Does anyone in Labour understand the numbers

Labour’s Finance spokesman got the numbers around the party’s building policy wrong in trying to score a point in parliament:

 . . . Finishing off the session, Labour Party finance spokesman David Parker decided to question Heatley’s figures.

“I would ask, Mr Speaker, whether the Minister checked his arithmetic coming to the House. Because by my reckoning, if there was going to be one house built every hour, for every hour of the day, seven days a week for ten years, there would be a build of 613,000 houses, not the 100,000 houses that the Labour Party says we’re going to build,” Parker said.

Parker now probably wishes he hadn’t brought it up. Heatley said he supposed the press gallery would go and determine who was correct.

There are potentially two answers, given the way Heatley worded the equation:

Twenty-four houses built every day over ten years (and excluding any leap years – 24 x 365 x 10) gives 87,600 houses. About 13,000 short of what Labour was proposing, and in line with Heatley’s math.

Another way of doing it would give 87,360 houses: 1 x 24 x 7 x 52 x 10. Pretty much the same.

Either way, quite a bit off Parker’s 613,000.

If the finance spokesman can’t do fairly basic calculations, with or without a calculator, it’s no wonder the party’s policies don’t add up.


3 Responses to Does anyone in Labour understand the numbers

  1. macdoctor01 says:

    Actually, everyone is wrong, because no one has accounted for leap-years. The real answer is 87 648 if there are two leap-years in the 10 year block and 87 672 if there are three.

    Of course, all of this assumes a mythical construction company that works 24 hours a day, 356/7 days a year. Presumably it could be staffed with mythical creatures like honest politicians and rational environmentalists…


  2. TraceyS says:

    He has made a simple error. Multiplied 24 houses per day x 7 days per week x 365 days per year x 10 years = 613,200 houses.

    He should have multipled 24 houses per day x 7 days per week x 52 weeks per year x 10 years = 87,360 houses.

    There are not 365 weeks per year!!

    This highlights how easy it is to believe one’s own mistakes when the answer/finding/discovery etc suits the particular argument.


  3. homepaddock says:

    There are three types of people – those who can count and those who can’t. You two are obviously in the first group, Parker & his colleagues in the second, or maybe even the third.


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