Thursday, November 04, 2010

Social Report 2010

The 2010 Social Report was quietly released on Tuesday. Unlike previous years reports, this one is a web-only publication. And where last year's one warranted a press release, this one came out without even a whisper. Its almost as if the government is embarrassed about publishing this data.

And well it should be. The report clearly shows the increase in unemployment and drop in market income per person which has resulted from National's failure to mitigate the recession. The more recent figures, which be in next year's report, wil be even worse. Meanwhile, lagging indicators such as income inequality clearly show that Labour's policies in this area were slowly working - income inequality continued to decline (after increasing last year), and was at its lowest point since 1994 (!). National's tax-cuts, which will show up in two years' time, will probably put paid to that trend.

Air and water quality measures have been removed from the report, most likely to hide the bad news resulting from National's relaxing them. But there is an interesting new addition of a "life satisfaction" metric, from the New Zealand General Social Survey. Its a good addition, and it will allow us to see how changes in other social measures affect happiness.

The full report can be downloaded here [PDF].