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Bending the question to fit the answer on Auckland rates

Auckland Council has got to do better than this

Recently, Auckland Mayor, Phil Goff, is quoted on the Auckland Council website as saying:

"Aucklanders have told us that they back a rates increase to ensure that council can continue to provide the essential services they value and rely on, and which our city needs."

Let's be clear - anyone who draws that conclusion from the survey question below, which only offers a rates rise, is being manipulative or stupid. Note that this post is on survey design, not whether a rates rise is a good idea.

Auckland Council survey question on rates rise
Auckland Council survey question on rates rise

Frankly the question above is pitched in such a manipulative way you can't interpret a sensible answer. To include an "I don't know" option but no "maintain current rates" option is taking Aucklanders for fools. To even try and interpret it takes you down a dodgy path, as simply stating results like "29% chose the 2.5% option" leads you to state a manipulated number.

And as if it wasn't enough to run one bullshit survey, Auckland Council commissioned a second survey only asking about a rates rise from Colmar Brunton.

Regardless of whether or not a rates rise is sensible, politicians should operate truthfully. In this regard, Phil Goff has been found wanting. The NZ Herald notes that Goff did not propose rates below 2.5% because of the severe cut in services. If that is the case, why bother with survey manipulation? Just do it and cut the bullshit.

Auckland Council's use of survey manipulation is baffling, but is probably a sign of the times given their $750M budget hole from COVID-19.


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