OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Did you know we're in a recession?

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    it has turned politics into the circus of bullshit that it is today.

    Unlike when? When was the golden age of New Zealand (or American, or whatever) political discourse?

    Because I'm far from convinced it ever existed.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    When was the golden age of New Zealand (or American, or whatever) political discourse?

    Conservatives say it happened back in the day when people showed more respect to their elders and the media didn't report every little dalliance with witchcraft and the like.

    Liberals say it is happening now, but in countries our media shows no interest in.

    Pragmatists end up teaching critical thinking courses in the hope that if it didn't happen in the past or isn't happening somewhere no one is looking, that their students might start doing it tomorrow.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Keith:

    It makes a mockery of the idea of governance by an informed citizenry, and it has turned politics into the circus of bullshit that it is today.

    Brought to you by the Ministry of Truth and the Ministry of Plenty.

    Fletcher:

    This morning on TV1 or National Radio(I forget which) Anne Tolley said (paraphrasing) that teachers wishing to address class size issues need to take it up wither their school board, as the ministry already assess secondary teacher funding on a class size of 17 pupils and if teachers were teaching classes of 30 or more it was because of local decisions....

    2 + 2 = 5.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4351 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    as the ministry already assess secondary teacher funding on a class size of 17 pupils and if teachers were teaching classes of 30 or more it was because of local decisions

    Fa arrrk.!!!! What a load of bullshit.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Unlike when? When was the golden age of New Zealand (or American, or whatever) political discourse?

    Because I'm far from convinced it ever existed.

    In Italy the public discourse overall isn't exactly something to aspire to (it's also a country with a slew of problems that New Zealand doesn't have), but I can assure you we have a number of newspapers that wipe the floor with their New Zealand counterparts. And none of them would have reported English's claim without not just the oppositions' counterclaims, but also some analysis of their own.

    And I'm sorry but the five minute turnaround thing is just silly. Newspapers aren't the 24 hour news, which needs to be on time and on the spot. They have every opportunity to present the political developments of the day - which let's face it aren't exactly overwhelming in number or Gargantuan in complexity - in a manner that is reasoned and useful to the public.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    We are Legion. Do not take Our name in vain, or We will fuck you up.

    I think your a bit late.... with the fuck you up part.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1228 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Goodbye, Mr Chips ...

    On the topic of teachers' pay...

    and this government keeps harping on that they want to ensure the future, yet keep pruning back the means for our young to learn in the best manner possible... logic fail!


    DOH! Nut!

    A Wellington man has claimed that the Earth is torus shaped, provoking sharp disagreement from scientists who point to the overwhelming evidence in favor of the spherical earth model.

    Though there is a whole lot of dough, moolah, er money to be made in the Torus Trade...


    Observation is everything...

    Meanwhile, philosophers continue to assert that the "What shape is the Earth?" is meaningless because no one has definitively proved it exists and, that even if it does, whether we live there.

    Researchers from The Three Blind Men Institute have today released their conclusive findings on the shape of an elephant...


    Erica clapped on...

    He's actually a heath statistician, but he turned out to be gold for statistical analysis in general.

    so he'd be good on Common ground
    and a whizz with Ledgers ?


    the Damage done...

    I don't want to sound mean, but I wish everyone a very average day.

    will standards be flying at half mast?
    after all Statistic is just standing still (static) with sit back down in it...
    or 'tis all white noise and the only statistics we represent are collateral damage?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5046 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I have this idea that the after tax real wage was what they eventually settled on as proof they were closing the wage gap with Australia.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    And if the unemployment rate keeps it up, it might soon be in fact very appropriate to call it "a wage".

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I have this idea that the after tax real wage was what they eventually settled on as proof they were closing the wage gap with Australia.

    Yes, pretty much. And the media never screamed "BULLSHIT!" at them over it, either. It was regurgitated happily, with no sign of contrary opinion, despite the fact that it would've taken 10 minutes on the OECD website to determine that, when comparing relative levels of income between countries, gross incomes are used because it's pretty much impossible to meaningfully calculate the after-tax income of a person in any jurisdiction in any kind of generalised way.
    Even a non-expert in the subject who'd been reporting on the House for a while should've had a BS sensor that was running in over-drive, and sought out comments from their friendly economics commentator. It's not like there's a shortage of academics (or bank economists, for that matter) who'll give a journo a few minutes for a juicy quote in the next-day's daily paper.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The only reason this one got picked up is because the bullshit was so egregious.

    Not so. English was tossing large porkies around at Budget time which I recall at least the Standard and Cunliffe writing about, but which strangely enough didn't interrupt the handjob the media were delivering at that stage.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16754 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Not so. English was tossing large porkies around at Budget time which I recall at least the Standard and Cunliffe writing about, but which strangely enough didn't interrupt the handjob the media were delivering at that stage.

    Quoted to illustrate a final point that people with a strong political bias are really bad judges of things like objective truth and the impartiality of sources.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The idea that the Herald or the Dominion Post are impartial due to their being beholden "only" to commercial interests rather than a political party or another would be laughable if it wasn't a tiny bit sad.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    objective truth

    quoted to illustrate the stunning political naivete of some involved in political commentary

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16754 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Would you be able to write in depth commentaries on all these subjects on the same day without some expert in, say treaty law throwing a tantrum because there were errors in your legal analysis?

    Here's my dirty secret. I have no stats qualification. I have no economic qualifications. My degree was in political science and religious studies, and my honours focused on 16th century philosophers like Hobbes and Hume.

    My fisking contains no actual statistical analysis. All I ever do is read the source, the footnotes and the titles. The only things I ever pick up and start fisking are things that common sense will tell you is complete crap (e.g. "Wages grew 13x faster in the recession") or things that jar with what I remember from 6th form statistics.

    My point is that I don't care, as a starting point, whether journalists can or can't do this. I care that, because they don't, they are a disruptive and irrational force that is harmful to collective decision-making (e.g. Climate change).

    But even if they have the aptitude and the resources to do it, their format doesn't allow it. Say I was standing next to a NZPA journo writing that inflation piece, and I explain everything I wrote in the blog to them, then what? It doesn't fit with the conventions of a news story. Isn't that just a bit fucked?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Danyl, care to comment on the "average" income.

    Bonus points for how "political bias" might affect my perception of how that figure has been described by the government and in media as about $50k.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16754 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Economic reporting is not hard, its just maths and expected outcomes versus real ones. Keith just did the Maths as he was taught to do in School.

    Why do Journalists have problems with an hour of maths every now and then?

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I care that, because they don't, they are a disruptive and irrational force that is harmful to collective decision-making

    your example though is of a politician doing what politicians usually do - try and spin things to their advantage. It happens all the time and people in general don't take what politicians say at face value and don't need reporters to have that pointed out.

    Is their any evidence that many people took what English was saying all that seriously?

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    What you have missed is that English stated wages are higher. What a journalist should have done was note that English has used average wages which are distorted and the better measure is median wages. When both numbers are shown it is obvious that average wages are only higher because low wage earners have lost their jobs.

    If low earners lose their jobs the median wage will rise as well (all other things remaining equal).

    Keith's graph actually shows something more complex than that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6204 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Is their any evidence that many people took what English was saying all that seriously?

    The swinging voter decides elections and they swing off soundbites and smiles.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    If low earners lose their jobs the median wage will rise as well

    technically... yes... but in reality. no.

    The sample size is so large, and the large volume of samples that are low or mid, compared to the very few that are high or extremely high..... means if you take away the lowest 20,000 samples... the value of the new middle numbered sample will still be very similar to the old one.

    If the average was 50k and went up to 52k.... the median might have been 28k and "gone up" to 28,001.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    technically... yes... but in reality. no.

    Actually technically yes, and in reality yes. Just by not as much, as you point out.

    Which means, as I said, that's it's a far more complex story shown in Keith's graphs.

    For median income to drop at the same time as average income rising, a whole bunch of lower incomes must have dropped off the data AND median band incomes must have dropped. The former must have been particularly significant, for average incomes to rise while median incomes fell.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6204 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Quoted to illustrate a final point that people with a strong political bias are really bad judges of things like objective truth and the impartiality of sources.

    And now you're just ducking the substance of the argument altogether. But it is an interesting topic -- you just need to work on that "everyone else is a ninny" undertone. It's really not working for me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18961 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    And now you're just ducking the substance of the argument altogether.

    I've made all the points I wish to make, we're now at the stage of the debate where people repeat the same arguments I've already addressed. I have nothing more to add.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've made all the points I wish to make, we're now at the stage of the debate where people repeat the same arguments I've already addressed. I have nothing more to add.

    Oh, don't sulk. I don't think you've really addressed the counter-arguments.

    Mind if we carry on though?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18961 posts Report Reply

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