November 26, 2012

Stat of the Week Competition: November 24 – 30 2012

Each week, we would like to invite readers of Stats Chat to submit nominations for our Stat of the Week competition and be in with the chance to win an iTunes voucher.

Here’s how it works:

  • Anyone may add a comment on this post to nominate their Stat of the Week candidate before midday Friday November 30 2012.
  • Statistics can be bad, exemplary or fascinating.
  • The statistic must be in the NZ media during the period of November 24 – 30 2012 inclusive.
  • Quote the statistic, when and where it was published and tell us why it should be our Stat of the Week.

Next Monday at midday we’ll announce the winner of this week’s Stat of the Week competition, and start a new one.

The fine print:

  • Judging will be conducted by the blog moderator in liaison with staff at the Department of Statistics, The University of Auckland.
  • The judges’ decision will be final.
  • The judges can decide not to award a prize if they do not believe a suitable statistic has been posted in the preceeding week.
  • Only the first nomination of any individual example of a statistic used in the NZ media will qualify for the competition.
  • Individual posts on Stats Chat are just the opinions of their authors, who can criticise anyone who they feel deserves it, but the Stat of the Week award involves the Department of Statistics more officially. For that reason, we will not award Stat of the Week for a statistic coming from anyone at the University of Auckland outside the Statistics department. You can still nominate and discuss them, but the nomination won’t be eligible for the prize.
  • Employees (other than student employees) of the Statistics department at the University of Auckland are not eligible to win.
  • The person posting the winning entry will receive a $20 iTunes voucher.
  • The blog moderator will contact the winner via their notified email address and advise the details of the $20 iTunes voucher to that same email address.
  • The competition will commence Monday 8 August 2011 and continue until cancellation is notified on the blog.

Rachel Cunliffe is the co-director of CensusAtSchool and currently consults for the Department of Statistics. Her interests include statistical literacy, social media and blogging. See all posts by Rachel Cunliffe »


  • avatar

    Statistic: Manukau ‘luckiest’ place for Lotto
    Source: NZ HERALD, page A8: Special Report
    Date: 26/11/12


    What does ‘luckiest’ in this title mean? Well to the average person ( I asked a few) they interpreted that title as ” I would have a higher chance of winning Lotto if I bought my ticket from a Manukau store compared to another store from a different suburb in Auckland.” Is this really the case? I doubt it. The article ranks Manukau ‘luckiest’ because it is the suburb with the highest total paid out first division amount. However no where did they take into account the total sales of Lotto tickets in each suburb. I think if you took this into account you’d see that Manukau sells alot more tickets than some of these other suburbs in Auckland. So even though Manukau can boast 55 mil in first division prizes we have no idea whether that is 55 mil out of 100 mill worth of ticket sales or 55 mil out of 1 bill worth of ticket sales. Some of the other suburbs may have a lesser amount of first division payouts compared to Manuaku but could have a greater proportion of first division payouts compared to ticket sales. Hence if that was true, your chance of winning first division given that you bought your ticket in that other suburb would be greater than (the same probability measured for) Manukau. Therefore I think there isn’t sufficient information provided to make this claim.

    What I think the article could say is ‘given I won first division, the chances that I bought my ticket in Manukau are ____ times the chance that I bought it somewhere else.’ Something to this effect could be derived from the information presented by the herald article and it makes a bit of sense. Is this what the article wrote though? Not at all. They summarised this finding into “Manukau is the luckiest Lotto suburb in Auckland.” Please! This screams misleading. As discussed above, there simply isn’t enough information to justify labelling Manukau the ‘luckiest’ suburb for Lotto. People have a clear idea of what it means to be lucky and that generally is that they have an increased chance of winning. This is not the conclusion you can draw from the information they provided and in this case I believe the herald got it wrong.

    I also think, although probably not the authors intentions, labelling Manukau as the ‘luckiest’ suburb has the danger of enticing people to spend more on Lotto. This article published earlier in the year by the NZ herald noted that “Many South Auckland suburbs featured among those which gambled away the most money. Mangere Bridge, Flat Bush, Manukau and Manurewa were in the top dozen suburbs.”
    Even though the article was talking about the pokies, Lotto is just another form of gambling. We shouldn’t be condemming one and sending a rosy message about another, especially to communities who are struggling as it is.

    Overall I think this should be the Stat of the week because using ‘lucky’ was a nice little pun but in effect mislead people regarding their chances of winning first division depending on where they bought their ticket.

    Secondly it seems wrong to label a suburb ‘luckiest’ and potentially encourage a community to spend more on Lotto there when it is known that it is a compartively poorer area than other Auckland suburbs and spends alot of money on gambling as it is.

    5 years ago

  • avatar
    Martin Kealey

    Statistic: The number of households whose incoming is in the top 25%, over blah blah dollars, rose by 7% between 2011 and 2012.
    Source: Radio NZ National, 2pm news bulletin, 29 Nov 2012
    Date: 29 Nov 2012

    Need I say more?

    I haven’t (yet) found a link to the audio; I’m hoping to find one soon.

    5 years ago