Clydesdale on growing the economy

August 23rd, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Dr Greg Clydesdale says:

We cannot rely on Auckland to drive the New Zealand economy according to Dr Clydesdale who today releases a discussion paper ‘A middle path for the New Zealand economy’. 

 A key feature of recent economic debate has been the idea that Auckland will be the country’s economic driver.  The argument states that there are economic advantages to having many firms located close together.  However, Auckland’s industries have low rates of innovation and exports: key drivers of economic growth.  The city lacks the capabilities to deliver desired growth rates.

 Auckland’s location does present many economic advantages, but to expect it to drive growth is going too far.  Recent policy was inspired by recent literature from economic geography, diversity and immigration.  Dr Clydesdale states it is time to end the myths and alchemy that has influenced the New Zealand economy for so long.  It is time to get back to basics. …

Definite food for thought. The full paper is embedded below.

Conference Fashionable Policy With Super Font

Dom Post on Race Relations Commissioner

May 28th, 2008 at 7:59 am by David Farrar

The Dominion Post is not impressed with that the Race Relations Commissioner is launching a a review into the research done by Massey academic Greg Clydesdale into Pacific Island immigration.

Interviewed this week, Mr de Bres seemed as irritated by the fact that the research was done at all and that a media outlet had the temerity to report it as with any “issues” that the study might have raised. The commissioner seems unhappy that the paper gained access to Dr Clydesdale’s research and to believe – erroneously – that those who disagreed with it had no chance to comment.

He needs to reread the article. Pacific Island Affairs Minister Winnie Laban was quoted as seriously rejecting Dr Clydesdale’s findings, which may well be flawed. So was Samoan Advisory Council spokesman Tino Pereira.

Mr de Bres seems in danger of forgetting this is a democracy, in which academics have the freedom their institutions allow them to comment and critique society and newspapers have the right not only to report such comment and criticism but also to decide what prominence to give what is, by any definition, news. …

Mr de Bres is entitled to his review. But if it does not find that it is totally legitimate for an academic to research immigration policy and for the media to report it, then the review will be flawed. Society is benefited in no way by political correctness taken to extremes.

It does all seem an extreme reaction to one academic study. The more worrying reaction is the reported comments by Labour Minister Shane Jones who allegedly said on Newstalk ZB that he had called Steve Maharey about the author.

The Association of University Staff should be very concerned about this, if correct. To have a Cabinet Minister contact the Vice-Chancellor (and a former colleague) because he disagrees with the research of an academic is obviously inappropriate and intimidating. Let alone boasting about it on radio and suggesting the academic should be teaching primary school children only.

So maybe the AUS could take a break from complaining about Massey students winning beauty contests and say something about Massey academics having academic freedom.

This is not to suggest that academic freedom means you can not criticise academics. Far from it. But to personally contact the Vice-Chancellor and advocate he should not be teaching at a tertiary level is very different from merely criticising.

Perhaps Mr Maharey (who seems to think being Vice-Chancellor is a part time job as he is still an MP) could reveal what he said back to Mr Jones.

Pacific Island Immigration

May 22nd, 2008 at 8:56 am by David Farrar

There has been a lot of debate about a Massey University study by Greg Clydesdale into Pacific Island achievement and immigration. The Dom Post reports on the study.

The Herald also reports on the backlash from “political correctness bullies”. It has been condemned by Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres, despite admitting he had not read it. The same goes for Labour MP Su’a WIlliam Sio who calls the paper disturbing despite also not having read the study.

Now I haven’t read the report myself (but have asked for a copy so I can comment later in more detail), but will make the assertion that there is nothing new about the fact that in areas of education, employment and crime etc Pacific Islanders do not perform as well as the rest of the population. This is not generally disputed.

But what is vital is that one does not just see the hundreds of thousands of Pacific Islanders in NZ just as part of a group. The majority of Pacific Islanders make a positive contribution to New Zealand.

Now how does this tie into immigration policy? Should there be some discrimination against Pacific Islanders because on average they do not achieve as well as other NZers? Absolutely not. I am a strong supporter of a colour blind and country blind immigration policy. We should have objective criteria which intending migrants should meet, and I don’t care if they come from China, the UK or Tonga.

But here is the problem, or the challenge. We actually have specific quotas for immigrants from the Pacific. Now there are public policy reasons for this which I will touch on later, but the fact these quotas exist is why the issue of under-achievement as a group is legitimate to look at.

If we had a truly colour blind and country blind immigration policy where individuals are all treated the same, then the nationality of the applicant should be irrelevant. Every applicant should be treated as an individual, not as a member of a “group”.

But as I said, we do have some specific quotas for Pacific Islanders where applications are decided by random ballot. As far as I can tell they are a Samoan quota of 1,100 a year, a Kiribati quota of 75, Tuvalu 75, Fiji 250  and Tonga 250 for a total of 1,750.

There may be family members on top of that as permanent and long-term arrivals in the last year from Samoa was 1,482 and 773 for Tonga. But that may be family reunifications or other factors.

Now as I said above there are some public policy reasons for having special PI quotas – certainly in the case of Samoa. In 1982 the Privy Council ruled all Samoans are entitled to NZ citizenship. The Government passed the Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982 to over-turn that ruling and restrict citizenship to those already lawfully in NZ. As “compensation” for doing so a Samoan quota was agreed to as part of a Treaty of Friendship. We are morally bound to keep our word under that Treaty.

The other Pacific quotas can be justified on public policy grounds also – as the “big brother” to the South Pacific, it is argued we should help out our small neighbours, and we do with most aid going there, and also the special immigration quotas.

The issue is though, that because these special country quotas exist, it is legitimate to debate the impact of immigration from those countries. I do not believe it is particularly valid to question the impact of immigration from China (for example) because no-one from China gets in purely because they are Chinese. They get in because they have met the same objective test as everyone else in the world wanting to come here. Well that, or they were mates with Taito Philip Field.

Now as I said there are valid public policy reasons to have special quotas for Samoa (beyond doubt – that is an obligation) and other Pacific countries. This Wikipedia article lists the large number of Samoan NZers who are “notable” for their contribution, and NZ should in my opinion do its bit to help our Pacific neighbours.

But the existence of those special quotas means it is legitimate to look at issues such as under-achievement in employment, education and crime for migrants from those countries. A sensible debate can be held on whether the quotas are set at the right level. Even in the case of Samoa the quota of 1,100 is a maximum and applicants still need to meet other criteria like having a job offer. The Government relaxed those criteria in 2004 as not enough applicants were being accepted. It is in no way racist or wrong to debate whether or not that was a good idea, and whether the level of quotas is too high, too low or about right.