On the scrapheap

Written By: - Date published: 3:54 pm, April 15th, 2008 - 30 comments
Categories: economy, labour, national, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

employ450

This graph shows the number of people employed in New Zealand, and employment would have been had the number of people with a job as a portion of the working-age population had remained steady at 76% as it was before 1987. Look what happened during the rightwing economic revolution from 1987 to 1999 (when National was kicked out). Employment not only didn’t keep up with the growing population, the number of people with jobs actually decreased. Once Labour got to power, the level of employment started growing rapidly, making up for lost ground. Things are now back to how they used to be.

Look at that employment gap, from 1987 to 2003, between the number of people with jobs and the number who could have been working. That’s hundreds of thousands of people that the Right chucked on the scrapheap. Over those years, a total of two million person-years of employment were lost; that’s as if everyone in New Zealand was out of work for a year.

No wonder we started to fall behind in the 1990s, we were letting our best assets, our people, go to waste while National and its mates split up and sold off our major companies to asset-strippers. Two million person-years of work wasted when they could have been building roads, railways, better housing, hospitals, or working as medical staff, teachers, working to create a better, more productive New Zealand. Worse, rather than being employed people were forced to live on benefits, some turned to crime; families suffered.

Too much of our potential was wasted under National in the 1990s. We can’t let that happen again.

30 comments on “On the scrapheap”

  1. Steve Pierson 1

    pre-empting our rightwing friends who would rather deal in trival matters than the substantive issue: the graph’s axis doesn’t go to 0 because we’re looking at change and rates of change over time, not total amounts.

    2 million person/years. 4 billion work hours. wasted by the neoliberal revolution.

  2. insider 2

    Weird. I see a gap starting in 1987 that grew rapidly bigger under Labour and then started reducing under national with a blip in 98

  3. Steve Pierson 3

    insider. 1987 was the start of the rightwng revolution by a labour government controlled by Roger Douglas and his mates.

    The gap reaches its maximum size, over 230,000 New Zealanders who should have been working but weren’t under National in 1991 and 1992.

    the gap was still over 110,000 in 1999 just what is was in 1989.

    then Labour came in and within four years the gap was gone

  4. IrishBill 4

    Even weirder – I see a gap that started with the man who runs National’s most likely coalition partner at the helm, continuing under National and then disappearing under Labour.

  5. When viewing and interpreting a chart, scale is important but looking at the chart as presented it appears that the increase in shortfall occurred during the Labour led reforms from 1987 to 1990. The gap steadily declined during the National led 1990’s.

    It would be interesting but of course impossible to see what the chart would have looked like if the reforms had not been undertaken. It would probably have been depicting a much less pleasant scenario. The reforms though painful were a necessary.

  6. Steve Pierson 6

    maw. the gap got bigger under National and had only returned to the already awful size that is was in 1989 when National left in 1999.

    The number of kiwis with jobs actually falls under National at the start and doesn’t reach 1987 levels until 1994.

    Only 29,000 new jobs a year under National, 47,000 under Labour since 1999.

  7. insider 7

    Wasn’t Helen Clark a minister in the 1980s?

  8. Phil 8

    I’d be intrigued to see your source data for this, especially any context to what I assume is a massive population influx in 1991?

  9. Dean 9

    Steve, given your history with statistics and graphs would you care to explain to me why I should take notice of this one? You know as well as I do that your graphs and interpretations are misleading.

    I would have gone so far as to say that seconday school children could do better than you do, but sadly this is not the case anymore.

    For instance, your blatantly wrong intepretation of the OECD tax rate chart from Wikipedia you posted, which you were questioned on but have since declined to comment on.

    I can only hope you have the honesty and conviction in your beliefs to debate these matters.

    [dean, what are you talking about, which OECD tax chart? I note you don’t actually have any rebuttal of this data, just insinuations]

  10. burt 10

    Steve P.

    then Labour came in and within four years the gap was gone

    And then they all lived happily ever after!

    Ahhh, wasn’t that lovely, a sweet little story about Labour Good – National Bad – even if the graph shows that Labour policies created a massive increase in unemployment which National started to fix and Labour were fortunate enough to take over and see concluded.

    Oh, hang on a minute, my brain just worked for a minute there – oops – Labour good – National Bad – failed policies of the past – yada yada yada.

    Keep banging on about workers rights and when the MP’s and the CEO’s get a 10% increase and the average workers get a 3% increase you can tell us that the CEO’s are nasty but the MP’s deserve it.

  11. What about productivity growth? What about the fact that workers are less productive under a Labour govt. Just look at the health sector, so many more jobs ‘created’ by the Helengrads, and where are all the new Dr’s, Nurses etc??? Huh??? All you can do is make personal attacks at National Mp’s.

    [lprent: If you want to make assertions, then back them up with some data. Don’t you think that three questions marks is an abuse of punctuation? There is no particular requirement for you to live down to your name.]

  12. mike 12

    🙂 “1987 was the start of the rightwng revolution by a labour government controlled by Roger Douglas and his mates”

    Now I’ve lost all repect Steve. The National=bad labour=Good argument only works when Labour can’t be bad as well.

  13. Hey guys – congrats. I saw you on the news again!

  14. Gooner 14

    “pre-empting our rightwing friends who would rather deal in trival matters than the substantive issue”.

    Sure. Like the substantive issues the Labour Party has been talking the last few days by abusing John Key and making personal attacks on him. It was he who said the issues should be debated, not Helen Clark or Michael Cullen.

    And if you knew anything about policy you’d realise it takes years and years to manifest itself in results. There is no magic bullet. So the reforms and policy direction of the 80’s and 90’s has manifested in the position as you now show it (if the graph can be believed). It actually takes that long. It’s one of the reasons I think the election cycle is too short.

  15. Gooner – you and your have spent your whole time doing nothing but attacking the government and “Klark” and guess what? You and yours have no policy. I guess when Key was talking about spending too much time on attacking and not enough on policy he was talking from experience. Diddums.

    Oh and if the Nats are so keen on debating policy why did they shut down debate of the airport sale?

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0804/S00377.htm

    From where I’m sitting it looks like your lot don’t like a taste of their own medicine. Kinda reminds me of how the shrill the impotent righties would get when I was allowed to post on Kiwiblog…

  16. dave 16

    What Dean said. Also how about linking to source so we can see why we should believe you – because sometimes you are correct. Sometimes you spin to over emphasise a position that is pretty weak when presented with facts and the rest of the story that you omit – like the proportion of people with part time jobs, the economic value of employees, proportion of women in the workforce, how many have two part time jobs, how long in the policy cycle changes take to manifest themselves etc. All relevant but missed on purpose

    So as Lynn would say, if you want to make nice graphs of data, back them up with sources and the rest of the story if you want to be taken seriously.

    In fact the gap may not just be be the number of people who could have been working, it could be the number of additional people who could have been studying….

  17. randal 17

    like , like, like, like that was justa whole pile of rubbish like!

  18. randal 18

    why bother studying when you can self award a MA and become a barman…still waiting for the name of that university dave

  19. AncientGeek 19

    Jumping up way back …
    Phil:

    what I assume is a massive population influx in 1991?

    Census in 1990? There are often lumps in statistical data when the census comes through. Sometimes the estimates are off, and sometimes the measurement changes. I’ve seen it a number of times.

    Let me see…. 2006 2002 1998 1994 1990. That would fit. Typically the data shifts in the year following the census

  20. lprent 20

    “So as Lynn would say, if you want to make nice graphs of data, back them up with sources and the rest of the story if you want to be taken seriously.”

    This site is more about making comment than being a reference site. It definitely isn’t a academic site. Making assertions should be backed up with data. That is simply to reduce comment that comes from personal opinion igniting flamewars or for perpetuating popular myths.

    Look at the bottom of the jpeg Steve put up, the sources are mentioned. Yes – a direct link would be nice, but not critical. The major links usually are in reference sites on the blogroll on the right. I’ll add the rbnz.

    IMHO: Argument about what is applicable data is preferable to argument about urban myths. This shows up strongly in this post and the previous one. I also enjoy the effective use of humour, satire and sarcasm in comments. It makes them easier to read when I scan (I tend to laugh and become more tolerant of transgressions).

  21. IrishBill says: You’re banned for life. And before anyone starts whining about us being partisan try setting up a “kiwiblogsux” account over at David’s blog and see how far you get.

  22. Phil 22

    AG,

    “Let me see . 2006 2002 1998 1994 1990. That would fit. Typically the data shifts in the year following the census”

    The Census is every five years, not four.

    There is no other ‘burp’ in the data shown here – everything else follows a reasonably understandable trend (with the exception maybe of ’83).

    I was always under the impression that the first rule of statistics is thus; “when something looks interesting or unusual, it’s probably an error”

  23. vto 23

    fuck you eggs are dreaming if you think thats what the graph shows.

    Just the same as your stupid thread below re interest rates under the different govts.

  24. Steve Pierson 24

    Phil. I don’t know why the population stepped in 1991 – thats what the stats figures say.

    vto. no, you’re a towel

  25. AncientGeek 25

    The Census is every five years, not four.

    You are so right. I got confused because I was looking at some data from the 2001, which was labelled as 2002 because that was when it was published, and remembered that the last census was 2006. Ok – actually it is because I was short of coffee at the time.

    2006, 2001, 1996, and 1991.. Maybe.

    “when something looks interesting or unusual, it’s probably an error’

    Yes, but I don’t have access to the graph data so I made a presumption of accuracy on SP’s side.

    The next most common problems with any data series are either real data injected into estimated data, or a change in how something is measured. I see these kinds of error all of the time in IT.

  26. Phil 26

    I suspect you’ve failed to take into account a “series break” when it looks like there were some failry significant changes to the methodology of population statistics in 1991.

    The size of that break is 120,000 people, give or take a few hundered, which accounts for roughly half of the purple block in that year. I suspect that if the series break is treated in a mathematically correct fashion, your conclusions will be untenable

  27. Steve Pierson 27

    Phil. i don’t think the step change has any serious consequences for the graph, and I think it is real, not a measurement issue. there were a few years with very high net immigration in the last few decades (and others with much lower net immigration), and large cadres entering the workforce as small cadres left. 1991 is the year with the single largest population gain but it is not freakish – working age pop growth that year is 5%, in 2005 it was 2.89%, two other years also broke 2%.

    And none of this changes the full story – there was a decrease in employment at the start of the neoliberal era, and then very weak employment growth from 1993. That saw the productive potential of around 2 million person/years wasted.

    As ever, if you have a problem with my analysis you’re wlecome to make your own graph.

  28. Phil 28

    I don’t want to be anal about this, but… “working age pop growth that year is 5%, in 2005 it was 2.89%, two other years also broke 2%.”

    If that isn’t a sign of error, I don’t know what is. A rough calculation in a spreadsheet puts the 1991 growth rate about 4 times out of standard deviation from the mean!

    With respect to the broad theme, you’re arguing a tautology. Regieme change like we had in the 80’s is ALWAYS going to cause disruption and unemployment. That’s not conjecture on my part, it’s a fairly obvious statement based on simply looking at history. Whether or not we needed the change is a whole separate issue.

    The problem for you is that the gap you have described narrows under both parties. It is not suddenly, as if by magic, fixed under Labour

  29. Gooner 29

    Robinsod – you’re writing to me as if I’m a Nat. I’ve never voted National and never will. Too conservative, no guts.

  30. Dean 30

    “[dean, what are you talking about, which OECD tax chart? I note you don’t actually have any rebuttal of this data, just insinuations]”

    I’m not sure who said this at the bottom of my last comment in this thread, but whoever it was just made me spit my drink out.

    I’m talking about the OECD graph on wikipedia which Steve linked to on this blog, and was claimed to show that the corporate tax rates in New Zealand were low – when the chart showed anything but. Even Rob agreed with me.. but I’ve yet to see Steve admit he was wrong.

    [lprent: Dean is correct. Please label yourself when you insert into a comment. Otherwise it gets too confusing.]

Links to post

Leave a Comment

Show Tags

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Nats’ housing policy fails to keep pace with population growth
    Auckland got less than half the new houses it needed in the past year to keep up with record population growth, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 days ago
  • Urgent action needed on dirty rivers
    The Our Fresh Water Environment 2017 report re-confirms that we need urgent action to clean up our rivers. Meanwhile, National is standing by as our rivers get even more polluted, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker. “This report is yet ...
    3 days ago
  • Where there’s smoke and mirrors, there’s Steven Joyce
    Steven Joyce’s much vaunted pre-Budget speech is simply an underwhelming response to the infrastructure deficit National has created, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Steven Joyce has belatedly come to the realisation that everyone else has a long time ago, ...
    3 days ago
  • Time to stamp out cold, mouldy rentals
    New figures show a small number of landlords are letting down the sector by renting cold, mouldy rentals. These houses need to be brought up to a decent standard for people to live in by Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes Bill, ...
    4 days ago
  • Time for fresh approach on immigration
    Latest figures showing another record year for immigration underlines the need for an urgent rethink on how this country can continue to absorb so many people, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “New Zealand needs immigrants and is all the better ...
    4 days ago
  • Bring back the Mental Health Commission
    The People’s Mental Health Review is a much needed wake up call for the Government on mental health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I applaud their proposal to restore a Mental Health Commission and their call for ...
    6 days ago
  • And the band played on…
    Making Amy Adams the Housing Minister five months out from the election is just the orchestra playing on as National’s Titanic housing crisis slips below the waves – along with the hopes and dreams of countless Kiwi families, says Labour’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Hotel no place for children in care
    ...
    1 week ago
  • Maybe not, Minister? Nick Smith’s housing measure suppressed
    Sir Humphrey: Minister, remember the Housing Affordability Measure work you asked us to prepare back in 2012? Well, it’s ready now.Minister Smith: Oh goodie, what does it say?Sir Humphrey: Nothing.Minister Smith: Nothing?Sir Humphrey: Well, sir, you asked us to prepare ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation data shows many New Zealanders are worse off under National
    The latest inflation data from Statistics New Zealand shows that too many New Zealanders are now worse off under the National Government, said Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson “Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) is now running at 2.2 per cent, and ...
    1 week ago
  • Another emergency housing grant blow out
      Emergency housing grants data released today show another blow out in spending on putting homeless people up in motels, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.   ...
    1 week ago
  • Families struggle as hardship grants increase
    The considerable increase in hardship grants shows that more and more Kiwi families are struggling to put food on the table and pay for basic schooling, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • More tinkering, no leadership from Nats on immigration
    National’s latest tinkering with the immigration system is another attempt to create the appearance of action without actually doing anything meaningful, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Suicide figures make for grim reading
    The 506 suspected suicides of Kiwis who have been in the care of mental health services in the last four years show that these services are under severe stress, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “If you do the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pay equity deal a victory for determination and unions
    The pay equity settlement revealed today for around 55,000 low-paid workers was hard-won by a determined Kristine Bartlett backed by her union, up against sheer Government resistance to paying Kiwis their fair share, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour welcomes ...
    2 weeks ago
  • DHB’s forced to make tough choices
    The Minister of Health today admitted that the country’s District Health Boards were having to spend more than their ring fenced expenditure on Mental Health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “The situation is serious with Capital and Coast ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats break emergency housing pledge – deliver just five more places
    Despite National’s promises of 2,200 emergency housing beds, just 737 were provided in the March Quarter, an increase of only five from six months earlier, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Research underlines need for KiwiBuild
    New research showing the social and fiscal benefits of homeownership underlines the need for a massive government-backed building programme like KiwiBuild, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Social data security review too little, too late
    The independent review into the Ministry of Social Development’s individual client level data IT system is too little, too late, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The Minister of Social Development has finally seen some sense and called for ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More questions raised on CERA conflicts
    With the admission that three more former CERA staff members are under suspicion of not appropriately managing conflicts of interest related to the Canterbury rebuild, it’s imperative that CERA’s successor organisation Ōtākaro fronts up to Parliamentary questions, says Labour’s Canterbury ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour to tackle Hutt housing crisis
    Labour will build a mix of 400 state houses and affordable KiwiBuild homes in the Hutt Valley in its first term in government to tackle the housing crisis there, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Housing in the Hutt ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Farewell to John Clarke
    This wonderfully talented man has been claimed by Australia, but how I remember John Clarke is as a young Wellington actor who performed satirical pieces in a show called “Knickers” at Downstage Theatre. The show featured other future luminaries like ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 weeks ago
  • Valedictory Speech
    Te papa pounamu Aotearoa NZ Karanga karanga karanga; Nga tupuna Haere haere haere; Te kahui ora te korowai o tenei whare; E tu e tu ... tutahi tonu Ki a koutou oku hoa mahi ki Te Kawanatanga; Noho mai noho ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Buck stops with Gerry Brownlee
    The fact that the State Services Commission has referred the CERA conflict of interest issue to the Serious Fraud Office is a positive move, but one that raises serious questions about the Government’s oversight of the rebuild, says Labour Canterbury ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Teachers deserve a democratic Education Council
    Teachers around New Zealand reeling from the news that their registration fees could more than double will be even angrier that the National Government has removed their ability to have any say about who sits on the Council that sets ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Free trade backers are simply out of touch
    Are the backers of free trade out of touch with public opinion? This was the question asked when the Chartered Accountants launched their Future of Trade study. I was astonished by the answer in a room of free trade enthusiasts ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    3 weeks ago
  • John Clarke aka Fred Dagg will be missed by all Kiwis
    The man who revolutionised comedy on both sides of the Tasman, John Clarke, will be sadly missed by Kiwis and Aussies alike, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I grew up with Fred Dagg and I am ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour’s modern approach to monetary policy
    A commitment to full employment and a more transparent process to provide market certainty are the hallmarks of Labour’s proposals for a new approach to monetary policy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s plan for monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy robert.ashe
    3 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    3 weeks ago