Music revenue trends

Interesting trends in music revenue for New Zealand over the last four years.

It’s not surprising to see streaming increasing so much.

The rise in 2015 was the first in 15 years.

Reported in April last year: NZ music industry sees first revenue growth in 15 years

New Zealand musicians made more money from streaming services than any other source in 2015, with total revenue growing for the first time in 15 years, according to Recorded Music New Zealand.

Wholesale revenue rose 12 percent to $74.4 million in 2015, with streaming services more than doubling to $25.7 million, making it the largest contributor. In 2013, streaming services brought in $5 million in revenue, accounting for 7 percent of all revenue. That has since soared to account for 35 percent of all revenue.

“Streaming services are still relatively new in NZ but have quickly established themselves and are now the preferred method of music consumption by Kiwis,” chief executive Damian Vaughan said. “The popularity of music streaming has aided industry growth enormously and our industry is determined to build on the momentum.”

Competition between streaming services has heated up since the launch of Apple Music in mid-2015. It had 11 million subscribers as of February this year and predicts it will have 20 million by the end of 2016. Its biggest competitor is Spotify, which has nearly 30 million paying subscribers.

Public performance and broadcast revenues for local artists increased 5 percent to $13.7 million while revenue from downloads slowed 18 percent to $15.7 million. Physical product sales dropped 10 percent to $19.3 million.

I can find as far back as 2012:

  • 2012: $72.2m
  • 2013: $66.7m
  • 2014: $66.3m
  • 2015: $74.4m
  • 2016: $86.2

Comparing Corbyn with Little

Some Labour supporters in New Zealand have been encouraged and even excited by Jeremy Corbyn’s massive improvement in last week’s UK election.

UK Labour were polling 15-20% behind the conservatives a month out from the election, came a lot closer by election day (but still lost), and polls since put them ahead of the Conservatives.

NZ Labour will hope for a similar transformation, but it is being pointed out that:

  • The political situation on New Zealand is much different
  • UK Labour moved left while NZ Labour is trying to fight for the centre
  • Corbyn impressed with his authenticity and straight talking, while in contrast to his claims of being a straight talker Andrew Little has largely become a phrase reciter.

Bernie Sanders pushed Hillary Clinton for the US Democratic nomination last year with a similar straight forward left wing authenticity to Corbyn.

If Little wants to emulate them he needs to change his style substantially, but it looks like that would take a major change of approach by Little and his media managers.

From  NZ POLITICS DAILY: Corbyn’s success highlights NZ Labour’s inadequacies

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According to Tracy Watkins, Labour are failing to emulate Mr Corbyn’s bold and authentic approach: “The Labour team seems to think this [staying on message approach] is the same as the Corbyn strategy, or for that matter the Bernie Sanders strategy, of running a campaign around a small number of big, bold ideas. But as May showed, there’s a big difference between big ideas and trite sound bites.

Little had the advantage of having little political baggage as a relatively new MP and being able to run on the anti-politician ticket but seems to be squandering it.”

Watkins seems unconvinced that Andrew Little is in any way like Mr Corbyn: “When Little has got into trouble lately it’s for dodging questions by sticking to patsy answers and one-liners rather than speaking to the heart of an issue.

This is not because Little lacks authenticity or doesn’t know the answers; it’s a deliberate strategy from the Labour team. Little has even explained it to me. It’s about staying on message apparently” – see: Expecting the unexpected the new situation normal.

I see two major problems with “staying on message”.

First, that’s the sort of politics that turns off voters and especially those who choose not to vote. There is a major left wing campaign to get out the non-voters, especially young voters. A similar campaign seems to have been successful in the UK, but Green and Union campaigns last election failed in New Zealand.

Second, trying to stay ‘on message’ is a major reason why Little sounds uncertain and fumbling – when interviewed he often pauses, seemingly to think what messages he should divert to rather than giving a straight forward answer.

And if NZ Labour want to emulate UK Labour they will have to change their direction from populist and centre seeking to being a genuine left wing party.


Andrew Little’s strategists have been very upfront about their desire to keep Labour in the centre of the political spectrum. Labour’s chief strategist, Rob Salmond, has blogged about this in the past, suggesting Mr Corbyn’s approach is an unpopular “hard left” one, and that elections are still won in the centre – see: In defence of the centre.

Gordon Campbell in On the lessons from Corbyn’s campaign.

Mr Corbyn’s relative success with getting young and alienated public to vote, highlights the inability of Labour here to mobilise the missing million: “Corbyn and his Labour team ran an inspirational campaign that did in seven weeks what the New Zealand Labour Party has talked about doing since 2011, but never remotely looked like accomplishing.

Andrew Little’s Labour team has been trying to outbid New Zealand First (eg on immigration and law’n’order) for the votes of the reactionary right.

Unlike Corbyn, the parliamentary centre left leadership here seems afraid to stand up in public for the agendas they profess (in private) to hold dear. It won’t end well.”

Whether moving left can be done now in New Zealand, it is getting late in the campaign game for a major shift.

Little and Labour may be able to do a Corbyn-like rise from the poll ashes, but they will have to rethink and refocus their efforts substantially. This in itself has it’s risks, it will be hard to claim authenticity after a major change.

But Little has to be himself, bold and become confident if he is to break out of his media managed mangle.


What does the UK election mean for NZ?

What does the UK election result mean for New Zealand politics? Not as much as some enthusiasts for a Labour revival here seem to think. The situation in the UK is vastly different to here in New Zealand, except perhaps that they both had unpopular leaders of parties struggling to be liked.


New Zealand has nothing like Brexit. The UK is planning to go through a massive change by severing it’s European Union ties, while New Zealand is chugging along fairly well and uncontroversially.

Terrorism and Immigration

New Zealand doesn’t have a terrorism problem, and we also don’t have anywhere near the level of immigration issues that the UK has (many of their immigration issues are closely tied to being in the EU).


The collapse of the UKIP vote and the significant losses for the Scottish National Party (they lost a third of their vote share and over a third of their MPS) and the redistribution of votes to Labour and to a lesser extent the Conservatives has no obvious parallel here.

FPP versus MMP

New Zealand has the moderating influence of MMP, under which no party has ever held an absolute majority and coalition governments are normal and expected.

This is in contrast to the UK which has the archaic FPP system still and the ‘hung Parliament’ scenario was big news. A governing  arrangement between the Conservatives and probably DUP is seen as potentially weak and there have been suggestions the UK may have to go to another election sooner rather than later.

The rise of Corbyn

Some on the left here are seeing Corbyn’s rise, albeit short of a victory, as a great ‘win’ for the left and will be encouraged.

No doubt there will be more and louder calls for NZ Labour to swing further left and campaign on similar issues that were successful for UK Labour. This may well influence Labour here, but it may not turn out to be wise.


One issue in the UK that seems to have been important is their health system. Labour here have health as one of their key issues. Andrew Little has lost credibility over his persistence in talking up (erroneously) health cuts.  I presume Labour will keep trying to get some traction on it.


Housing doesn’t seem to have been a significant issue in the UK, but it is here, especially in Auckland. That is as much a local body issue as a national political issue but is likely to be a factor in our election in September.

Snap Election

One message that should have been clearly received by New Zealand parties and leaders is the folly of calling a snap election for no good constitutional reason. We haven’t had a snap election under MMP and are unlikely to in the foreseeable future.


Another key message is that polls are an approximate indication of support only, and they can move quite quickly in a short time in an election campaign.

There are signs also that a significant proportion of voters either don’t give accurate responses to pollsters, or change their minds late.

English and Little

I think in our election a lot will depend on how Bill English and Andrew Little shape up.

English is not very colourful but has vast political and governing experience and has an in depth knowledge of economic issues and a wide range of other issues.

Little is dour. He may find a way of connecting during the campaign, but I think his biggest weakness contrasts with English’s strength – he doesn’t seem to have picked up a huge amount of in depth knowledge of issues, and he is poor at thinking on his feet during interviews. Unless he masters this he may get caned in debates with English, and that may well decide this election.

In fact May campaigned poorly, avoided debates and was strongly criticised for bland recitals rather than sounding intelligent and being on top of the issues. That sounds more like how Little is.

Labour here will get a lot of confidence from the resurgence of UK Labour and the improvement of Corbyn. Little badly needs a confidence boost. He may lift himself after the UK result.

National should also have learned from the UK result, from May’s poor performance, a poorly run campaign, and arrogance.

There are some things to learn here from the UK experience, but there are also  significant differences.

“Labour’s Looming Train Wreck”

The gloves are off as parties position themselves for the election.

Peter Dunne Speaks: Labour’s Looming Train Wreck

Dunne tries to draw parallels between UK Labourt and NZ Labour, and between Jeremy Corbyn and Andrew little.

For those who follow British politics, the prospect of the coming General Election turning into a major train wreck for the British Labour Party looms large. Barely a day passes without another set of contradictory views or comments emerging from senior members of that Party.

Most of the criticism inevitably finds its way back to the Party’s veteran socialist leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a man who, in a long political career has never been chosen to hold any Government office. For afficiandos, it is all fun and games, happening sufficiently far away not to be too bothered about.

However, there are some similarities with the New Zealand situation which should not go unremarked upon.

And remark upon them he does.

Jeremy Corbyn was never elected leader of the British Labour Party by the Party’s MPs – indeed, only a few months ago, they passed overwhelmingly a vote of no-confidence in his leadership. Yet he remains, having twice been selected by the Party at large and its trade union base to be Labour’s standard bearer.

New Zealand Labour has a similar selection system – current leader Andrew Little was installed in his role in 2014 with the backing of well under half his MPs, and then only narrowly because of the union vote.

As with Mr Corbyn, Mr Little knows that the key to his retaining the leadership, lies not with his MPs, but with the Party’s trade union affiliates. He has already shown his recognition of that by his installation of trade union officials as candidates in a number of seats around the country. Many are likely to feature high up on the Party’s “democratically” selected list.

And, like Mr Corbyn, he has eschewed any prospect of Labour claiming the centre ground of politics, indeed going so far as to dismiss the political centre and those who occupy it as “irrelevant.”

Both Mr Corbyn and Mr Little believe naively that there is a latent Labour majority out there – the missing million voters New Zealand Labour keeps talking about – that has only to be offered a “true” Labour Party for them to return home, and that in the meantime, there is therefore no need to reach out to any other voting group

As the Antipodean Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Little must have groaned when Teresa May called Britain’s election for early June. New Zealanders are going to be able to watch a preview of his performance and likely fate, well in advance of our own election.

And when the inevitable blood-letting takes place after the British train wreck, New Zealand Labour will struggle to avoid the spotlight being turned on its own Jeremy Corbyn, and his journey down the same track.       

Dunne and others will no doubt try to have the spotlight shone on similarities between Corbyn and Little, and between UK Labour and NZ Labour.

EU investigating NZ as tax haven

Newshub reported tonight that the European Union is investigating whether to include New Zealand on a tax haven black list or not.

Investigation by EU as it prepares a blacklist of global tax havens


More details: EU considers blacklisting NZ over tax laws

New Zealand is under investigation by the European Union as it prepares a blacklist of global tax havens.

The grouping of 28 European nations has compiled a list of countries with lax tax laws, but following the release of the so-called Panama Papers it has confirmed that New Zealand is under investigation.

The EU loses around $NZ1 trillion to tax havens each year, and it intends to put a stop to the practice by threatening a raft of sanctions against countries which don’t comply to its standards.

New Zealand doesn’t comply, even when the recommendations made by tax expert John Shewan as a result of the Panama Papers are included.

What the EU wants:

  1. No anonymity – trust settlers and beneficiaries are identified and changes are recorded. New Zealand will meet this standard when Mr Shewan’s changes are introduced.
  2. Collection of information about financial assets – where the funds came from, the current assets, where they are, and the income earned in the past year. New Zealand will meet this standard when Mr Shewan’s changes are introduced.
  3. No tax exemption of foreign income. New Zealand will NOT meet this standard even when Mr Shewan’s changes are introduced.
  4. Automatic exchange of information with foreign tax authorities in the jurisdictions where the settlers and beneficiaries are resident. New Zealand will NOT meet this standard even when Mr Shewan’s changes are introduced.
  5. A public register of trust ownership and details. New Zealand will NOT meet this standard even when Mr Shewan’s changes are introduced.

Non-complying nations face:

  1. Trade sanctions
  2. Suspension of negotiations for a free-trade agreement
  3. Possible travel bans or visa restrictions.
  4. Sanctions against companies, banks, tax advisers, accountancy and law firms involved in tax deals.

Seniors Party

It was announced yesterday that a new party was being formed to represent ‘disgruntled pensioners’.

A new political party has formed to represent older New Zealanders, saying the Government is showing no interest in senior issues.

NZ Herald: New political party represents older New Zealander

The New Zealand Seniors Party plans to register as an official party and will run candidates in the 2017 election.

It was formed by a group of “disgruntled pensioners” in Wellington but its executive is also made up of people from Auckland, Christchurch and the provinces.

The party said seniors needed more meaningful representation in Parliament.

A key part of its platform would be fighting the “unfair” deduction of overseas pensions from New Zealand Superannuation.

“Today’s seniors are tired of being ignored and dictated to by politicians, government departments and their overpaid staff,” the party said.

“They are not willing to remain invisible. They are educated and bring a lifetime of experience and knowledge to the table, and they are certainly capable of taking an active role in the running of their own country.”

They have claimed to have about 100 members already. 500 members are required to register a party, that’s a hard job as some existing parties well know.

An even bigger hurdle is getting suitable people and sufficient funds to mount a credible campaign. Perhaps by the time they have sorted out all their current problems Kim Dotcom or Colin Craig will be old enough to contribute.

And almost certainly insurmountable is the 5% threshold, put in place and left unchanged by the major parties to make it almost impossible for new parties to actually challenge them. In a term or two Labour might discover what challenges there can be in making 5%.

The leader of an existing party that represents senior citizens and disgruntled citizens has scoffed at the new party but he scoffs at existing parties as well.

I presume this is a quick off the mark with rather than  a Seniors Party representative who has started tweeting under @NZSeniorsParty  :

Our great, grey avalanche coming for Middle New Zealand is already underway. You have been warned.


Too many in Goverment Departments need more we are more understanding of our needs

Too right. Spending too much time Bookfacing and Chatsnapping each other their lunches.

And went on:

So what are you lazy Millennials up to on the Twitter today? Bothered to get real jobs and proper hair cuts yet?.

Damn straight! There simply aren’t enough elderly Europeans in . Too many damned hippies

Back in our day we didn’t have time to be all a twitter twatter about everything, we all had real jobs by 14.

Back in our day you could tell the lazy ones from their square eyes from days spent starring at that new idiot box contraption.

That reminds us, we haven’t checked today’s death notices. Gets hard to schedule in so many funerals these days.

Reminds us of the time we were much aggrieved when we went down to and discovered they had discontinued telegrams.

Still more policy than has announced this year and more than … ever.

It’s a well known fact that the only people works for are the owners of the Green Parrot.

Listening to reminds one of the time that my parents used to joke about Queen’s Birthday being about Queen Victoria.

To the Minister for Housing – What measures are being taken to stop the Wilson children from kicking their ball into my yard?

Back in our day we stood by our statements in bare feet in the snow, uphill both ways.

To – When will the unemployed get real haircuts and get real jobs?

If is having trouble hearing in our members can recommend for him.

To – Have you seen Edna’s denchers? She swears she left them in a glass of water last night.

To the Associate Minister of Education – Shouldn’t you be in school young lady?

To the Minister of Defense – How did we manage to beat the Germans in Europe only to let the Commies take over ?

When elected we’ll make sure MBIE creates apps that people will actually download – like one to find your local Bridge club.

Maybe the actual party could pick up some exposure and benefit from this.

I applaud any attempt to actually do something politically rather than complain from the sidelines but the Seniors party has a huge challenge to be taken seriously let alone look like it could succeed.

Tax revenue $1.1b under forecast

Stuff reports that Government’s surplus nearly $1b less than forecast at Budget 2016 due to core Crown tax revenue being $1.1 billion lower than forecast in the 10 months to April.

The Government’s financial statements, released on Friday, showed the operating balance before gains and losses (Obegal) was $297 million in the black for the 10 months to April. 

Finance Minister Bill English said it highlighted the monthly volatility in the Crown accounts. 

The surplus was $941m smaller than forecast in Budget 2016, largely as a result of core Crown tax revenue coming in $1.1 billion lower than forecast.

English said the lower-than-expected tax revenue was mostly driven by corporate tax being $1.4 billion below forecast.

“Treasury consider that most – if not all – of this variance will reverse out by June 30.

This shows that balancing the Government books (and forecasting accurately) is an ongoing challenge.

Further forecasts are for growth but a flattening out of the economy must cause some concern.

At the same time in possibly related news the ODT reports Economic activity static in quarter.

The national economy stood still in the three months ended March, the ANZ Regional Trends index failing to lift for the first time in five years.

ANZ economic statistician Kylie Uerata said the pause needed to be put into context.

Regional-based growth estimates were “incredibly strong” late last year.

“Pausing for breath after strength is not unusual.”

This chart of budget surpluses and deficits over the past 10 years from Trading Economics shows that New Zealand has barely recovered from the Global Financial Crisis that hit hard after New Zealand was already moving into recession in 2008 plus the substantial cost of the Christchurch earthquakes.


Stuff charts a longer period of 20 years of surpluses and deficits plus 5 years of forecasts.


So after only just getting back to a meagre surplus it has flattened out, the forecast for next year is flat, and then someone hopes that the economy will recover and grow from there.

However what has to be considered is the possible effect of an election year budget where a thirds term Government may be tempted to splurge a bit on spending (vote buying).

Also what should be considered is the possibility and the possible effects of a change to a Labour-Green government next year, or to a Labour-Green-NZ First government, or to a National-NZ First government.

It is normal for larger minor parties to push for spending on their pet policies in reward for enabling a large party to form a coalition.

This could be exacerbated if a weakening Labour is joined by Greens and/or NZ First who are growing in relative strength.

Perhaps it’s time to seriously consider what influence NZ First would have on Government spending.

Would they assist with economic prudence or would they demand increased spending?

NZ’s ‘women of achievement’

The Herald reports on NZ’s 50 ‘women of achievement’.

Fifty Kiwi women have been recognised for their accomplishments in time for International Women’s Day today.

Zonta’s New Zealand chapter has chosen 50 “women of achievement” for their work in fields which deal with some of the most serious issues facing women today.

I’ll find the list of 50 when i get a chance. The Herald details the top ten:

Helen Clark, New York: The former Prime Minister is being honoured for her ongoing work promoting gender equality and women’s political, economic and social participation.

Louise Nicholas, Rotorua: Louise Nicholas has taken a lead in the change of attitudes towards victims of sexual abuse, working with the New Zealand Police on how to deal with victims of rape. She is also a leading advocate in raising the awareness of sexual abuse and the need for education and empowerment of women and young girls.

Lesley Elliott, Dunedin: Lesley Elliott is the founder and current chair of the Sophie Elliott Foundation, the mission of which is to cause a profound shift in New Zealanders’ attitudes towards relationship violence. The foundation’s Loves-Me-Not programme, aimed at Year 12 students, is a valuable resource in teaching young people how to recognise abusive behaviour.

Deborah Bush, Christchurch: Deborah Bush is the co-founder of Endometriosis New Zealand. ENZ has initiated specialised programmes, fostered research, and lobbied for better outcomes for girls and women with endometriosis in New Zealand.

Dame Silvia Cartwright, Auckland: Former Governor General Dame Silvia has served on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and played a major role in drafting protocol about how to reduce instances of gender discrimination.

Steve Chadwick, Rotorua: Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick established the first Family Planning Clinic in Rotorua and helped establish the city’s first Women’s Refuge and Teen Parent School. She had also been an advocate for sexual and maternal health.

Vi Cottrell, Kaiapoi: The co-founder of Trade Aid, Vi Cottrell has been committed to the social enterprise for over 40 years. Most craft producers are women and Fair Trade makes a huge impact on their and their families’ lives.

Dame Miriam Dell, South Wairapapa: Dame Miriam has been and continues to be at the forefront of women’s issues in New Zealand and internationally for over 30 years, promoting women’s advancement and equal rights in society.

Vanisa Dhiru, Wellington: Serving a number of not-for-profit boards since university, Vanisa Dhiru is involved with organisations in the women’s, ethnic and youth sectors. She is currently the vice-president of the National Council of Women of New Zealand.

Dame Margaret Sparrow, Wellington: Dame Margaret is a sexual health pioneer and a long-term advocate for women’s rights to abortion and contraception.

NOTE: This post is for recognising the achievements of new Zealand women.

Attacks on individual women or women in general will not be tolerated here.

Flags, tea towels and plates

Rather than just state a flag preference some people go further, trying to discredit and ridicule the option the don’t favour.

References are often made to a tea towel flag or a plate flag. While most of this dissing is targeting the alternate Lockwood flag, because the current one has been around for over a century it is the flag featuring most on kitchen things.

This is the plate connection to the Lockwood designs:

This is like the red version of the Lockwood that narrowly missed selection. Lockwood designs have been around for years and it would have been easy to have pinched his design.

But the current flag also features on plates.


You can now get the Lockwood flag plated as well but there’s less choice:


The current flag features on many tea towel designs as well, but you can now get the Lockwood as well.


There’s likely to be a lot of other paraphernalia that features flags as well.  Even on underwear:

Save a Horse Ride a Kiwi Women's Boy Brief

Misleading on ‘least affordable housing’ in NZ

Affordability of housing in Auckland, Queenstown and some other parts of New Zealand is a serious issue. But there’s much more to New Zealand than a few high priced locations, and there’s a lot of far more affordable housing in other parts of the country.

Fitch are reported as saying New Zealand is the least affordable country for housing.

Greens are promoting this:


But the headlines mislead by lumping all of New Zealand into the shock horror of housing affordability.

NZ tops world in Fitch house price comparison

New Zealand has been described as the most expensive country in the world to buy property by a global ratings agency.

Fitch has released its global housing and mortgage outlook report for this year and rates New Zealand’s houses as the priciest compared to incomes.

Despite the misleading headline and lead comments at least this report acknowledges the country beyond Auckland:

Property commentator Olly Newland said Auckland house prices were unsustainable and should not rise any further.

But he said if Auckland’s price movement were taken out of the calculations, New Zealand would not be expensive by international standards.

Radio NZ: NZ house prices a ‘catastrophic regulatory failure’

Buying a house in Auckland will soon be unattainable for the average New Zealand family if house prices continue to climb, the Property Council says.

The council said it was shocked by a new global housing report that shows how extremely expensive New Zealand’s homes are in relation to people’s incomes.

The Fitch Ratings report shows house prices in New Zealand may have reached the absolute limit of affordability.

When linked to income, New Zealand’s houses were the least affordable of the 22 countries analysed in the report.

The council’s chief executive Connal Townsend was shocked by the report, saying New Zealand’s housing market was “infinitely the worst”.

“It’s a catastrophic regulatory failure.

Apart from the overstatements and generalisations “infinitely the worst” is a stupid claim.

And Fitch Ratings suggests house price growth will decline:

Fitch: House Price Growth to Slow Significantly in Australia, NZ

The pace of house-price growth should decelerate particularly sharply in Australia and New Zealand this year; while the decrease should continue in Singapore, with prices dropping by a further 5% from last year.

Fitch forecasts nominal house-price growth to decline to 2% in Australia and 4% in New Zealand

In New Zealand, a supply shortage will continue to drive growth in Auckland, but this will be offset by recent restrictions on low-deposit lending by the central bank and rising unaffordability for owner occupiers. In regions outside Auckland, Fitch expects low-to-static growth in house prices.

So they manage to differentiate between Auckland and other regions in the country.

In places like Dunedin it’s possible to buy very reasonably priced houses. There’s a sub-$200k market and a lot of choices in the $200-300k range suitable for first home buyers and affordable for many who can come up with a deposit.