NZ 3rd for material living standard

31/07/2015

Trans Tasman points out that child poverty lobbies are wrong on living standards:

Lobby groups which bleat about child poverty in NZ took a knock this week when independent research showed NZ households have the third highest material living standard in the world for households with a teenager. The research also dealt a blow to those who contend there is growing inequality in NZ society. Using a new measure for wellbeing, Researchers at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research found NZ ranks just behind the US and Canada, and ahead of Aust and all the Scandinavian countries.
Motu is a not-for-profit, non-partisan research institute and received funding for this work from the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of NZ. Dr Arthur Grimes, one of NZ’s most respected economists, says “our new measure focuses on actual consumption of households, which is a better measure of living standards than income. What we found is that we have very high material wellbeing levels. I think this should call into question the widespread negative impression of living standards in NZ compared with other developed countries.” Grimes and Motu researcher Sean Hyland worked from a dataset of household possessions for almost 800,000 households over 40 countries, including all OECD countries.
“Our results show NZ is still a great place to bring up children, at least in material terms. Not only do we have wonderful natural amenities, but contrary to what GDP statistics tell us, most kiwi families have a high standard of material wellbeing relative to our international peers” The study also looked at the degree of inequality in household material wellbeing, which fell in most countries, including NZ, over the period 2000-2012. In 2012, NZ ranked twentieth of 40 countries in terms of inequality, with levels similar to those in the US, Canada and the UK.
Grimes points out most public policy concern is with the living standards of ordinary people, especially those closer to the bottom of the wealth distribution curve, whose living standards are well captured in the data. “If we look across the Tasman, Australia’s households are not quite as wealthy as their NZ counterparts but inequality in Aust. is lower than that in NZ. Overall, these figures suggest we may need to reassess how we look at this country’s economic performance.”

This doesn’t mean everyone has enough nor that we can ignore the needs of those who don’t.

But it does contradict the people who keep trying to tell us that inequality is growing and that up to one in four children are living in poverty.


Rod Carr to chair Infrastructure Board

25/05/2009

Infrastructure Minister, Bill English has announced the appointees to the National Infrastructure Board.

The board has been set up to provide independent advice to the Infrastructure Minister and to help formulate the first 20-year National Infrastructure Plan, which will be completed by the end of the year.

Members have been chosen on the basis of their individual skills and their collective knowledge of infrastructure planning, investment and asset management methods.

The chair will be Dr Rodd Carr, Canterbury University Vice Chancellor and a former managing director of Jade Corporation and a former Reserve Bank  deputy governor. He was a senior executive of Bank of New Zealand and National Australia Bank; is vice-president of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and a director of Lyttelton Port Company Ltd and Taranaki Investment Management.

Other members are: Sir Ron Carter, Lindsay Crossen, Dr Arthur Grimes, Dr Terence Heiler,  Rob McLeod, John Rae and Alex Sundakov.

It’s an impressive line up and I’m particularly pleased to see Terry Heiler’s name on the list. He’s an engineer, a former director of Landcare Research and chief executive of Irrigation New Zealand.

His profile on the INZ website says:

Dr Terry Heiler is an international consultant in natural resources, specialising in water management and irrigation. His engineering consultancy works with clients in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and with major international development agencies. His prior experience includes 25 years as a principal research engineer – soil and water, and 11 years as director of New Zealand Agricultural Engineering Institute, Lincoln University. He runs a small farming business based in West Melton, Central Canterbury. Terry was appointed as the inaugural chief executive of INZ in July 2006. His role with INZ is primarily leadership of the New Zealand irrigation industry with scientific and accurate advocacy to government and other key decision makers.


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