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.]

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    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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