Jacinda Ardern wrote on Facebook:
I have a question. If you’re jobless and looking for work, where would you start? My instinct says ‘online.’ But the Government has just decided that if you’re unemployed, but look for work on say Seek or Trademe for example, you basically will no longer count in our unemployment stats. I cannot tell you how mad this makes me!
As the Government Statistician has pointed out, this was not a decision made by the Government (Ministers) but by public servants with statutory independence. If Jacinda was Prime Minister, the same decision would have been made and occurred as politicians don’t get to decide how statistics are defined.
Chris Bishop pointed out:
Cool story Jacinda but you are wrong. Browsing job ads on the Internet does not count for statistical purposes as ‘seeking a job’. Applying for jobs online does.
Important to note (since you don’t) this was done by statistics NZ independently too, to bring NZ into line with other countries.
They announced the changes in June, saying:
Previously, we captured responses that specified using the internet to seek work in an ‘other’ category and consequently classified as ‘actively seeking’. The redeveloped HLFS deals with using the internet differently. The job search method category ‘Looked at job advertisements in newspapers’ has now changed to ‘Looked at job advertisements’. Consequently, looking at job advertisements is now being correctly classified as ’not active’, regardless of the medium used.
What this means is merely browsing job advertisements (either in newspapers or online) doesn’t count as seeking work. You actually have to have applied for a job to be classified as seeking work.
This change brings the classification in line with international standards and will make international comparability possible.
Now again Labour knows this. They know this was a decision made by professional statisticians, and not politicians. But they are desperate.