Willie responds

Willie Jackson has blogged a response to my blog post fisking the employment stats he cited on The Nation.

Good on Willie for responding. Nice to see a Minister blogging. But he may have made things worse for himself. Let’s go through his points:

This morning on that great bastion of National Party propaganda, Kiwiblog, David Farrar wrote a very unbalanced and quite frankly sloppy article titled “Willie wrong on almost every stat”.

We can’t stand by and allow this nonsense to go by without a response and it needs to be called out for what it is, which is downright lazy racial stereotyping.

Umm, I’m not sure how pointing out the Minister of Employment has his stats wrong is racial stereotyping, let alone lazy. It took me at least five minutes hard work.

The figures I used on The Nation are correct and I stand by them. I used the recent HLFS survey and compared them to the same point in time as last year, and I used the seasonally adjusted figure, which removes the quarter to quarter volatility that occurs with the figures that David has used.

So Willie has said he didn’t compare the latest figures to the end of the last Government, but to a year ago. That means he was taking credit for the improvements in the third and fourth quarters of 2017.

And he is right that you should use the seasonally adjusted figures. That is what I used, where available. But that means you can compare a June figure to a December figure.

Now let’s look back at exactly what Willie said:

When I came in, into the portfolio, I inherited 4.9 per cent

Now he didn’t say it was 4.9% a year ago.  He said he inherited 4.9%. He didn’t. He inherited 4.5% or if you are generous 4.6%.

Also if I wanted to be picky I would point out that in June 2017 it was 4.8%, not 4.9%.

Farrar has compared the unemployment rate for December 2017 which was 4.5% to the September 2017 figure which was 4.6% and then states as fact there was no drop. Actually had he compared it to the same point as 12 months ago when it was 5.3% as I have done he would see there has been a significant difference. This is the danger when you cherry pick the figures you use.

Yes unemployment did drop from 5.3% in December 2016 4.5% in December 2017. A drop that happened under National. So thanks Willie for highlighting how much unemployment dropped under National and how it has stayed stagnant under Labour.

I am the Employment Minister for all New Zealanders and I stated that as fact, and we are doing tremendous work, but you cannot escape the fact, that Māori, Pacific Islanders and Women are all considerably higher than the general population so of course this Government should be focused on reducing that deficit.

I don’t disagree with that. My post pointed out that the unemployment rates for Maori and PI actually increased in 2018, not decreased. I support Willie in his aim of having them come down. He may find some of his Government’s policies though won’t help his aim.

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