Labour’s 4% unemployment target

May 13th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key says it is all very well Labour setting a new target of 4 per cent unemployment but policies were more important than targets, and Labour’s policies would increase unemployment.

“I can have a dream of becoming an All Black, too,” Mr Key said at his post-Cabinet press conference. “But the probability of Steve Hansen naming me in the squad coming up in the next few months is next to zero.”

The Budget-week banter followed a pledge by Labour leader David Cunliffe to cut the rate of unemployment from its present 6 per cent (147,000 people) to 4 per cent within a term.

I was going to make the same point. A target means little. Policies are what matter.

Mr Key also said National was on track to meet its target of 170,000 net new jobs between 2011-2015 – a target which attracted plenty of derision when it was announced in Bill English’s 2011 Budget.

“We are going to fulfil our target of creating 170,000 jobs we talked about some years ago,” Mr Key said.

The economy was going well but under Labour unemployment would be going up because with its Green partners, it was anti-growth, anti-development, anti-oil and gas exploration, and anti-farming.

Labour would also slow down the economy by increasing taxes.

The Greens think investing in companies that lose 96% of their value is how you create jobs!

Mr Cunliffe called a press conference at Parliament yesterday to announce the unemployment target and to reaffirm the party would run surpluses unless faced with a domestic disaster or another global downturn.

Again a target means nothing by itself. Policies mean everything. Labour has opposed almost every single measure of spending restraint in the last five years. If they had been in Government, spending would be billions higher and we’d still be facing many more years of deficits. So are they saying their opposition to spending restraint was wrong? Are they going to run a surplus by increasing taxes, rather than restraining spending?

“They will ask us to ignore the stagnant wages of most working families. 

This is, of course, incorrect. The latest annual household income survey (June 2013) shows average personal income from wages and salaries increased 5.4% and the median personal income increased 5.3%.

They will ask us to turn a blind eye to the soaring costs of living at the supermarket

Food prices in February 2014 are only 0.2% a year higher than a year ago. Fruit and vegetable prices are 5.6% lower than a year ago.

in our power bills

Power prices (as measured by CPI) increased an average 3.8% a year since 2008. In Labour’s last term they increased 7.6% a year.

in our mortgages

The cost of owning property (as measured by CPI) has increased an average 3.0% a year since 2008. In Labour’s last term they increased 5.2% a year.

and rents

The cost of renting property (as measured by CPI) has increased an average 1.9% a year since 2008. In Labour’s last term they increased 2.8% a year.

Lies, damn lies and Labour’s stats

February 13th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour has accused the Government of “throwing money” at charter schools with new figures showing they cost as much as five times more than state schools.

Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins said today that newly established charter schools were receiving up to $40,000 per student per year compared with the average of $7000 for state schools.

“A handful of children are being funded at a much greater rate than the bulk of Kiwi kids,” Hipkins said.

This is beyond misleading. Charter schools get the *exact* same funding as public schools. That funding is dependent on size. A smaller school gets more per pupil than a larger school. So Hipkins is comparing small tiny schools with massive schools. Also new schools get funded for basically one off capital and property expenses.

“There is no doubt every state and integrated school in the country could dramatically improve their students’ results if their funding was increased to match that given to charter schools,” Hipkins said.

Their funding is the same as charter schools.

Education Minister Hekia Parata told Parliament that small schools cost more whether they were charter schools or state ones.

“There is a different range depending on what the size of the school is, what the nature of the achievement level required,” she said.

A brand new public school of 100 students will get the same funding as a brand new charter school of 100 students. Chippie knows this.

Still making conventions up

February 4th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

In November, David Cunliffe invented a new convention. He claimed there was a convention you did not have royal visits in an election year.

I labelled this “Making Shit up“, pointing out there were royal tours in 1954, 1963, 1981, 1990 and 2002.

This invented convention has now been modified to a claim made this morning in the Herald:

Labour leader David Cunliffe said the G20 invite was a “nice to have”and should not be a factor in determining the election date. He said he was more concerned about the timing of the Royal visit.

“New Zealand is not even a member of the G20 so the G20 is not going to bat an eyelid whether we are there or not.

First of all that isn’t the point. It’s a privilege and opportunity to attend. Anyway back to the main point:

A more important factor was the timing of the Royal visit in late April – the usual convention was that any such visits should be at least 6 months before an election. “I’d really challenge him to say whether he was going to abide by that convention.”

This convention is also invented.

The 1981 visit was just two months before the 1981 election and the 2002 visit five months before the 2002 election. David Cunliffe was a Government MP in 2002 so should know this.

Does Cunliffe stick by shoes claim?

February 1st, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Hamish Rutherford at Stuff reports:

When David Cunliffe tried to hit home the message that many Kiwis were struggling this week, he chose a simple, heartbreaking example.

Not only was one in four living below the poverty line ‘‘one in five don’t even have two pairs of shoes to wear to school’’ the Labour leader said in his state of the nation speech in Auckland.

Later in the week Cunliffe was challenged by Prime Minister John Key in Parliament to quote the source of the claim (as had Right wing commentators), but he did not do so.

His office is now ignoring questions on whether he sticks by it, but the foundations are shaky.

Staff confirmed that it was based on the report last year of Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills, which said 17 per cent of children (which is one in six, not one in five) were exposed to ‘‘a range of economising behaviours’’.

These included having at least two pairs of shoes in good repair, but could also mean parents cut back on fresh fruit, limit heating or avoid going to the doctor to save cash.

The report this all comes from I blogged on last week. It clearly states that only one in 20 families can;t afford two pairs of shoes. Cunliffe’s figure was 400% higher.

Some fisking

January 25th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Matt Nolan at TVHE fisks Rob Salmond over his claims to be revealing the truth about income inequality in NZ. he points out numerous flaws, including how his figures are not per capita, so as more population enter the highest income band, this exaggerates income growth. Nolan also makes the point:

We have seen median income growth outstrip mean income growth in NZ for a long period of time, implying that static inequality has come down a little bit. 

Another claim which should be fisked is David Cunliffe who said:

“Kids don’t leave their lives at the school gate. When kids go to school hungry and one in five doesn’t even own two pairs of shoes, we can’t expect them to achieve.

I’ve looked long and hard for a source for this claim, but can’t find one. Can anyone find one?

What I could find was the latest NZ Living Standards Report which does ask if everyone in a household has two pairs of good or sturdy shoes. And 92% said they did, and only 5% said they did not because they couldn’t afford it.

Now 20% is four times greater than 5%, so that is some exaggeration.


August 14th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar
  1. Graeme Edgeler fisks Gordon Campbell multiple times
  2. Stats Chat fisks Stuff for saying pet owners have a 29 fold increased risk of breast cancer

NBR calls Russel out on his porky

June 11th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Russel Norman proclaimed:

“There’s no signs of clawing back any of the 40,000 jobs lost in the manufacturing sector since 2008.

Rob Hoksing at NBR fisks this claim:

Manufacturing has lost 40,000 jobs, Green co-leader Russel Norman proclaimed yesterday when the latest manufacturing data came out.

He might be right – if you go back to the late 1990s.

However, Dr Norman claimed the sector had lost 40,000 jobs since the current government took office at the end of 2008.

We’ll call that bogus and leave readers to use shorter or pithier epithets if they so wish.

So who is right? Russel Norman or Rob Hoksing?

The full-time equivalent employee numbers, which are included in Statistics New Zealand’s quarterly employment survey, show 18,000 fewer working in the industry over the past 17 quarters since National took office. 

The previous 17 quarters show a 16,700 drop. Remember this was also, mostly, prior to the global financial crisis, in a much more different – not to say optimistic – environment.

The filled job figures, also contained in the quarterly employment survey, show a 20,400 fall in jobs in the most recent 17 quarters, and 18,300 in the equivalent previous period.

So if you go by the QES, Norman is out by over 100%.

The official unemployment measure, the household labour force, shows a much larger difference.

 The number of people employed in manufacturing fell 9400 since the change of government. The previous 17 quarters shows a loss of more than double that number of jobs, by 19,900.

And from the HLFS stats, Norman is out by 300%.

All these figures paint the same picture with a slightly different emphasis: the sector has been employing fewer people for a long time. 

They also show Dr Norman is just making numbers up. 

Making a lot of things up lately to manufacture a crisis in manufacturing.

A gentle fisking

February 14th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Danyl at Dim-Post blogs:

Last time I looked, smart-phone penetration in New Zealand was around about the 5% mark. But I guess Key’s kids and all his staffers have them, so that’s everyone in the world of the Sun King.

This was in response to this comment from the PM:

“It really doesn’t matter if there is a street frontage there … We are living in an age where kids have iPads and smartphones. That’s the modern generation … and they actually don’t want to walk in, for the most part, and be in a very long queue and be waiting for a long time.”

So is Danyl right that only 5% of Kiwis have a smart phone, basically John Key’s kids and staffers?

The World Internet Project New Zealand disagrees, and hey as they actually surveyed 1,255 random New Zealanders, I tend to go with their numbers, being:

Usage of smartphones and other handheld wireless devices has grown apace, from 7% of Internet users in the 2007 sample, to 18% in 2009 and 27% in 2011. This is clearly a strong trend that will continue into the future.

So not really 5% and just some staffers and kids then, and hasn’t been for the last five years. Note that WIPNZ found 86% of NZers aged 12 or older are Internet users, so the smart phone penetration rate for all over 12s would be 23%. Also note the survey was six months ago.

Comparing migration to Australia

October 3rd, 2011 at 7:04 am by David Farrar

I could write this in my Stuff blog, but I’m going to write about Winston instead for them. So I’ll do a little fisking of this graph published by John Pagani in his blog (and originally from The Standard he says).

First of all John uses gross migration to Australia. Most people would say that the more useful figure is net migration, taking into account those Kiwis who move back to New Zealand.

Secondly it almost makes it look like no-one left to Australia before that nasty John Key took power. But let’s add on the three years prior to that, using the quarterly net migration stats from Stats NZ.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that things are good, just because they are not as bad as the three years previously. I think the level of migration remains a big concern, and that the Government needs to undertake more extensive economic reform to lift productivity and hence wages.

Fisking Andrew

February 4th, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Andrew Little was on Morning Report today. I can’t recall which of his hats he was on as, but anyway he was talking unemployment. He said the Government needs to invest mreo in infrastructure to create jobs, specifcally:

“It complains about debt, it doesn’t make a distinction between public debt and private debt, actually the Government does have the means to continue at least spending on infrastructure projects that are about building assets and that are about creating real work. It is the very role the Government should be playing at the time of an economic downturn and it appears to have stepped aside from playing that role.”

But this is exactly what the Government is doing. It has not put a lot of money into social spending programmes like in the US, but it has increased and acclerated its infrastructure programme. Specifically:

  • The Government has embarked on the single biggest infrastructure investment programme ever over the next five to seven years.
  • It is spending $7.5 billion through the Budget process over five years. In addition it has increased spending on State Highways to over a $1 billion a year and is spending more than ever before on upgrading the National Grid. All up the Government is spending about $6 billion a year and rising.

Without this unprecedented level of investment in infrastructure, the construction sector would be in a bad way.

Andrew is also quoted as saying by the presenter:

While John Key insists there is an improving economic picture, Andrew Little says there is little change on the horizon to a flat market for New Zealand’s products and he says that in the next few weeks between 200 and 250 will be made redundant from the manufacturing sector with employers reviewing other positions as well.

The manufacturing sector though is actually a growing sector. The HLFS has the total number of manufacturing jobs growing by around 12,000 in the last quarter and 17,000 in the last year.

The job losses are in the financial and education sectors, not manufacturing.

The Spirit Level Delusion

August 17th, 2010 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

I’ve been reading a book called The Spirit Level Delusion: Fact-checking the Left’s New Theory of Everything, and have been meaning to blog its wonderful comprehensive fisking of The Spirit Level.

But Not PC has done most of this for me in this post:

The authors of the British book The Spirit Level have a political agenda, and they’ve got it talked about everywhere. Even here. The NZ Labour MPs’ blog Red Alert for example is so excited it even has a ‘Spirit Level’ “tag”, and breathless comments from the likes of Grant Robertson that “These people’s work can not be dismissed.” And Colin James, the commentator on the tired and the bleeding obvious, wonders if the 300-page tome might not become  “a sort of guidebook for the next Labour ministry,” should there be one.

So what’s their work, and why are Grant Robertson and his comrades so excited about it? It’s a “revolutionary” thesis overturning all previous research: that societies with more “equal” incomes do better than those that don’t.

So how did they do what no other researchers before them have managed to do? Simple, They fudged the figures.

First we get the official graph to prove their thesis:

Looks compelling doesn’t it.

But they left off countries that don’t fit their thesis such as Hong Kong, South Korea and the Czech Republic. Add them in and use the official stats from the UN and:

A remarkable change.

Fisking Trevor

April 6th, 2010 at 11:24 am by David Farrar

Trevor at Red Alert says:

The case in point, if the facts as alleged by Norman are accurate, is a pretty clear cut one. David Carter as a farmer in Canterbury has a case currently before Ecan to increase his water rights and therefore the value of his land. He takes part in the Cabinet debate and decision to scrap Ecan and short circuit the system for the decision relating to his farm. About as obvious a conflict as one could get and certainly well over the perceived conflict test.

Now I know Trevor doesn’t let the facts get in his way, but this one is particularly untrue. The facts:

  1. David Carter has no case or application before ECAN to increase his water rights and indeed never has. Total fiction. This is a matter of public record.
  2. The consent to take water from the Hurunui River for his Cat Hill farm is an existing historical one that was transferred into Carter’s name when he bought the property 4 years ago. It has not changed since then.
  3. The Cat Hill property will not be affected either negatively or positively if the Hurunui Water Project proceeds as the farm due to its topography and the fact that it is outside of the catchment zone cannot and would not be irrigated further.
  4. Trevor’s claim that there is a conflict of interest that needed to be declared is utter bullshit. He knows this himself as he has said “If the facts are accurate” which are weasel words for when you know they are not.

Fisking Jacinda

September 30th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Hansard of the first reading of the VSM bill is now online. If I have the time, I want to respond to all the MPs who spoke out in favour of compulsory membership, but for now will just respond to Jacinda Ardern’s speech, as the version of history painted is now one I or my colleagues remember.

Jacinda said:

Unlike the member who is in charge of this bill, I can speak from some experience, having attended a university that looked at voluntary student union membership. I was at Waikato University in the 1990s. I was not a student politician—I want to make that clear—I was a student. I was an observer of what happened, and I voted in the election that eventually led to that university being the first in 70 years, I believe, to go voluntary. I inform members of this House that it was the first university to go back to universal membership, because it learnt that it was a disaster to move to a voluntary system.

Now Jacinda has one thing right. WSU was voluntary, and now is compulsory. But far from VSM being a disaster that students rejected, the return to compulsory membership happened due to the machinations of the then Vice-Chancellor – former British Labour MP Bryan Gould.

You see what Jacinda doesn’t tell you is that Waikato students voted to go voluntary in 1996 by 63% to 37% in a referendum . The supporters of compulsion tried to overturn that the following year with another referendum, which VSM also won easily.

Undeterred they tried again in 1999 in a referendum (triggered by the current law) and got thrashed. VSM won 78% of the vote, in a turnout of around 30%.

So what happened? In 2000 the University, headed by former British Labour MP Bryan Gould, scheduled a further referendum upon receiving a petition late in the year. They scheduled it for a short three day period at the beginning of study week for exams. And they only gave students one days notice of the vote. Their own staff advised against this, and said there should be two weeks notice.

Turnout fell from 30% to around 10%, and compulsion won on its fourth attempt in an election that Iran or Afghanistan would be proud of. I mean at least they get more than one days notice of a vote!

Jacinda’s claim that Waikato students rejected VSM, in fact reminds us of how flawed the referendum model is. Apart from the philosophical objections to having 51% being able to force 40% to join something, you can’t get a fair vote on most campuses. Even if your Labour mate the VC doesn’t schedule the vote to favour the forces of compulsion, you generally have the students association having 100 times the resources of those supporting VSM. More on that another day.

Anyway for those who want more info on what really happened at Waikato, a colleague of mine has put together a summary which is below:

One favourite myth of opponents of voluntary membership concerns the voluntary era at the Waikato Student Union (1998-2000) and the impact of three years of voluntary membership on the association. Labour MP Jacinda Ardern referred to WSU during her speech on the first reading of the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment bill last week. Let’s have a look at her claims.

But first some history and background.

Jacinda claims that Sir Roger’s bill follows previous voluntary membership bills from, in her order, Tony Steel, Donna Awatere-Huata, and then Michael Laws. She has the order wrong. Michael Laws introduced his members’ bill in 1994. It went to select committee in 1995 but lapsed in 1996. The Steel and Awatere-Huata bills were two separate members’ bills that were simultaneously drawn in May 1997. The Awatere-Huata bill did not receive a second reading. The Steel bill was passed in August 1998, but only after a compromise, promoted by some New Zealand First MPs, led to the introduction of referenda as the means to determine whether membership would be compulsory or voluntary.

WSU’s move to voluntary membership happened prior to the passage of the Steel bill. In September 1996, following two years of campaigning by voluntary supporters, WSU members voted 987 to 591 to make membership of WSU voluntary from 1 January 1998. In August 1997 compulsory supporters called another referendum in an attempt to overturn the 1996 decision. This was unsuccessful and students voted to confirm the introduction of voluntary membership. In 1999 there was another referendum, this one triggered by the Steel bill. This time 1984 students voted voluntary, 561 voted compulsory, from a total turnout of 3051. So much for NZUSA’s claim that students don’t want voluntary membership.

Voluntary membership at WSU ended in questionable circumstances. By 2000 WSU had a pro-compulsory president. His executive collected signatures for another referendum but waited until October and the final meeting of the academic year before presenting the petition to council. The referendum was held on 16-18 October. At the time, David Penney, a former president of APSU, the national polytechnic student association and then a university employee, pointed out the problems with the timing of the referendum saying,

the University will have less than one day to officially notify students of the vote, normal practice two weeks; maximum voter turnout may be undermined by the timing of the vote, which is recommended to take place on the first three days of study week when on-campus numbers are low; the integrity of the process may be undermined given the short lead-in time.

Jacinda also claimed that WSU’s return to compulsory membership “happened only after all of the services that (Waikato) students had benefitted from had collapsed.” According to Jacinda the collapsed “services” were foodbanks, emergency housing and a hardship fund. Trouble is WSU never provided any of these things. Waikato students paid (and still pay) separate levies for health and counseling, student buildings, and food, bars and the recreation centre. The university collected levies for these three areas and none of them were affected by voluntary membership.

WSU owned half a dozen rental properties but these weren’t emergency housing. Prior to 1996 they were, however, rented out at below market rates and often to executive members and their mates. In 1995 WSU attempted to justify the use of student money to buy houses by claiming that if they owned enough properties they could eventually force down Hamilton rental prices. I doubt if WSU members were aware they were funding a Waikato version of a Polish shipyard.

Jacinda’s in good company when it comes to making false claims about WSU. In 2000 Steve Maharey complained about the “million the voluntary purists at Waikato fiddled away”. However an examination of WSU’s balance sheets shows WSU’s equity during the three voluntary years fell by $4000; from $578,000 (1998) to $574,000 (2000). I hope Steve’s not using the same calculator at Massey.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be looking at more of these myths.

Liberty Scott on Waterview

May 15th, 2009 at 8:33 am by David Farrar

Liberty Scott has some useful fisking on Waterview:

2. Idiot Savant says the announcement by the NZTA on the preferred route for the Waterview connection is “an affront to democracy”. Complete bollocks. When did people vote for the route of ANY road? It never happened for any other section of the Western Ring Route, nor the Northern Gateway, nor the Waikato Expressway, nor the Christchurch Southern Motorway.

One piece of hysteria dealt with.

3. He also talks nonsense in claiming “the plan centres on using an existing rail designation for a motorway. So, Auckland won’t be getting a proper rail-based public transport network because National will have already built a stinking great road there.” Funnily enough there remains room for the motorway there (the map he links to shows this) and even ARTA has no plans to built the Avondale-Southdown railway till 2030. The project isn’t worth it, so to claim Auckland “wont be getting a proper rail-based public transport network” because one line that would be barely used isn’t to be built, is extreme hyperbole.

And another.

4. Bomber at Tumeke thinks it is a conspiracy with National favouring its big business mates at Macquaries and hating public transport. For starters, Labour’s plans would have benefited Macquaries far more as it would have been a bigger scheme and a PPP. On top of that, the Waterview connection wont be tolled, nor will it be a PPP, Macquaries provides finance for PPP toll roads, it isn’t in the road construction business in New Zealand. The company can’t benefit from this decision at all. So that makes this conspiracy theory totally fatuous.

Now that is just embarrassing.

5. The Standard tries to spin that the government is misleading on costs, something that NZTA clears up quite quickly. It also makes some of the same mistakes as others do.

All options require work at SH16 worth $242 million.

Labour wanted a four lane bored tunnel. $1.974 billion. National is now proposing a four lane mix of surface, bored tunnel and cut and cover tunnel at $1.165 billion, with provision for six laning built in (Labour’s option did not allow for that). That’s over $800 million difference. To put that in context, Transit’s total budget last year for ALL state highways activities was $1.2 billion. So National’s proposal saves a lot of money, AND allows for future growth.

So even before we look at finance costs, Labour wants to spend $800 million on its tunnel – which is 2/3rds of the total annual state highway budget.

And almost all the predictions are that one will need six lanes within a few years – that will put Labour’s pet tunnel cost up by a further $361 million.

Labour had proposed a PPP for the motorway, so financing costs (interest) of $554 million had been included for its option. However, Labour had NO budgetary provision for the motorway at all. Financing costs are the costs of paying a PPP operator to borrow, build and operate the road. The money to pay the PPP operator would still need to come from somewhere

It is Labour that proposed its tunnel be financed from a PPP, which adds on the financing cost. This is an actual cost – the money will be borrowed and paid.

National will pay for its proposal through the Land Transport Fund – no borrowing. But even if it did have to borrow to fund it, the financing costs would be around $250 million less than the $554 million.

So even if one assigns a financing cost to National’s proposal, it is $1.08 billion cheaper than Labour’s tunnel. With no financing cost (as it won’t incur borrowing) it is $1.36 billion cheaper than Labour’s tunnel and if you compare it to what would have become necessary – a three lane tunnel each way, it is $1.75 billion cheaper.

So Labour is insisting on a tunnel that is at a minimum going to cost $1.08 billion more.

Fisking Tracey Barnett

February 16th, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Tracey Barnett in her ODT column (also carried earlier in the Herald) says:

And of course, there was the comfort in knowing that a gobsmacking 98% of Bush appointees were regulating the very same industries they used to represent as lobbyists.

That seemed massively high to me. Just from my knowledge of the Cabinet that seemed wrong. So I went to Harper’s Index, which Tracey was quoting:

Minimum number of Bush appointees who have regulated industries they used to represent as lobbyists: 98

Anyone else see the difference? One is a percentage and one is an absolute number.

The total number of presidential appointees is 3,000 so 98/3,000 is a less impressive 3%.

Fisking Parker

June 11th, 2008 at 1:35 pm by David Farrar

There is a story in The Press about how carbon emissions are increasing due to the power problems as thermal stations are being reactivated and running at full steam. They say:

Figures for the week to Sunday show estimated CO2 emissions from thermal power stations have risen by about 75 per cent from about 125,000 tonnes a week in mid-March to 220,000 tonnes a week.

Now Energy Minister David Parker tried to dismiss this by saying:

Asked if he was concerned about that and if anything could be done about it, Parker said the longer-term trend was more important and that CO2 emissions from the electricity sector had fallen since about 2000.

Now it would be nice if journalists did not take assertions like this on the word of the Minister, and actually checked the veracity of the claim that CO2 emissions from electricity had fallen since about 2000. Let us do it for them:

The MED has a report covering the period 1990 to 2006. Now what does it say on page eight:

In 2000 thermal electricity generation produced 4,942 kilotonnes of greenhouse gases or CO2 equivalent. And in 2006 it was 8,300 kt. So rather than having fallen, it in fact increased 68% in six years. The increase has pretty much all been coal.

Now we have quarterly reports for post 2006, up to the end of 2007. If you add the four quarters together then the 2007 total is 6,644 – still 34% higher than in 2000.

An analyst tells me the fall in 2007 is due to decommissioning some of the older Huntly turbines – the very ones which are now running at flat tack again!

While on Greenhouse gases, one should also look at the massive deforestation which has happened due to Labour’s policies. Deforestation in 2007 was the highest it has been for 50 years.

And listen to Forestry Minister jim Anderton on Radio NZ about this. He basically says deforestation was inevitable due to government policy!

Fran fact checks Winston

March 1st, 2008 at 8:02 am by David Farrar

Winston challenged journalists to report the facts, so Fran O’Sullivan has done just that.  First she makes the point:

Let’s concede here that Peters is right on one point: journalists have not uncovered any evidence that Glenn contributed to his party.

But we’d hardly be doing our jobs if we didn’t ask pertinent questions after Peters’ own party president admitted to Herald political editor Audrey Young that despite help from NZ First’s bank, he couldn’t track down the source of a donation put towards a $158,000 sum outstanding from the 2005 election.

Then she reports Winston’s challenge:

I took Peters up on his challenge and did some digging after he told Paul Henry on TVNZ’s Close Up programme about his expectations for a professional journalist – “It’s [about] getting the facts first and presenting a story that will stand up.” Here’s what I found in relation to some of his own statements.

And what did she find:

Peters: “We have not made a decision with respect to even having a consul in Monaco … It’s an ongoing matter for consideration and has been for 12 long years.” (Parliament press conference on Thursday).

Fact: In June 2004, former foreign minister Phil Goff categorically ruled against appointing a consul to Monaco saying there was “no proven need” for one.

Indeed.  It was case closed.  Winston re-opened it.

Peters: “Since the formation of New Zealand First, we have assiduously at all times complied with the electoral law of this country.” (Parliament press conference on Thursday).

Fact: Auditor-General Kevin Brady believed NZ First was responsible for $158,000 of a total $1.17 million in unlawful spending of parliamentary funds by political parties at the 2005 election.

Peters contests this saying its expenditure was pre-approved by Parliamentary Services and the Chief Electoral Office.

This was a breach of the Public Finance Act rather than the Electoral Act, to be fair.

Peters: NZ First has “had no big business backing since its inception”. (Close Up on Thursday).

Fact: NZ First’s electoral donations returns indeed show the party has not come within cooee of attracting the big business backing which has swelled the campaign coffers of the main parties.

But Contact Energy – surely a big business – did give $10,000 to the party in 2003 and again in 2005.

Absolutely. Peters was wrong.

Peters: “This is a party (NZ First) that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a great case to do with tax evasion in this country and we don’t recall any journalist or any media group joining us in these battles.” (Parliament press conference on Thursday).

Fact: New Zealand news media companies – particularly the National Business Review, Independent and Television New Zealand – between them spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting injunctions during the 1990s to get the big wine box tax avoidance issue in front of the public.

It is true that NZ First paid for a subsequent challenge to the wine box inquiry commissioner’s findings right through to the Privy Council.

Yes, not quite a solo effort as portrayed.

And I am still waiting for Owen Glenn to tell us which political party he did donate to, if it was not NZ First?

Now that’s a fisking

February 25th, 2008 at 8:07 pm by David Farrar

Paul Sheehan in the Sydney Morning Herald does the mother of all fiskings on the New York Times’ story on John McCain.

I won’t even quote from it, because you need to read the whole thing. But it really is a template for all future fiskings.

It is also an important lesson in how subtle bias can be. They find the article:

  • had 13 negative and anonymous attributions
  • undermined a positive fact seven times with “but”
  • repeatedly turns ethical actions of McCain into innuendo of hypocrisy

It is a classic case of twisting the facts to fit the story.