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Lies, damned lies, and Jim's statistics…

22 June 1999

Media release

Lies, damned lies, and Jim's statistics…

Alliance leader Jim Anderton should seek help for his chronic statistical dyslexia, said the Hon Roger Sowry, Leader of the House.

"Mr Anderton's comments this morning on Morning Report were even wider of the mark than usual:

· he overstated the number of unemployed by a mere 85,000 people.
· he exaggerated the number of people waiting for treatment at public hospitals by 100,000 people
· he completely invented the figure for how many people have private health insurance
· he simply doubled the official figure of New Zealanders who are living in Australia (which is actually 250,000)
· he plays fast and loose with statistics on overseas debt because the 1984 figure included long-term debt only, whereas the 1999 figure includes both short and long-term debt"
· plus he totally fails to mention the most significant issue, which is the dramatic reduction of Crown net debt from a peak of 52% of GDP in 1991/92 to 22.5% this year."

Mr Sowry noted that Mr Anderton's comments on immigration to Australia were most misleading.

A massive 190,000 New Zealanders fled across the Tasman during the last Labour government - the numbers leaving peaked at 44,500 people in 1989.

"Of course, some people can't cope with numbers, and Helen Clark knows appointing him Treasurer in a Labour/Alliance government would be a disaster.

"In the meantime I can only suggest Mr Anderton's 'facts' should be treated with the utmost caution."


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