meet than in 2007!

Here’s some other stats from OECD survey:

  • NZ 2nd highest in OECD for percentage of welfare going to low income families
  • Between 2007 and 2010 NZ richest 10% of households had higher drop in disposable income than the poorest 10%
  • NZ has 8th highest employment rate
  • Gini coefficient which measures income inequality declines from 2007 to 2010
  • NZ relative poverty rate declines from 2007 to 2010
  • NZ 2nd highest for adults in good health and highest in world for adults with low income
  • NZ 11th highest for overall life satisfaction
  • NZ 5th highest for confidence in government

This is not to say that things are not tough for some families. But if you read the overall OECD report, NZ is better than most other developed countries. And fewer people in 2013 than in 2007 are unable to make ends meet.

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15 Responses to “Behind the headline”

  1. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    This is a plainly misleading headline could well be the subject of a complaint to the press council.

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  2. Harriet (4,616 comments) says:

    “…..But if you read the overall OECD report, NZ is better than most other developed countries….”

    That simply tells us a past story of NZ – so what? It’s the rate of change between countries that is the one to look at.

    Some countries which are low on the OECD rankings are gaining on NZ at considerable pace. They will probably out-do NZ sometime in the foreseeable future – and that’s after NZ has also been going ‘gung-ho’. It’s population size and geography which will ALWAYS hold NZ back.

    NZ is not the greatest of countries for ‘opportunities’ – and that is the indicator which is really the one to watch.

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  3. NoCash (256 comments) says:

    Simon Collins is the author, what else do you expect.

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  4. Bill (94 comments) says:

    Keep the distractions up! Keep attention away from Collins and the fearherbedding by her and her likes in National. That behaviour is why so many are cynical about politics.

    Paula Bennet today decided she needed to announce an enquiry into dangerous dogs! Another blatant example of manipulating the headlines. Both Collins and Key will owe her one: what an operator!

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  5. Judith (8,460 comments) says:

    All these headlines tell me is that somewhere in our social and education systems we are not preparing Kiwis to deal with life properly.

    I don’t believe it is a lack of money – but it is how they spend the money they do have.

    As Randy Pausch said, “its not about the cards you are dealt, but how you play the hand”.

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  6. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    We ran out of money for food last year. It was when my husband lost his job and went contracting and the customer refused to pay in a timely fashion. We had borrow money from our families to get by.

    I know another family whose dad is paid about $100k (my husband now contracts at the company and happened to see the spreadsheet with the salaries on it), and they ran out of money for food this year for two weeks and were living on food bank and donations from friends.

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  7. lazza (370 comments) says:

    So the headlines include … “Media shows political bias” …

    Herald quotes 2007 data with : “Global survey shows Kiwis run out of money for food” …

    ” TVNZ rejects bias claims” … while accomodating their in-house political activism.

    Geez these lefty pricks … are so dishonest.

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  8. Jack5 (4,906 comments) says:

    That’s right, today’s the twenty-first of March, an odd number. So today we’re the ones in the OECD noticeable for running out of money for food.

    Tomorrow, the twenty-second, is an even date, and we will again be among the fattest and most obese folk in the OECD.

    Some of the fattest folk in NZ live in the poorest suburbs.

    NZ isn’t some starving corner of Africa.

    Obesity coincides with ability to afford food, especially the expensive, calory rich stuff (coke instead of water, Kentucky Fried instead of home cooking etc).

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  9. mara (752 comments) says:

    Jack5, I’m old enough to remember when the poorest people were the thinnest ones. Now it’s the other way around; at least in the West.” Poor” fat people tend to live amongst other ” poor” , fat people and so the condition is normalised. The poor, fat people that I frequently see have more expensive vehicles, shoes and cellphones than I could afford or would wish to spend money on. When my parents brought me and my brother to NZ as post-war refugees, we had nothing but dignity and a determination to do well. We did. Cry me a river……

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  10. doggone7 (756 comments) says:

    slightlyrighty: Behind the headlines.

    An OECD report came out with the PISA results on student achievement.
    When the PISA results were published we read on here about how brilliant schooling was in China and the calls were for NZers to go to Asia and learn how to teach properly. Many aspects of the report were beyond the ken or the politics of so many but that didn’t stop their ignorance and interpretation coalescing and their wisdom being shared with the world.

    I don’t remember suggestions being made about complaints to the press council regarding the misleading headlines and other codswallop and misinformation put out based on that OECD report.

    How nice it is on now here we have plaintiff cries about telling the ‘real story’ about OECD stuff.

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  11. Bob R (1,357 comments) says:

    ***ยป NZ 2nd highest in OECD for percentage of welfare going to low income families***

    Need to increase the number of low skills jobs (which is difficult with outsourcing and mechanisation of labor intensive roles); and/or adopt stronger family planning measures so those on low incomes have fewer children.

    It is morally wrong for people on welfare to be increasing the amount they take off others because they can’t be bothered to use contraception. It needs to be a condition of welfare receipt.

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  12. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    NATIONALS INCREASE IN GST IS
    AN ATTACK ON CHILDREN
    AND FAMILIES

    THEY PAY TAX INDIRECTLY THROUGH GST THE – ANTI FAMILY – ANTI CHILDREN TAX

    BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO – EAT

    TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX

    15%

    I AM SO AMASED AFTER THE BIGGEST TAX REFORMS IN 100YEARS
    EACH NZ HOUSEHOLD WAS BETTER OFF BY

    11 CENTS PER WEEK

    I MEAN WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM A PARTY THAT SPENT MILLIONS

    THE

    BRING BACK THE BASH

    CAMPAIGN

    NOW TRAITORS AND COWARDS WANT TO CHANGE THE FLAG

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  13. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    THAT NZ

    BEAT THE C R AP OUT OF KIDS AND TAX THEM

    THROUGH GST

    AWESOME YOU SHOULD BE PROUD

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  14. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    Stop shouting Ben, it’s hurting my ears.

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  15. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    NO

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