Saturday, January 04, 2020

My prediction Ardern would increase child poverty

New Year seems to be a time when predictions are checked. In September 2017 I predicted Jacinda Ardern would increase child poverty if she became Prime Minister.

On 7 of 9 measures introduced under the Child Poverty Reduction Act, to June 2018 poverty had increased. That's fairly out-dated data now and not a particularly useful measuring stick.

But also now known is that children in benefit dependent households rose between June 2018 and 2019. From Otago University's Child Poverty Monitor:

It's not a big rise but it's the first in 10 years.

I argued, and still do, that despite studying the child poverty problem as Labour spokesperson for six years, Ardern didn't understand the drivers.

Essentially the more a country chooses to decrease poverty through redistribution, the more joblessness grows.  It is well documented now that despite having low unemployment, numbers on the jobseeker benefit - and more recently the sole parent benefit - have increased. The kind of people who choose not to work when they could, aren't necessarily stupid. But they are quite probably not good money-managers.  For instance, they don't prioritise their children's needs. There is usually wisdom behind old adages. In this case, 'Easy come, easy go.'

I don't know if the Left will ever figure out that state-enforced redistribution to the poor doesn't solve their problems in a meaningful or sustained way. It won't under this leader anyway.

But here's an election year question for you to ponder. If Ardern claims this year that her Families Package has reduced child poverty (BUT more children are in non-working homes) is that a success?

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Stuff and Inequality - only half the story

2020 just hours old and that hoary old chestnut is already rolled out. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer!

From Stuff where only half of the story is ever provided:
Rasbrooke said the data that was available suggested wealth inequality had worsened in the past decade or two..."There are very few demands on wealthy people in New Zealand, no meaningful taxes on their wealth."

From New Zealand's official source on household incomes (my emphasis):

New Zealand does not have a robust time series on wealth inequality, so we do not know if there are any changes in this aspect of household resources.

 Household income inequality in New Zealand is a little above average for OECD countries and wealth inequality is about average

New Zealand’s wealth inequality is about average for the OECD, with the top 10% of households holding around 50% of all household wealth.

As for other OECD countries, household wealth inequality in New Zealand is greater than income inequality. New Zealand ranks in the middle of the table, with around 50% of wealth held by the top 10%, similar to Canada, Norway and France. For the USA, 76% is held by the top 10%.

The Gini measure of inequality is a popular one but, because it uses information on all household incomes, it is susceptible to showing large fluctuations because of sampling issues for very high income households. The report therefore highlights the Gini trend for the lower 99%. There is no evidence of any sustained rising or falling trend in the last 25 years for the lower 99%, using the Gini. 

There is no evidence of any sustained rising or falling trend for BHC [before housing costs] income inequality, with New Zealand levels a little above the OECD average and similar to Australia. The share of total income received by the top 1% has been steady in the 8-9% range since 1990, similar to Finland and Norway, a little lower than Australia, and much lower than the UK (14% in 2015) and the US (20% in 2015).

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Bush fire headlines

The idea that 'We live in apocalyptic times' might be misguided.

Questioning the idea might equally be challenged.

To satisfy my own curiosity I searched 'bush fires' in Papers Past.


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