MW: Today we’re talking with Geoff Neal who has created some interesting websites which will add some transparency to a lot of the stuff that’s been going on over the last three, five, 10 years of governance in New Zealand. We’re getting so much misinformation, that are being spelt out from either media sources when we’re talking independent media, whether we’re talking mainstream. We are in a deluge of information and there needs to be a baseline to which we can form opinions or can back it up with facts. So the two websites that Jeff’s actually created is one called the facts.nz, and the other one is kpi.nz. Now, Jeff, what is it that actually inspired you to actually create these marvelous tools that you’ve done?
GN: You have a right to be suspicious. I mean what citizens go and build these things? The answer is because politicians, the government and the media hadn’t built them and it was getting harder not easier to find the data, which was a great frustration. So if we trace it right back, the original seed of this idea was actually 2014 to 2017 when I heard John Key and Bill English stand up and say GDP is up 2%.
But I’d just read an article that said populations up 2%. So actually, productivity growth was nil. And I just couldn’t understand why are we not leading with GDP per capita. And then fast forward a couple of years, and New Zealand First and Labour go into government together. And Jacinda promises to be the most transparent government for all New Zealanders. I get really excited. Finally, GDP per capita is going to be the lead metric.
But actually the opposite happened and metrics started to disappear and none more so than in health. We’ve currently got a situation where I can only find one single health metric across multiple years that measures the performance of different governments and that’s child vaccinations. And I’ve got that on kpi.nz. And then so then after that, what happened is that I looked at a lot of metrics and they were rapidly declining. I couldn’t find any that were going in the right direction. COVID hit and then only two metrics dominated all conversation.
cases and deaths with COVID, not from COVID. And I just thought about what about all these other metrics? What about physical health? What about the cancer treatments? What about obesity from lockdowns? What about education? Kids not going to school? Business survival? So that’s when we started, we decided to do the facts first and launched that in November 2021……….
….The last one we did was drinking water quality. It took a long time to get this data because it was buried in lots of Ministry of Health reports. But we got served these ads….. All this green slime coming out of our taps. But the truth is that our drinking water quality in terms of compliance for chemicals, bacteria and protozoa had not declined across 12 years, not noticeably declined. In fact the standards got harder and we still sort of hit that same level.
We should let the facts drive us. How is our drinking water quality? Now yes, there were some deaths in the Hawke’s Bay, unfortunately, a few years ago, and that’s really bad. But we can’t just look at isolated incidents of, you know, 100 people die every day. We can’t look at a couple of deaths a few years ago and change everything based on that. We need to look holistically across the country. And across the country, our water coming out of our taps has not got worse for 12 years. Now pipes and the infrastructure, yes, they are eroded and they need to be replaced and that is a problem. But why wasn’t there an honest conversation?