Stats NZ changes definition of unemployed

July 1st, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

With the stroke of a pen, the number of people unemployed dropped by 12,000, while the number in the workforce has also dropped.

But the changes are purely statistical, with not a single job being created or lost in the changes. 

On Wednesday Statistics New Zealand released a report outlining revisions to labour market research, designed to better identify job seekers and to bring the official figures in line with international standards.

It is the first major change to the calculations since the household labour force survey was introduced in 1985.

As a result of the changes, there have been substantial revisions to household labour force estimates, dating all the way back to 2007, to give accurate comparisons to future reports.

According to the new reports, the unemployment rate was 5.2 per cent in the March 2016, compared to 5.7 per cent in the original report, with the number considered unemployed dropping by 12,000 to 132,000.

Meanwhile the labour force participation rate dropped by 0.3 percentage points to 68.7 per cent.

The figures have been recalculated for every quarterly household labour force survey back to the start 2005.

This will get conspiracies going that the Government has changed the definition to make the data look better, but Stats NZ decides this independently, and it is about having the same definition as other countries.

The change is pretty simple to understand. You are only regarded as unemployed if you are out of work and actually seeking a job. And previously if you indicated you browsed job advertisements on the Internet, you are deemed to be seeking work.

The new definition regards merely reading advertisements, but not actually applying for any jobs, as not seeking work and hence not in the labour force.

A real time CPI?

June 1st, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Richard Harman writes at Politik:

StatisticsNZ may seem to be one of Wellington’s more prosaic Government departments.

But in fact, it is the engine room that is powering the Government’s whole social investment programme.

And it’s at the cutting edge of some of the big issues facing the Government whether they be economic or the social implications of the sometimes uncomfortable truths that it reveals about our society.

That idea has the potential to upend parts of the banking system.

And now its Minister is talking about even more radical ideas which would seem some crucial statistics be produced in real time.

The Minister being:

But it is in Statistics that he has a chance to make a real difference.

Though he seems to like coming across as a Hawke’s Bay farmer (handy in his Tukituki electorate), Foss is, in fact, a former investment banker with a similar international career to that of John Key.

And it’s that broad business experience that meant when he got his Statistics role he asked Chief Statistician Liz MacPhersopn to imagine that Xero CEO Rod Drury was in charge and Statistics was about to be floated.

He asked her: “Would you be doing stuff differently.”

Of course, this was a hypothetical situation, and no one is contemplating privatising Statistics.

“The owners of all the data are the taxpayers; do they know it’s there, , can small businesses find it, is it useful, do you need a Ph.D. to dig it out.

“So they are absolutely turning that on its head.

“Statistics is now open by default as opposed to closed by default.”

We need other agencies to follow. All government data should be open by default, and exemptions should be rare – mainly to protect personal details.

And what is going to strengthen that data is the big digital disruption that is sweeping through Statistics.

“Fifteen months ago they were still calculating the consumers price index (CPI)  by going round ships with a clipboard, counting cabbages and taking that back home, filling out a form and faxing it to Wellington.

“So now they are on Ipads, and batch doing it.

“But why are we doing that?”

He says that if Statistics had access to financial transaction by EFTPOS they could generate a real-time consumer price index.

That’s a great idea. You could track the actual prices people are paying, rather than the advertised prices at the rimes Stats NZ checks.

Young Mothers

November 20th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

An interesting publication by Stats NZ on young mothers and the workforce.Their findings include:

  • 3% of women aged 15 to 19 are mothers
  • The proportion of 20 to 24 year old women becoming mothers has fallen from 25% in 1994 to 20% in 2014
  • Two thirds of teen mothers are sole parents
  • Teen mothers by ethnicity are Maori 6.1%, Pacific 4.2%, European 2.3% and Asian 0.8%
  • 20 to 24 year old mothers by ethnicity are Maori 38%, Pacific 30%, European 17.5% and Asian 6.9%
  • 20 to 24 year old sole mothers by ethnicity are Maori 23%, Pacific 16%, European 8.4% and Asian 1.6%
  • 82% of teenage women who are not parents are in education compared to 29% of teenage mothers
  • For 20-24 year olds the proportions in education are women (no kids) 45%, men 39%, sole mothers 22%, partnered mothers 14%

Wouldn’t NZ be so much better off if all of NZ had the same young mother rate as Asian New Zealanders?

Latest Internet stats

October 18th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ has released their latest ISP survey. A lot of change over the last four years.

  • Broadband has gone from 87% to 97% of connections
  • Fibre connections up to 105,000 now
  • Percentage getting over 8 MB/s download gone from 67% to 98%
  • Percentage getting over 24 MB/s download gone from 2% to 23%
  • Percentage getting over 10 MB/s upload gone from 0% to 19%
  • Connections with no data cap gone from 2% to 33%
  • Total data use gone from 13 PB to 84 PB
  • Number of mobile phone Internet connections gone from 1.9 million to 4.0 million
  • IPv6 availability gone from 30% to 48% of ISPs

Automatic stats data from Xero

June 6th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Statistics New Zealand hopes to provide a quicker and more accurate picture of how small businesses are faring as a result of a deal with accounting software firm Xero.

Businesses which use Xero’s cloud software will be able to volunteer to have some details of their business, such as their profit and loss, transmitted automatically to the government department.

Statistics NZ said the trial would test the feasibility of the department automatically collecting financial information electronically and if it was successful it could mean business owners would spend less time in future filling in forms.

If this means I have to spend less time every year filling in those 20 page business surveys, then I’ll be a very happy man.

NZ General Social Survey 2014

May 26th, 2015 at 12:05 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ has released results from the General Social Survey they do every two years. They show that for most NZ families, things are better than in 2008. Some comparisons:

  • Families who say they have enough money have gone from 51.3% in 2008 to 62.8% in 2014
  • Families who say they do not have enough money have gone from 15.4% in 2008 to 12.2% in 2014
  • Families who say just have enough money have gone from 33.3% in 2008 to 25.0% in 2014
  • The proportion feeling safe walking home at night has gone from 51.5% in 2008 to 60.9% in 2014

Some other interesting data:

  • 82.6% rate their overall life satisfaction as 7/10 or higher
  • 70.5% of unemployed rate their overall life satisfaction at 7/10 or higher
  • 73.0% of families with income under $30,000 rate their overall life satisfaction at 7/10 or higher
  • Only 24.6% of families with income under $30,000 say they do not have enough money to meet everyday needs
  • Recent migrants are happier with 88.3% saying they rate their overall life satisfaction as 7/10 or higher
  • Those rating life satisfaction as 7/10 or better are Maori 77.9%, Pasifika 78.1%, Asians 81.5% and Europeans 84.1%
  • 86.4% say they are in good or better health

In terms of being comfortable with a new neighbour who is different to them:

  • 76.4% comfortable with new migrant
  • 76.0% comfortable with different religion
  • 75.1% comfortable with GLBT neighbour
  • 74.8% comfortable with different ethnicity
  • 51.7% comfortable with mentally ill neighbour

Ethnic projections

May 22nd, 2015 at 11:30 am by David Farrar

Stats NZ has released projections for the change in our ethnic populations. They project for 2038:

  • European 66% (-9% from 2013)
  • Maori 20% (+4%)
  • Asian 21% (+9%)
  • Pacific 11% (+3%)

Around 2025 the number of Asian New Zealand is expected to exceed the number of Maori New Zealanders.

Household Internet access by income

February 4th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ has released census data showing 77% of households have Internet access at home, up from 61% at the previous census. This varies greatly by household income.

  • Under $25,000 is 46%
  • $25 k to $50 k is 68%
  • $50 k to $100 k is 87%
  • Over $100k is 96%

Not entirely clear though if having an Internet capable mobile counts as home Internet access,

ISP stats

October 25th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ has done its annual ISP survey. Some changes over time:

  • Dialup connections have dropped from 13% in 2011 to 3% in 2014
  • Fibre connections up from 13,000 in 2013 to 46,000 in 2014
  • Broadband download speeds of under 8 Mb/s down from 33% in 2011 to 14% in 2014
  • Broadband download speeds of over 24Mb/s up from 2% in 2011 to 16% in 2014
  • Broadband upload speeds of under 1.5 Mb/s down from 80% in 2011 to 38% in 2014
  • Broadband upload speeds of over 10Mb/s up from 0% in 2011 to 16% in 2014
  • Plans with no data caps up 2% to 8%
  • Plans with a data cap of over 50 GB up from 2% to 39%
  • Monthly PBs (million GBs) used up from 13.4 in 2011 to 53.1 in 2014
  • ISPs that are IPv6 capable up from 30% in 2011 to 52% in 2014

Really good to see the growth in plans with no data caps, and also the quite significant speed increases.

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


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%

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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%

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.

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

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.



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

120 years of women’s suffrage

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



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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.



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.

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