A reader recently left this comment on the site.
I do not know if many people are aware of this, but Statistics New Zealand awards cash prizes to media reporters every year. For “best” use of its statistics in a story. Consider too the publicity that comes of that “best use” for the reporters who win the prizes. This policy demonstrates, among other things, the incestuous relationship between the government and private interests which has been observed before on this site and on Expatexposed. The New Zealand media colludes. It helps boost New Zealand’s reputation and suppress real life problems there in a way that the media in other countries does not do. This unethical practice does a lot to mislead foreigners about the conditions in New Zealand.
Aside from raising very valid questions about the separation of the state and the media in New Zealand, this practice (if it is true) also effectively stifles critical examination of data and the conclusions made from it by Statistics NZ.
This presumably is the same data that is supplied to organizations such as The Social Progress Imperative to construct things like the Social Progress Index. Amazingly, New Zealand went straight to the top of this year’s index despite not being listed in it a few months ago. Within hours, TV news programs in NZ were running extended segments on the index and the country’s place in it. Blatant propaganda? sure looks like it.
Statistics New Zealand
“New Zealand’s Minister of Statistics is Maurice Williamson who serves as a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives and holds several other posts within government. The chief executive officer of the agency has the formal title of ‘Government Statistician’ and this position is currently held by Liz MacPherson. The department employs people with a variety of skills, including statisticians, mathematicians, computer science specialists, accountants, economists, demographers, sociologists, geographers, social psychologists, and marketers. As of 2013, the agency has about 1000 staff.” source.
That’s rather a lot of manpower for compiling statistics on a country of a little over 4 million people.
By comparison, in Britain the Office of National Statistics reports directly to parliament and not to a ministerial department. Its independence from government is protected by legislation and codes of practice so as to “help improve public trust in official statistics.” source. Information about the statutory independence of New Zealand’s Government Statistician may be found here.
We’d like to hear from our readers about Statistics NZ’s independence from government and how independence is assured in other countries.
@StatisticsNZ responded with:
One of our readers told us
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Migrant tales – the NZ media “needs to keep the government and the advertisers happy in that order (Nov 2012) about the goings on at a North Island newspaper
There is a far darker side to the media here that not many know. I have one good journo friend that was working for (name of NI newspaper redacted) who put it so perfectly as follows.
“It’s not that we don’t know it’s all going on, we desperately want to report on it. God knows we got into journalism to tell the truth, but the reality is far more depressing. I can tell you that myself and my colleagues have been informed in not so polite a way, “Report on that and you are out of a job, we need to keep the government and our advertisers happy in that order”.
It runs from the back door dealings of what the TPP really means, to National threatening to pull all advertising from (name of NI newspaper redacted) during the last election, to things simply disappearing from all news sources in a ghostly fashion (When you see this happen on google it is scary stuff).
So in essence it is a case of report all is well, keep the advertisers happy, keep the government spin machine running, make stories from nothing as if they have grave national importance and maintain the lie. Truth was a casualty of all journalism when it comes to the almighty dollar, it’s just far more obvious here.
But if you want any further proof I ask you this: Kim dotcom piece run by (redacted) to remove public opinion of him was completely biased and one sided. Then came David Bane (note that this is at the time of the payout). If you want further proof just watch those type of programs and ask yourself WTF? or don’t your brain may thank you.