poverty

The Prime Minister told the UN that she aimed for New Zealand ‘to be the best place in the world to be a child’. Once we said it was.

 I do not know whether we were once the best country in the world for children. Certainly when I grew up in the 1950s we thought we were – even if there were no systematic comparisons. We returned from our OE in 1970 with that belief.

Treasury made a  egregious error in its calculation of the impact of Labour’s tax package on poverty. Can we learn from it?

I told my econometrics students I would not penalise them for a minor calculation error in any of the statistical problems I gave them, but would halve the marks if their conclusion was obviously absurd. I had already explained to them Moser’s Law: that if a statistic looked interesting it was probably wrong (i.e. the result of an entry or computational mistake).

No, but we need to address poverty. Focusing on poverty targets which are not to be achieved in the time of the government which sets them is wasting energy and opportunity. 

Despite being frequently ignored, Gilling’s Law is one of the most powerful social laws I know. Formulated by Don Gilling, a retired professor of accounting and finance, it states that the way you score the game shapes the way the game is played. A simple illustration is that when they increased the points for a try, rugby games became more attacking in order to score more tries.

Last week’s report on wellbeing and the household income distribution told us some new things. Are we listening?

Sadly, the latest MSD report The Material Wellbeing of NZ Households, by Bryan Perry, released last week, passed by quickly. It said, broadly, that there is no obviously significant shift in the level of inequality in recent years.

A journalist’s list of the ten most important issues politically facing us did not mention inequality and poverty. Why?

A month ago Fairfax political journalist Tracey Watkins listed the following ten areas to watch out for in the political year:

Spies (especially the review and resulting legislation)