Monday, September 10, 2012

Mozzie economy tracking down?

The Maori economy can only be the totality of economic activity undertaken by Maori. Simple though somewhat larger than the BERL-framed 37 billion-dollar-baby. Of course, we have to accept we can never draw a line around it, not least because any line we do draw would have to take in 130,000 cousins in the West Island (Australia for those not in on the geography joke).

With median Maori weekly incomes are down $40/week over the past year - thus shouldering the economic recession - Australia remains an obvious opition with 21 consecutive years of economic growth. Truly exceptional and probably not matched by any other similar economy.

But we now have news that the Australian mining sector has contracted for the first time since the Wallabies drank from the Bledisloe CUp (okay, I havne't checked that. I just needed a really really long time period). While Western Australia still managed to add 51,000 full-time jobs, the rest of Australia has lost 13,000. A bit of growth in New South Wales (11,000), Queensland (5000) and the territories, but over (I think the past year) Victoria has lost 21,500 full-time jobs, South Australia 19,000 (one job in 30) and Tasmania 6700 (one job in 23).

Ozzie youth unemployment - a key indicator for me - is 23.5%.

But for Maori any slow down increases our vulnerability, first because NZ is highly reliant on a bouyant OZ economy.
Second, because (as Maori show) Australia remains something of an extension to Aotearoa, a landfall of security and growth. While we'll still pick up work there, the squeeze is on and we're just one of many migrant groups in the queue (and for most it can't be the dole queue, a luxury for citizens only).

It was not that long ago when PM Key assured us all that NZ would be fine as we had the busy and hungry Australian and Chinese economies to pull us along. It was a hollow call then, and a poor result now.

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Simon Lambert

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