Look, I have no idea why Labour feels it is necessary to run their election campaign as a bunch of muppets – but they have, and in order to keep surprising everyone with their ridiculousness they have attacked the political neutrality of Statistics New Zealand.
The complaint is that Statistics New Zealand said that their trend measure of building activity was crawling up, at the same time there was a sharp seasonally adjusted drop in consents in September. The reason for this was that August was “strong” (relative to recent history) – so even with the decline September was a stroke higher than we have been used to, and the real “trend” measure of activity they have (and have always talked about) did increase.
Look, this isn’t just a case of Phil Twyford not being able to understand data – I mean, that is part of it it seems, but that isn’t the whole issue. I’ll even ignore that fact that Twyford seems to think political parties run the economy – a fallacy among politicians that gives them a sense of unwarranted self importance. The most confusing issue for me here is that anyone would think this is the best use of scarce time on the campaign trail – you can arbitrarily attack Statistics New Zealand and get zero votes (as it is such a non-issue), or you can be a competent politician and go out to try and get votes by talking to the public and showing them that you are the best option in terms of meeting their interests.
If Labour was a real opposition party, their members would be doing the second. Hopefully they will be by next election, so that I actually feel like I have a choice when that election comes along – a competent opposition is essential for democracy … just saying.