Fewer abortions

June 23rd, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ has released the annual data on abortions. Some key facts:

  • 14,073 abortions – the lowest since 1995
  • The abortion rate per 1,000 population is 3.1 – also the lowest since 1988.
  • The number of abortions in 2000 was 16,103, in 2008 was 17,940 and in 2013 was 14,073
  • Sadly 48 under 15s had an abortion, but this is down from a peak of 105 in 2006
  • Teenage abortions down dramatically – from 4,277 in 2007 to 2,144 in 2013 – almost a 50% drop
  • 56% of abortions are in the first 9 weeks. 6% are after week 13.
  • Our general abortion rate (per 1,000 woman of child bearing age) is 16.1 which is lower than Sweden at 20.7 and England 16.4, but higher than Germany 7.4 and Netherland 8.5

 

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New Zealanders with disabilities

June 18th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Some interesting data from Stats NZ 2013 disability survey.

  • 24% (1.06 million) of the population have a disability, up from 20% (760 million) in 2001
  • By age 11% of under 15s have a disability rising to 59% of over 65%
  • By ethnicity 23% of Maori aged 15 to 44 have a disability, 16% of Europeans, 17% of Pacific and just 10% of Asians
  • 11% of population have a sensory disability, 14% physical, 2% intellectual, and 5% psychiatric/psychological
  • 9% have a hearing disability, 4% a sight disability, 13% a mobility disability, 7% agility disability, 3% speaking disability, 5% learning disability and 4% remembering disability
  • 41% of those with a disability say it is due to disease or illness, 31% accident or injury, 14% had since birth and 28% due to aging
  • Auckland has the lowest disability rate at 19% and Taranaki highest at 30%
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Largest ever unadjusted current account surplus

June 18th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

New Zealand’s seasonally adjusted current account balance was a deficit of $0.6 billion in the March 2014 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. This is $0.3 billion smaller than the December 2013 quarter deficit.

An increase in the value of goods exports, combined with higher spending by overseas visitors to New Zealand contributed to the fall in the current account deficit this quarter.

“The smaller deficit follows last quarter’s $1.6 billion fall, making this the smallest current account deficit since 2010,” international statistics manager Jason Attewell said.

Before removing seasonal effects, the current account balance was a surplus of $1.4 billion – the largest actual current account surplus ever recorded.

I’m pretty sure Labour have been going on about the current account crisis for a while, so we should thank them for curing this also.

New Zealand’s annual current account was a deficit of $6.3 billion (2.8 percent of GDP) for the year ended March 2014. This compares with a deficit of $7.6 billion (3.4 percent of GDP) for the year ended December 2013, and is also $2.0 billion smaller than the deficit for the year ended March 2013, when it was 3.9 percent of GDP.

So it is now 2.8% of GDP. What has it been?


tradingeconomics.com

This doesn’t include the latest quarter but one can see that the deficit is now less than a third of what it was under Labour, as a proportion of GDP.

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Maori views on culture

May 8th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Some interesting data from Stats NZ on Maori culture and language.

  • 46% of Maori say engagement in Maori culture is quite or very important to them
  • 49% say spirituality is quite or very important to them, ranging from 38% for under 25s to 62% for over 55s
  • 29% say religion important
  • 89% say tribal identity important
  • 58% have been to a marae in last year
  • 75% watched a Maori TV programme and 34% a Maori radio station
  • 15% have a moko
  • 11% can speak Te reo well and and only 2.6% say it is their main language at home
  • 34% say things are getting better for their whanau and only 12% worse
  • 83% say their whanau are well off and just 6% not well off
  • 95% say whanau includes parents, children, partner and siblings
  • 41% say also includes aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, in-laws

Pleasing to see most whanau are so well off, and many improving. Also interesting how tribal identity most important, then spirituality and culture followed by religion.

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The manufactured manufacturing crisis hits crisis point

March 10th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

It was less than 12 months ago that combined forces of Labour, Greens, NZ First and Mana declared manufacturing in New Zealand to be in crisis. The day before they announced this, manufacturing confidence hit a then record high and things have only got better since.

The latest news is a disaster for their manufactured crisis. Stats NZ reports:

The total manufacturing sales volume had a record rise in the December 2013 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. This was largely due to a strong rise in meat and dairy product manufacturing.

After adjusting for seasonal effects, the volume of total manufacturing sales rose 5.7 percent, with meat and dairy product manufacturing sales up 15 percent.

Up 5.7% in one quarter – that’s incredible growth.

They make the point it isn’t just dairy and meat, even though they are the largest. Other quarterly increases are:

  • Seafood +2.7%
  • Fruit, oil, cereal and food +5.0%
  • Wood and paper +1.6%
  • Printing +8.5%
  • Non-metallic minerals +5.5%
  • Transport +5.9%
  • Furniture +6.2%

They also report the total spending on salaries and wages in the manufacturing sector increased 4.5% in the quarter.

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Alcohol arithmetic

February 26th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Rising economic confidence and “aggressive” marketing techniques are the driving factors behind an 8.9 million litre rise in alcohol availability last year, says one concerned health organisation.

Latest figures from Statistics New Zealand, which compared figures over the last five years, show the total volume of alcohol available in New Zealand rose to 466 million litres last year – the equivalent of 2.1 standard drinks per person aged 18 and over per day.

It represents an increase of almost 9 million litres from 2012, according to Statistics New Zealand.

How shocking! But Stats Chats points out the story neglected to mention this fact:

The volume of pure alcohol available per person aged 15 years and over was unchanged, at 9.2 litres. This equates to an average of 2.0 standard drinks per person per day.

So real story is level of alcohol available is unchanged per capita.

The total level of alcohol available is in fact still lower than in 2008, and much lower per capita.

In terms of the last year, wine is up 3.6%, beer up 3.2%, spirits up 1.0% and spirit-based drinks (RTDs) down 6.2%. What this means is the actual amount of pure alcohol available for consumption has actually dropped, and has done so for three years. The level is 4.4% lower than three years ago.

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Auckland gets more religious

February 4th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

Auckland had the largest percentage of religious people in New Zealand at the 2013 Census, results from Statistics New Zealand show. The region also had more religious people than at the last census, in 2006.

Across New Zealand, the number of people who affiliated with a religion in 2013 fell 5.5 percent since the 2006 Census. Regional data released today shows that this trend was reflected in every region except Auckland, which had a 1.2 percent increase in the number of religious residents.

“Auckland was the only region with more religious people in 2013 than in 2006,” Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said. “It also had the highest proportion of people with a religion, at 59.6 percent, though this fell from 63.5 percent in 2006. Nationally, 55.0 percent of the population had a religious affiliation in 2013.”

I wonder why this is. A few theories.

  1. Most new immigrants come to Auckland, and new immigrants are more likely to be religious than those already here
  2. Auckland is home to more evangelical churches and they are being successful in converting people, especially in South Auckland
  3. Religious types are moving from other areas to Auckland

I think No 1 is most likely.

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New Zealand General Social Survey

January 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

I missed this when released, but Stats NZ does a general social survey every two years.  Some of the results for 2012 compared to 2008:

  • Satisfied or very satisfied with life 86.7% (+1.7%)
  • Adequacy of income not enough 15.3% (-0.1%)
  • Have a major house problem 33.5% (-3.8%)
  • Feel safe/very safe in neighbourhood 67.2% (+15.7%)
  • Have experienced discrimination in the last year 9.6% (-0.5%)
  • Household mainly recycles 80.1% (+6.6%)

A massive increase in the proportion who feel safe in their neighbourhood, and minor improvements in other areas.

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Census data

December 3rd, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ have released a bundle of census data today. Some interesting extracts, first on Maori:

  • Maori population up 5.9% compared to total population up 5.3%
  • Of the 598,605 who identify as Maori, 292,938 (49%) also identify as European.
  • Total who are of Maori descent is 688,724 up 3.8%
  • Maori population up most in Selwyn with a 51.2% increase and Mackenzie District 60% increase. Biggest drop in Kawerau with 14.2% reduction.
  • 50% more Maori have a bachelor’s degree than last census
  • A small drop in the number of Maori who can converse in te reo Maori – down 4.8% from 131,610 to 125,352. 7,824 claim they can speak Maori only, and not English.
  • 4,212 people claim to be Maori even though they also say they are not of Maori descent!

Wider ethnicity:

  • Almost 1 out of 8 people living in New Zealand are Asian, up from about 1 in 11 in 2006
  • In Auckland, over 1 in 5 are Asian
  • Hindi now 4th most common language after English, Maori and Samoan

If NZ was a village of 100 people:

  • 51 are female
  • In 1981, we had only 74 people and in 1926 just 33 people
  • The median age has increased from 28 to 38 since 1981
  • 14 villagers are Maori
  • 70 were born in NZ, 7 in Asia, 6 in UK/Ireland, 4 in the Pacific, 2 in Middle East/Africa, 2 in Europe and 1 in Australia and 1 in North America
  • 21 have a tertiary qualification
  • 36 are employed full-time and 11 part-time

Other stats:

  • 24.3% of women have a Level 5 or higher qualification and only 20.9% of men
  • The number of women earning over $40,000 increased 61.9% and the number of men 32.5%
  • Male median income increased 15.8% and female 20.9%
  • The number of households with a landline dropped from 87.8% to 81.1%
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Regional Population Changes

October 15th, 2013 at 11:12 am by David Farrar

Stats NZ have released the regional population changes. The average annual change from 2006 to 2013 for each region is:

  1. Auckland 1.2%
  2. Nelson 1.1%
  3. Waikato 0.8%
  4. Tasman 0.8%
  5. Taranaki 0.7%
  6. Wellington 0.7%
  7. Otago 0.6%
  8. Bayof Plenty 0.6%
  9. Canterbury 0.5%
  10. Southland 0.4%
  11. West Coast 0.4%
  12. Hawke’s Bay 0.3%
  13. Northland 0.3%
  14. Marlborough 0.3%
  15. Manawatu-Wanganui 0.0%
  16. Gisborne -0.3%

The Auckland growth of 1.2% just over half of the growth rate the Auckland Council are using in their plans. Unless there is some reason to think the change is temporary, their plans should incorporate the new data.

The only region to shrink is Gisborne, which is good. A shrinking regional population makes it very hard to attract jobs and investment.

Of the 68 territorial authorities, 18 shrunk and 50 grew. The Ruapehu District shrunk the most at an annual average of 1.9% a year and the Selwyn District grew the most at 4.1% a year,

Within Auckland the smallest growth was 0.6% a year in five board areas. Albert-Eden had the lowest growth. The highest growth was in Upper Harbour at 3.3% a year.

At an area unit level Burwood has had a 63% reduction in population over seven years, Middlemore 62%, Kaiapoi East 59%, Cathedral Square 54%.

The biggest growth is Mission Heights from 48 people to 2,532 which is a 5175% growth over seven years.

UPDATE: Rather embarrassing for David Cunliffe that yesterday he was saying to the Taranaki Daily News:

Taranakians are leaving the province in droves because they’re being forgotten by the National Government, Labour leader David Cunliffe says.

Mr Cunliffe said Census data released today would show a widespread exodus from the regions as provincial New Zealanders flee forgotten small towns.

He said these towns had been gutted by the hands off approach of the National Government.

That’s an epic fail. Instead Taranaki grew by 0.7% a year, which is the fifth largest in the country. Does this mean David Cunliffe will now “blame” National for the 5,484 extra people now living in Taranaki over the last seven years? That compares to just 1,266 extra people in Taranaki in the five years before that (2001 to 2006).

The lesson for the Labour leader is wait until the data is released before you spin it. Telling the local paper the figures would show an exodus when it fact shows population growth three times stronger than the previous period is again a rather epic fail.

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NZ Internet Stats

October 14th, 2013 at 11:17 am by David Farrar

Some interesting data from Stats NZ on Internet use in NZ:

  • Broadband connections up from 93% in 2012 to 95% in 2013
  • Fibre connections up from 5,400 to 13,000
  • Those with download speed over 8 Mb/s up from 70% to 88%
  • Those with data cap of 50 GB or more (or none) up from 21% to 34%
  • Average monthly data used up from 16 GB to 23 GB
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Auckland growth

October 8th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson says new Census data which show that New Zealand population growth has halved since the last Census could prompt revision of Auckland’s infrastructure plans such as an increase in high-rise apartments and the construction of a city rail loop.

But Auckland Council is standing by its plans for growth, saying that Auckland is expected to grow faster than the rest of the country.

The council’s planning for the next 30 years is based on the prediction that the number of residents will grow by 1 million.

Mr Williamson said the first Census data in seven years indicated that this projection was far too high.

Statistics New Zealand figures released yesterday showed that on Census night, there were 214,101 more people in New Zealand than at the previous Census in 2006. This meant the population had grown by 31,000 a year over the past seven years, compared to 58,000 a year in the previous period of 2001 to 2006.

“This is a huge surprise – bigger than Ben Hur,” Mr Williamson said. “It’s nearly half the growth rate that everyone had been basing their historic numbers on.”

This is why I think the Government’s funding position on the CRL is smart. Budgeted to start in 2010 2020, but with the provision to start earlier if there is sufficient population growth etc leading to inner city employment growth.

The planning documents assume that the region will grow by 2.2 per cent a year. As a result, they include proposals for more high-rise, small apartments in the suburbs and 160,000 homes outside the existing urban boundaries.

The Census data showed a national average increase of 0.75 per cent in population per year, but regional growth would not be revealed until next week.

One can make a dirty estimate if you ignore changes in the Maori roll.

The 21 electorates mainly in Auckland had an electoral population of 1,205,678 in 2006 and of 1,318,141 in 2013. That is growth of 112,463 or 9.3% over seven years.

That equates to an average growth of almost 1.3% a year – well below the 2.2%.

What difference does this make over time?

Well 2.2% a year for 30 years is a 92% growth while 1.3% for 30 years is a 47.3% growth.

What difference does that make to projected population? Well on 1.5 million current population the 2.2% figure means an extra 1.4 million residents while the 1.3% figure means an extra 710,000 – so a difference of around 700,000 Aucklanders.

I look forward to people claiming that we should ignore the census data and not change the Auckland plan. Of course we should wait for the official figures next week.

 

 

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June 2013 Income survey

October 7th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stats  NZ has published their latest annual income survey. Some interesting stats:

  • Average income from wages/salaries up 6% in the last year
  • Average income from all sources up 2.2% and median income from all sources up 2.7% which suggests less income inequality
  • Median income for those in paid employment is $45,729 and average income is $53,759
  • Median income for those with no qualifications is $39,002, $50,005 for a bachelors degree and $67,003 for a post-grad degree
  • Age is a major factor in income. 50% of those in the bottom income quintile are aged under 25, while under 25s make up just 2% of the top income quintile. Those arguing that 16 year olds must get paid $18.40 an hour are basically buts.
  • The average income for a couple with two dependent children is $97,924 while for a sole parent with dependent children is $37,126
  • Government transfers represent 3% of the income of an average couple with two children and 46% of the income an an average sole parent.
  • The median salary/wage for a 40 hour week  is $45,009 and the average is $54,229
  • 1,197,100 people receive a Government transfer, 1,892,100 are in employment, 323,900 are self-employed
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120 years of women’s suffrage

September 16th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

16279036

 

Produced by Stats NZ and the MWA. The 120th anniversary is on the 19th. Proud NZ was the first full country to given women the vote. Sad that some countries still treat women as second class citizens.

In the last 60 years, the stats changes have been:

  • Women in Parliament from 5% to 34%
  • Working-age women in employment from 25% to 58%
  • Percentage of tertiary students that are female from 24% to 56%
  • Average age at first birth from 23 to 28
  • Average number of children from 4 to 2

 

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Manufacturing Data

June 17th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Labour, Greens and NZ First release their “report” from their manufactured inquiry into the manufacturing crisis. They specialise in putting out cherry picked data to try and convince people there is a crisis in manufacturing.

To counter that I’m blogging these graphs which are all directly from the Stats NZ Infoshare database and show some key metrics over time, so people can see the actual changes and trends. They are a mixture of positive and negative, but not an indicator of a crisis I would say. In fact all have been improving recently.

mangdp

This is the manufacturing component of NZ’s GDP. There certainly has been a decline in real prices, but note it started in 2006 and since 2010 it has started growing again.

manwages

This is the total gross earnings from people working the the manufacturing sector. A significant fall from Q1 2008 to Q3 2009, but some growth since then.

manjobs

The number of jobs in the manufacturing sector has been falling since 2004. This is partly because of growing automation.  The large falls began in Q1 2007 until Q4 2009. Since 2009, there has been some modest growth.

mansales

The manufacturing sales show a similar pattern. A big decline started Q1 2008. Since Q4 2010, it has been growing – quite strongly in recent months.

PMI

 

This graph I blogged last week and is not from Stats NZ, but the BNZ/Business NZ Performance of Manufacturing Index. It is basically a specialised business confidence index for the sector. It is at a nine year high.

So what do these graphs all show? Several things:

  1. NZ suffered from the global financial crisis in late 2008 through to 2010
  2. NZ manufacturing started declining prior to the GFC, in Labour’s last term. This is no surprise as we went into recession at the beginning of 2008, and the tradeables sector was in recession from 2005.
  3. Jobs in manufacturing have been declining for a longer period, due to automation
  4. Every manufacturing indicator is now positive and growing, with confidence for the sector at a nine year high

It’s good for parties to promote alternative economic policies for sectors such as manufacturing. That is what politics is about. It is not good however to try and manufacture a crisis, when there clearly is not a crisis.

As for the exchange rate, have a look at the TWI in the last year.

nzdtwi_3_12m

 

And before anyone lies, this post was my idea, all my own work, and unknown to everyone else in the entire universe  until it appeared on the blog.

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Why the assets sale petition failed

June 10th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The assets sale petition that failed (but can be re-submitted) had the highest number of non valid signatures of any CIR since the 1990s. I was interested in why this was the case so requested documents from the Office of the Clerk, Electoral Commission and Stats NZ under the OIA.

There were 393,778 signatures submitted.  They needed 308,753 to make 10%. Stats NZ found the estimated number of valid signatures was 292,291 with a standard error of 2,579.  That meant 26% of signatures were invalid.  Stats NZ commented:

The probability of there being enough valid signatures in the full petition given the results of our sample is (negligible) less than one in a billion.

So why were so few signatures valid. The sample stats were:

  • Signatures checked 28,127
  • Unique electors 23,031
  • Ineligible signatures 4,909 (not on electoral roll)
  • Illegible signers 21
  • Duplicate 166

Now that level of duplicates may not sound high, but that is the number of people found as duplicates just in the small sample tested. If you checked the entire sample, you would get far more. Stats NZ estimates that all up, 11% of those who signed the petition signed it at least twice. That is a very high proportion, and significantly higher than any other CIR where the figure has ranged from 5.1% to 8.8%.

The proportion of ineligibles was 17%, and the range in other CIRs has been between 12% and 18%. So the key difference with this CIR was not the proportion of ineligible signing it – but people fraudulently signing it more than once. 11% means one in nine signers signed it twice!

There is a case to be made that if you sign a petition twice, both signatures should be struck out – rather than just one of them. Just like with double voting.

Incidentally I didn’t sign the petition any times. To the best of my memory I’ve never signed any CIR petition except the one for a referendum on the flag.

Maybe when the Greens spent all that taxpayer money on hiring people to (get people to) sign the petition, they should have told them to tell people to sign it once only.

It will be interesting to see how many duplicates are there when they resubmit the petition in two months. If they target the same people and areas as the previous 12 months, then they may end up just getting more duplicates.

My thanks to the agency staff who compiled the info for my request.

6. Briefing Notes for GS 02.05.2013

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A national population register

April 24th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The national census could be scrapped and replaced with an “administrative census” that wouldn’t require everyone to fill out forms, under a plan being considered by Statistics New Zealand.

But civil libertarians should put the champagne on ice.

Statistics NZ said the switch would require a new compulsory “national population register” that would record where everyone lived and which could link to their tax and health records.

Additional socio-economic data normally gathered during the five-yearly census would be obtained from public databases and by a smaller survey that might cover about 5 per cent of the population. …

“Typically a national population register provides the essential population base and is linked to an address register, to birth and death registers, and to other administrative sources such as tax, health and education data.”

Kevin McCormack, secretary of the Council for Civil Liberties, said the lobby group would consider it important the register was used only for statistical purposes and that linked data did not identify individuals. “Otherwise, it is another form of creeping ‘Big Brother’.”

I find it amazing we don’t have this already. At any point in time we don’t have an accurate list of all NZ citizens, all NZ residents etc. The birth and death records are not linked to the immigration records. A register of residents and citizens would be very useful for electoral enrolment verification, as well as statistical purposes.

There are potential privacy issues, but I don’t see such a database as meaning the Government has any additional data on you – just that it is linked together, so that one can statistically analyse it.

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Life Expectancy

April 16th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ has the latest life expectancy data:

  • Life expectancy at birth is 83.0 years for females and 79.3 years for males.
  • Life expectancy at birth has increased by 0.8 years for females and 1.3 years for males since 2005–07.
  • Female life expectancy at birth is 3.7 years higher than male life expectancy at birth, down from the largest difference of 6.4 years in 1975–77.
  • The gap between Māori and non-Māori life expectancy at birth has narrowed to 7.3 years. This compares with 9.1 years in 1995–97, 8.5 years in 2000–02, and 8.2 years in 2005–07.
  • Life expectancy at birth is 76.5 years for Māori females and 72.8 years for Māori males, compared with 83.7 years for non-Māori females and 80.2 years for non-Māori males.

The closing of the gap between men and women, and between Maori and non-Maori is a good thing (so long as the gap closing is by both getting better, not worse!).

The average life expectancy for a 45 year old non-Maori male is another 37 years, so that may be 47 years of Kiwiblog to look forward to :-)

If like me you are a male born in 1967, then there is a 96.4% chance you are still alive, and 3.6% chance you have already died. The chance of dying within the next year is 0.2%.

If you were a male born 65 years ago, there is a 12.8% chance you have died and a 1.1% chance you will die in the next year.

The age at which you have a 10% chance of dying in the next year if you are a male is 86 and at 90 you have a 16% chance of dying in the next year.

At age 67, the chance you have died is 28.1% for Maori men, 21.2% for Maori women, 12.2% for non-Maori men and 8.8% for non-Maori women.

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Infant Mortality

February 26th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

infantmort

 

Even a generation ago the infant mortality rate in New Zealand was more than twice what it is today, and post WWII was a massive 30 in 1000 or so.

The gap between Maori and overall infant mortality has also declined massively, which is good.

People often think of the 1950s as some sort of glory days. It is true that they were good times for many, but we shouldn’t overlook the progress we have had since then.

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Census frequency

January 4th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A proposal to shift to a 10-year census could seriously affect Christchurch’s recovery, critics say.

Statistics Minister Maurice Williamson said in July 2011 the Government was considering holding the census once every decade.

Currently conducted every five years, the census helps determine electoral boundaries and funding for services like district health boards, schools and the police.

I’m not sure how a comment made 18 months ago is a news story today, unless there has been some more recent development.

Labour earthquake recovery spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel said Christchurch was already living with the consequences of a delayed census.

“I’m not criticising the delay that we’ve had because obviously it was done for the right reasons. We would have got a very distorted view if it had gone ahead in 2011.”

However, delaying the census by two years did cause problems, particularly for this year’s local body elections, she said.

“The election will be based on boundaries that aren’t where people are living. I think that’s going to be a bit of a shake-up,” she said.

“I’d really want to see a good case put up for a delay. We’ve had the schools shake-up landed on the city without the benefit of knowledge about where the settlement patterns are going to fall and that’s wrong.”

Labour statistics spokesman Raymond Huo said a 10-yearly census would reduce costs to Statistics New Zealand, but it was “not that straightforward”.

“I think [Williamson's] idea is half-baked at best because it’s not that simple,” he said.

“The key drivers are cost constraints and the demand for more frequent detailed and accurate statistics. Particularly for the Christchurch area, we need more frequent and accurate data.”

I agree with Dalziel and Huo that a move from five to 10 years is not desirable. I’m a bit biased as I am a frequent and large user of census data, but I think it would impact many areas of activity.

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Household incomes

December 2nd, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The latest household income survey has some good and interesting news in it.

  • Average annual household income from all regular sources increased from $79,256 to $81,067 – a 2.3% increase
  • Average annual household income from wages and salaries increased from $77,843 to $82,029 – a 5.4% increase
  • Total housing costs as a proportion of total regular household income decreased from 16.4 percent to 16.0 percent.
  • The median annual regular household income went up 5.8% from $62,853 to $66,469
  • The median annual regular household income from salaries went up 7.9% from $46,410 to $50,057
  • The median annual personal income from salaries, for someone in employment, went up 5.9% from $37,673 to $39,889
  • The average annual personal income from salaries, for someone in employment, went up 4.0% from $44,376 to $46,169
  • The average household with a mortgage is paying $20 a week less than a year ago
  • In Auckland the average annual housing cost has dropped from $17,619 to $16,654 while the average income has increased from $90,762 to $93,532 so the proportion spent on housing costs has dropped from 19.4% to 17.8%.
  • Only around 20% of those in the two lowest income deciles say they are dissatisfied with their material standard of living, and 60% are satisfied.
  • 10% of NZers have income of over $80,000. If you have a bachelors degree it is 24%, masters 26%, and doctorate 34%

It is always interesting to see how the stats measure up against the perception.

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Nasty party attacks Stats NZ

November 9th, 2011 at 4:38 pm by David Farrar

Labour MP Phil Twyford doesn’t know the difference between a trend series and a seasonally adjusted series. So what did he do when a data series from Stats NZ showed a positive trend in the trend series? He attacks Stats NZ and accuses them of political bias.

Stats NZ is probably the most neutral agency in the public service after the Auditor-General. Attacking their integrity is very stupid and desperate.

Stuff reports:

Labour’s candidate for the Auckland electorate of Te Atatu yesterday suggested Statistics New Zealand had “massaged” the latest figures on building consents to paint a rosier picture than was correct.

Statistics New Zealand had released building consents for September which found a 17 per cent seasonally-adjusted fall and a 14 per cent fall when apartments were excluded.

“But the headline on the Statistics New Zealand press release read: Trends for new home approvals continue to rise,” Tywford said.

“Talk about spin!”

Statistics New Zealand’s “enthusiasm” could be excused in less partisan times, he said.

“But during an election period when National is patting itself on the back for doing as good a job as anyone could in terms of keeping the economy ticking over, it is impossible not to see a lack of neutrality in the department’s media release.”

Trying to make a 17 per cent decline look like an increase was the “sort of behaviour” expected of Prime Minister John Key or National’s campaign manager Steven Joyce, Twyford said.

“It’s not what you expect of an organisation that has always – until now – prided itself on being fiercely independent of political bias.

“It is inexcusable for Statistics New Zealand to give even the appearance of bias during an election campaign.”

However, Statistics New Zealand chief executive Geoff Bascand said the government agency took seriously its responsibility to explain and present statistics in a meaningful and accurate way.

“As Government Statistician, I am fiercely protective of my statutory independence in the production and release of statistics.”

Volatility in building consents over past months had caused Statistics New Zealand to judge its trend series of figures as the most useful indicator of movement in building activity, he said.

It had also reported the seasonally-adjusted figures within the first paragraph of its statement and more detailed information had been included.

Maybe someone with a stats degree could explain to Twyford what a trend series is.

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Stats website

February 5th, 2010 at 7:10 am by David Farrar

Is anyone else getting this error when trying to access Stats NZ website:

403 – Forbidden: Access is denied.
You do not have permission to view this directory or page using the credentials that you supplied.

Very annoying.

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New Zealanders and the Census

April 29th, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

I agree with the Dom Post Editorial:

Statistics New Zealand has a problem. It is trying to squeeze square pegs into round holes.

The square pegs are the people who identified themselves as New Zealanders in the 2006 census. The round holes are the ethnic categories into which it wants New Zealanders to divide themselves.

Three years ago 400,000 people ignored the categories set out in the census form and wrote New Zealander in the “other” category. By using other sources of information, Statistics NZ has been able to build up a picture of those who refused to tick its boxes. It says more than 90 per cent were of European origin and they tended to be male, slightly older, better off and better educated than the general population.

However, the government statistician warns, in a discussion document issued this week, that if the number who ignore its official classifications continues to grow, the data collected in future ethnicity surveys will be rendered unusable. Good.

I don’t go so far as to say that is good (as I am a major user of said statistics) but I think that many in society are saying they do not regard themselves as purely European. And in fact over time many New Zealanders will have a mixture of European, Asian, Maori and Pacific ancestry. As a country we inter-marry between ethnicities far more than others.

I know people who have British and Maori ancestry. They don’t identify as either European or Maori.

According to Statistics NZ, the data is vital for the development of public policy. It is used to address social and economic inequality associated with membership of particular ethnic groups. Perhaps policy makers could try just addressing disadvantage.

Statistics NZ also suggests those who define themselves as New Zealanders are confusing ethnic and national identity. They are not. It is Statistics NZ that is confused.

According to the government statistician, an ethnic group is one which shares some or all of the following characteristics: a common proper name; elements of common culture such as religion, customs or language; a unique community of interests, feelings and actions; a shared sense of common origins or ancestry; and a common geographic origin.

The reason growing numbers of people are choosing to identify themselves as New Zealanders is because that is what they are, not just in a legal sense, but in a cultural sense.

I think a reasonable case can be made that “New Zealander” is a new emerging ethnicity – not just a nationality.

They are a group whose members have a common proper name, New Zealanders; share a common language, a version of English in which Maori terms and phrases are becoming increasingly common; share common values and interests; and share common origins and ancestry. The majority were born in this country, as were the parents and grandparents of many. There is nowhere else that they call home and no other group of people with whom they identify more closely.

Many Maori words have become “mainstreamed” as part of NZ English.

If what Statistics NZ really wants to know is the racial composition of those who identify as New Zealanders, that is what it should ask for although it might not like the response.

And that may be the way forward. Ask one question on ethnicity and another on racial composition.

But if it is genuinely interested in the ethnic makeup of New Zealand, it should open its eyes. A unique national identity is taking shape. It is one that incorporates elements of Maori, European, Pacific and now Asian culture. Home for its members is not on the other side of the globe. It is here. The language that is spoken is not the Queen’s English or Samoan or Cantonese, it is New Zild. And the values held by its members are not the values of London or Apia or Hong Kong, but of the Hutt Valley, South Auckland, Southland and Wellington.

That is something to celebrate, not to fret about.

Not all New Zealanders would see their ethnicity as New Zealand. Many Maori identify primarly as Maori. First generation Asian immigrants indetify as Asian. The second and third generations far less so, I would say.

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Another migration record

October 23rd, 2008 at 7:40 am by David Farrar

Stats NZ have released their monthly migration statistics. They note:

  • 500 more PLT departures in September 2008 compared with September 2007
  • In the year ended September 2008, there were 82,300 PLT departures, up 7,600 (10 percent). (an all time record)
  • Net PLT migration was 4,400 in the September 2008 year, down from 8,300 in the September 2007 year. The latest figure is the lowest since the October 2001 year (1,700).
  • A net inflow of 40,800 non-New Zealand citizens and a net outflow of 36,400 New Zealand citizens were recorded in the year ended September 2008.
  • Compared with the September 2007 year there were 5,900 more PLT departures of New Zealand citizens and 1,700 more PLT departures of non-New Zealand citizens.
  • The net PLT outflow to Australia was 33,900 in the September 2008 year, compared with 26,200 in the September 2007 year. This is higher than previous peaks in the January 1989 year (33,700) and the December 1979 year (33,400).

The above is all from the Stats NZ commentary. Now let’s look at some data over time.

This shows that the number of permament and long-term departures is at an all time high. As a percentage of the population it is not yet at the peak but has climbed from 14 per 1,000 to almost 20 per 1,000.

That is quite high. Over a generation (30 years) that is 600 out of 1,000 people who would have left – and most won’t return.

If we look at just the last five years – since the current trend began, we see a few things:

  • PLT departures up from 55,000 to over 82.000 in five years – a 49% increase
  • PLT departures of NZ citizens up from 38,000 to almost 60,000 – a 57% increase
  • Net PLT departures of NZ citizens up from 10,000 to around 36,000 – a 254% increase

I don’t show the net PLT figures for all travellers as the rate of inbound migration of non citizens is decided by Government policy and can be set as high or low as the Government wants.

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