Bennett's benefit balls up | The Jackal

10 May 2012

Bennett's benefit balls up

On Tuesday, the National party reported:

The number of people on benefits has fallen to the lowest level since July 2009 says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

There are now 320,954 people on benefits, down by 2,000 in the last month, representing around 12 per cent of working age New Zealanders.

There are 58,000 people on Sickness Benefits and 99,000 sole parents on the Domestic Purposes Benefit.

“It is pleasing to see the number of people on Unemployment Benefits has fallen in the past month to 51,422,” says Mrs Bennett.

This is also the lowest figure recorded since June 2009.

However last week the Nelson Mail reported:

The unemployment rate in the top of the south is at its highest in 13 years.

Statistics New Zealand's latest Household Labour Force Survey is out, with a 5.9 per cent unemployment rate in the Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast region for the March quarter.

This represents 6100 unemployed people and compares to a national unemployment rate of 6.7 per cent.

It has not been that high in the top of the south since the December quarter in 1999, when the unemployment rate reached 6.4 per cent.

The unemployment rate was 5.1 per cent at the same time last year.

Who to believe?

Statistics NZ doesn't really have any reason to misrepresent unemployment figures when it says the annual change is +3.1% and there are now 160,000 unemployed... unlike Paula Bennett who has a history of cherry picking what data she misrepresents.

The Nelson Mail article also has a comment by WINZ regional labour market manager Gary Gatward-Smith saying:

The Household Labour Force Survey used different measures to reach its unemployment rate figures and did not take into account seasonal adjustments.

So lets check... The latest Household Labour Force Survey (PDF) states:

We monitor our data to make sure that our seasonal adjustment is robust.

Clearly Paula Bennett and Gary Gatward-Smith are full of it!