Mike's Minute: Opt-in surveys ideologically driven bollocks

Author
Mike Hosking,
Section
Video,
Publish Date
Friday, 22 June 2018, 9:07a.m.

My great hope, and you know me, I am endlessly optimistic, is that we may have made just a little bit of headway this week into the scam that is the opt-in survey.

The opt-in survey is the fraud of the age.

The internet has allowed people who want to push barrows, access to an easy pool of people, to create what they now loosely and yet completely incorrectly call a survey, or indeed a petition

There was a large petition last year during the election campaign involving me hosting the television debates.  

76,000 people signed it, it was breathlessly reported. But they didn’t, of course, sign anything, they clicked.  

And the fraud is anyone can click and anyone can click as many times as they like.

The result is not remotely representative of anything other than a lot of bored people and barrow pushers looking to skew public view.  

A survey is a recognised and accepted number of people sought out by the surveyor that is statistically accurate of the community they are surveying.  

And opt-in surveys are nothing like that.

Sadly the media, unwilling or unable to tell the difference, reports them all as the same.

And in that lies the lie.  

So this week it was cycleways , Auckland Transport told the media who dutifully reported it, that 65 percent of people thought cycleways were good for the community.

I did the same survey on my show and got the exact opposite result.  

Ironically, after reporting the result, we left the survey online and by the next morning the cycle lobby groups had got hold of it, texted each other and all piled into vote.

And that initial result turned again to 75 percent support. So a corrupt survey had been even further corrupted.  

Now the Herald, who initially got sucked into reporting the Auckland Transport fraud, to their credit, did an excellent editorial in which they asked the key question.  

And pointed out a fatal flaw. Asking people wether they like cycleways, in an opt-in survey, is not only a fraudulent measure of a view, it isn't actually a proper question.

Because what we all want to know given we pay for these things, and are being dragged down this tunnel of ideology is, do people use them?  

And they don’t ask that question because they already know the answer and the answer is embarrassing.

We don’t.

And this isn't just Auckland, Christchurch too, as well as the capital, have well documented fights now over cycleways and their omnipresent foot print and bill on communities that see them as the charade they are.  

Not only do they block access to shops and take away parking, but they're paraded as some sort of climate change saviour.  

But only if they're used. And are they? No.  

Another report this week gave them a number. The University of Leeds said investing in cycleways was worth between 50 and 170 billion a year, this is in America, in health benefits.

What a spectacular claim.

But spot the flaw? Not if they're not used, and they're not.  

Green infrastructure boosts health, jobs and productivity they said. Not if they're not used, the only jobs they produce is for those who built the cycleway.  

So let's do the real numbers, how many people in cars, how many on bikes? Come back to me when you got some facts, not dishonest ideologically driven bollocks.   

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