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Developing the indicators for the Living Standards Framework that will underpin future policies is a serious and important task but the Government’s wonky instructions to Stats NZ risks the process descending into farce, National’s Finance spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“Officials at a Stats NZ technical workshop today spent an hour having participants singing, hand-clapping and playing ‘Check Your Privilege bingo’.

“Yet at the same time, New Zealand continues to wait for the 2018 Census results after a shambolic process that resulted in significant data gaps and we’re yet to see anything on the last two years of child poverty statistics.

“According to the Government agency’s bingo card, it seems if you are a ‘native English speaker, Cis, white, thin, have no speech impediment, heterosexual, able-bodied, standard accent, have no criminal record, human, tall, mentally healthy, support a mainstream political party, adult, born in your country of residence, wealthy, employed or just not a red-head’, then you are privileged.

“This narrow view of life from the agency tasked with delivering the indicators that are meant to set an objective and impartial framework to assess Government policy is troubling and reflects poorly on the directives of Government Ministers.

“Combined with a very limited public consultation process, and news that the current year’s data isn’t able to be used because of methodology issues, it risks undermining the credibility of the indicators which underpin the Treasury’s newly announced Living Standards Framework.

“It’s another example of the Government misdirecting the public sector on vital tasks and shows the reality of the Government’s social engineering ambitions.

“National will remain steadfastly focused on what matters to New Zealanders – growing incomes, lowering the cost of living and keeping families safe.”

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