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Dr Richard Worth - Counting heads

8 December 2006 - No. 96

Counting heads – the result revealed

On Wednesday Statistics New Zealand released the 2006 Census results. 

Census data has a history stretching back to China during the Han Dynasty.  A census in 2AD, considered by scholars to be accurate, recorded that there were 57.5 million living in Han China. 

The Domesday Book census undertaken in 1086 by William the Conqueror sought to find out what or how much each landholder had in land and livestock to enable the taxbase to be established.

Results from the 2006 Census show that New Zealand's usually resident population grew faster between 2001 and 2006 than in any five-year period between censuses in the last 30 years. In the five years to 2006, the population increased by 7.8 percent (to reach 4,027,947), compared with 3.3 percent between 1996 and 2001.

All regional council areas showed population growth or had steady populations between 2001 and 2006, except for Southland which had a marginal decline. This contrasts with the previous five years (1996–2001) when six regional council areas showed population decline. The biggest increases between 2001 and 2006 were in the Auckland (up 12.4 percent) and Canterbury (up 8.4 percent) regions.

New Zealand's private occupied dwelling count also increased, from 1,359,843 in March 2001 to 1,471,746 in March 2006. Two-thirds of private occupied dwellings were either owned by the household (54.5 percent) or held in a family trust (12.3 percent). The remaining third (33.1 percent) were not owned by the household. In 2001, 32.2 percent of private occupied dwellings were not owned by the household.

Significant changes in New Zealand's ethnic make-up included growth for Māori (up 7.4 percent since 2001 to reach 565,329) and Pacific peoples (up 14.7 percent since 2001 to reach 265,974). The Asian ethnic group had the biggest growth since 2001, up 48.9 percent to reach 354,552. The Asian ethnic group now represents 9.2 percent of those who stated their ethnicity.

'New Zealander' is published as a separate category for the first time in 2006, after previously being counted in the European category. This ethnic group totalled 429,429 (11.1 percent) in 2006. European remains the largest of the major ethnic groups, totalling 2,609,592 (67.6 percent) in 2006.

Other interesting trends include Internet and cellphone availability. Internet availability in households nearly doubled between 2001 and 2006 – from 37.4 percent to 60.5 percent. The 2006 Census was the first to ask about the availability of cellphones in households – 74.2 percent of households had access to cellphones.

The Lord gave and the Lord hath taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord - So said the writer of the Book of Job – (1:21) 
In the Caucus reshuffle of responsibilities last Friday I relinquish justice for economic development. 

One look at the Ministry of Economic Development website shows the width of the portfolio responsibility:

Business services
Regulatory and competition policy
Resources and networks
Organisational development and support
Consumer affairs
Industry and regional development
The Government’s much proclaimed policy of “economic transformation” has stalled. And fresh initiatives are needed to kick-start what is clearly a desirable goal which has lost direction.

Private Consulting and Public Interest
In the 1998-9 financial year private consultants earned a staggering $177 million from their public sector business.  By 2001 the figure had fallen to just under $100 million with the then new Labour Government aiming to rebuild public sector capacity and reduce the use of private consultants.

However since 2001 private consultants fees have continued to climb, to $133m in 2004-5, and so too has the size of the state sector.

Recent parliamentary reports suggest that the State's appetite for private consulting services has returned alongside its desire for public sector employment. This suggests that the policy objective of building public capacity and reducing reliance on private consultants is either flawed or lacks a crucial mechanism that might improve the flow of knowledge and skills between client and provider.

Political Quote of the Week
"A good government is one which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labour the bread that it has earned. - Thomas Jefferson - 3rd US President (1743-1826) - inaugural address

Dr Richard Worth
National Party MP




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