Census 2018 – national highlights

Census 2018 data has been released. The process has been a problem, with a quality assessment finding the majority of key data was either very high, high, or moderate quality, but some data is poor or very poor


Key facts

New Zealand’s 34th Census of Population and Dwellings was held on 6 March 2018. We combined data from the census forms with administrative data to create the 2018 Census dataset, which meets Stats NZ’s quality criteria for population structure information.

The census night population count of New Zealand is a count of all people present in New Zealand on a given census night. The census usually resident population count of New Zealand is a count of all people who usually live in and were present in New Zealand on census night. It excludes overseas visitors and New Zealand residents who are temporarily overseas. The following population information is based on the census usually resident population.

Results of the 2018 Census showed:

  • The Māori ethnic group comprised 16.5 percent of the census usually resident population.
  • New Zealand was the most common birthplace, at 72.6 percent. This was followed by England (4.5 percent), the People’s Republic of China (2.9 percent), and India (2.5 percent).
  • The most common languages spoken were English (95.4 percent), te reo Māori (4.0 percent), and Samoan (2.2 percent).
  • More than 9 in 10 households (91.9 percent) in occupied private dwellings had access to a cell or mobile phone, a higher proportion than those with access to the internet at 86.1 percent.

Ethnicity

The percentage of the population who identified themselves as belonging to the Māori ethnic group was 16.5 percent.

There was no change in the top five ethnicities between the 2013 and 2018 Censuses: New Zealand European (64.1 percent), Māori (16.5 percent), Chinese not further defined (nfd) (4.9 percent), Indian nfd (4.7 percent), and Samoan (3.9 percent).

The 2018 Census totals by topic – national highlights tables have national counts of ethnicities at the most detailed level of the ethnicity classification. However, 2018 Census population and dwelling counts has broad groupings of ethnicities (that is, European, Māori, Pacific, Asian, MELAA (Middle Eastern, Latin American, and African), and Other ethnic groups) at various levels of geography.

Birthplace

Of the census usually resident population, 72.6 percent were born in New Zealand. This compares with 74.8 percent in the 2013 Census.

The next most common birthplace was England at 4.5 percent, down from 5.4 percent in 2013.

This was followed by the People’s Republic of China (2.9 percent or 132,906 people) and India (2.5 percent or 117,348 people), both up from 2.2 and 1.7 percent respectively (or 89,121 and 67,176 people) in the 2013 Census.

Languages spoken

Of the top five languages, both te reo Māori and Northern Chinese (including Mandarin) speakers increased slightly since the 2013 Census, from 3.7 to 4.0 percent, and from 1.3 to 2.0 percent respectively.

English was the most common language with which people could hold a conversation about everyday things, with 4,482,135 speakers (95.4 percent of the population).

The next most common languages were:

  • te reo Māori (185,955 people or 4.0 percent)
  • Samoan (101,937 people or 2.2 percent)
  • Northern Chinese (including Mandarin) (95,253 people or 2.0 percent)
  • Hindi (69,471 people or 1.5 percent).

New Zealand Sign Language was used by 22,986 people (or 0.5 percent). In 2013, this was 20,235 people (or 0.5 percent).

Education and training

One in four New Zealanders (24.5 percent) participated in full- or part-time study. Of these, 87.0 percent participated in full-time study.

Of the population, 18.2 percent of adults reported no qualification for their highest qualification, down from 20.9 percent in 2013.

The proportion of adults who had a bachelor’s degree or level 7 qualification for their highest qualification was 14.6 percent, while 5.9 percent had an overseas secondary school qualification.

Housing

The proportion of households in occupied private dwellings who owned or partly owned their homes, and made mortgage payments, was 27.8 percent. An additional 18.8 percent owned or partly owned their homes and did not make mortgage payments.

Of households whose dwelling was not owned or held in a family trust, 31.9 percent made rent payments, while a further 3.4 percent lived in a dwelling rent-free.

Of the households who paid rent, 83.5 percent rented from a private person, trust, or business, and 0.3 percent of households who paid rent rented from an iwi, hapū, or Māori land trust.

Heat pumps were the most common form of heating used in New Zealand homes (47.3 percent), followed by electric heaters (44.1 percent), and wood burners (32.3 percent).

Most households in occupied private dwellings had access to a cell or mobile phone (91.9 percent), and 86.1 percent had access to the internet.

2018 Census totals by topic – national highlights

Microsoft Excel Open XML Spreadsheet, 621 KB

Stats NZ: https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/2018-census-totals-by-topic-national-highlights

Census 2018 – religious affiliation diversity

The 2018 census data on religion shows a very diverse range of beliefs across about half the population, with the other half of those prepared to state a religion saying ‘No religion’ :

  • No religion 47.8%
  • Christianity (many variants) 36.7%
  • Hinduism 2.6%
  • Maori religion 1.3%
  • Islam 1.3%
  • Buddhism 1.1%
  • New Age etc 0.4%
  • Judaism 0.1%
  • Other 1.9%
  • Object to stating 6.6%

Image

Chart source: Nick Thompson @sutfor

Religious affiliation Census usually resident population count
No Religion 2,264,601
ACTS Churches 5,460
Adventist nec 54
Adventist nfd 378
Agnosticism 6,516
Ahmadiyya Muslim 369
Anglican 314,913
Animist 273
Arise Church 1,641
Arya Samaj 36
Assemblies of God 14,883
Associated Churches of Christ 1,176
Assyrian Orthodox 327
Atheism 7,068
Baha’i 2,925
Baptist nec 12
Baptist nfd 35,967
Bible Baptist 846
Born Again 33,486
Brethren nec 147
Brethren nfd 1,551
Buddhism nec 51
Buddhism nfd 44,355
Cao Dai 6
Catholicism nec 1,086
Catholicism nfd 173,016
Chaldean Catholic 534
Chinese Christian 6,660
Chinese Presbyterian 327
Chinese Religions nec 18
Chinese Religions nfd 276
Christadelphian 1,758
Christian and Missionary Alliance 2,094
Christian Fellowship 18,042
Christian nec 642
Christian nfd 307,926
Christian Outreach 1,554
Christian Revival Crusade 576
Christian Science 639
Church of Christ nfd 1,302
Church of God 1,458
Church of Scientology 321
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster 4,248
City Impact Church 441
Commonwealth Covenant Church 3
Confucianism 99
Congregational 3,513
Conservative Judaism 327
Cook Island Congregational 1,698
Coptic Orthodox 546
Deism 150
Destiny Church 1,722
Druid 189
Ecumenical 69
Elim 3,018
Equippers Church 705
Evangelical 4,554
Falun Gong 105
Full Gospel 1,017
Fundamentalist 87
Greek Orthodox 3,162
Hare Krishna 645
Hinduism nec 882
Hinduism nfd 121,644
Humanism 663
Independent Baptist 1,218
Independent Evangelical Churches 750
Independent Pentecostal 954
Islam nec 36
Islam nfd 57,276
Jainism 612
Japanese Religion nec 18
Japanese Religion nfd 33
Jedi 20,409
Jehovah’s Witnesses 20,061
Jesus Follower 1,575
Judaism nfd 3,348
Korean Christian 3,543
Korean Presbyterian 2,820
Latter-day Saints 54,123
Liberal Catholic 2,115
Libertarianism 9
Lutheran 3,585
Mahayana Buddhism 1,026
Mahikari 138
Maoism 6
Māori Religions, Beliefs and Philosophies nec 1,584
Māori Religions, Beliefs and Philosophies nfd 3,699
Maronite Catholic 96
Marxism 12
Melkite Catholic 33
Methodist nec 3,657
Methodist nfd 52,734
Metropolitan Community Church 63
Nature and Earth Based Religions nec 648
Nature and Earth Based Religions nfd 807
Nazarene 564
New Age nfd 363
New Life 3,132
Nichiren Buddhism 768
Open Brethren 5,640
Orthodox Judaism 792
Orthodox nec 1,440
Orthodox nfd 4,503
Other Church of Christ and Churches of Christ nec 780
Other New Age Religions nec 1,311
Other Religions, Beliefs and Philosophies nec 297
Other Religions, Beliefs and Philosophies nfd 1,434
Pagan 2,730
Paimarire 1,194
Pantheist 453
Pentecostal nec 1,911
Pentecostal nfd 22,296
Plymouth or Exclusive Brethren 6,822
Presbyterian 221,199
Protestant nfd 8,544
Rastafarianism 1,707
Ratana 43,821
Rationalism 9
Reformed 5,418
Reformed Baptist 987
Reformed Judaism 807
Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) 954
Revival Centres 180
Ringatū 12,336
Roman Catholic 295,743
Russian Orthodox 2,952
Salvation Army 7,929
Samoan Congregational 7,932
Satanism 1,149
Serbian Orthodox 936
Seventh Day Adventist 17,799
Shi’a 651
Shinto 387
Sikhism 40,908
Socialism 15
Spiritualist 8,262
Sufi 162
Sunni 2,961
Syro-Malabar Catholic 483
Taoism 1,098
Tenrikyo 12
Theism 2,607
Theravada Buddhism 4,851
Tongan Methodist 11,169
Ukrainian Catholic 39
Unification Church (Moonist) 93
Unitarian 354
United Pentecostal 690
Uniting/Union Church 3,624
Vajrayana Buddhism 327
Vineyard Christian Fellowship 3,399
Wesleyan Methodist 4,623
Wiccan 1,482
Worldwide Church of God 279
Yoga 327
Zen Buddhism 1,401
Zoroastrian 1,068
Object to answering 312,795
Total people stated 4,699,755

nfd=not further defined

Stats NZ
https://www.stats.govt.nz/information-releases/2018-census-totals-by-topic-national-highlights

Census failures and political accusations

The 2018 census has been a bit of a disaster, with the first use of extensive online responses, and a large reduction on the number of people who took part. This had led to significant delays in releasing what data they have gathered as Stats NZ has been doing what they can to fill the gaps in data.

The problems may impact on things like health funding, education planning and electoral boundary fixing.

And political accusations are flying, with National blaming the Minister of Statistics James Shaw, and Shaw and PM Jacinda Ardern blaming the last National government for underfunding the budget.

But this has been questioned – the 2013 census budget was $72 million, while the 2018 census budget was $117 million.

Planning for the census started while National were still in Government, but the actual census was done after Labour-Greens-NZ First took over.

RNZ – Census 2018: Stats NZ sets September release for ‘robust’ data

Stats NZ says it has plugged enough of the gaps in last year’s census to be able to start releasing data from September, but some data – including iwi statistics – are too incomplete to be regarded as official statistics.

Using a methodology that combines 89 percent of real census data and 11 percent of other government administrative data, Stats NZ said it now had records for 4.7 million people in the dataset.

In a statement, government statistician Liz MacPherson said the data now met the quality criteria for population structure information, meaning it could be used for planning, population-based funding for DHBs, and electorate boundaries.

“This means Stats NZ will use 2018 Census data to update the official population estimates and projections that many organisations use for their planning,” Ms MacPherson said.

Earlier this month, Ms MacPherson admitted that nearly one in seven people did not complete the census. The low response rate has delayed the data release twice.

“The release of data has been delayed twice because of the complex and careful work required to lift the quality of the census dataset,” Ms MacPherson said.

She said she wanted to make it clear this dataset was reliable, robust, and based on maths, not guesswork.

While government records helped to fill in gaps, Stats NZ said it could not be used for all the census topics and as a result some data might not be released as official statistics.

Newsroom:  Māori miss out in Census 2018

Data relating to iwi affiliation, for example, will not be available for the 2018 Census.

A lack of iwi affiliation data could have an impact on Treaty settlements.

A Te Arawhiti spokesperson told Newsroom it used iwi affiliation to build understanding of the groups it was negotiating with and to create regional profiles and help the public sector with iwi information.

The data was also a “secondary” factor the Crown considered when developing its Treaty settlement offers.

The spokesperson said Te Arawhiti would work with Statistics NZ and iwi to gather the best usable data from 2018.

Data on Māori ethnicity had been collected accurately, and would be able to be used – just not at the level of iwi.

The Government has announced extra funding, and has slammed the last Government for cutting funding.

James Shaw:  Stats Minister confirms funding for Census fix

Extra funding has been confirmed in this year’s Budget to fix issues arising from the 2018 Census and to ensure the next one is the best it can be, the Minister of Statistics announced today.

“Stats NZ has now confirmed it will provide reliable, quality 2018 census data to calculate how many electorates will be needed for next year’s General Election and to revise electorate boundaries where necessary,” James Shaw said.

“It had to delay other work and re-allocate funds to do it.  As a result there’s a shortfall of $5.76 million needed to complete the delayed work, and that’s being covered in this year’s Budget,” James Shaw said.

“There’s also Budget approval this year of $10.36 million to enable Stats NZ to get ahead of the next census. The money will develop the business case for the 2023 Census and start development work on it.

“The previous National-led Government decided to shift the Census to a mostly online survey and, at the same time, directed Stats NZ to cut costs over two census cycles,” Mr Shaw said.

Moving to a mostly online survey has been contentious. It appears that not enough effort was put into making it easy for people to still do it offline.

But the cost cutting accusations have been challenged.

The way data was collated was changing, and that rate of change is being accelerated.

Newsroom:  Annual census could replace five-year form-filling

The five-yearly national census could become an annual affair as the official statistics agency uses more of the data constantly collected by government agencies rather than rely on declining response rates from individual citizens.

The agency had been testing and refining models for use of administrative data for seven years already. It had intended to use an increasing amount of such data from the 2023 census onwards and instead accelerated its modelling processes to create a statistically robust 2018 census result, McPherson said.

Some 1.2 percent fewer people participated in the census than anticipated. Data gaps left by people not completely filling in their forms meant partial information equivalent to around 500,000 citizens was drawn from administrative data sources rather than census forms filled in on census night, March 6 last year.

“The team at Stats NZ has risen to the challenge and delivered a new way of confidently combining the strengths of census and administrative records to create the 2018 census dataset.

“There are now records for approximately 4.7 million people in the census dataset. The number of records is 1.2 percent, or 58,000 people, less than our best estimate of the population on Census Day 6 March 2018. In 2013, the official census undercount was 2.4 percent, or 103,800 people.

McPherson said the 2018 data was robust enough to allow the re-setting of electoral boundaries for the 2020 election and the population funding models used by public hospitals to determine their budgets, contrary to speculation from critics of the census process.

Change was inevitable. The transition seems to have been stuffed up.

 

2018 citizenship numbers

The top ten nationalities who got New Zealand citizenship last year:

  • United Kingdom including England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – 5471
  • India – 4845
  • Samoa including Western Samoa – 3185
  • Philippines – 3079
  • South Africa  – 2691
  • Fiji – 2542
  • China including Hong Kong, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Macau and Macao – 1175
  • Tonga – 848
  • Australia – 767
  • United States – 756

Totals:

  • 2017 – 36,450
  • 2018 – 35,737

A small drop.

From ODT who also show for  Dunedin a slight Drop in citizenship numbers but still well up on previous years:

Nationalities becoming citizens in Dunedin in 2018:

  • United Kingdom – 145
  • India – 52
  • Philippines – 43
  • South Africa – 42
  • United States – 28
  • China – 23
  • Australia – 23
  • Sri Lanka – 17
  • Thailand – 15
  • Tonga – 12
  • Other – 153

While featuring in the top ten for New Zealand, Samoans and Fijians are presumably in Other.

New Zealand is the fifth most ethnically diverse country in the OECD, with 25% of the population being born overseas. And the above spread of ethnicities indicate to an extent the spread of ethnicities.

 

Water pollution a major public concern – Fish & Game poll

According to a poll done for NZ Fish & Game by Colmar Brunton, water quality is a major concern.

Fish & Game:  Water pollution is now New Zealanders’ Number One Concern

The findings are revealed in a nation-wide Colmar Brunton poll conducted for Fish & Game New Zealand in December.

People were asked how concerned they were about a range of issues, including the cost of living, health system, child poverty and water pollution.

I don’t think the poll proves water pollution is the ‘number one concern’. The poll just asked about seven issues and didn’t leave it open for people to nominate issues of concern.

Question: To what extent are you concerned , or not concerned, about the following issues in New Zealand:

The poll was conducted for Fish & Game New Zealand by Colmar Brunton from 5-12 December 2018.  A thousand New Zealanders were surveyed and the results are nationally representative for age, gender and region.  It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

Water pollution rates as a major concern (of the issues offered), but is within the margin of error of the cost of living and the health system.

And as presented in the poll options it is more specific than all the other issues.

If asked what concerns you most between equal and access to life saving medical care, or for decent housing or fo\r low mortgage rates compared to cleaner lakes and rivers the results could have been different.

Interesting to see housing rated the bottom of these concerns.

Fish & Game New Zealand chief executive Martin Taylor…

…says the survey’s findings show the depth of feeling New Zealanders have about their rivers, lakes and streams.

“Kiwis are extremely worried that they are losing their ability to swim, fish and gather food from their rivers, lakes and streams”.

“People see those activities as their birth right but over the last 20 years, that right is being lost because the level of pollution in waterways has increased as farming intensifies.

Taylor says big agriculture and local government should take note of the fact that the issue is now Kiwi’s top concern.

“While many farmers do understand the need for action and are making the necessary changes to how they use their land, there are still significant numbers who are refusing to follow their example,” he says.

“These laggards are letting down the responsible farmers, undermining farming’s reputation and exhausting the public’s patience.

“They have to be made to change.  This means regional and district councils have to toughen the rules, enforce them and stop making excuses for the environmentally destructive and irresponsible farmers in their areas,” Mr Taylor says.

“More Kiwis than ever are now worried about their rivers and lakes.

“This opinion poll result shows they are fed up and want action on this issue.”

The poll doesn’t actually show that.

Fis & Game will be pleased that the poll they commissioned gave them a result that suited their own purposes, but presenting a poll alongside their own agenda, with misleading claims, is not a great way to do things.

I think that maintaining and improving fresh water quality is important, but so are many other problems.

2018 was second equal hottest year on record, ‘alarming trend’ – NIWA

NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) say that 2018 was the second warmest year on record, and four of the past six years were in the top five warmest.

RNZ:  2018 climate continues ‘alarming trend’ – NIWA

Temperatures in 2018 continued to hit record highs, with scientists calling the year a continuation of an “alarming trend”.

January was a record high, but for the year it wasn’t a record.

The year as a whole was the second-equal warmest on record, along with 1998.

The average temperature was 13.41C, not quite reaching the high set in 2016 with an average of 13.45C.

NIWA principal scientist Chris Brandolino said four of the past six years were now in the top five of warmest ever recorded, which was extremely concerning.

“[The year of] 2016 was the warmest, 2017 was the 5th warmest. This year equal-second warmest and I think 2015 was the third warmest,” Mr Brandolino said.

“So four out of the past six years we’ve finished top five and unfortunately part of a long-term and alarming trend.”

Mr Brandolino said there were 49 locations which reached record or near record temperatures around the country.

Mr Brandolino said the warm weather was due to three main components – sea surface temperatures, air flow from tropic and sub-tropic areas and an increase in greenhouse gasses.

“The increases in greenhouses that we continue to see is warming in the background,” he said.

“In other words, we are seeing a long-term tailwind of temperatures. Our changing climate is acting as a long-term tailwind for high temperatures.”

@NIWAWeather:

January 2018 was New Zealand’s warmest month on record, recording a remarkable 3.1˚C above average.

The rest of 2018:

  •   6 months saw above average temps.
  •   6 months saw near average temps.
  •   0 months saw below average temps.

♨️ 49 locations observed record or near-record high mean temperatures.

❄️ 0 locations observed record or near-record low mean temperatures.

For minimum temperatures, 2018 was the warmest on record at +0.94˚C above average in New Zealand. Research has shown that historical warming rates have been larger for overnight minimum temperatures compared with daytime maximum temperatures.

This is a bit misleading stating ‘warmest year on record’:

Thiessen: The 10 worst things Trump did in 2018

Following Marc Thiessen’s Trump successes in 2018 he has also done The 10 worst things Trump did in 2018.

… he also did a lot of bad things that ranged from cringeworthy to catastrophic. Here are the 10 worst:

10. His comment about “sh–hole” countries blew up negotiations for a deal that would have given Trump his border wall.
…his abhorrent comment undermined Democrats who were serious about cutting a deal and gave those who were not a pretext to walk away.

9. His offensive tweets continued to undermine his presidency.
Calling former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman “a dog” and Stormy Daniels “Horseface” — among countless offensive tweets — is not just unpresidential, it drives away potential supporters who like his policies but then are reminded how much they don’t like Trump.

8. His misuse of power turned critics into martyrs.

7. He drove away suburban voters and caused the GOP to lose control of the House.
That’s because the president has sought to energize his base in ways that drive those voters away.

6. His graceless handling of Sen. John McCain’s funeral was a new low.

5. His handling of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder harmed America’s moral standing.

4. His news conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was an embarrassment.

3. His policy to separate migrant children from their families at the southern border was an avoidable tragedy.

2. His planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan is a gift to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
The news came just as U.S. officials were holding talks with the Taliban whose No. 1 demand is . . . the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Hardly the “art of the deal.”

1. His pullout of all U.S. troops in Syria will take America’s boot off of the terrorists’ necks.
Trump’s claim that “we have defeated ISIS in Syria” is as bad as Obama’s dismissing them as the “J.V.” squad.

 

 

 

2018 may be warmest year on record for New Zealand

NIWA are set to release an analysis of last year’s weather records next week, but Jim Salinger has jumped the gun on them, unofficially stating the 2018 was the warmest year on record for New Zealand.

NZ Herald:  2018 NZ’s hottest year on record – climate scientist

Niwa isn’t due to release its official summary for the year until early next week, but Professor Jim Salinger has already picked it the warmest on records stretching back to 1867.

His calculations put 2018’s mean annual land surface temperatures at 13.5C – or 0.85C above the 1981-2010 average.

His figure also surpassed the scorching years of 1998 and 2016, which were 0.80C and 0.84C above normal respectively.

Niwa meteorologist Chris Brandolino said people would have to wait until next week to see the climate agency’s final numbers – but added Niwa’s preliminary figures showed 2018 tracking extremely close to 2016’s record.

So it looks like being one of the warmest years on record, if not the warmest.

The New Zealand extended temperature record, 1867 - 2018, compared with the 1981 - 2010 normal. Bars represent individual years, the orange line smoothed trends, and dotted red line the overall trend. Source / Professor Jim Salinger

Fluctuations on that temperature record are to be expected, but an apparent surge trend over the last couple of decades could be a concern.

New Zealand is just a small part of the world, but is not the only place to record a warm year – but not the warmest.

Arizona Daily Star:  Tucson’s 2018 weather year end as fourth-hottest on record

Phys Org in November:  2018 temperatures set to be among hottest on record: UN

Global temperatures in 2018 are set to be the fourth highest on record, the UN said Thursday, stressing the urgent need for action to rein in runaway warming of the planet.

In a report released ahead of the COP 24  in Poland, the World Meteorological Organization pointed out that the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, and that “2018 is on course to be the 4th  on record.”

“This would mean that the past four years – 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 – are also the four warmest years in the series,” the UN agency said in its provisional report on the state of the climate this year.

2018, fourth hottest year on record?

The “warming trend is obvious and continuing,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas told reporters in Geneva.

The report shows that the global average temperature for the first 10 months of the year was nearly 1.0-degree Celsius above the pre-industrial era (1850-1900).

So there will be ongoing pressure to try to reduce the human effect of warming, and to mitigate possible issues.

Meanwhile, we have had a couple of weeks of generally very pleasant weather here in Dunedin, with a possible high into the thirties forecast for today. However this is just weather top enjoy (if you like 30+ temperatures, I prefer mid twenties.

More on weather:  A year of wild weather: Cyclones, lightning storms, flooding and cold snaps

So what’s in store for 2019?

This summer might not be a record breaker, as a weak El Nino brings unsettled weather.

We’re unlikely to get weeks on end of hot, dry weather, NIWA principal scientist Chris Brandolino says, but there’ll be periods of settled warm weather between blocks of cooler temperatures.

“This summer, variability is going to be the theme.”

This season the Pacific Ocean is signalling El Nino weather but the atmosphere is not, which makes it a “messy” driving force of the climate, he says, compared to when the two work in tandem.

Temperatures are about or above average and rainfall is forecast to be around normal – other than a bit drier in the Upper North Island and wetter in the West Coast of the South Island.

New Zealand is close to 1C warmer than a century ago. As the atmosphere warms it holds more water vapour, leading to heavier rainfall, Prof Renwick says. Along with rainfall extremes, more moisture in the air can lead to heavier or more unseasonal snowfalls.

But with underlying temperatures getting warmer, heat waves are also more likely.

Heat waves are rare here due to our usual weather variability.

Trump successes in 2018

Marc Thiessen (Washington Post): The 10 best things Trump has done in 2018

10. He has secured the release of 19 people, including 16 Americans, from foreign captivity.

9. He delivered for the “forgotten Americans.” The Trump boom is benefiting those left behind by the Obama economy. Manufacturing jobs grew at the fastest rate in 23 years and the unemployment rate for Americans without a high school diploma reached the lowest point ever recorded.

8. He worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass important legislation. …Trump got a lot done on a bipartisan basis, including criminal justice reform, opioid and sex trafficking legislation, and a new “Right to Try” law giving dying Americans access to experimental medications.

7. He has ushered in a golden age for women in the CIA. Trump not only appointed Gina Haspel as the agency’s first female director but also made Elizabeth Kimber the first women to lead the agency’s clandestine service…

6. His push to expand domestic energy production bore fruit. This year the United States passed both Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s top oil producer.

5. In the six months after the Singapore summit with North Korea, he has made no concessions to Pyongyang.

He didn’t seem to make much progress on North Korea either, but at least he and Kim Jong Un have toned down their rhetoric.

4. He struck Syria again and eliminated the last vestiges of the Islamic State’s physical caliphate. For a second time, he enforced Obama’s red line against the use of chemical weapons. The militant group is far from defeated, but Trump is right that we have knocked “the hell out of ISIS.”

‘We’ includes Russia, Turkey and Iran. It’s probably premature to claim to celebrate the elimination of ISIS.

3. He’s continued his tough line with Moscow.

I’m not sure that Putin will be deterred much by a debatable ‘tough line’.

2. He pulled out of Obama’s disastrous Iran deal and reimposed crippling sanctions on Tehran.

I have no idea how crippled Iran is, and what difference sanctions will end up making.

1. He stood by Brett M. Kavanaugh and even in the worst moments never wavered. Trump has confirmed a record 85 judges in his first two years as president.

That’s the best thing trump has done? It will take time tell whether Kavanaugh turns out to be a prudent appointment or not.

There will be discussion on this at Kiwiblog: The 10 best things Trump did 2018

New Zealander of the year – women

NZ Herald has ‘named’ all women as their New Zealander of the year: Our New Zealander of the year is… women

It was the year of #metoo, pay equity, and our Prime Minister becaming a mum. It was the year a female rugby player – at last – gained the sport’s top honour. It was the 125th anniversary of suffrage, a year of celebration. But also a reminder that change does not come without hard work and frustration.

All year, we have watched as New Zealand women have fought for their rights. And fought. And fought.

From campaigning against sexual harassment in the media, to arguing for equal pay through the courts, to addressing our shameful domestic violence record at the United Nations, women stood up and were counted. They raised their voices when others didn’t want to hear. They were empowered in the face of adversity. They persisted despite knowing meaningful change would likely be a long time yet.

That persistence has led us to name women – all women – as our 2018 New Zealanders of the Year.

However, we wanted to acknowledge a year which – though challenging – has been described by many as a beginning.

Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy told us she thought the year was a tipping point, when women decided they’d simply had enough. Jackie Clark, who works with survivors of domestic violence, said it felt like a renaissance of the feminism of the 1970s. The only female chief executive in the NZX50, Chorus head Kate McKenzie, said she thought the year created momentum – and with it an opportunity to keep that momentum going.

New Zealand is still a good place to be a woman, even if all our battles are not yet won. But what women have achieved this year marks 2018 as the beginning of an overhaul which will have a profound impact on future generations. It is a challenge to the future, rather than an answer to the past.

Important change takes time, but 2018 was a good step forward for women in New Zealand.