Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Something is growing but I'm not sure it's poverty or inequality

The Waikato Times reports :

"New Zealand's biggest growth industry isn't agriculture or manufacturing – it's poverty, a Waikato University professor says

Social scientist, Professor Darrin Hodgetts, said New Zealand was "growing poverty".

"It's our growth industry and it's growing at three times the OECD average," Prof Hodgetts said ahead of a public lecture in Hamilton tonight....

...New Zealand had gone from one of the most equitable societies – in terms of income distribution – to one of the worst.

"And the cracks are getting bigger."

Look at the following graphs from the OECD Factbook:

What these graphs show is that New Zealand's percentage point change in the Gini index (official measurement of income inequality) was greatest between the mid-1980s and mid 1990s. Between the mid 1990s and lates 2000s the percentage point change was negative.

Not according to the professor:
"Things like Working for Families have had an impact but they haven't stopped the growth and the OECD figures are pretty conservative," he said.
The OECD measures relative poverty. If the Gini index shrinks there is less relative poverty.

In respect of OECD poverty rates go here and look at the graph on page 4.

It shows that between the 1980s and late 2000s New Zealand's poverty rate grew at two and a half times the OECD average. But the highest rate of change was in Sweden at 3.7 times the OECD average. Other countries with higher rates of change than NZ were the Czech Republic, Austria, the Netherlands and Ireland.

Featuring in negative rates of change were Greece, Spain and France. And they are all in the doggy-do.

NZ's population poverty rates have been falling. This table shows the most commonly used poverty indicator - percentage living below the 60 percent threshold of median household income after housing costs:

AHC ‘fixed line’ 60%













In a nutshell poverty/inequality grew after the mid eighties. It decreased over the 2000s but has yet to fall to mid-eighties levels.

But what is actually growing right now? The number of people clamouring about, and the level of noise being made about poverty and inequality.


Mark Hubbard said...

The worst thing about this academic's article is that he is completely blinkered as to 'causes' of poverty.

Like all the deluded, he is simply another advocate of theft, sorry, 're-distribution', without realising this immoral base for a political system is what has been used to grow poverty and violence via the welfare state.

This academic represents the true problem New Zealand, and the West, have: his mind, and the minds of the Kim Jong Hickey's and Jesus Morgan's who have tripped over their bleeding hearts and can now see no higher than the gutter as the thing to aspire to. Generosity, which is a good and noble thing, has been sacked by the societal suicide of altruism.

Kiwiwit said...

North Korea undoubtedly is more 'equitable' than New Zealand.

nzclassicalliberal said...

Indeed it is. Our Gini coefficient is 36 or so, and theirs an egalitarian 31.

FF said...

Nth Korea has an equal sharing of misery..except for the party elite of course.

thor42 said...

I completely agree with Mark Hubbard.

Paula Bennett deserves a damehood for **at last** daring to do the unthinkable: making those on the DPB and sickness benefits subject to work-testing.

** It's about time. **

The one glaring untouched area that National MUST cut back on is Working for Families. It is an abysmal waste of money and it must be axed.