From Penk’s Pen

The Numbers Game

The danger of dealing in numbers is that sometimes we forget the faces of real human beings behind them. Of course it’s inevitable that policymakers, politicians and professionals in general need to survey the statistical horizon. Relying solely on anecdotal data to the exclusion of empirical evidence would be at least as great a mistake to make as doing the reverse.
Bearing all that in mind, I’ve been reflecting on the past couple of months’ work that I’ve been doing as a local MP. I’ve never been so busy, with uncertainty and fear driving much of the correspondence that my office and I have received.
The numbers that we’re hearing every day now are quite frightening. Some weeks after we were advised that COVID-19 had been “eliminated” in this country, rather than focusing so intently on the number of new cases we’re now needing to look closely at the number of jobs being lost.
That’s the unfortunate reality for the rest of our year and indeed the rest of our decade too, I fear. As we stand at the base of a mountain of debt, it’s hard to see how tens of billions of dollars’ worth of repayments does not add up to an economy being buried alive. Certainly we will all need to work determinedly to open up opportunities for workers to keep working and allow those who have lost their jobs to get working once more.
This is the tenor of many of the hundreds of emails that I receive each week. I’m replying to them as best I can, of course, as always. Please know that you’re always welcome to contact my electorate office (currently operating with physical distancing restrictions, for obvious reasons), including by email to chris.penkmp@parliament.govt.nz or phone to 09 412 2496. And take care out there.

Cheers, Chris Penk MP

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