Hope you all had a wonderful summer! Thank you to everyone who nominated stats in the media during the summer break period. We’ve chosen Tommy Honey’s nomination to win the prize:
Statistic: Food in Guinea, Gambia, Chad and Iran costs people 2 times more than other consumer goods, making those the most expensive countries for citizens to buy food
Source: NZ Herald
Date: 20 January 2014
In this morning’s Herald we are told by Brendan Manning and Patrice Dougan
that “NZ ranks 23rd equal with Israel when it comes to healthy eating.” They provide a link to a report produced by Oxfam: goodenoughtoeatmediabrieffinalversionenglish.pdf
I don’t know where to start….
In spite of the report stating “[the report] is the first of its kind”, the article insists on implying several times that New Zealand’s position has changed (“The cost of food and unhealthy eating habits pushed New Zealand down the list… New Zealand has fallen well behind Australia and most of Europe in a new report ranking the healthiest places to eat in the world…. New Zealand also fell behind the United Kingdom (13), Japan (21) and the United States (21).”).
The article also says of New Zealand, “Ranked on obesity, only 13 countries out of 125 scored worse” yet provides no evidence of this and the report it links to does not have the full (or indeed, any) rankings.
It also says, “Food in Guinea, Gambia, Chad and Iran costs people 2 times more than other consumer goods, making those the most expensive countries for citizens to buy food.” What food? What consumer goods? Yesterday I bought a pie ($4.50) and a battery ($1.50). Therefore, in New Zealand, food costs 3 times more than other consumer goods. The only reference to this in the report is the statement, “the only countries where food is more expensive are Guinea (100 points) and The Gambia (97 points)” and Iran doesn’t get a mention at all.
To be fair to the journalists (although, why should we?) they are simply repeating mistakes from the Oxfam website (http://www.oxfam.org.nz/news/new-zealand-beaten-australia-oxfam-s-new-global-food-table) where it states, “Food in Guinea, The Gambia, Chad and Iran costs people two-and-a-half times more than other consumer goods, making those the most expensive countries for citizens to buy food.”
The only data provided by Oxfam is the report linked to by the Herald, which contains no rankings. The Oxfam statement does claim that “New Zealand also fell behind the United Kingdom (13), Japan (21) and the United States (21)”, and it is perhaps here where the Herald got its information. A pity it repeated it unquestioningly…