The Opposition and other cheerleaders for the left keep telling us how poorly New Zealand is doing.
The overview of the Household Income Trends disproves that. (p 13):
- The graph shows the net improvement at the top of each income decile from HES 2009 to HES 2015. This is from just before the GFC (calendar 2008 on average), through the recession, and then the recovery. The increases were reasonably even across the spectrum at around 8-10% in real terms (8-10% above inflation). The negative impact of the GFC and the associated recession was generally a little greater for lower income households, but the slightly greater gains since for lower income households offset that. . .
- New Zealand’s net gains from HES 2009 to HES 2015 are better overall than for many OECD countries – the negative impact was more muted here and the recovery has been stronger than for many:
- the UK median fell through the GFC and has only just returned to its pre-GFC level
- Italy, Spain, France and Germany were flat through the GFC and have remained so since
- the US median in 2014 was much the same as in 2008 before the GFC, and was 4% lower than in 2000
- in Australia incomes above the median have shown very little net growth since just before the GFC
- New Zealand’s post-GFC gain of 12% at the median is more like that of the top performers such as Finland and Sweden (10-12%), though they did not have the fall in median during the GFC that New Zealand did (-3%).
The left also keep telling us inequality is growing but as Lindsay Mitchell says, the US 1% is not like us. And we see that on page 15 of the overview:
One of the reasons for the interest in what is happening with very high incomes is the fact that in the USA there has been considerable growth in the share of total income received by high income earners (see graph on previous page) , while at the same time there has been little or no income rise for the bulk of the “middle class”. Neither of these factors apply in New Zealand: the trends for the top 1% and 0.5% shares are flat for New Zealand, and “middle class” income growth has been solid over the 20 years to 2015.
It’s not all good news, housing costs now take up a greater proportion of income and it’s worse for poorer households.
There’s plenty of scope to do better, but rather than listen to the left, cue Fred Dagg, because the stats show we don’t know how lucky we are.