What's gone wrong at Granny Herald? Why is the paper trying to swing an election using false numbers? Today one of its chief writer's, Simon Wilson, has a provocative column called, "If the numbers don't lie, do they always tell the truth?", superimposed on a photo of National Party Leader, Chris Luxon. Does the Herald think its being clever? Did its website layout people have a big giggle putting the word "lie" on top of Luxon's face. The theme of the article is that although Luxon says his housing numbers don't lie, they don't tell the truth.
In order to do his take-down of Luxon and "prove" there's no way his recently released tax proposals which put a 15% levy on foreign purchases of >$2 million properties could raise $740 million a year, Wilson bases his argument on the (dubious) source of Green Party co-leader James Shaw. Big mistake. He writes:
"Shaw noted that in 2018, the year before foreigners were banned from buying property here, house sales of all kinds totaled 4,000. And only 5 per cent of them (200) were for homes worth more than $2m. The NZ property market is simply nowhere near as big as National seems to think it is. If the Greens offered costings that were out by a factor of 10,” Shaw said, “they would be torn to shreds for it".
In fact, the NZ property market is way larger than Wilson thinks it is. The Herald & Green Party can't read graphs. The figure of 4,000 house sales "of all kinds" is a monthly figure for January 2018 (which is a quiet time for house sales being summer holidays). Annual house sales throughout NZ (which is what the National tax plan is based on) usually total around 70,000 to 80,000. Seems Shaw and Wilson missed the word "Monthly" in the heading below.
New Zealand Residential Sales: Number of Houses Sold
1993 - 2018 | MONTHLY | UNIT | REAL ESTATE INSTITUTE OF NEW ZEALAND
Can the Herald now please issue a retraction for reporting "house sales of all kinds" totaled 4,000 in 2018 when they did not? Can it issue a retraction for putting the face of Luxon with the words "lie" on it, when the Herald's argument is based on false figures out by a factor of 20? Of course the paper wont. Why? It is big media and will do what it pleases.