Lies, damned lies and statistics! - 15/03/2007by Deputy Mayor Dot McKinnon
Lies, damned lies and statistics! For some reason, we continue to flagellate ourselves by obtaining annual statistics on Wanganui from BERL (Business and Economic Research Ltd).
Why do we bother? The statistics are typically a year late – the most recent ones relating to the end of the 2005-06 financial year; they are based on how employers fill in the monthly forms and they are subject to mistake. Even in his own words, Dr Ganesh Nana of BERL states that the statistics are 'incomplete'. I am reminded of the term GIGO – garbage in, garbage out. How can BERL realistically extrapolate the incomplete figures they are given and provide some sort of summary at the end of it? But they do.
Our own monthly statistics, verified by our own community institutions, suggest a far brighter picture than the national statistics. It is a pity that BERL's incomplete interpretation of our economy will be seen as accurate by other members of society.
Putting aside the arguments around Sue Bradford's Anti-Smacking Bill currently in the House, it is obvious to me that if our referendum policy was adopted on a New Zealand-wide basis, the will of the people would ensure a more fair result. I read in one poll that 68% opposed the Bill. If Wanganui District Council received, as a result of one of our referenda, a plus or minus 68%, we would have a clear lead as to policy.
This brings me to Council's next referendum, for which the information pamphlets should be in your letterboxes this week. If you do not receive the information, contact Wanganui District Council for your pamphlet. You have the choice of soft water, gang insignia in public places, kerbside recycling and a new Anniversary Day for Wanganui.
Thank you all for the congratulations I have received for finally installing the TVNZ temperature gauge in a more appropriate environment than the airport. Now, let us note the readings and hope that the $8000 expended does note more realistic air temperatures.
Well done to the volunteers and Community Patrol workers who are helping Wanganui District Council and our Police to be the 'eyes and ears' of policing in our community. We need more people to take on this vital community role. Visit the centre in Maria Place for more information.
Goodbye to producer and director, Peter Hall, who returns to Canada after staging another enjoyable and satirical show – BLING – in Wanganui. He really knows how to 'take off' Wanganui and its people. Peter said to me how delighted he was that Wanganui audiences have the maturity to laugh at themselves and their politicians. See you next year, Peter.