Spending ‘in real per capita terms’

That chart on it’s own doesn’t say much apart from ‘Boo National’.

If a growing proportion of people are in work rather than on welfare then the per capita spend on welfare will naturally go down.

Far more pertinent would be the per capita spend of people on welfare, not on the overall population.

The Spinoff article: Analysis: contrasting the spending of Key’s National and Clark’s Labour governments

I haven’t got time to read through that and digest it now.


  1. PDB

     /  July 6, 2017

    Nonsense article – for a start more spending doesn’t always equate with better outcomes.

    • Dont talk logically PDB….. it upsets people. Spending more money by taxing “rich pricks” is how you show you “care” about things….

      • Mefrostate

         /  July 6, 2017

        You both make good points. National should stop whitewashing their poor outcomes by bragging about changes in aggregate spending.

        • Oh Mefro, it must be hard being so right but no one listening….. and I am confused by what you mean by aggregate spending? Please expand on your comment and let me understand your point …

          • Mefrostate

             /  July 6, 2017

            “How can you talk of underfunding when we are spending (insert some nominal aggregate sum projected over the next four years)?” <- this is an excellent way to cover up declining per-capita spend, or poor outcomes, or both.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 6, 2017

    The bar chart doesn’t summarise Fallow’s article at all. It misrepresents it entirely by cherry-picking it.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  July 6, 2017

      You are right Al, the article was quite nuanced and put context around the changes in spending, whereas the graph is a blunt and misleading instrument.

      Welfare spending is down because beneficiary numbers are well down.

      There had been significant issues with education spending in the wrong areas. It would be interesting to see how the education budget breaks down in core education areas vs flax weaving night classes.

      Also, Cullen was a profligate spender & it was essential to reign this in when National took power.

      This Government has been very upfront about it’s desire for outcome based policy and spending rather than just throwing funds at a problem. None of this is captured in the graph.

  3. Andrew

     /  July 6, 2017

    Considering Labour increased spending by 10% a year in their last 5 years in office, it’s not surprising that the unsustainable spending has gone down. Another thing to consider is that we now have positive net migration rather than negative under the last govt, so once again, spending per capita cannot help but increase when people are running for the door and heading to Australia.