On balance

Unions don’t usually try to be balanced.

They are almost always anti National polices and pro Labour ones. Their silence on Labour’s monetary policy therefore speaks volumes.

Federated Farmers which isn’t politically aligned tries to be more balanced. Take its response to that policy:

It’s headlined Federated Farmers keen on Labour’s monetary policy and starts:

“We may be swimming against the tide but there are elements in Labour’s Monetary Policy which has some merit,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Of course we are talking high-level and the devil will be in the detail, but I wish to first caution any party from assuming inflation has gone the way of Rinderpest.  The moment you lose focus on inflation it will be back faster than a rat up a drainpipe.

“Giving the Reserve Bank the means to adjust universal KiwiSaver savings rates, as an alternative to raising interest rates, does genuinely strike us as innovative.

“We’re certainly not so quick to rush to judgement on such a policy as if it works, it could potentially boost savings while relieving pressure on both the Official Cash Rate and the Kiwi dollar.

Willis is trying to keep an open mind but he’s not quite as keen as the headline suggests:

“Whatever happens, it will need work to make sure it’s feasible, workable and equitable, given this policy could squeeze low and middle income earners.

Those low and middle income earners are the ones Labour is supposed to champion.

But Wills give Labour some credit:

“Federated Farmers is very happy to see that Labour will maintain the Reserve Bank’s independence and inflation target.  We’re also pleased to see inflation in the non-tradable sector being fingered by Labour too.

Being fingered by one hand while promoting policies which would fuel inflation with the other, though.

The rest of the media release looks at other policies on which Feds definitely isn’t keen:

“Even when running a surplus, what remains unanswered in Labour’s ‘monetary policy needs mates’ equation, is the pressing need for fiscal prudence.  If imprudent government spending takes off to deliver on political deals then it will kneecap monetary policy.

“We need the next government to truly cut its cloth because it is our money being spent.  

“Federated Farmers is sceptical about a Capital Gains Tax.  Aside from becoming just another tax, a CGT hasn’t dropped the price of houses in Britain or Australia, which, incidentally, are regularly advertised for sale in Asian newspapers.

“We also detect a hardening of Labour’s position on foreign investment in farmland, despite there being no research on whether it is a problem or not. We are equally concerned with the government’s laissez-faire attitude and wrote last year to Ministers requesting research.

“Before we go soft or hard on foreign investment, should we not first have the data?

“A mistake here will do untold economic damage affecting every kiwi because there are billions of reasons to get foreign investment policies right and each reason is called a dollar.  Especially with our exports cracking the $50 billion barrier in the year to March.

“We are further worried that the NZ Power initiative could increase costs on businesses while a stringent Emissions Trading Scheme in tandem with Resource Rentals, will put a Sword of Damocles over the productive sector’s head.

“Aside from the political digs that could easily be returned with interest, there are certainly aspects we’d like to get more detail on from Labour,” Mr Wills concluded.

On balance the conclusion from this is that farmers have a lot more to fear from Labour whether or not the monetary policy would work which many doubt.

Among those is BNZ economist Tony Alexander:

. . . Labour would broaden the target of monetary policy to include trying to get the external accounts in balance over the economic cycle. That is fairly meaningless and can be ignored just as previous additions of words such as “avoiding unnecessary volatility in interest rates, the exchange rate and output…” had basically no impact on policy implementation.

More significantly Labour propose giving the Reserve Bank a new tool, specifically the ability to alter

contributions to Kiwisaver accounts as a means of influencing the pace of household spending growth, therefore economic growth and therefore inflation. They hope that use of this tool would mean less reliance upon interest rates and therefore less upward pressure on the exchange rate and perhaps even a small structural decline on the theory that a higher average level of contributions to Kiwisaver would lead to a reduced average level of interest rates.

There are many implications of Labour’s policy.

  • Long tern Kiwisaver returns will be reduced as savers are forced to buy more shares when prices are high and fewer when they are low.
  • Volatility in the sharemarket will rise.
  • Investors will have extra incentive to purchase residential property, thus pushing house prices higher.
  • Overseas debt will tend to be boosted.
  • Bank profits will rise. . .

Reduced returns from Kiwisaver, increased share market volatility, more investment in property and higher overseas debt are big negatives and many will see higher bank profits as something which shouldn’t be encouraged either.

He goes on to say the policy could encourage more debt as well and adds:

. . . The policy as proposed by Labour is a valiant attempt to mitigate the impact on exporters of the monetary policy tightening cycle and they should not be criticised for trying to make a positive contribution to our economic growth in this way. But the policy is not backed by any research as to how it would work and how effective it would be, and if Labour were to defy the polls and hold power after September 20’s general election, implementation would likely be a long way off. The bastardisation of the generally popular Kiwisaver scheme also does not seem an optimal route to take. . . 

In other words, on balance, the policy is a dog.

49 Responses to On balance

  1. Gravedodger says:

    Of course farmers lobbyists will see benefits in Parker’s latest brain fart just as the grinning little chubby chops from Manufacturers and Exporters stated as he departed the launch.
    Those with High value export components and low exposure to import cost increases it will be considerably advantaged on the surface but just as a duck swimming reveals little of the activity that moves it through the water, the hidden turmoil will be considerable and expensive.

    Only a minority of New Zealanders have a mortgage so benefits of lower interest for that cost on all those with no mortgage will be unfair.
    Lower interest rates will seriously disadvantage savers and investors as we do not have all our money in assets and productive enterprises, some have it in cash balances, much is offshore as part of prudent investment portfolio management and when Parky lowers the exchange rate we will bring back more value in NZ$.

    Meanwhile those at the coal face will be the ones paying for another Labour folly consisting of smoke and mirrors, yet again.

    Sadly for NZ Inc they wont even be aware when they vote for the coalition from hell.
    Big winners will be the wealthy, accountants and tax lawyers as restructuring of affairs and strategy will again be the main event.
    I much prefer paying money to my good friend in Wanganui as opposed to giving it to the IRD, at least my mate spends it wisely and productively and doesn’t just hand it to the idle drug addled wasters who seriously think welfare is a way of life.

    ps I recommend as light reading the report from the Commission of audit chaired by successful businessman Tony Shepheard for the Abbott Government as it grapples with out of control corporate welfare and welfare for the wealthy, and what are predicted to be structural deficits in Federal economic management.

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  2. Dave Kennedy says:

    I’m sorry, Ele, I can’t let you away with your deliberate misinformation of what a union is.

    Federated Farmers is a union: http://www.fedfarm.org.nz/about-us/History/

    The New Zealand Educational Institute is a union: http://www.nzei.org.nz/NZEI/Aboutus/NZEI/About-Us/Aboutus.aspx?hkey=0a27e398-20b6-4d9e-80c9-384d23413445

    The Employers and Manufacturers Association is a union: https://www.ema.co.nz/aboutus/Pages/About-EMA.aspx

    The New Zealand Medical Association is a union: http://www.nzma.org.nz/about-nzma

    Although I am not a Labour member I think that this monetary policy is largely sensible and far superior to what is happening at present.

    There has been broad support from many employer unions for Labour’s economic and manufacturing plans:

    https://www.ema.co.nz/newsandmedia/news/Pages/Labour%E2%80%99s-monetary-policy-prescription-warrants-consideration.aspx

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/9953497/Business-backs-Labours-manufacturing-plan

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  3. Gravedodger says:

    That alright then If Dave K says it is good policy then that seals it, the science is settled, and anyone who takes a view to the contrary is a denier.
    Dont mention who might have panned it as unworkable, who will bear the brunt of the negative effects it will accomplish, how it will benefit the wealthy and how it will impact on the most vulnerable as they work their bodies to destruction with the Eldorado of a better income when they retire than they ever will enjoy as an earner.
    And as for those many Maori who will die before they reach retirement age now and the many more who wont make the raised age as it assuredly will raise once key is destroyed.

    Then we could cherry pick a couple of self centered and to hell with the rest, to back up the beautiful outcomes and they all lived happily ever after.

    Bugger I omitted to open with “Once upon a time when everyone worked hard to provide for their community_________!!!!!.

    Bloody grasshoppers just ran out of ants.

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  4. Dave Kennedy says:

    Gravedodger, you really don’t like people expressing different views from your own and you do leap to some amazing conclusions sometimes. Do you ever say anything that doesn’t involve abuse and personal attack?

    Great to see your concern for Maori, however 😉

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  5. willdwan says:

    Surely one problem is that the ‘tool’ is supposed to work by taking money out of circulation, and so dampening inflation. But the kiwi-saver money is immediately reinvested in the economy by fund managers which defeats the purpose as far as I can see. I agree the current system is flawed and not very effective, but this seems a poor effort at solving it.

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  6. Gravedodger says:

    I have to ask why you single out my concern for Maori for a compliment?

    What about the remainder of those on struggle street that this daft policy will punish and disabuse of their rewards for hard graft in a vain grope for electoral success?

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  7. TraceyS says:

    If self-employed and unemployed are excluded from Kiwisaver compulsion, then this will just be another disincentive to being employed.

    I listened to what Don Brash said on Q+A yesterday morning that the better off will respond to increased contributions with their bank savings and won’t be compelled to reduce spending (ie. the portion of income they put in the bank will reduce before their spending will).

    It will only be those with no choices, no buffer, who have to reduce their spending as a result of forced increases to their Kiwisaver contributions.

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  8. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey I thought that what would have been an increase in interest rates was instead shifted to an increase in Kiwisaver contributions, so it was essentially money that would have to be paid anyway. The increase in interest only goes to increased bank profitability whereas if it goes to Kiwisaver the money actually goes back to the people.

    I like the idea, but too many Kiwisaver schemes are privately managed and the returns are not as good as they could be.

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  9. homepaddock says:

    Dave – If this is correct a small increase in interest rates would be better for most people than the large increase in KiwiSaver contributions required –

    http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/parker-needs-front-kiwisaver-jack-plan:

    “My estimate is it would take roughly $2.5 billion in extra savings to keep the OCR 1 per cent lower. Labour would need to take another 6 per cent of people’s pay packets off them and put it into KiwiSaver to avoid a 1 per cent increase in interest rates. Given they already want people to save 9 per cent, that would whack it through to 15 per cent,” Mr Joyce says.

    I think you’ll find all KiwiSaver schemes are privately managed and none are guaranteed.

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  10. Paranormal says:

    DK do you even know what the Kiwisaver returns are at present? Your lack of commercial knowledge shows your comments are just repetition of leftist political talking points.

    When you consider inflation and interest rates are low and Kiwisaver returns (growth funds) are averaging between 8% to 12% http://www.morningstar.co.nz/s/documents/kiwisaver_surveyQ12014.pdf it just reinforces you and the Greens should never be given a look at the treasury benches.

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  11. TraceyS says:

    Dave, people have tools at an individual level to deal with interest rate increases. The ultimate would be working towards a debt-free situation, or debt-avoidance in the first place.

    My first home loan was financed by a 5 year fixed interest rate loan at 8.5% which was a great rate at the time (within a couple of years the floating rate reached 12%). I paid off the mortgage at the age of 25 after having seen how interest rates could hike and becoming motivated to insulate my future family from that risk. It took immense effort to achieve this and lots of personal sacrifices. It certainly meant reducing my discretionary spending so I was doing my bit to keep inflation down. But one thing that was not skimped on was my education which I had to pay off, and also paid into a managed-fund super scheme which turned out to be a terrible investment.

    Being mortgage-free didn’t last, however,.because in time we wanted a different house and that meant borrowing again. This house we paid off when I was 30.

    However, it is not always possible to pay down debt fast and debt is also a necessary tool for business growth and renewal. We do have business debt. Every time new debt is taken on it is with the full understanding that interest rates do not just keep on going down. They go up as well!! So we use a mix of floating and fixed rate instruments with a conservative exposure to the floating rate. Building a strong balance sheet and sound business plan also gives you the ability to negotiate with the bank to reduce their margin.

    Now if rates were to soar I’d not be too bothered at an individual level because we are fairly well insulated against that probability. However, when it comes to new borrowing to grow the business or replace something, it would definitely put the brakes on. Things would eventually stagnate and get run down and that is not a good outcome. So I’d like interest rates to stay low by whatever means – except compulsion.

    Under Labour’s policy, a wage or salary earner will have no negotiating power. They won’t be able to say to the Reserve Bank “look I will reduce my spending in other ways, like how about I pay that extra 6% contribution into my mortgage, instead of at the shops?…”. No you won’t, says Labour, you will join Kiwisaver whether you like it or not and put that money there instead. The only opt-outs are into self – or un – employment. Strange for Labour to incentivise.

    We should all be reminded now and then that low interest rates aren’t a given and that debt has to be repaid – the faster the better. Any investment, especially debt-funded investment, carries risk and one of those risks is interest rate risk. There is no better instrument for reminding people of these facts than a changing interest rate environment. And people do need to be reminded. Low interest rates are not a human right. But there are some who – scarily – almost see it that way.

    Wouldn’t it be better for governments to increase the collective financial literacy, including financial planning skills, of their citizens rather than seek control over their finances? Perhaps starting out by teaching finance as part of the primary school curriculum. The younger that kids learn financial concepts the better.

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  12. Dave Kennedy says:

    Our current account deficit is huge and a lack of savings is one of our major problems. I agree it is a good idea to pay off debt first but our banks and economy are all about borrowing and spending and most bank workers have targets for selling debt packages.

    I was lucky to get into the state servant’s superannuation scheme when I first started teaching and it is the best thing I could have done. While we should pay off debt first, many never will, so a compulsory savings scheme like Australia’s is probably a good idea.

    I also agree that the Kiwisaver scheme lacks a government guarantee and as they are private schemes there is a fair amount of fees and returns are variable. The Greens’ proposal to have a government guaranteed Kiwisaver option that is managed by the Guardians of our $16 billion NZ Super fund would be an alternative.
    https://www.greens.org.nz/kiwisaver

    I like the idea of using an adjustment system that gives money back to people rather than feeding the already substantial bank profits.

    I am not an economist and I am hardly likely to be the Finance minister, Paranormal, so making judgments based on my economic knowledge is hardly an accurate assessment of our Party’s credibility. But what the Government is doing at the moment is not working for most people.

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  13. TraceyS says:

    “But what the Government is doing at the moment is not working for most people.”

    Really???

    Evidence please.

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  14. TraceyS says:

    Labour says Kiwisaver should be compulsory. The Greens’ have a proposal for a government guaranteed Kiwisaver option. Where will everyone end up? In the same scheme! And what will the Labour/Green government ask for in return for said “guarantee”?

    Managed fund was the worst investment decision I ever made. Put in $21k from age 16 to 25 and got $14k back. A scheme open to government meddling would be even worse.

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  15. RBG says:

    TraceyS. According to Interest.co.nz the lower quartile house price was $295.000 in March. No idea when or where you bought these houses that you paid off at 25 and 30, but you are out of touch with the reality of modern urban life if you are suggesting that young people are going to be able to pay off mortgages by 30 these days. Assuming you can find a liveable house for $295K in a big city, there is a $59K deposit to come up with first. You are out of touch.

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  16. Paranormal says:

    DK – the Greens and you in particular have no credibility. You admit you have no idea on economic issues but still feel qualified to comment.

    Look at your latest. New Zealand taxpayers can’t afford to guarantee Kiwisaver yet it is Green policy. The private businesses that back the pension industry are many times the size of the NZ economy yet they worked out decades ago they couldn’t afford to guarantee pensions. Thats why they moved from defined benefits to defined contribution policies.

    You are just parroting slogans with no understanding of just how bad they are. Says a lot about you.

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  17. Dave Kennedy says:

    Paranormal, I think few commenting here are economists and yet most appear to be talking as though they are. All I am doing is providing a different point of view. Most of what I am saying is my own view and not quoting Green policy (unless I provide a link).

    Why do you get so angry when people express an idea different from your own? Considering the difficult situation we are in, based on the evidence I provided, we should be having some robust discussions and be open to alternatives.

    Please quote the “slogans” I have used in this discussion.

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  18. Ray says:

    “Most of what I am saying is my own view”
    What utter bollocks Mr Kennedy .
    Your comments on this blog invariably include a tsunami of links, ostensibly to support your view.
    Your comment above contains SIX.
    Your naivety and gullibility concerning the words of wisdom from the likes of UNICEF, 3News, TVNZ, RadioNZ and their ilk is touching, but most grown-ups with their own world view, take this propaganda for what it is.

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  19. TraceyS says:

    RBG – it’s all relative. When I started working full-time at age 16 my hourly rate was $4.16. I’m not sure what the average house price was then, but do remember that the idea of even owning a decent car felt pretty remote. Renting a house was completely out of the question, which left me boarding with a charitable elderly widow. I worked hard to get into a better paying job when labour relations in this country were unshackled in the early 90s. These reforms allowed a motivated young person to get ahead on their own account, without having to do their time working through all the pay grades, free from being trapped into unionised career progression. I am eternally grateful for that opportunity. It gave me wings.

    When that first home was purchased my salary was excellent for the time (and for my age), about the same as the “living wage” figure touted today. At 22 I earned twice what my mother earned working in her laundry job. Talk about inequality! But still I went without a lot of things, maybe because going without felt quite normal, putting everything into doing up the house which was in a bad state and still a very modest property even after being done up. While all our friends were busy partying, having holidays, and buying nice stuff to do their bit for inflation (and expecting to one day own flash near-new homes), we were heads down, bums up living in our hovel.

    It was evident back then that the average annual percentage growth of wages was lower than that of property. If I – a kid from a poor home who left school at 16 with no parental financial support from that day forward – could see that property ownership was increasingly going to be a runaway goal, then how come our successive governments and other intelligent people since then haven’t seen this coming much earlier? I take it that you may be younger than me RBG. How come your parents didn’t see this coming and teach you about it? People talk like we have this problem that just dropped in on us but in fact there has been plenty of time to see it coming. The fact is that many have been enjoying and benefiting from it and as they finally start to see clearly, suddenly, dramatic change is called for!

    Now I am not saying that it would be easy to pay off a home today either, but that was not my point. My point was that paying down debt is important and that Labour’s Kiwisaver/inflation policy will constrain this. If people take on debt that they have no hope of paying down over any reasonable amount of time then there will eventually be trouble. So why encourage them to do it? Surely it is better for interest rates to occasionally rise as a reminder that even home owners need to behave prudently or there will be a price to pay?

    I am wary of David Parker’s ideas. The memory of a conversation from long ago with one of his supporters comes to mind. This person had made a lot of money from people who had over-committed themselves in the domestic property market. In the past, inflation (and high interest rates) created pain for some who had to bail out leaving huge opportunities and bargain prices for those waiting in the wings. He was against the steady-as-she-goes approach, at least in part, because it prevented regular peaks and troughs in the property market. Which in turn reduced the numbers of real losers in the market thereby making it harder to achieve huge capital gains over very short periods by getting on and off the wave at precisely the right time.

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  20. Dave Kennedy says:

    Ray, I use a range of sources to demonstrate that my views have not emerged from a vacuum. It is just good practice to reveal sources and it is up to the reader to decide on their merits. When I discuss climate change issues for instance I tend to use NASA and other credible scientific institutions to support my case.

    “Your comments on this blog invariably include a tsunami of links, ostensibly to support your view.”

    I was asked for evidence and I felt that it needed links to provide this.

    I tend to read a range of material and use a variety of sources to shape my views and yet I am told here that I am gullible to put any weight on the views of prominent scientists, commissioners, ombudsmen, academics, NGOs and news reports.

    Ele herself uses links and quotes from different sources, as she has done here. Your suggestion that real ‘gown ups’ just know stuff and don’t need to have evidence for their views is a dangerous philosophy.

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  21. TraceyS says:

    “But what the Government is doing at the moment is not working for most people.”

    Dave, from your references can you please estimate the % of people that things are not working for?

    I’m guessing you will come up with about 70-80% by my definition of “most”.

    Perhaps you meant to say “many”? If you did, I might be inclined to agree.

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  22. TraceyS says:

    Ray, Paranormal and Dave all make fair points. I don’t see any problem with gullibility as long as a person can change state. We all experience times of gullibility and this isn’t bad unless it become a permanent state. Dave, I observe, is unlike his brother-in-law who comes across as entrenched in his one-sided views.

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  23. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, again my perception that most people comes from surveys and and statistics. I’m not sure why it needs to be over 70% to qualify for ‘most’ even 51% is a majority and this government uses such a percentage to claim a majority for passing legislation (in some jurisdictions it is a minimum of 65% that is needed). If it is based on surveys and polls a margin of error has to be accounted for but I would say in most instances 60% would justify the use of most.

    As for evidence (you don’t have to look at them Ray):
    Only 30% in a survey felt that they were better off:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11229270

    The median household income has not kept up with inflation:
    http://www.3news.co.nz/Mr-and-Mrs-Middle-New-Zealand-Median-NZ-household-income-falls/tabid/817/articleID/255039/Default.aspx

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  24. TraceyS says:

    The bottom article is two years old.

    Regarding the Herald poll – there is a different between feeling better off and actually being better off. I felt terribly poor while paying my mortgage and student loan off. Many parents are dirt poor giving their kids as many advantages as they can in this world – significantly more than their own parents provided for them as children. They might feel worse off, but are they?

    “majority” and “most” are two words with completely different meanings. 51% does not mean “most”! It means just over half. I do not think 60% is most either.

    I consider that you exaggerate for effect.

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  25. TraceyS says:

    *difference*

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  26. Paranormal says:

    DK when I point out your repeated lack of credibility and baseless nonsense you regurgitate why do you ascribe an emotion to that? Is that your last refuge when you have no answer?

    Some of your slogans that are baseless or at best not factual:
    “too many Kiwisaver schemes are privately managed and the returns are not as good as they could be.” All socialist slogan without any basis in reality as I pointed out above.

    “But what the Government is doing at the moment is not working for most people.” Tracey has kindly shown what a steaming pile that statement is. The links you point to are as always totally irrelevant, particularly a survey on how people ‘feel’ about the income gap/inequality meme promoted by the left.

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  27. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey whether you agree with me or not you would struggle to find any evidence to support the idea that most New Zealanders are better off, they clearly aren’t. According to the 750 people polled in the digipoll (March ’14) survey 70% of participants did not feel better off. Even given the margin of error I would have thought that reasonably supports my case.

    You are welcome to provide evidence that says otherwise 😉

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  28. TraceyS says:

    “Tracey … would struggle to find any evidence to support the idea that most New Zealanders are better off…”

    I’m not looking for evidence to support ideas Dave.

    But if I was, as a social science researcher, the first thing would be to define “better off” and set the parameters – ie. better off than what, who, when?

    I’d anticipate that reaching a common definition of “better off” would be tricky enough. But a critical step for making comparisons nonetheless.

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  29. Mr E says:

    Tracey Para and Dave,

    I love when statistics are misused.

    The herald digipoll is based on a survey of 750 people and the reported margin of error is 3.6%*

    The findings of the poll on gap width were:
    30% bigger
    22% no change
    3% smaller

    Margin of errors generally represent a 95% confidence interval. In this case it implies that, if repeated the survey result would fall within plus or minus 3.6% of the result 95% of the time.

    Statistically speaking it cannot be ignored that repeating the survey could present a result of:

    26% bigger
    26% no change
    7% smaller

    In this scenario, erroneous concluders would say “only 26% fealt the gap was bigger where 33% felt it was either smaller or the same”

    The reality is one can only conclude from the survey that there is no significant difference (95%CI) between those that felt that the gap was bigger compared to those that felt the gap was ‘the same or smaller’.

    For Dave to ignore this and suggest people think the gap is bigger raises questions for me. These include:

    As a former teacher does Dave know these basic facts? Is he ignoring the it to present “baseless nonsense” information prompting the likes of Paranormal to suggest the Greens lack credibility?

    Does he really not understand the statistics of the findings and like the reporters in this example make ‘Much ado about Nothing’

    Perhaps his politics simply override his will to present a balanced outcome?

    Maybe it was a genuine oversight?

    Or and option I have not thought of yet?

    Who knows?

    Dave do you know?

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  30. Mr E says:

    * the margin of error can change and the fact it does not for the Digipoll suggests they assume the margin of error or have based it on a historical survey. At any rate the margin of error they present may be wrong.

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  31. TraceyS says:

    ^ Ah, if that is the case Mr E, then the confidence level is actually just an estimate and the margin of error only takes into account random sampling error and not systematic errors. Therefore, your comment at 12:55 pm lends far too much credibility to the poll results. I’d suggest that on another day there will be quite a lot more variability than 3.6%. The test would be repeating it over and over with different random samples. But then it’s just a poll, never meant to be scientific….!

    Instead of “margin of error” it would be more correct for them to report it as “random sampling error”. Otherwise some might claim they are being misleading 🙂

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  32. Mr E says:

    Tracey,
    I believe it is true that the margin of error is only an estimate. Should it be tested more frequently to question its truthfulness? I would have to find out how often it is tested to comment on that.
    I would think the sample size is large enough for the error to be reasonably robust in its nature. But it is fair to say we only assume that to be the case.

    I recognised the margin of error uncertainties, whilst I wore my stats hat. If I didn’t no doubt I would be pulled up on it. When I did I was pulled up on it.

    Statistics without measures of error are meaningless numbers, unless of course they represent entire populations. In the case of sample measures even the measure of error can have error.

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  33. TraceyS says:

    Where’d Dave go??

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  34. Dave Kennedy says:

    I was busy doing other things, Tracey, I don’t spend every hour watching the conversations I’m afraid.

    Mr E you are looking at something different than I was. I was referring to the results of the question “are you better off?” You were looking at perceptions of inequality. This was the paragraph I used in the article:

    “One-third of those surveyed felt they were now better off financially since National became the Government, 30 per cent said they were about the same and virtually the same number said they were worse off. Eight per cent were unsure or didn’t know.”

    Only one third felt that they were better off, hardly the sign that most people were benefitting.

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  35. Mr E says:

    I’ll use the word “uncertain”. It seems fitting.

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  36. Mr E says:

    Dave,
    Ummm 30% say better off 30% say worse off. I don’t need statistics to point out your one sided propaganda is flawed.

    Now I understand Paranormal better.

    Sheesh

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  37. Dave Kennedy says:

    The question I was responding to was regarding how many were better off under National and the 30% is clear, the rest are the same, worse off or unsure. Sheesh 😛

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  38. Mr E says:

    What a bizarre point you are trying to make.

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  39. Dave Kennedy says:

    It is probably an important one for all those who feel that the recovery hasn’t benefitted most New Zealanders and there has been little that National has done to change it. The wealthy have become extremely wealthy and we now have 20% of New Zealand workers who are either unemployed or under-employed. You may call it a bizarre point if you like, Mr E, but I happen to think it is a huge concern.

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  40. Mr E says:

    Wealthy are more wealthy. Good don’t you think? Or are you Green in more ways than one? Envy is not an attractive trait Dave

    Regarding your employment claims, from what I have seen from the Greens policies, you will only make it worse. Take your policy of turning 100% of farms organic, typically increased carbon emitting organic, reduced productivity organic, and largely reduced profitability organics.

    The Greens plan to undermine New Zealand back bone.

    Your concerns appear misguided or misleading when you promote such policies.

    Like

  41. TraceyS says:

    Life in NZ according to Dave’s definition of “most”:

    Most people (60%) are the same or better off under National.

    A fabulous result during difficult economic times don’t you think? I do. Just imagine what another term in government will achieve!

    And that term is needed because at the moment we have as many as 30% still feeling worse off and their lot needs to improve.

    The best, albeit not perfect, way to do that is a hand up not hand-out.

    Like

  42. Dave Kennedy says:

    You aren’t arguing honestly Mr E, you know from our past discussions that envy has no part in my concern at growing inequity and the organic discussion we have had on several occasions.

    The New Zealand ‘back bone’ is reliant on primary and raw commodities and the Greens’ economic approach is to increase R&D , add value and take advantage of the growing multi trillion dollar green tech markets. As for reduced profitability organics, organics are like any farming, if the markets exist and you farm intelligently than the profits come. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/8378699/Organic-produce-market-continues-to-grow

    Like

  43. Dave Kennedy says:

    “The best, albeit not perfect, way to do that is a hand up not hand-out.”

    And to earn a living wage for an honest days work.

    And for businesses to pay their own way and not have to have wages subsidized like ‘Working for Families’ allows.

    I have also been advocating for our school support staff and they have been told for many years that there is no money to pay them a living wage. Suddenly, earlier this year, there was $359 million to pay large increases in salary for some teachers.

    Support staff make up 30% of primary school staff and are an essential part of our education system, they work hard, do valuable work and deserve to be treated better.

    Like

  44. TraceyS says:

    Just curious, Dave, but is the Green Party intent on having a policy to shift the WFF burden onto employers?

    Innocent question you might say.

    Like

  45. Dave Kennedy says:

    Tracey, I think we may have different perspectives on what Working for Families is. Before I answer your question I need to know who do you think currently receives WFF and what the intention of it was?

    Otherwise our discussion will have cross-purposes.

    Like

  46. TraceyS says:

    Maybe some other time 🙂

    Like

  47. Dave Kennedy says:

    Interesting reply 🙂

    Like

  48. TraceyS says:

    Take it at face value Dave. I am too busy to have the discussion with you right now.

    Like

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