The COVID-19 pandemic will see very few winners. We will all come out poorer and worse off, but some will lose more than others. Low skilled workers, young workers, Māori and Pacifica workers are more vulnerable and likely to be hardest hit. These effects will exacerbate existing inequalities.
Back in August we noted that Auckland city (the urban area defined by Stats NZ) has as many people as the next 12 cities combined. We also showed a map dividing Auckland up into 12 areas with equivalent populations to the cities. Unfortunately, the map is now out of date as Stats NZ revised their population estimates in October.
Escalating housing costs across the country have put the squeeze on households, particularly renters on low incomes. This article looks at the demand for public (or social) housing, what’s being done about supply, and highlights emerging public housing hotspots across New Zealand.
One of the true tests of a society is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members, particularly the old, the young, the sick, and the disabled. There is a lot of good with New Zealand and New Zealand policy. However, on assisting those unable to provide for themselves, our provisions for people unable to work due to a health condition is an area where we are increasingly failing.
An Economic Prosperity Index (EPI) is an increasingly common tool for assessing regional living standards and is a complementary indicator to GDP growth. This article provides a case study for South Wairarapa, measuring prosperity in its three main towns: Greytown, Martinborough and Featherston. The analysis reveals some challenges that policymakers will need to face, including low skill levels in Featherston and the ageing population in Greytown.
New Zealand has gained around 72,000 more people in the past year according to arrival card data, and we’re feeling the strain of squeezing all these extra people into our cities. But further analysis of visa data suggests that there are longer-term implications for these high arrival levels that, if left unchecked, could pose a problem for policymakers when we come off the high point in the business cycle.
The Living Wage is heralded as “the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life. A living wage will enable workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society.” However, beyond the ideological hype, the following questions remain;
By having a minimum wage in New Zealand, we as a society are saying that the free market doesn’t come up with a fair wage when left to its own devices. However, simply raising the minimum wage is not necessarily going to help solve problems of poverty and inequality — and in some ways may harm those we are trying to help.
My apologises again – I will have to extend my break fromthe tax series of articles I was writing up (latestone was the fifth on goods and services taxes). While completing thearticle on the progressivity of taxes I realised that I needed to brieflymention how this interacts with inequality – but we haven’t had a discussionabout what inequality means, and why we care. As a result, I aim to talk aboutinequality a little bit here as a precursor for that!
Although the economic troubles of the last five years have been tough for the majority of New Zealanders, in the United States the middle class has had an exceptionally difficult time. In fact, even prior to the crisis, the US middle class had stagnated with the benefits of growth seemingly only heading to the wealthy. This squeezing of the US middle class raises an important question – is the same thing happening in New Zealand? The short answer is no, but let’s dig into the figures in any case.