10 May 2010

Traditional economic statistics can mislead - Cook

6:02 am on 10 May 2010

A leading statistician says an over-reliance on traditional economic statistics could be undermining good public policy.

Len Cook, a former Government Statistician in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, says traditional figures can paint a misleading picture of the economy.

He cites as an example the repair of leaky homes, which statisticians are likely to count as a boost to the country's output, or Gross Domestic Product.

Mr Cook says that creates a tension between policies that look good for the economy and those that are best for all New Zealanders.

However, a former Treasury deputy head Peter Bushnell, says departing from mainstream indicators could be too costly.