OECD: Yes, immigration has hit New Zealand’s per capita growth rate. But if you get it right, you’ll benefit later; Also: why Auckland house prices matter

By Alex Tarrant

After a year of her lot researching the New Zealand economy, the Chief Economist of the Organisation for Economic Development came to town with some good news and some bad news.

Immigration has caused GDP per capita to stay weak, which has affected our spending power today. But that same immigration will become an asset and help drive future growth – you’ve just got to harness it right.

Catherine L. Mann’s appearance was timely. Stats NZ had just released figures showing annual real GDP growth of 3%. That was good news. But real GDP per head of population was not so hot at 0.9%. Worse news was that quarterly GDP per capita fell in the March quarter after a fall in December.

So how concerned should we be about it? Mann’s presentation to media in Wellington had just contained a load of warnings on why having a downward trend in GDP per capita was cause for concern.

Some context; we’re not alone. “For many parts of the world, those measures of current growth rates of GDP per capita are well below long-term historical averages.”

There are differences though. The reason GDP per capita is low in New Zealand is down to the denominator. “Because of the immigration; the per-capita part.”

For other parts of the OECD, it’s growing slowly relative to historical averages more due to the numerator – the GDP part. At least we’re not part of that club.

But again, should we be concerned a little even? We’re told immigrants are overrunning our housing market, healthcare system, schools, transport and anything else we want to complain about.

“It makes a difference today in terms of spending power, but if we think about the source of economic growth in a longer-term perspective, then the source of growth coming from immigration – educated workers supporting the capacity of the economy to grow in the longer term – this is clearly an asset for New Zealand going forward.”

We should be encouraged about the longer term by recent immigration rates, then?

Immigration has been particularly robust over only a short period of time, Mann said. “The fruits of all those people coming in are only going to gain over time as people enter their middle age earning years.”

In fact, New Zealand is experiencing benefits already. These people are generally skilled, higher-earning and working. They’re a factor in our lower unemployment rate, high participation rate and high employment rate.

We’re already seeing the benefits flow through to GDP. “It’s only when we look at GDP per capita that the denominator stands out.”

There’s always a ‘but’

Mann’s earlier presentation kicked off with her saying New Zealand’s real GDP growth was “a good sign.”

“It’s a really good picture in terms of a trend upward.”

There’s always a ‘but’ though.

“On the other hand, there’s some other indicators we can look at..and that is GDP per capita.”

Some good news globally: For most economies around the world, GDP per capita is projected to be rising over the next few years compared to the previous few.

However, this will still be below the average between 1987 and 2007. And that creates a bit of a problem.

“Why that matters is, peoples’ expectations are based on a longer-term time horizon associated with that [historical GDP per capita growth average],” Mann said.

“What they would have expected for the increase in their own wages for example, are related to GDP per capita. Their expectations for what the probability that their children will be able to do well is based on this historical average.

“And also the expectations that a national healthcare system and medical system, and pension system can be financed, is based on this historical norm.

People concern themselves with “whether or not we’re going to be able to make good on those expectations that were formed over a longer time horizon.”

Remember, that comment about GDP per capita growth set to rise over the next few years regarded ‘most economies around the world.’

Unfortunately, New Zealand isn’t part of that.

“For New Zealand, there’s an additional question mark over the projection period [2017-18] because…GDP per capita in the projection is actually lower than previous periods. Why is that? It’s because of immigration,” Mann said.

“Very large immigration is the denominator of GDP per capita.”

It might sound concerning, but there could be a happy ending.

Immigration means “great potential.” Potential going forward to increase the capacity of the economy to deliver on promises. That’s the good part.

“But it might take some time.”

During that transition, we need to think about how to position the New Zealand economy to take advantage of all that recent immigration.

“There’s some bumps along the road perhaps.”

And if we ride out those bumps?

We might find we get higher real wages, Mann said. New Zealand real wages are even expected to rise at rates above the historical norm from 2018 – better than in the US and Euro area.

“That’s important when we’re thinking about expectations, confidence, for the kinds of growth going forward.”

“It has the foundation of both improved employment prospects as well as improved real wage prospects. Both of those are key underpinnings of more broad-based growth for New Zealand.”

Another ‘but’ (Auckland house prices are involved)

There’s always a ‘but’ though. (I know I’ve used that already, but there were a few buts).

“The concerns that we have [are] when we look below the averages.”

Such as?

Unemployment rates are quite distinct in different regions. Below 3% in the most robust regions but above 8% in others.

“That disparity is something that we do see as a concern. It intersects with the housing market, because with such high house prices in the most vibrant regions, it makes it very difficult to move to that region in order to take advantage of the opportunities there – the higher wages there, jobs.”

So that’s a problem. High house prices make it hard to keep up a city’s growth rates because it becomes harder for the required workforce to move there.

We’re finding it difficult to match peoples’ skillsets to the jobs that require them, partly due to high Auckland house prices.

“If we could get a better match for jobs and skills, the productivity growth for New Zealand could be about two-and-a-quarter percentage points higher.”

And that means a higher per-capita growth rate.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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80 Comments

Why does this other article believe that GDP per capita is 1.8% or twice as high as you do? http://www.interest.co.nz/news/88314/we-look-how-much-gdp-activity-going...

Additionally why are people complaining that the government is targeting GDP growth but not GDP per capita growth when GDP per capita is growing so strongly relative to the rest of the world?

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Wasn't China once reporting 10% growth rates? Much higher than New Zealand. Yet, which country has the higher standard of living.

Per capita growth, please.

People are complaining because New Zealand has turned into an unproductive property Ponzi where people are rewarded for producing almost nothing of value to society. Property investors aren't building houses, Indian restaurant owners are building Indian restaurants next to other Indian restaurants. People are given the right to live here to become chefs and cafe managers. We are shipping in immigrants to build houses for other immigrants, whilst our schools, infrastructure, and housing supply all get worse.

Yes, some people have benefited. But this is the nature of a Ponzi, thankfully the scheme is at its end of days. There ain't no tinkering or smarmy smile or knighthood that can save whats coming next.

Agree completely - well said. But why would a government do this to it's citizens when it would seem to be political suicide? Surely the answer is "Lobbying". By those that would benefit from such a policy. Lobbying is the cancer that needs to be cut out or exposed to the sunlight for all voters to see. Until then aren't we flying blind - irrespective of who is the government? Or whatever spin they throw at us?

Why? Short term-ism

Morning sadr001,

David's point in his article is talking about nominal GDP per capita. The one above is real - factoring in the rise of prices. I'll make that clearer in the article. When we're just talking about GDP per capita or GDP, we generally talking real not nominal. But every so often it's also interesting to take a look under the hood at the 'actual' figures, which is what David was doing.

We mandate our central bank to try help increase our cost of living every year - and for some reason get mad when it fails to do so (or does so too much). So prices, and incomes - GDP - might double every 25 years or so, without leaving us any better off (ie nominal GDP doubles but Real GDP stays flat). That's why we use Real - to see if we've achieved anything above and beyond the facade of price increases.

Also, the OECD is worried that GDP per capita isn't growing strongly compared to the rest of the world. That's due mainly to our population increase, they say. The OECD is hoping that we'll see benefits sometime in the future as the GDP part hopefully picks up further and the 'per capita' part of the equation becomes less relevant (immigration growth falls off a bit).

Incedentally, the Aussie labour market stats yesterday (see 90 at 9) suggest this might not be so far away - full time employment there picking up quite well now it seems, which should feed through at some point to more people leaving for Aus from NZ, and more opting to go there instead of here. Not sure when that'll happen though.

Your question on why govt targets GDP rather than GDP per capita is a fair one. I would say that's because GDP growth is much higher than GDP per capita growth and so looks better in press releases. But then, I'm a bit of a cynic...

Cheers,

Alex

Thank you very much Alex, That was a very good and concise explanation of what is quite a nuanced topic.

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I find it hard to believe that the immigrants working at the petrol station and the local supermarkets are going to become so successful that they will make me and my family better off.
Maybe the government with its proposal that a new permanent resident must earn above the average wage has for once got something right. Of course all the small businesses (care homes, hotels, restaurants,cleaning companies, etc) are lobbying for the government to retain their current lax rules that has an average new immigrant earning below the national average wage. Surely by simple maths that means each average immigrant makes the country slightly poorer. It certainly hits all those minimum and low wage jobs which without immigration would be better paid.
Economists and maybe journalists are more interested in the price of their latte than the low wages and work conditions of whoever is serving it.

Realised a small flaw in my argument - it covers immigrants without mention of their families; the children of immigrants often do better than average at school and university so there may be a boost in GDP per capita but not in 2 years - more likely 10 or 20. And then they may be more likely to take their skill set to another country or even their country of origin.

I have 6 immigrants in my team at work.

They have 10 degrees between them, including 3 masters and a PhD, doing incredibly complicated work and doing it outstandingly.

Maybe the issue here is your view of immigrants, rather than anything else? It seems like more than a 'small' flaw to me.

I think we need ( and indeed have ) both skilled and unskilled immigrants . Just as yourself I work with plenty of highly skilled ones . We need the less skilled ones too - they do jobs Kiwis won't ; it is the same all over the "rich" world.

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Funny how it never used to be a problem getting Kiwis to do the jobs that apparently Kiwis won't do now. Perhaps it's the minimum (or below) wages and slave-style conditions.

An AKL grey-hair - old enough to remember Auckland's fortnightly night-cart service (when we had outdoor dunnys) in near-inner suburbs prior to construction of puketutu sewerage system - Auckland men used to do that job - imagine that

two otherguys,

I'm gobsmacked. You are saying that you can remember night soil carriers in Auckland and presumably you are not 120 years old. Can you give me the last year this happened? Could they not still be employed removing the brown stuff from Waitemata harbour every time it rains heavily?

Doris - Kiwis aren't getting offered those jobs any more - case in point the mafia like state of our petrol stations - all Indian students / ex students. Would love an expose by MSM on how one gets employed there.

Or how you get management/ownership of one, or how it is when these new shopping precincts open the outlets seem to 100% owned and operated by immigrants. My suspicion is that many of these businesses (often franchises) do not make great returns and are used as a means to gain immigration status. If it is an existing business that is selling, immigrants, I suspect, will pay over the odds to secure. There is fish and chip shop in my neighbourhood, one of the very few owned by born and bred NZers, been for sale, sign now gone, so I expect to see new faces there soon, I will be very, very surprised if they are not immigrants. I will also expect not to see the same people employed there (they are very busy and have a number of employees).

Yep. I strongly suspect that a large proportion of our hospitality and services businesses are an illusion. They're not there to sell takeaways and manicures, but to provide a conduit for immigration fraud, and facilitate money laundering. IRD should have a reasonable handle on who's claiming a loss but is mysteriously able to persist year after year, should they choose to investigate it.

I'm worried that I've been misunderstood. I am an immigrant; my son has the 'n' word thrown at him so if anything I would be biased towards multi-ethnic immigration. Your team has exactly the type of immigrant that NZ needs (and I hope they are all on route to becoming NZ citizens). Did any of your team arrive on a 'skilled' visa labelling their skill as 'shelf stacker' - I doubt it.

If some of your team are what is called 'visible immigrants' then they will prefer living in a society where meeting an immigrant is meeting a superior successful person.

I do think some level of racism is built into human nature - in fact more basic than that since even fish and birds instinctively react against strangers and defend their territory. But we are human and can and should overcome our initial reaction - it is just politeness. You have me worried that in arguing for a planned rational immigration policy rather than our bureaucratic random system designed to keep businessmen happy and also arguing for a small population that I have unleashed some inner racism - I do hope not.

The word 'small' was used because it is small - check the immigration figures - most immigrants are on primary visas and secondly most couples have similar skill levels (graduates tend to marry graduates) so the number of family members of lower skill than their partner is minimal.

What, so NZ has a shortage of uni graduates?

"But it might take some time".....
For the old parents of these new immigrant family units to pass away and come off NZ super and free healthcare before the net worth of the new immigrant family unit becomes positive.

Parent category visa applications have been "paused" for a while now - so no "old parents" coming in .
I actually think they should allow parents in - but not give them pension entitlements without a much longer stand down period ( or not at all , depending on the age at entry ).

It is an unpopular view but I agree.
If you actually look at the data for the last year that parents were allowed in then the vast majority were either from the UK therefore bringing their own UK pension or they were from China but aged over 60 therefore never going to qualify for NZ superannuation. I think we can assume the Dept of Immigration was insisting on evidence of finance so they would not be going onto benefits. For once they had things about right but then arbitrarily stopped without consultation. Now we will find really wealthy useful immigrants returning home to care for parents but of course not the low paid immigrants.
The result has been a hidden growth of 10% in low skilled immigration to replace the parents.
Just more proof that the department cares more about targets and lobbyists than real people living in NZ.

"or they were from China but aged over 60 therefore never going to qualify for NZ superannuation."

Do they qualify for other social welfare if they have low or no income?

I honestly don't know. But I'm guessing the Dept of Immigration will have given it serious consideration - they certainly go berserk searching for proof of finance when a respectable Papua New Guinean applies for a TOURIST visa. This causes some strife at home when my European relatives can just fly in but my wife's are given the 3rd degree and that is despite our sponsoring them (INZ1025 signed and approved by JP).
I used to be very suspicious of every elderly Chinese with poor english that I met in the op shops. I still suspect the system may have been rorted in the past but a look at the figures for 2016 persuaded me I was wrong for that year. It would be fairly easy to put a fair system together ensuring up front finances before granting residency.
Incidentally there is no certainty that every immigrant of UK origin is bringing a state pension with them. I worked abroad for 14 years but made sure I contributed to my UK pension - not every UK citizen I met did so.
I think everyone except our current government thinks 10 years is too short a period to qualify for superannuation; most countries it is 25 years. Maybe the only reason they haven't changed it is they are scared of Winston saying I told you so.

The vast majority of UK citizens are entitled to a UK state pension, it is compulsory that previous UK citizens draw down their UK pensions (and there is a treaty to ensure this between UK/NZ). My parents-in-law lived in the UK in the 70's and for a year in the 90s, NZGov insists that there UK pension goes into a special bank account (that they cannot access) and then dispense the NZ super after this. Any UK state pension is brought into NZ before any NZ super entitlement is given.

True that is what I experience myself.
But the argument about pensions have to be considered on a one by one basis not by nationality. Some (but very few) UK citizens have no or partial UK pension and I guess some (but very few) Chinese and Indians have some form of state pension.

When your parent applies for a visa you have to commit to providing financial assistance if needed. This means you are on the hook if your parent needs financial support.

Nominally, perhaps. But there was also an interesting Herald article a while back on the high number of elderly parents brought in and abandoned to welfare. Something not quite working there...

What about health care? That could easily cost more than super.

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It's all very well to say the payoff is down the track but we have had an extensive immigration programme now for 20 years. The benefits should have shown up by now, but they haven't. That is the problem that Michael Reddell has analysed tirelessly on Croaking Cassandra.

You say the benefits have yet to show up but both our GDP and GDP per capita are growing much faster than the majority of OECD countries.

Wait on Sad - haven't our GDP/cap figures fallen into negative territory the last 2 quarters, aren't we technically into a recession if you give any value to per capita values?

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Am loving this brighter future National has brought us. Unaffordable houses and an economic recession.

Thank God most boomers are well-placed, though. I guess that's mission accomplished overall. Pity about the youth, but oh well...if they'd wanted to own a house they should've worked hard to be born earlier.

Actually 70 years. It makes no difference whether the immigrants were from the UK and Europe (50's to 70s) or mainly Asian in recent years. The main difference is that we started at the top so leaving NZ back in the 50s meant you were willing to go to a poorer country whereas now we are roughly middle ranked with 30 countries attracting our best with bigger salaries & wages.

On the one hand, we have appeals to 'long-term historical averages, 'historical norms', etc. On the other, the appeals are to 'potential', 'growth going forward', etc. These are the arguments of history, complacency and hope. None of these stances are sufficient grounds for any kind of confidence in benign economic, environmental or social futures.

Existing economic, environmental and social orders are under unprecedented stress and challenge. In such a situation, the future is almost entirely unknown. But it will most certainly not resemble the past and its 'long-term historical averages'. Nor, in current environmental, economic and social uncertainties, does the expectation of 'future growth' have any credible reassurance. It may not be 'growth' that matters, but rather the development of conserver societies offering basic human resilience.

Resilient and robust. For tens of thousands of years you could predict the future pretty well - your kids would have much the same life as yourself - just disturbed by the plague and civil war. Now the only certainty is the world will change - maybe drastic global warming (say 10 metres and the North Island becomes two islands and there will be hundreds of millions of refugees) or maybe something approaching eternal life (say 150 will do) and there will be drastic population pressures or maybe atomic fusion resulting in free power.
So how do we handle an unpredictable future? Since it would seem that small countries will be pressured by big ones then we should aim to be as independent as possible meaning aim for slow and steady and diverse - very carefully selected high quality immigration. It could be easily achieved but we will not get say the great IT professors from say India and China and the Philippines to come here if they are treated as care workers and shelf-stackers. All the more reason to eliminate low skilled immigration - we do have 130,000 unemployed Kiwis.

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Who cares about GDP. It's an acronym. Target should be a high income country, with a small population so that we can just use the best bits. Healthy and good living.
Yet again - I vote for a target population of two million, but would settle for 5 million if I had to.

Removing the 3 million people from lowest income households would be moderately unpopular in my opinion.

Yes indeed sadr. it's a target - will take a while - probably more that a few decades. It took 70 years to move the total in the other direction. And it's very strange in my view that we don't have a target at all.

And how do you propose the Government should go about reducing New Zealand's population in order to deliver such a target?

Making NZ a cr*p-awful place to live might work, and it would be easy enough to do if that's what you wanted, but I can't see that as a price worth paying for what you seem to see as the prize of reducing the population.

Do you propose to prevent people from having as many children as they want? Are you talking forced abortion or compulsory sterilisation?

Have you thought through the implications of speeding up the ageing of our population? Does the idea of a country where the only economic activity is looking after old people appeal to you?

Or perhaps you have it in mind to reduce the population from the other end, by killing off old people when they start becoming a burden?

You are inconsistent MdM. Usually you just unpleasantly demand alternatives like some snotty auditor. But this time you add some distinctly unpleasant suggestions. Must try harder.
Not sure you can do this but think of it positively. Japan, quite a richer and more sophisticated society than ours has a naturally shrinking population. Wealthier societies tend to develop a lower birthrate. Thats coupled with increasing regard for women. Germany for example is currently below replacement.
Old people needing care. So there is a greater proportion needing care. So what. Possibly costs less than the eye watering costs of building infrastructure for an expanding population.

"Japan, quite a richer and more sophisticated society than ours has a naturally shrinking population. " - you might want to read up on how "well" it is working out for them. But I am sure you will not - you approach is just shooting your mouth , never mind if it makes any sense.

Last I looked they had GDP well above ours, 2% unemployment and almost no crime.

paashaas,

Just how much do you know about Japan? I can recommend reading Countdown by Alan Weisman and you might learn something. Of course,if you don't agree that the prospect(certainty) of the global population reaching at least 9Bn,then this won't interest you.
The book looks at the question of defining an optimum population for the planet and at different societies,including japan. It's population Will fall from its current level of around 120m to around 80m and how it deals with this will be og great interest to other countries.

@paashass. I'm now reading 'Countdown' by Weisman. (Kindle US$15) The idea of setting a target population is quite new for many. Even newer and harder is nominating your preferred target.
Jim Mora posed that question on RNZ a couple of days ago. You could almost hear the brains of the panel start to melt as they struggled with a question they did not want to answer - mostly they didn't.
But it's a classic example where you always make a decision - so even avoiding providing an answer is a still a decision and there will be a consequence of that
Thanks to @ Linklater for the 'Countdown' reference. I'm enjoying this informative and thought provoking book.

That's weird because it would be astonishingly easy to achieve with a natural population that is not growing. The problem is the project to denationalise the Western world and the extension of human rights to include the right for anyone regardless of ethnicity, religion or health status to live wherever they want to. That may be okay if all lands were equal but unfortunately our lands and systems are much more desirable than most others. However in a capitalist system cost will play an important factor. So if we do bring in socialist policies we will need to bring in nationalist policies as well. Socialism with Nationalism or Nationalism with Socialism will ring alarm bells for many.
I would have to say that National have done a fairly sterling job in paying lip service to UN mandated decrees and pressure while trying to retain a semblance of nationalism.

Oh goody, the KH eugenics programme with fantastical, utterly biased, irrelevant and laughable population goals. Let's pop them on a postcard and send it to parliament.

Got the snotty reproach Ginger. Now explain what you mean. Where do you get 'eugenics' ? Do you know that means ? Why laughable ? Biased ? in what direction ? Do you have a target population in mind you would prefer ?

Never ceases to amaze me how people cannot see or refuse to see how the human race can reduce its numbers without violence, or maybe that is what they prefer, war every now and then to keep the numbers under control. Not me, I prefer the civilized method, which, as you say, involves the elevation, education and emancipation of women. Women in control of their own lives tend to breed less often, start later and many choose to opt out altogether. It works so well, that there is actually room for those who choose to have a larger family, while still reducing our numbers. The only true eugenics is that found at the end of a gun barrel.

PocketAces I entirely agree with you. Why do Gingerninja and Ms de Meanour feel the need to attack KH's suggestion in such an over the top way? If NZ's natural population growth is just below population replacement level then we could easily, over time, adjust our numbers. We could even allow some immigration however it would be our right and entirely sensible to promote natural replacement using government directed family friendly incentives and financial encouragement.
As for eugenics NZ Immigration policy already has "acceptable standard of health" rules for prospective immigrants.

Its called humour Zach. It made me laugh. Sometimes it is all I can muster in response to the comments on here.

But incidentally, the world population is naturally shrinking in much of the Western World.
Reducing population size is strongly correlated with female education and opportunity, reduction in poverty and increase in equality. And yet the conversation on NZ population size rarely address these biopsychosocial issues. Heaven forfend that NZ should rid itself of poverty or inequality. But yes, if you wish NZ population, or indeed world population to reduce, join the fight to end global poverty and gender inequality.
Unicef report on youth suicide was out recently and NZ topped the charts AGAIN. a x5 higher rate than the UK and x2 America. Experts in the field suggest this is due to the extremes of poverty seen in NZ but also an oppressive overly masculine culture of "toughen up", where there are few alternative role models but the beer swigging, sport worshipping, misogynist male. There are many so many benefits to a more equal society that it would be an endless list. And yet rarely to I hear that discussion from you guys.

I will interpret your comment as a parody Ms de Meanour's comment then. Nice one gingerninja! Maybe don't give up your day job just yet.

I dated a, now celebrity, comedian once. Definitely not a career for me. He was funny but unhinged and unhygienic, a particularly noxious combination.

Thanks ginga. Two things. I keep tapping the 'Population' word because for many its a new shift from the 'I ' word. Starting to get some traction. Second. I avoid the ways to get to a stable population - because folk then see a word that is a buzz word for them and go feral - which you call humour. That diverts the conversation. I want to just stick to 'P' initially.

Yes you're right Ginger, A new report by Unicef has highlighted shocking statistic that New Zealand has by far the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world.

Published last night from the BBC: What's behind New Zealand's shocking youth suicide rate?
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-40284130

Reducing population size is strongly correlated with female education and opportunity, reduction in poverty and increase in equality.

It seems to me that now you have thought about things a bit more deeply you find you are totally on board with KH's suggestion. I suspect there is a conflict between masculine approaches to these problems and feminine approaches. KH is focusing on NZ and offers a practical, if not ideal, target population figure.

Personally I don't believe striving for gender equality, which is basically masculinizing females and feminizing males, will do anything but exacerbate male youth suicide rates. Suicide rates were smaller in more structured and disciplined societies with defined gender and social hierarchies.

Zachary sorry but you've sunk to a new low with your statement of that "YOU don't believe striving for gender equality". That's just a stupid point of view!

How would an average teenage boy ever be equal to a beautiful teenage girl?

*also you outrageously quoted me out of context!

What's that suppose to be flattery, hardly excuses you from you blatant sexist remark. You're still at your new low Zachary. Careful now you'll be banned again.

What was it you came out with last time that got you banned from commenting?

To be fair, Zach does have a point. Men and women approach problems differently; men tend to use logic, reasoning and pragmatism, while women tend to be more compassionate, empathetic and think of the well being of the group.

No sorry that still doesn't excuse Zachary from his sexist statement.

It doesn't, and I never said it did. I'm just saying I agree with his point that men and women approach problems differently.

I'm sexist because I hold a bleak outlook for the future of young men. They are a disenfranchised minority in the current zeitgeist.

Maybe it is just their turn, and maybe they should accept it as have every other disenfranchised section of society had to in the past.

I don't have stats, but I bet in the past when gender roles were more 'defined', a significant number of male suicides were attributed to a significant extent by the victims not feeling that they fitted those old gender roles.
Imagine how horrid it must have been being a gay man in NZ in the 70s / 80s.

Yes PocketAces you truly show great wisdom with this comment. People do need to accept things. There is not much one can do unless the zeitgeist evolves. By the same token I feel it is "my turn" to be privileged and I accept and embrace that.

May be a bit more time to wait for that to return, like say, several thousand years, as that is about how long it will take to square it all up. Not prepared to wait, maybe equality can introduced to the bargaining table.

Wow, big and probably ridiculous call. There's all sorts of factors behind high modern suicide rates which I'd rate as far higher than a society without 'defined gender and social hierarchies'.
For starters: big drop in religious belief, big rises in inequality....

I feel you should consider my entire sentence. Structured and disciplined societies .......
Religious belief provided structure and discipline. Equality existed within the stratum you belonged to.

Yes you're right Pocket, though there are many well educated women who would like to balance a career and to have children but economic conditions prevent them from doing so.

Take Japan for example; where there is a very strong demand for the young to work and they work very long hours (So do Kiwi's by the way). On average the Japanese work 60hr weeks. There is a huge lack of child care facilities and they tend to live in very small spaces in the larger cities which again doesn't help matters.

Same thing is now happening in large parts of China and around the developed world.

BBC radio article: Shrinking Population; How Japan Fell out of Love with Love.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07vndh1

Bloomberg: China's Demographic Time Bomb Continues to Tick
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-17/china-s-demographic-t...

very apt and very pithy

"Usually you just unpleasantly demand alternatives like some snotty auditor"

So really National was just looking out for us to benefit in the longer term...this is great news!

Not sure if they are .. but their policies have that effect , intentional or not.

Immigration means “great potential.”

Good, than we all know the mantra of prosperity like national. Open up the gates and increase immigration as much as possible. Just imagine if 75000 immigrant is good than what 150000 or 250000 will be........Very Good

Great idea but your imagination is limited. NZ is bigger than England with better weather so why not 50million. They would all have work building infrastructure for one another. GDP would be fantastic. A few wealthy Kiwis would become billionaires overnight.
We had best do it now before other countries steal our great idea.

There is a yield curve.

So that’s a problem. High house prices make it hard to keep up a city’s growth rates because it becomes harder for the required workforce to move there.

Nah, it's worse than that. In a normal city this problem, would not be a big problem. House prices going up in a normal city translates into people being paid much more to build more homes. Thus more workers are attracted, but the price of accommodation is lowered relative to the increasing wages - because wages go up and lots of new homes are constructed.

However the idiotic way Auckland Council operates means shutting off land supply to Auckland City and instead opening up widely spaced areas of land far away from the City (these areas are very large, but they are a long way away). This elevates land prices as people have to compete to live on the short supplied land near the city. This elevates supply chain costs as suppliers have to supply to areas widely distributed from Wellsford to Pukekohe and beyond. This elevates infrastructure costs, because the existing infrastructure within Auckland City cannot be utilised in partnership with developments occurring far away in the hinterlands. This further elevates infrastructure costs, because the area of land earmarked for development under the current plan is much larger than would be required under a sane plan. This elevates transportation costs, because workers have to commute much further to exurbs than they would have done to suburbs.

In Auckland non-wage construction costs will always increase faster than the wages in construction - because bad planning.

Sure, we're really going to benefit from all those baristas and shelf stackers that have come in under the "skilled" visa system. And their elderly parents who have been brought over to be a burden on our already burdened health care system. And we really need more thai massage places and $2 shops.
Study after study has proven that immigration only benefits the immigrants, not the people who were already there. And Govts, because they get to claim GDP growth. Which is why people like Trump get elected - people are not stupid, they know that they are not better off than 10 years ago, that their quality of life and standards of living have been falling.

You imply massage parlours are predominately Thai. Judging from the newspaper "adult entertainment" ads it does appear to be a remarkably successful example of multi-cultural diversity.
Reading the Auckland uni report on exploitation of immigrant workers I was expecting an excess of Indian students working off their debts to their sponsoring agents but when I checked there were Japanese, Singaporean, Euro, Polynesian, Taiwanese as well as Thai, Chinese, Indian and Asian. Of course that is the only trade prohibited to holders of working & student visas. So judging by the many boasting of their youth I'm assuming they are mainly 2nd generation immigrants working hard at increasing our GDP as predicted by the OECD.
I was surprised to find newspapers still being the way for adult entertainment workers to advertise but this blog is about the limit of my knowledge of computer social media.

KW might have been referring to the proliferation of 'non sexual' massage shops.
They are everywhere

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Stating the obvious: The unskilled migrants depressing wages and GDP/capita are NOT the same cohort that are hyperinflating house prices. These are two separate problems, both lowering the productivity and quality of life for most New Zealanders. The following houses sold well above expectations in a falling market, and by the letter box numbers you can safely presume to wealthy Chinese. This just goes to show that foreign purchasing of existing housing stock is still prevalent. Selectively picking off houses that would have otherwise been purchased by Kiwi doctors lawyers engineers.

88a Kohimarama Road sold on 31May 2017 for 3.1 million dollars
8 Colchester Ave (1950s 2 bdr state house) sold a few days ago for 1.9 million dollars

Back to the immigration problem, here are a few small corrections to the above article…

“In fact, New Zealand is experiencing benefits detriments already. These people are generally skilled unskilled, higherlower-earning and working. They’re a factor in our lower unemployment wage rate, high participation rate and high employment rate.