National MP Maureen Pugh blasted for 'misleading' economic statistics comparing Greece and New Zealand

National MP Maureen Pugh has been blasted on social media for posting a comparison of forecast debt between pre-COVID Greece and post-COVID New Zealand which people are calling "misleading" and "disappointing".

On Tuesday Pugh posted the image which on the left-hand side has an image of Greece and it's population of 10.77 million people.

Underneath the population is the forecast debt for the country in 2024 which is estimated at US$36,925 per person.

The post in question.
The post in question. Photo credit: Facebook/Maureen Pugh

On the right is New Zealand - the debt for 2024 is forecast at $37,811 per person despite the population sitting at 5 million.

Greece's numbers were estimated before the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the world's economies and New Zealand's were estimated with the knowledge of the impact the virus would have. 

While the small print on the post did say Greece's numbers were from before the pandemic, commenters accused her of dishonesty.

"You put the most important piece of information in fine print that most people couldn't read on their phones. This is dishonest," wrote one man.

Pugh responded saying he could tap the image to enlarge it and view the fine print. 

People weren't convinced this was good enough.

"No "tap the image" required," wrote another man.

"We'll simply place the right 2 ticks, at the right time and place, on the ballot paper and wave goodbye to this desperate ineptitude."

Pugh told Newshub the intention behind her post was to "highlight the scale of debt" New Zealand will take on because of the pandemic.

"My graphic shows how New Zealand's current forecast debt per person in 2024 compares to where Greece's forecast debt per person in 2024 was back in November 2019, prior to the pandemic."

"I acknowledge that it was missing this context when I first posted it, which is why I have updated it with a caption."

Pugh's post was updated on Thursday - two days after it was originally posted. 

Pugh's edit history on her post.
Pugh's edit history on her post. Photo credit: Facebook/Maureen Pugh