Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

The Surprising Truth

The Surprising Truth

New Zealand is more ethnically diverse, tolerant and unequal than ever before. Eight-seven per cent of us now live in cities, the regions are declining… and almost nothing is as it seems.

In the second of six special reports on the state of the nation celebrating 25 years of publication, New Zealand Geographic documents startling social change in Aotearoa. Despite being the last land mass to be inhabited, we are now one of the most ethnically diverse with 213 ethnic groups calling New Zealand home. And despite priding ourselves on our egalitarian society, the gap between rich and poor is growing faster here than almost any other OECD country.

“Understanding the implications of change is critical for the way we plan our society,” says editor James Frankham. “Our cities are growing fast, our population is getting older and more ethnically diverse. In the seven years between the last two censuses, more than half of our population growth occurred in Auckland. How do we accommodate this growth and the changes in how we live? And how do we ensure that declining regions maintain their provision of services?”

The New Us, a 34-page mega-feature in New Zealand Geographic, investigates the surprising changes in the structure of our society, and some of the issues those changes will present over the next 25 years.

In the mid 20th century, researchers considered the terms ‘household’ and ‘family’ to mean the same thing. Not any more. Fifty years ago, only one in ten households contained a person living alone. Today, it is one in four.

“This is a major sociological shift,” says Waikato University social researcher Mervyl McPherson. “It has an impact right across our society. It’s fundamental to how we plan our society. Single-person households once were transitory. Now they’re a lifestyle choice.”

But the single person household is only the beginning. The proportion of households containing couples with children has halved. We’re getting increasingly diverse in the way we live, and increasingly unequal. The top ten per cent of the population controls more than half of the nation’s wealth. The poorest half of the population have just five per cent.

“The egalitarian society of our imagination is eroding rapidly,” says Frankham. “And the great kiwi dream of a house and a happy family has also changed beyond recognition. We are more diverse and perhaps more interesting as a society than most of us would have suspected.”

“Adversity was the shared experience of any settler to this archipelago, whether Maori, Pakeha or recent migrant,” Greg Bruce writes in the feature. “Crossing large distances, often at great risk, giving up a life elsewhere for a new land and an unknown culture; it takes strength of character. Though we’re diverse and changing rapidly, this resilient spirit might be the one characteristic that binds all New Zealanders—a valuable quality for an uncertain future.”

Future issues in the magazine’s 25th year will focus on land and food, ice and climate, forests and conservation, seas and sustainability—the concerns that the nation will grapple with over the next quarter century. The March/April 2014 issue goes on sale nationwide today.

SIDEBAR: THE SURPRISING TRUTH

• 213 ethnic groups now live in New Zealand. One in eight New Zealanders is Asian, nearly a quarter of Aucklanders are Asian.

• One in four households now contains someone living alone (50 years ago it was one in 10). It’s estimated by 2033, there will be more people living alone than with someone else.

• Any city made up of more than 25 per cent ethnic migrants is known as ‘superdiverse’. Now at 40 per cent, Auckland is more diverse than Sydney, London or Los Angeles. The only city in the OECD with a higher proportion is Toronto.

• Auckland is now home to 13 times more people than at the beginning of the 1990s.

• The man-drought exists—there’s currently 91 men to every 100 women in the 25-49 age bracket. The discrepancy is more pronounced for highly educated men.

• As the baby boomers grow older, the structure of New Zealand’s population is growing top-heavy. However, the implications vary radically among ethnic groups—Maori and Pacific Island communities will have much larger working-age populations to support their aged than will their European or Asian counterparts. More than half of Maori will be under 30 in 2026.

Ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Bid

Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic nomination is taking on an air of inevitability, and that likelihood has been met with elation by some people, and feelings of dread in others. Is the Vermont senator the party’s best hope of motivating and leading an inspirational movement to defeat Donald Trump in November, or would he be the easiest opponent of them all for Trump to stigmatise, isolate and defeat? Is Bernie Sanders a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform America, or a once- in-a -generation calamity who is likely to entrench in power the worst President in American history? No pressure, people. More>>

First Published on Werewolf here


 

NZ Government: 18,400 Children Lifted Out Of Poverty

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed new reporting showing the Coalition Government is on track to meet its child poverty targets, with 18,400 children lifted out of poverty as a result of the Families Package... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Our Unreal Optimism About The Economic Impact Of Coronavirus

At this week’s Chinese New Year celebrations, PM Jacinda Ardern was resolutely upbeat that business with China would soon bounce back to normal – better than ever, even - once the coronavirus epidemic has been brought under control. To Ardern, ... More>>

ALSO:

Vaping: Government To Regulate Products

No sales to under-18-year-olds No advertising and sponsorship of vaping products and e-cigarettes No vaping or smokeless tobacco in smokefree areas Regulates vaping product safety comprehensively, - including devices, flavours and ingredients Ensure ... More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On The Political Donations Scandals
Even paranoids have real enemies. While there has been something delusionary about the way New Zealand First has been living in denial about its donations scandal, one can sympathise with its indignation about Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges being among its chief accusers. More>>

ALSO:

UN Expert: NZ Housing Crisis Requires Bold Human Rights Response

This is a press statement from UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing at the end of her 10-day visit to New Zealand. The Government of New Zealand has recognized that the country is facing a housing crisis, said Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels