Stats NZ reports 23,000 jobs lost in Q4, but unemployment rate falls to 6.9% from 7.3% due to lower participation rate

Stats NZ reports 23,000 jobs lost in Q4, but unemployment rate falls to 6.9% from 7.3% due to lower participation rate

By Bernard Hickey

Statistics New Zealand has reported there were 23,000 jobs lost in the December quarter, but the unemployment rate fell to 6.9% from 7.3% in the September quarter because of a big fall in the participation rate.

The unemployment rate was better than the economists' consensus forecast for a rate of around 7.1%, but the 1.0% jobs loss was worse than the 0.1-0.4% employment increase expected. The participation rate fall of 1.2 percentage points to 67.2% was worse than economists' expectations for a rate of around 68.2%. This was a record fall in the participation rate, although some economists were sceptical about the figures.

The New Zealand dollar dropped to 83.8 USc from 84.3 USc on the figures. Wholesale interest rates also fell slightly on reduced expectations for future interest rates because of a weaker economy.

“We're seeing fewer people working and looking for work, and more people outside the labour force. More younger people are solely in study and more older people are entering retirement,” Statistics NZ's industry and labour statistics manager Diane Ramsay said.

She said the fall in employment was in part-time employment, while full-time employment rose slightly over the quarter. The number of unemployed people fell 10,000 over the quarter.

Statistics NZ said the number of people not in the labour force rose significantly  over the quarter, with increases for both males and females. "Over the year to the December 2012 quarter, more people in the older age groups were not in the labour force. This was partly due to an ageing population," it said.

Here's more from Statistics NZ:

Within part-time employment, there were annual decreases in the education and training, and the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries – down 8,900 and 6,400, respectively. For total employment the manufacturing industry had an annual fall – down 17,200.

During the December 2012 quarter, the NEET (not in employment, education or training) rate for youth (aged 15–24) increased 0.8 percentage points, to 14.2 percent. The youth NEET rate has been increasing since the June 2012 quarter. The female youth NEET rate rose for the fifth consecutive quarter – up 1.6 percentage points to 17.5 percent. The male NEET rate continued to be relatively flat, with a 0.1 percentage point rise to 11.0 percent.

The 15–19-year NEET  rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 9.6 percent over the quarter. However, over the same period, 18,000 more 15–19-year-olds were in education and training but not in employment. 

In unadjusted terms, over the year there was a large fall in the number aged 15–19 years in the labour force. The number who were unemployed rose (up 5,300) but there was a larger fall in employment (down 20,300). As a result, the15–19-year unemployment rate rose significantly – up 6.7 percentage points to 30.9 percent. 

In the year to December 2012, the 20–24-year age group had no significant movements. Their employment and unemployment rates both rose slightly. For the quarter, the 20–24-year NEET rate increased 1.3 percentage points, up to 18.5 percent. 

Here's what BNZ head of research Stephen Toplis has to say.

New Zealand is in the midst of a deep recession. In recent history conditions have only been worse immediately after the Global Financial Crisis hit its depths and during the late eighties/early nineties economic rout. Through calendar 2012 30,000 people lost their jobs and there was a 48,000 drop in participants as the disenfranchised simply gave up looking for work. The self-employed lost their businesses in droves and many walked off their farms.

No it’s not April Fool’s day. This is indeed what the latest official data on the state of the labour market say about the state of the New Zealand economy. This leaves us with a dilemma. Do we simply ignore the data or do we downgrade our view for the economy, interest rates and the exchange rate?

For all intents and purposes, we are closer to the former than the latter. Indeed, we are just in the process of putting together a major upgrade to our medium term growth forecasts.

The confusion that the employment data is creating is far and wide:

- To start with, the unemployment rate fell to 6.9% from 7.3% a quarter earlier. This was a number lower than expected and lower than the RBNZ had forecast. If this had happened in the US the Fed would be one step closer to getting rid of QE. In New Zealand, the RBNZ should be one step closer to tightening. But the problem is the unemployment rate fell because there was a massive drop in the participation rate in the quarter. Indeed, the largest drop ever. This might make sense had the economy been in a slump but GDP grew an estimated 2.0% in the year to December. At no other time in recent history have both the participation rate and numbers employed been in decline while the economy has been expanding.

- The number of folk employed fell 1.0% in the quarter and 1.4% for the year. In contrast, the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) suggests employment grew around 1.5% in the last twelve months. This might in part be explained by the fact that the QES does not survey farmers or the self-employed. But to blame the entire variation on this seems a big call.

- Actual hiring and business hiring intentions are polls apart. Why have businesses been telling us porkies for so long and why do they continue to expect employment growth?

- Why are consumers so confident when so many are supposedly losing their jobs?

- The housing market usually reflects the state of the labour market. Why is it so strong? According to the data, productivity growth is very strong implying that businesses are making great efficiencies and cost pressures are dissipating. Really?

- There has been a record collapse in part time work over the last twelve months but full time work is actually edging higher. This may be due to the unwind from the Rugby World Cup but this does not explain why the process accelerated in the December quarter. Seasonal adjustment issues perhaps? Watch out for the impact of the Census in Q1 of this year.

According to today’s data, oldies are retiring by the thousand. There may at least be an element of truth in this given our aging population, and this phenomenon will certainly impact adversely on labour market supply over the next decade or so. We were, however, a little surprised by the intensity of this development.

In short, we don’t know the answers. And we are more than a little unsure what to do with our forecasts. For now, we’ll stick with our view that the unemployment rate lowers progressively over the next two years, that wage pressures rise modestly, and that modest employment growth occurs.

We are also assuming that the RBNZ will broadly stick with this view even though the employment numbers were clearly substantially worse than it had anticipated. At the margin the Bank must now be a little more sanguine about inflation emanating from the labour market and so the risk that rate increases are delayed further rises. But this is all marginal stuff so we will stick to our call of a first hike in December 2013.

Westpac's economists say they are sceptical of the results of the Household Labour Force survey.

Our assessment of the labour market has not really changed - it is still weak, but we do not believe that it has suddenly gotten sharply better or worse. Consequently, we would not be surprised to see the market reaction moderating over the day.

Last quarter, the unemployment rate jumped sharply from 6.8% to 7.3%, but the result was widely disregarded on the strength of other evidence such as the falling number of unemployment benefit claimants. This quarter, the unemployment rate dropped back into line with broader assessments of the labour market, to 6.9%. This was as expected and probably represents a correction from last quarter's statistical noise - we don't think the labour market has suddenly improved.

But the surprising part of the December HLFS was a 6% decline in part-time work, which caused a 1% decline in overall employment. However, this was matched by the largest ever recorded decline in the labour force participation rate, from 68.4% to 67.2%.

The 1% decline in employment was a spectacular negative headline that duly caused a market reaction - the NZD fell half a cent and 2-year swap rates fell a basis point. However, we find the sharp drop in part-time employment implausible. When participation and employment move sharply in the same direction, it may be an indicator of surveying issues.

A few years back we had a similar sharp spikes in both employment and participation - they were promptly reversed the following quarter. Other labour market assessments have not been nearly so weak. For example, in today's HLFS full-time employment was up 0.4% and hours worked were up 0.3%. In Tuesday's Quarterly Employment Survey, full-time equivalent employment rose 0.4%.

Labour-related surveys have been soft, but have not taken any disastrous lurch lower. So our assessment of the labour market has not really changed. The labour market is still weak, but we do not believe that it has suddenly gotten sharply better or sharply worse.

TD Securities' Economist Annette Beacher was also sceptical about the figures.

The unemployment rate fell from 7.3% to 6.9% (mkt 7.1%) entirely due to the outsized fall in the participation rate from 68.4% to 67.2% (—that is the biggest one-quarter dive ever, and we have to question this survey, again). While the -1.4%/qtr slump in the labour force is odd, the bottom line remains where the labour market has been stagnant for three years now.

While not necessarily a helpful exercise, we have to note that if the participation rate didn’t fall then the unemployment rate would have jumped to 8.3%. Three years of labour market stagnation is not good news.

However, the labour market is not going to be ‘fixed’ by already accommodative monetary policy being loosened by another 25bp. Unfortunately fiscal policy assistance is hamstrung as PM Key and Finance Minister English strive for the near-impossible task of balancing the budget over the next two years.

A point of frustration is that there are multiple sources of high frequency data available on house prices, but yet there is only one quarterly and highly unreliable survey on employment, arguably one of the most critical variables when attempting to assess the correct stance of monetary policy. More funding for statistics please!

Last week, we pushed out the timeframe of +25bp from June to September. Our year-end OCR target is 3.0% and our end-2014 target is 3.75%. Our base case remains somewhat aggressive compared with consensus’ +25bp clustered around March quarter 2014.

Labour Finance Spokesman David Parker pointed to the fall of 33,000 in the number of people looking for work.

Disappointed Kiwis are giving up on John Key’s brighter future. National’s hands-off policies are forcing Kiwis to opt out of looking for work or head to Australia. All across New Zealand there are tens of thousands of New Zealanders looking for work. Just last week 190 jobs were lost at Summit Wool Spinners in Oamaru - a desperate blow to the community.

National promised to rebalance the economy but all they’ve done is tilt the balance even further in favour of their well-off supporters. We need an economy that creates jobs through exporting and modern manufacturing. Sadly National is content for us to simply export milk powder. Our current account deficit, high unemployment and population loss to Australia show National is inadequate.

National has no ambitions for our economy. 163,000 Kiwis are looking for work, exports are falling, manufacturing outside agriculture is in trouble and we have a BZ$10 billion external deficit, which is worse than every developed country bar Greece. The only part of the country with significant job growth is Canterbury, due to a tragedy and insurance inflows rather than any policy from the Government. New Zealanders want a Government that will take a hands on approach to get the economy moving and Kiwis into well-paid jobs.

(Updated with details, economists reactions, Labour Spokesman's reaction, market reactions)

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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It now seems that NZ Labour statistics are now in the same Orwellian state as the the U.S. ones.   

Nail. Hit. Hammer. Head.
They may be able to fiddle the unemployment figures but the damage to the government books of having 23,000 fewer people contributing payroll taxes whilst also presumably mostly claiming benefits of some sort will be rather more difficult to hide.
All stokes up that government budget deficit.........

Stats NZ reports 23,000 jobs lost in Q4, but unemployment rate falls to 6.9% from 7.3% due to lower participation rate; NZ$ slides
Did a significant section of the 15-64 year old labour force population retire voluntarily or not? - enquiring minds need to know.

Here's the quotes from Stats NZ:
"The number of people not in the labour force had a large increase over the quarter, with increases for both males and females. Over the year to the December 2012 quarter, more people in the older age groups were not in the labour force. This was partly due to an ageing population."
"Over the December 2012 year the number of older people not in the labour force increased in both the 65+ and 55–59-year age groups (up 19,000 and 6,100, respectively). The 65+ age group also had a large increase in its working-age population. The number of people not in the labour force who said they were retired had a large increase – up 20,400 (4.1 percent)."

So, a significant rise in the number of individuals not paying taxes in addition to those that lost their jobs.  The outlook for a government deficit reduction looks decidedly poor - A financial credit rating downgrade must be on the cards.

No way mate, NZ is a safe economy according to the Credit Acencies... you might be surprised with a credit upgrade as the unemployment fell... lol

Too many rates and jargons.
Story in a simple version:
manufacturing is dying in NZ -> more ppl lost jobs -> more ppl were discouraged from taking any jobs.
Although agriculture sector in NZ has been booming, the sector is seen as VERY unattractive to ppl without farm connections -- low pay, taking long to climb ladder, very far away from town/city, not easy to find a patner.
Plus, the sector no longer requires many labours; it uses robots to put cups on cow’s tits. 

Thank God we have all these farmers working their butts off to save the economy (and country). They traditionally vote National but I'm curious to know why? Many of whom are anti-labour for their generous helpings to those on benefits....perhaps I should enlighten them that less of there taxes would be heading into the pockets of the unemployed if "their" government would start creating jobs rather than sitting on their proverbial. I have also been temporarily unemployed but never signed up...I wonder how many other just bite the bullet and keep looking...
I'm over the show-boating of John Key - stick a camera in his face and he thinks he's in Hollywood, what has he actually ACHIEVED in 4.5 years???? I can think of better places to stick that telescopic lens!

Nothing, absolutely noithing!
He is the most innocuous, insipid, and invisible PM ever. Lets get rid of him, and the Nats!

What taxes? Actually with big mortgages and the ability to make most of their day to day deductable farmers often don't pay any more than most workers. Wheni was a student I lost count of the farmers kids that got full allowances because mum and dad suposidly made next to nothing on paper but lived very well.

Spot on...It is not easy to find a partner if one is working on the farm...

I bet those cows start looking pretty darn good after a few years,  with those big brown eyes  

So strewth then; Kiwis love their cattle...?
You're bad AJ, really bad!

Updated with reactions from Westpac and Labour's David Parker.

93 % of Kiwis who want a job , currently have one ( or more ) .......
....... ga-zounds Bernard , at last you're presenting good news to us .... I knew you had it in you to do so .... perhaps the brisk windy climate of Wellington  had cleared your head ..
Life in Godzone is pretty darned sweet , friend !

Yip...GBH.... 93% who want a job....have one.....good news for sure.
Bernard the 'LIKE" button is not working on Gummies Post....You could employ someone full time to keep it working. That leaves you some free time to sort out some of the other technical issues......there's a few of which I'm sure you are aware. 

( roll on floor and laugh my arse off so hard that Speights came out my nose and I shat my Gummy nappies )

who's this guy David Parker and Labour party?- Tha Nat isn't my favourite party but David Parker and Labour beginning to sound like Tony Abbott in Australia - they are anti everything..  Lighten up David!

These unemployment figures falling and even benefits falling are contributed to the number of people moving to Australia, which is way you have big job losses and lower unemployment.

this figure will rise above 7% again at the next update as:
- more than 100,000 school and uni students graduate
- opportunities in Aus reduce
- the redundancies keep coming

OMG you're in such bad mood today ...... again >.<

Well pretending everything is fine and doing nothing ie. The john key approach has got us to the crap situation we are, so yeah it makes me angry when solutions are available.

WOW....MIA......thats a bit of an exageration......Have you forgotten who was leading the country when the GFC hit??? NZ could be in a hell of lot worse situation than what it is.

beg to differ.if the govt had got on top of chch a year ago and the rma planing fiasco 2 years ago nz would be doing much better

Apart from NotAnE's illogical comment ie it didnt matter who was in Govn when the GFC hit, it was hitting Im glad albour wasnt in.  In saying that Labour had paid off the debt, Brash in 2005 wanted tax repeating Bush era failures which would mean we'd de worse off now..  I have to say that Im glad Labour didnt win in 2008, they showed not evidence that they could have successfully handled the severe impact in a robust way.  Now if you look at National I think you will find that they didnt go the austerity route much at all which on balance was/is probably a reasonable course given the conflicting issues.
How can we say Labour would have been any better? honestly I have zero confidence in Goff and Labour had/have the ability to cope at all let alone better....Spending badly is almost as bad as austerity IMHO....
Overall our economy isnt too bad, 8.3% un-employment after 4 years of the worst event since the Great Depression isnt too ugly, sure that needs work, but really is there much NZ can do?
Chch isnt a fair comment, its a basket case but no one will admit it.  If we get another big eq and from the reports ive seen thats a possibility for another 3 years then frnakly I suspoect chch buildings and even maybe NZ buildings may not be re-insurable at which point the costs are our rebuilding early just wasnt possible....

Matt in Adelaide : Pretending everything is in the crapper , when it's obviously not , is the problem . And for that , we can totally lay the blame at the big hairy knobbly feet of the fear mongerer of doom himself , Bernard " Chicken-Little " Hickey ....
...... 93 % employment is a superb figger , in my judgement .
Life in GodZone is AOK ... And El Presidente Key is doing a reasonable job ... not great , just " reasonable " .... and that's light-years better than most of his predecessors ...

Really, you are shifting blame away from the prime minister to a single pundit from the media for freely stating his opinion. That's quite a seat of power Bernard sits in.

Have you ever seen anyone in the media ( not just picking on Bernard here ) announce the current employment figgers ?
... No ! .... they always report it as the negative context , the " unemployment " rate .... why does the media choose to do that ..... hmmmmmm ?
Life in Kiwiland is pretty sweet just now ... not perfect , but pretty darned good anyways ...

And the effect of this is precisely what?
The most obvious reason the media tends to context things negatively is because positive context is frequently just dull, so nobody is interested to read it. Maybe you are right however, maybe they should publish the employment rate but in this case the anouncement would be that the employment rate has dropped, because it just did.

gee you guys are truly simpletons. Applying your logic 15% unemployment would be OK because 85% are employed.
Also, its the direction of things more so than how things stand now. 

Resorting to personal abuse now ! ..... tsk tsk .... you've been in Ashtraylia too long buddy , their Ozzie " charm " is rubbing off on you ...
... chill , dude . Life is a buncha fluffy ducks ....

Very well put GBH!
Let'em have it.

93% of what population? every man, woman and child? Seriously it is ridiculous to even put out ANY percentage without actually checking the initial maths equation.
BS in..............BS out!  We do not have 93% employment public servants for example are in fact beneficaries of the state. 

I guess if you care for the direction of the country you feel like me. If you are a selfish Auckland property tycoon like you then yeah things look great! i

If you really cared MIA you'd be over here paying taxes.

FYI, I've added in comments from BNZ's Stephen Toplis.

In short, we don’t know the answers. And we are more than a little unsure what to do with our forecasts. For now, we’ll stick with our view that the unemployment rate lowers progressively over the next two years, that wage pressures rise modestly, and that modest employment growth occurs.
He had no choice really since his bank's actions just added to the toll.

So he's useless a neo-con economist out of his depth. He's making a guess and we cant even see that its an educated one ATB beting makes more sense.
great, just great.
Yeah, I mean if he came out and said we are all buggered, he'd not be popular......sorry mate but I suggest you need a big jar of vasaline....

yep agree

" ATB beting " .......... " vasaline " ....... seriously steven , what planet are you from ?
Stephen Toplis made sense in his piece . And it's good to see that he didn't wade in confidently with solutions galore , but actually admitted that there's some unknowns in our economic mix .

Maybe some jobs coming up in the armed services if the below link comes true.

God help us then - we had all better get down on our knees if that is the case.  There would be far more to worry about other than percentages of this and percentages of that. 
As for the subject that all these comments are about in my opinion it is just once more spin spin spin. 

FYI have added comments from Annette Beacher. She says unemployment rate would have been 8.3% without the sharp fall in the participation rate.
That is higher than the unemployment rates in Britain and America, and they are already printing money...

That is higher than the unemployment rates in Britain and America, and they are already printing money...
Unemployment in the US  - really?
And printing money: Your # 9 in Thursday's Top 10
9. Central banking and bet wetting - Bess Levin at Dealbreaker reports on a particularly colourful description of the currency wars.
“Devaluing a currency,” one senior Federal Reserve official once told me, “is like peeing in bed. It feels good at first, but pretty soon it becomes a real mess.” In recent times, foreign-exchange incontinence appears to have been the policy of choice in capitals from Beijing to Washington, via Tokyo. The resulting mess has led to warnings of a global “currency war” that could spiral into protectionism.

just looked at your unemployment link SH.. U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate) is the comparable figure I understand? so 7.9% < 8.3%, no?

Move to the top of the class - U3 is a politician's fantasy - there are more accurate measures below, which the government is legally bound to publish because they are valid - read the fine print. 

Bernard - exactly
But this bunch of do nothing- neoliberal monkeys will continue to do nothing, because the market will of course sort things out.
But it won't.

How much more crowding out do you think this so-called neoliberal government can undertake, before the tax paying private sector starves to death?
The Government and the Local Authority equivalent may not have been running this company but it would certainly seem they were signing the contracts that did (view outstanding work on the last page but one of this PDF document). - was this in lieu of the lack of direct government payouts for "leaky home" repairs or just part of the government's socialist/Keynesian hubris to win re-election? We certainly couldn't afford these projects from the net tax take. Link
Recent past Government borrowing is graphically noted here.

There in lie the problem.  Oddly enough this National government seems to be worse in this regard - and of course Muldoon's administration was much the same. 
The ultra-fast broadband project is a classic example. Government got involved because there was no business case - it's a loss making proposition - and it might only serve to fatally wound Chorus and stall the real competitors from getting on and being competitive.
This bit of news went virtually unnoticed;
And here we have the government coming to rescue the patient it created to the expense of proper competition in the telecommunications industry;

"It is a very big project and for all of us it has ended up being very different from what we ever anticipated. As we have gone into it you realise it is actually a construction project with a telco focus, as opposed to a telco project with a bit of civil construction going on."
Kate, this is a very telling comment - it's always a civil engineering job in the first instance - these new boys at Telecom/Chorus inherited the company from the taxpayer with the initial civil works completed - this is what happens when accountants and lawyers take over existing capital intensive service provider corporations, without engineering knowledge -  they just hope to earn a quick buck from importing pre-built foreign telephony exchanges  (Alcatel etc) placed in existing road side boxes. 

Yes, a symptom of this globalisation ideology.
And here's another one - Mainzeal related - the Kapiti Aquatic Centre. If I recall correctly, it was initially proposed 7-8 years ago by the private sector as a $7m swimming pool. Associated business interests got together with the local swim club, pitching to council that they'd raise $2m of the $7m - initially referred to as 1/3rd of the cost - but I believe that proportion requirement was dropped as the saga unfolded.
Once the council agreed to participate - the sectoral interests upped the ante on the specs and the price went up.  And up again. And up again and suddenly it wasn't any longer a swimming pool but an aquatic centre - and Rec Centre that was supposed to be fully funded by the private sector as part of the complex didn't materialise to my knowledge. The Trust set up to raise the public contribution of $2m maintained 'commercial' secrecy around what it had actually raised to date ... all the while successive council's were asked to up the ratepayer's bill for this and that and this and that improvement. 
The sectoral interests said it had to be of a specification such that national swim events could be held at it.  However the national sports body stated that it would not be likely to move national events from Wellington to Kapiti ... yet still the council accepted the upgraded spec.
Anyway to cut a long story short - the $7m swim pool turned into a $22m aquatic centre - and no one knows to this day to my knowledge whether the Trust raised it's promised contribution. The local shopping mall paid for the naming rights - so it's not the Kapiti Aquatic Centre but the Coastlands Aquatic Centre - all (or mostly all) courtesy of an indebted forever future ratepayer base.
It is a perfect example of the globalisation notion that cities/regions must 'compete' with one another. 

Perfect example of economically clueless Local Gumnut, more like, Kate.  After all, who approved the contract?
In yer own words "still the council accepted the upgraded spec".

Economically clueless they likely are, waymad, which just goes to show the globalisation ideology too is economically clueless.
They accepted the upgraded spec based on the argument that nations, regions, cities, towns and so on and so forth down-the-line have to 'compete'.  Compete for what?  For their share. For their share in what? The economic promises of globalism. 
The prevailing idea that there is 'wealth' to be had everywhere else but here in our own family/community, town, city, region, nation and so on and so forth up-the-chain. But to get that 'wealth' we have to attract it - and to attract it we have to spend beyond what the requirements of our own needs are.

Wellington Airport is another example - upgraded beyond it's usefulness to the local citizens. Now the owners, Wellington City Council and Infratil are gouging the users to get a return way beyond the latest annual nominal 2.63% national GDP growth.
You have to wonder upon which grounds they can overturn the Commerce Commission's criticism that between 12.3 and 15.2 per cent annual returns over five years are too high? Read Stuff article

Yes, a perfect example. It is indeed a worry that ignoring the rulings of independent authorities is becoming more and more commonplace - really these are the only checks on executive power that we have in NZs unitary and unicameral system of governance.  Here's Judith Collins ignoring recommendations regarding changes to OIA legislation;

It just got a whole lot worse.
Warner Bros' New Line unit is warning an Ombudsman's ruling that the Government needs to release Hobbit-related documents jeopardises future film-making in New Zealand. Read Stuff article
I just wish the gangsters would bow out and let the civilised amongst us take back control.

How true.

Thanks for the local example. I imagine that $22m is the initial cost, any idea what the ongoing loss is per year? Surely if the locals wanted a swimming pool the guys from the swim club could've dug a hole and some local construction could pour some concrete in?

No idea what they're estimated the operating expenses to be vs the cost recovery.  But they went for a sort of first-in-NZ, passive solar kind of roof design which was supposed to save masses on electricity costs going forward.  Watch closely - if it leaks Mainzeal won't be around to fix it, will they?  I wonder what happens to such construction warranties in this case - gone, I suspect.

Interestingly the US Govn seeded the Internet and indeed if you look at much of the US inovation and development over the last 70 years is dominated by US seed funding....think its past 70%.
Im not sure what you are saying here but, In terms of chorus, well the broadband pricing Ive seen suggests $120 a month for 250gb, incl a phone, right now I pay Telstraclear $200 a month for 150gb and use 180gb which they charge me for. So I would / will save $100 a month easily. On top of that Telstraclear have been a typical "just another telco" ie useless greedy manipulative a-holes, after 12 years I will be jumping for joy to get rid of them for something as good if not better...
On the face of it reviewing the obligation is however bad news for ppl on a limited budget I agree...that is yet more regressive taxation all be it the tax goes to a private company, I really think its best left alone. Droping adsl prices that are way to high, or rather not is bad....interesting how we see the Govn doing pork barrel politics and looking after itself at the expense of consumers....we make great canon fooder it seems...

if you look at much of the US inovation and development over the last 70 years is dominated by US seed funding....think its past 70%
So the government should theoretically be rolling in the fruits of that innovation then, eh?

I would say your comment shows either remarkable ignorance of or blinkers to those fruits or your political blinkers are in the way of seeing. 
So yes I think the US has been, rolling, I mean the USA "defeated" its cold war adversary. 
On top of that its universities are I think the un-questionable leaders in research and inovation in terms of scale and breadth of.  Not just the US either, eg The Internet came from DARPA, I think transistors did as well so you could say we have all rolled in it for 60 years.
The costs v returns to go to those same universities is now highly questionable however. These days you need be children of the elite few top % to go and not go broke in the process or for the next 20 years of your life.
The fruits was the past however, whats killing their economy now, globally and ours is fossil fuel costs, and you cant innovate your way out of it.   The US is a dead man walking, just watch out for who they fall on however.

However compare like with like in how the US measures un-employment v NZ.  The real un-umployment in the US is closer to 50%~100% bigger than that reported.   US housing market has dropped 40%...they cant survive $4 a gallon gas....etc, etc.

Mr Hickey, you need to lighten up a little, unemployment has dropped, it's good news! Chill man.
You seem to be suggesting in this comment that we should be money printing? You really think thats a good idea? You want interest rates even lower than they are yet you complain about the house bubble also?
You seem to not be able to make a clear argument about the way forward..

- Actual hiring and business hiring intentions are polls apart. Why have businesses been telling us porkies for so long and why do they continue to expect employment growth?
I can give some insight into this. I worked for a company about 3 years ago that had some pretty lofty ambitions, probably driven by shareholder demands.
So in my team, my superior wanted to grow the team from 5 to 20 in the space of 1.5 years.
After 1.5 years, the team comprised 6 members!
The growth and employment plan was totally unrealistic, but was done to appease my manager's superiors. 
I advised my thoughts on the fantasy like nature of the plan, but was dutifully ignored.
So I can see how easily the reality of employment diverges from what businesses say they are planning to do. Basically lots of businesses, especially larger corporates, are run by idiots who bow down to their superiors, so they will say what their superiors want them to say even if it is unrealistic  

So we have the BNZ who is wobbling and the rest? who are still saying the OCR is rising this year and quite a lot next year.  If the world was recovering, yes OK, it isnt though....lots of overly optimistic praying comes to mind....
So April for the next un-employment figures?  ditto CPI?
Lets see how well that does....
We have had 3 or 4 years of an un-precedented slump / stagnation but jsut about every one is convinced growth will come will I tell you, it will?
Deckchair  anyone?