A statistics mix-up

The NZ Herald reports that a Parliamentary Library staff member make an error in a calculation which was used by Don Brash at Ratama.

I wouldn’t normally comment on something like this, but as the story is already in the mainstream media, I will add a perspective.

The researcher mentioned, David Williams, is one of the most talented staff I have known. He was almost legendary with his ability to provide research statistics on almost any topic known to man, under often impossible deadlines and with great accuracy. And as someone who worked for all 120 MPs, he was impeccably neutral. Everyone rated David as the best.

This mistake, could well be the first one he has ever made, and it is unfortunate it has received such profile. But it is characteristic of David that he outted himself to the Herald as the researcher.

When I left Parliament in March 2004, after eight years, I went out of my way to write to the Parliamentary Librarian to praise the work David had done, and suggesting it would be a tragedy if they were to ever lose his services. He really is that good.

I am just glad that my many mistakes have never landed me in the NZ Herald (well actually one or two have but that was a long time ago 🙂

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