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Thursday, June 22, 2006

I come from a land downunder

I’m just going to quickly respond to the latest press release from the National Party’s John Key: After-tax wages in Oz more than pre-tax in NZ.

John Key MP National Party Finance Spokesman has made various claims about the financial differences between Australia and New Zealand. I know he has probably (probably) got the numbers right about income and taxes and so forth, however, you can work it out for yourself if you are so inclined. Here are some links: The Australian Bureaux of Statistics, StatsNZ info on income, New Zealand Income Survey (June 2005 quarter), The Big Mac Index (regarding purchasing power).

But what about that other fact in Key’s release?

"Dr Cullen can't continue to ignore this assault on our workforce. Australia's made no secret of the fact they are looking for Kiwi workers, and the number of New Zealanders crossing the ditch has climbed to around 650 per week.”

The emphasis is mine.

The actual number they are using is 2,713 Permanent and Long-Term (PLT) departures from New Zealand to Australia in the month of May 2006. They have just divided that by four weeks to get 678.25 people leaving NZ for Oz each week.

Of course this is gross and not net. If we look at PLT arrivals FROM Oz to NZ the number drops to 1,755 in May or approximately 438.75 people per week leaving for Oz. (I’ll put it all in a table at the bottom of the post to make it easy to read).

Has this figure climbed to 678 per week as John Key suggests? Nope.

The number of “New Zealanders crossing the ditch” has been dropping since at least January. In January there were 4,276 PLT departures for Australia with a net departure of 2,625 (a net weekly figure of 656). In fact the number of departures has dropped 36 percent and the net-departures have dropped 33 percent.

The 2005 figures show the same trend; higher levels of departure in January tapering off to May. However, the May 2005 figures are still higher than the May 2006 figures (I was too lazy to do a significance test, but so was John Key).

Here’s the table (please note that net departures is arrivals minus departures, hence the negative numbers). This information is available here.


Tom said...

"The Australian Bureaux of Statistics"? They are the lucky country: we only get one!

backin15 said...

Great analysis.

Key's a bit too slap-dash with his numbers for my liking and you're right to point out that while he's revalued NZ wages in Aust dollars, he's ignoring real purchasing power. He's also ignoring the plethora of other charges, that damn well feel like taxes, that employees paying PAYG pay.

Remaining tax/wage competitive with Australia has to be a factor in all party's policy thinking but I've not yet heard anything that Key/Brash would do to increase productivity?

Jo Hubris said...

You know who should move to Australia? The National Party. Yeah that's right, all of them.

Hadyn said...

Tom: Bureaux is a side effect of writing Citizens Advice Bureaux a lot.

Backin15: What is PAYG? Pay as you go?

backin15 said...

Yup PAYG is Pay as You Go - same as PAYE - had forgotten that there was a difference in the name.

Gibbs said...

You know why the number of NZers crossing the ditch has dropped? Its cos with high tax, high cost of petrol, and high cost of living we can't afford the air ticket. That plus our crappy roading and what appears to be a Labour-backed cold snap, we can't even make it to the planes, let along afford to get on them.

Boom zing!