Wednesday, June 21, 2017

NZ Productivity (via 'Croaking Cassandra')...

A while ago, I listed Michael Reddell's blog 'Croaking Cassandra' as a good one to follow for critique's of New Zealand's macro economic performance. His has had a few posts on productivity - the measure of wealth produced per unit of effort (normally GDP/hour). The latest presents this graph:

And recall how often we compare our economic indicators to Oz?

GDP phw NZ vs Aus June 17

In layman's terms we are poorer as a nation. The relevance of this to the Maori economy - always pitched as a way to grow the NZ economic pie - is that there is no extra paua's or pipi's for social programmes.

Hard rain's gonna fall.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Maori Economy on Waitangi Day

Image result for mARIA BARGH BOOK

The Maori Economy discourse continues its momentum - ie the Common Knowledge on Maori economic functioning expands - yet the fragility of Maori communities remains.

Here's a good article on the diverse components of this economy, and respect to Dr. Maria Bargh on highlighting such 'under-the-radar' contributions to the PMS (Private Military Security).

But this $42b sector amounts to just over 6% of the NZ economy and as the new PM sez, the government has reached the limits of what is can (by what he means will) do for Maori. So we gotta pay our way.

User pays remember.

Downhill I'm afraid...

But there is one area where we can get an empirical understanding: "And there are stats to show that Maori business people are innovators. The rate of innovation in small to medium Maori businesses, with 100 or fewer employees, was 63%, Statistics New Zealand figures show. That is considerably higher than the 'whole' of New Zealand business rate of 49%."

'Innovation', like 'sustainability' and 'resilience' are things you just have to say you are, regardless of the definition or auditing.

An innovation is a new idea, object or activity. It can also be a rediscovered idea, object or activity (and in this conceptualisation, Indigenous Peoples can really bring some change!).

But I rarely, if ever, see commentators discuss empirical innovations.

Hybrid corn varieties were one of the classic case studies, and one Maori can identify with (Zvi Griliches work was among the seminal publications). We - as in NZers - have come up with some seriously valuable innovations in agribusiness.

But we now import considerable inputs to our main sector (Palm Kernel Extract for example). We are, if anything, late adopters of best practice agriculture. Our 'clean, green image' is now completely trashed internally and subject to dispute externally. Our increasing inequality is yet another symptom of a dysfunctional society.

Image result for social inequality in nz

And through all of this, the Maori Economy is to not just maintain our communities but improve their situation?!

Ain't gonna happen without significant transfer of wealth from individuals with wealth to those without. Which political parties promise that?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Maori Economy 2017: Not my economy...

Anand Menon was in Newcastle speaking before the Brexit referendum. 'Invoking the gods of economics', Professor Menon argued the UK’s GDP was likely to plunge if Britain left the EU. A Geordie woman yelled out: “That’s your bloody GDP. Not ours.”'

Out of the mouths of hecklers, ay.

And therein lies the rub.
So what Maori economy?

Recall its inception by BERL (at the behest of the Minister of Maori Development). The initial model toted it up as:

• Trusts and incorporations of $4.0 billion
• Other Maori entities of $6.7 billion
• Businesses of self-employed Maori of $5.4 billion
• Businesses of Maori employers of $20.8 billion

I'd suggest few Maori are actually 'beneficiaries' (a loaded term) of this economy, and many who are, aren't picking up much of a cheque.

Fast-forward to 2017. Yes an election year, so expect lots of soundbites (including a rich white man calling a not-so-rich Maori man an Uncle Tom). The key comment for me came from the new Prime Minister, Bill English:

"[W]e have reached the limits of what government can do."

This is contrary to what Professor Jonathon Boston stated on Radio NZ (interview link here). Boston discusses evidence on the growth of poverty and the loss of opportunity for many New Zealanders through explicit government policies (from the left and the right although the mainstream left in NZ are hardly supportive of labour)

So if the government won't do more (I actually think they will, simply to maintain appearances), where are the resources to come from? I think it's quite clear that the expectation of government and many Maori leaders (iwi and business), is that Maori are to be supported by this Maori economy.

One might expect Maori to start heckling speakers such as Bill English. But not just Wee Will Pom (let's not forget his double-dipping over Parliamentary accommodation monies). Maori leaders should also be heckled over their economic naivety (ok, tikanga may prevent or at least censure traditional European heckling. And as an academic i must abide my many ancient rules that frame debates).

This Maori Economy is not the economy of many Maori at all, at all...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Expertsure link...

A while ago (sheez, 7 years!) I posted on Indigenous Peoples and Mining, specifically in response to Schedule 4 land in Aotearoa.

One of the links, to Bolivian lithium reserves, went to a site that has recently shifted domains. So, in the interests maintaining the information exchange, the new site can be viewed at...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Data ethics: The Signal Code

Hot of the press, The Signal Code articulates five human rights to information during crisis:

1. The Right to Information
2. The Right to Protection from Harm
3. The Right to Data Security and Privacy
4. The Right to Data Agency
5. The Right to Redress and Rectification

I was lucky enough to be one of the reviewers of this important publication and feel privileged to have met some of the instigators.

In this digitally connected world where data is generated by setting your alarm clock and sending some 'xxx' to your children, the need for a transparent ethical approach to data management in a humanitarian crisis might seem too messy.

What is argued here is that framing all our work in this space with a 'rights based approach' ensures an ethical commitment from the outset.

Simon Lambert

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