Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Moving to Oz? (VI)

Or, unemployment, wages, migration, NZ and Oz.

The blogosphere is a funny thing. You find all sorts of stuff: the good, the bad and the ugly. And this applies to both, the bloggers themselves, and those souls, sometimes kind, sometimes not so much, commenting their posts.

Peter Martin is a lucky blogger: often his comment threads are fairly good. This one I'm commenting today is not good, it's excellent, thanks to both the commentators and Martin himself.

Martin's post starts by remarking that 54K Kiwis moved to Australia in the year to July, which is a "dramatic increase from the same period a year before". (See here)

Why are Kiwis moving to Oz? According to Martin's information, because unemployment in NZ is higher than in Oz (6.8% vs. 5.2%) and wages in NZ "are around 20% lower than Australia's when measured in terms of purchasing power."

In short:
" 'These are economic refugees,' New Zealand Council of Trade Unions secretary Peter Conway told The Age."
This might be only me, but the difference in unemployment rates doesn't seem excessive; the difference in wages, if true, should be much more meaningful.

Regardless. This is where the following exchange between some users and Martin adds a lot of value to the original post:
Anonymous said to Martin: "So we are getting economic refugees from New Zealand. I thought New Zealand was showing us the way with policies like cutting government spending during an economic slowdown, something applauded by the economic dilettantes in the Coalition." 
To which Martin replies: "Certainly being applauded by the leader of the Coalition: " 'Let's be more like New Zealand' - Abbott"

Marek (another user): "I imagine that NZ's unemployment numbers would look worse if it wasn't for the mass exodus".

Martin: "In the same way as United States employment numbers would look worse if it weren't for prisons. That's a line actually doing the rounds in NZ".

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One could interpret that NZ, which the Coalition sees as model for Australia, could be exporting their unemployed to the other side of the Tasman.

Mind you, I have nothing against Kiwis. But wherever they come from, migrants will need jobs once they arrive in Australia.

And this is where the problem lies. According to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations' latest release (August 2012):
"The Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) decreased by 3.1% in July 2012 in trend terms. Over the year, the IVI has fallen by 15.6% and is now 48.0% below the March 2008 peak. The IVI fell over the year in all states and territories, with the smallest decline being recorded for Western Australia (down by 4.3%) followed by Queensland (13.4%).  The largest decline was in Tasmania (down by 23.3%)." (See here)
And that under a nominally pro-worker Labor government! Just wait until the next Coalition government decides to follow New Zealand's example and stimulate job creation by cutting government spending (including sacking public servants), throwing the unemployed into the garbage bin, and cutting taxes to the rich.

After that, we should expect our wages to go gangbusters and increase, I suppose.

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