NZ population 5 million in the next year or so

The population is closing in on 5 million and should get there in about a year at current growth rates.

The million milestones:

  • 1 million – 1908
  • 2 million – 1952
  • 3 million – 1973
  • 4 million – 2003
  • 5 million – 2019/2020

The gap between 1 and 2 million would have been affected in particular by two world wars and the influenza epidemic just after WW1, but it was a doubling of the population in 44 years. The population will also have approximately doubled in my lifetime (to date).

The next millions were added in 21 years, 30 years and about 17 years, all largely due to immigration.

RNZ:  Population fast approaching five million this year

CO₂ emissions per country

Rich countries tend to have significantly higher the CO₂ emissions per population.

Hannah Ritchie (Our World in Data): Who emits more than their share of CO₂ emissions?

In a recent article I explored how different income groups and world regions compared in terms of their share of the global population and versus carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

From this, two key questions from readers emerged:

  • How does this comparison look at the national level; and
  • How does this look when we correct for emissions embedded in trade, so that we are comparing the emissions caused by a country’s consumption rather than production?

Which countries emit more than their ‘share’ of emissions?

In a completely equal world, each country’s share of the world’s COemissions would be equal to its share of the global population. This is not reality. In my previous post I explored how this looked at regional and income group levels. But how do individual countries fare in this comparison?

In the chart below I have plotted each country’s share of global CO2 emissions (on the y-axis) versus its share of the global population (on the x-axis) Note that this is based on production-based (territorial) emissions.

There are a few interesting findings which emerge:

  • All countries in the high-income group emit more than their population share;
  • All low-income groups emit less than their population share;
  • Most lower-middle income countries emit less than their population share; and upper-middle income countries are mixed;
  • The USA emits more than three-times its population share;
  • China emits significantly more than its population share (29 percent of emissions vs. 19 percent of population);
  • India emits significantly less than its share (7 percent of emissions vs. 18 percent of population);
  • Brazil emits just over half of its population share (2.8 percent of emissions vs. 1.5 percent of population).

A more simplified way to determine whether countries over- or under-emit CO2 emissions relative to their population share is to compare per capita emissions with the global average.

I have mapped below which countries have average per capita emissions above or below the global average. Countries in red have per capita emissions above global ‘equity’ (meaning they emit more than their population share); those in blue are below the global average. Here we see that most of those above global equity are across North America, Eurasia, and Oceania. The surprising result for many is that in Europe, Sweden and Switzerland emit less than the global average.

New Zealand is above average. Some comparisons (tonnes CO2 per capita):

  • New Zealand 7.81
  • Saudi Arabia 19.77
  • Australia 16.91
  • USA 16.86
  • Canada 15.85
  • Russia 11.59
  • Germany 9.7
  • Japan 9.64
  • Libya 9.51
  • Iran 8.9
  • South Africa 8.39
  • Poland 8.18
  • China 7.4
  • United Kingdom 6.38
  • Spain 5.85
  • France 5.05
  • Ukraine 4.94
  • Turkey 4.9
  • Indonesia 1.82
  • India 1.77
  • Afghanistan 0.31

“Remand or Bust?” – the prison problem

From a comment by Gezza:


A single legal change has caused massive growth in the prison muster.

Growth in New Zealand’s prison population accelerated from around 8500 in 2014 to around 10,500 in 2016

The recent spike can be traced back to changes to bail laws in 2013. Since then, people charged with violent, sex or drug crimes have to prove they pose no danger to the community to get bail. If they can’t, they stay behind bars.

The changes followed public shock over the 2011 killing of 18-year-old Christie Marceau. Her killer Akshay Anand Chand was on bail when he killed her. Chand was found not guilty of her murder by reason of insanity.

When the bail law was changed, Labour said it was “a fairly soft measure” which would require a further 50 prison beds.

In fact, the number of prisoners awaiting trial or sentencing has almost doubled. And our prisons are bursting at the seams. It leaves Justice Minister Andrew Little with a tough decision. Roll back popular changes to the bail laws or build another expensive prison

“There’s no question our prison system is in chaos, and in crisis, at the moment” says Justice Minister Andrew Little, He says the Government has got to fix it up – and quickly. According to Mr Little Cabinet right now is looking at a number of ideas from both the Minister of Corrections, Kelvin Davis and the Minister of Police, Stuart Nash and he’s going to put some up as Minister of Justice.”

https://interactives.stuff.co.nz/2018/05/prisons/remand.html

Difficult to deal with huge increase in prisoner numbers

Politicians have been pandering to populist pleas for getting tough on criminals for decades, but they now face some hard decisions after the prison population has surged.

Our prisons can’t cope with the record number of prisoners, now about 10,500, and there don’t appear to be any easy or quick fixes.

Meanwhile the Government keeps delaying a decision on building a new prison, and has set up yet another working group to kick the can down the road.

Stuff: Make-shift cells in the gym, stretchers in the hallway – a broken prison system

In early May, there were 10,570 prisoners in the system; a number that fluctuates on a daily basis, due to arrests, court decisions and releases.

The population rose above 10,000 for the first time in 2016, and has continued to climb since then. It has risen more than 20 per cent since 2015.

A big part of the problem is a near doubling of the number of remand prisoners over the last five years. From 2009-2013 remand numbers ranged from 1,555-1,925, but there are now over 3,000.

While significant that is only a part of the problem. The prison population has nearly doubled over the past twenty years.

There are no easy answers.

Stuff: Govt stuck between a rock and a hard place on law and order

The Labour-led Government is caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to its big promises on law and order reform.

The Labour-led Government has promised to reduce the prison population by 30 per cent in 15 years, something Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says will take the full 15 years.

But with an almost static crime rate, that means changing the laws that have led to the spike in prisoner numbers.

An overhaul of the justice system is unlikely to be popular political move. The last thing any Government wants is to look soft on crime.

The Opposition has been applying pressure on this. Like:

It’s understood the Government plans to establish another working group, and hold a summit later in the year, ahead of announcing any major legislative changes.

Yet another working group. They will need to decide on whether to proceed with a new prison at Waikeria long before that reports back.

The Government can tinker around the edges when it comes to providing things like transitional housing for people due for parole with no place to go, but that will only slightly lighten the load on prisons.

To deliver on its promise of 30 per cent fewer prisoners, and to be the truly “transitional Government” it says it will be, bail laws, parole laws, and sentencing are all under scrutiny. But this gives its National opposition ammunition when it comes to its “soft of crime” attacks.

The Labour-led Government will either have to find a way to weather those attacks and get its coalition partners onside, or accept an out-of-control muster, and build the mega-prison none of them want.

Numbers will keep rising while the Government fiddles.

 

Changing faces and population growth

I think that Duncan Garner has had a go at this before, but here he goes again: Dear NZ, how do we want to look in 20 years?

 I went to Kmart on Wednesday to buy some new underpants and socks.

Now, normally this outing to the mall wouldn’t be a big deal but this one fast became a nightmarish glimpse into our future if we stuff it up.

As I started walking towards the self-pay counter I saw a massive human snake crawling its way around the self-service island near the middle of the store. And it snaked and snaked and snaked. The snake was massive.

I wondered what the attraction was? It wasn’t immediately obvious. Then it was. The self-service counter couldn’t cope.

It couldn’t cope with the pressures of the people. The dozens of stressed faces making up the human snake were frustrated too.

I looked around, it could have been anywhere in South East Asia.

I wasn’t shocked – we have reported this for three years – we have targeted immigrants, opened the gates and let in record numbers. This year’s net gain of migrants was 72,000.

Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Syrians, and many others. I saw the changing face of New Zealand at the crossroads, otherwise known as Kmart’s self-service counter. Every four minutes and 51 seconds New Zealand’s population grows by another person. We are growing faster now than compared to any other time in our history. And faster than most countries in the world.

New Zealand’s population grew by 100,400 to the June 2017 year.

This is not an opinion column designed to be deliberately inflammatory on race grounds, flimsy grounds or any other grounds.

But do we have any idea what we’re doing here? No.

Predictions show we will have 6.3 million people by 2038. There’ll be more Asians than Maori. Is anyone leading this debate on how big we should be? No.

Does it matter? You bet it does.

Garner raises two main issues here.

Many will probably focus on “Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Syrians, and many others. I saw the changing face of New Zealand at the crossroads…”

It makes a big difference where this particular K-Mart was. I went to The Warehouse and New World last night. Both were a completely different picture. Both were remarkably uncrowded – I went straight up to a counter and got served at both. And it was a typically Dunedin mix of faces, nothing like Garner’s K-Mart description.

I think the more important issue is population growth. How big should the new Zealand population be allowed to grow?

Over the last few years population growth has been running at about 70,000 per annum. That doesn’t sound much, but if that was sustained over fifteen years it would be over a million more residents.

Population growth isn’t even over the country. Auckland is obviously facing the biggest growth problems. I happily choose not to go to Auckland if I can help it, the traffic is often diabolical, and when I have gone to Auckland in the past for non-work reasons I usually choose to get out to less populated places.

I actually work a lot in Auckland (as well as in Australia, South Africa, the UK and the US) but fortunately, with today’s technology, most of that work is done from an office in Dunedin. World wide networks now operate far faster than inter-office networks of a couple of decades ago.

Twenty years ago, even fifteen years ago, if I wanted data from a client I would tell them how to zip it onto a diskette – or often many diskettes – and put it in the post.  Now I connect directly and work or copy data.

So in some ways population concentrations are not needed. Working from a distance has never been easier in some lines of work.

But there has been a tendency in the last few centuries, and especially over the last half century, for people to flock to and inflate the populations of major cities, turning them into mega cities, while provincial cities like Dunedin chug away slowly.

Perhaps Garner and others in media could work remotely. But they choose to join the overcrowding in Auckland. That is their choice, so I am not entirely sympathetic to their complaints about population.

But back to immigration and overall population growth.

People are lining up to come here because we are the last paradise on Earth.

Our small population is our winning card. Let’s not lose that.

Everything we do we must ask ourselves this question: Will this make our country better for those living in it now?

If the answer is no then we must pause, stop and think again. Your great-grandchildren will be so grateful. And it’s our legacy.

But there’s little sign that the new Government is pausing, stopping and thinking again. There were varying signals about immigration in the election campaign, but there has been little sign of major change or rethink.

On the beehive website this is the only Press release from the Immigration portfolio:

Building occupations added to skill shortage list

It will be easier for the building industry to find the workers it needs to help address New Zealand’s housing shortfall, with seven building-related occupations being added to the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL), Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced today.

“Employing skilled migrants will meet the immediate demand for people with the skills required to rapidly increase the number of houses in New Zealand.”

The focus is on bringing in more builders to build more houses to cater for the growing population.

When Garner wants to buy more undies and socks in the future he will probably find little has changed.

Some little islands at the bottom of the world

New Zealand is certainly remote from most of the world. The only countries that extend further south are Chile and Argentina, but they are part of a large continent that is connected by land to another large continent.

And population-wise we are small, at about 4.7 million people. We are about the 120th most populous nation, well down the list.

World Population Percentages

New Zealand is part of ‘Other’ there. The smallest separate county in that population pie is Thailand with 0.91% of the world’s population (68.3 million) compared to our 0.063%.

By land area we are still well down the ranking but not as far, at 76th. But it’s surprising to see how our land area compares to European countries.

c_xnpf9umaet0w8

Some comparisons (in square kilometres).

  • Russia (1) – 17,098,246
  • Canada (2) – 9,984,670
  • Australia (6) – 7,692,024
  • Denmark (12) – 2,210,583 (because it includes Greenland)
  • France (41) – 675,417
  • Spain (52) – 504,781
  • Germany (63) – 357,021
  • Italy (72) – 301,230
  • New Zealand (76) – 269,190
  • United Kingdom (79) – 243,610
  • Greece (96) – 131,940
  • Austria (114) – 83,858
  • Netherlands 133 (41,526)
  • Switzerland (134) – 41,120

 

What’s a good population for New Zealand?

In Packed to the rafters Duncan Garner asks what the ideal size for New Zealand would be.

This week the population was ticking past 4,792,550.

We are now the fastest-growing country in the OECD. That’s because we make it easy. We welcome immigrants, we welcome their families, we want their businesses – and their money. At all costs.

Infrastructure expert Stephen Selwood noted this week that given our population increase we need to be building a city the size of Nelson every year just to keep up, along with all its relevant highways, roads, drains, footpaths and houses.

We’re not even close to doing this. Our public policy-makers have let us all down. Big time.

Do our cities (especially Auckland) not want the growth that our Governments have wanted and allowed?

It’s a disaster. We need a proper debate about our population. What is the ideal size of our country? Is it 6 million? Is it 8 million? And how fast do we want to get there?

We need a public conversation about the size of our country, we needed it more than a debate about our bloody flag. And we still need it.

It’s easy (or at least it should be easy) to have a debate and a couple of referendums on our flag.

It’s a lot more difficult to have a debate about something changing as much as our population.

I suspect many people want the benefits of population growth without the additional people.

With immigration, some people win – but as many economists point out, many Kiwis lose out with rising house prices and foreigners competing for jobs.

We shouldn’t resent these immigrants. It’s not their fault. They’re just trying to find a better life. They’re ambitious for success. Good on them. Who doesn’t want a better life?

We need immigrants. They’re hard workers. And overwhelmingly the stats show they are not over-represented in crime.

Here’s the stat that got me this week:  For the year to March we issued 43,000 work visas, yet we have 140,000 Kiwis unemployed or wanting more hours.

I just don’t get it. If we have people available for work, why the hell aren’t we making them work?

It’s not easy to make people work, especially if they don’t have the skills or don’t want to move to where work is.

Clearly our employers prefer immigrants, our welfare system is encouraging lazy Kiwis to sit at home, and maybe a market economy like ours prefers keeping 140,000 unemployed while we bring in cheaper, hard-working foreigners. I sense all of the above is true.

We should also have a proper discussion about unemployment levels. It may be that there is a proportion of the population that either isn’t in a current position to work, perhaps for family or health reasons, or are incapable of productive work.

We used to hide the unemployable in mental institutions and hospitals, or give them jobs where over staffing meant they didn’t have to be productive, even if they were capable.

Back to population – what should we be aiming at? A continual increase, on average?

NZPopulationincrease2015

We had a similar increase in 2016 (slightly more). Fluctuations tend to mirror Australian changes.

An increase of 1.9% per year may not seem much but it adds up over time. Approximate projections if it keeps going at a similar rate.

  • 2017 – 4,792,000
  • 2020 – 5,070,000
  • 2025 – 5,571,000
  • 2030 – 6,121,000
  • 2035 – 6,725,000
  • 2040 – 7,388,000
  • 2045 – 8,117,000
  • 2050 – 8,918,000
  • 2057 – 10,174,000

So the population could more than double in 40 years. And that’s for the country as a whole.

Auckland is likely to grow at a faster rate. Both from immigration and also from population movements within the country.

A Stats New Zealand medium-variant scenario predicts that the population of Auckland will reach 1.93 million by 2013, just 14 years away. It is currently about 1.377 million.

If the Auckland population increases at the current national average it would be 2,562,000 by 2050, nearly double what it is now.

Imagine the impact that would have on housing and transport.

This is obviously all dependant on future Government immigration policies, and other factors like nuclear holocausts elsewhere and natural disasters here. International social or political changes may encourage Kiwis to return to New Zealand in bigger numbers.

It’s also dependent on politics, and the possible election of an anti-immigration government – like NZ First or even Labour, Andrew Little says he wants to reduce annual immigration by tens of thousands.

Immigration and population should be openly and properly discussed.

However election year is probably not the best time to do it as parties and leaders try to target voters who might respond to populist promises.

Is more people better?

New Zealand, like the world, seems to be on a growth treadmill. Is continued population growth really a good thing?

A thought provoking post by Bunji at The Standard who suggests This is not the growth you’re looking for.

There are different views on The Standard about growth and whether we really need it.  I’m all for environmentally-, socially-sustainable growth, and I’m a programmer, so I’m in a fairly “weightless” part of the economy.

But here’s one bit of growth that really seems pointless to me: that achieved only by increasing the number of people.

While there should be better ways of measuring our economy and success than anything GDP-based (Robert Kennedy: “it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile”), it seems a simple fix to at least make it GDP-per-capita, while we’re working out the complexities of those other measurements.

Because if we’re only increasing GDP by increasing the number of people, as we are currently, we’re loading up the environment and we’re not even individually getting any richer for it.  Thanks National.

If you look at 64,000 immigration last year – 1.5% of the population(!) you’ve got to wonder whether it’s socially sustainable as well.  I love the super-diversity of Auckland, but that’s a lot to swallow in a year.  With about 40,000 of that immigration being to Auckland – a city that’s already got a massive house shortage and struggles creating enough infrastructure – you’ve got to wonder: what’s the point?

While it’s a much bigger problem for Auckland it’s also something New Zealand as a whole should be asking.

The human population can’t keep growing forever. We can’t keep transforming the earth we live on indefinitely.

Should we strive for bigger, more because we don’t want to be left behind the rest of the world?

And leave it to future generations to worry about more overcrowding and the depletion of resources?

Where’s the government’s plan?  We all know they haven’t got one.  Laissez-faire, set the conditions “right” and it’ll all come good apparently.

Grow and hope?

Or think seriously about humankind’s future, and do something about unsustainable growth before we self destruct, or condemn the world’s children to an insurmountable problem?

Most Chinese, Indian migrants go to Auckland

There are now more migrants coming to New Zealand from both China and India than there are from the UK. And most of the Asian immigrants settle in Auckland.

Migration to regional parts of New Zealand hasn’t gone down much, but Asian migration to Auckland has gone up substantially.

This means that more than ever Auckland is demographically quite different to much of the rest of the country.

NZ Herald: The Big Read: Why are migrants snubbing NZ’s regions?

That headline is misleading, it is mainly Asian migrants ‘snubbing’ the regions – and it’s simply because they prefer to settle in Auckland.

New settlers from Asia are giving the regions a wide berth, with migrants from the two main source countries preferring to set up home in Auckland.

Measures aimed at improving the spread of migrants across New Zealand were introduced last November, but new data reveals that seven in 10 migrants from China – the country’s largest source of permanent migrants – are not opting to live anywhere else but Auckland.

AUT University Professor of Population Geography Richard Bedford said New Zealand’s largest city is the preferred choice for migrants from China, India and other Asian countries.

“They concentrate on Auckland because of the sorts of work they want, the concentrations of their co-ethnics and, for Indians and Chinese, this is New Zealand’s only sizeable city,” Professor Bedford said.

Auckland is sizeable compared to the rest of New Zealand but is still quite small compared to major cities around the world.

  • Auckland 1.5 million
  • Sydney 5 million
  • Melbourne 4.4 million
  • Brisbane 2.3 million (South East Queensland 3.4 million)
  • Beijing metropolitan 25 million
  • Shanghai 24.2 million
  • Delhi 16.7 million
  • Mumbai 12.5 million
  • Shenzen 10.5 million

– approximate and depends on how a city area is defined

In List of cities proper by population (Wikipedia) it lists 90 cities of over 3 million population, with 27 being in China and 10 in India.

“The migrants from Western countries tend to be attracted to the same things as New Zealanders, after all, they are not just coming to NZ to work in Auckland,” said Professor Bedford.

But with China now displacing the UK as the main source country for migrants, and more migrants coming from Asia, Auckland will become more cosmopolitan and diverse, while the regions remain largely “white”.

“The smaller towns and rural parts of the country will have populations that are closer to the national average in terms of diversity, and some places will be very heavily dominated by people of European and Maori ethnicities,” Professor Bedford added.

So you choose much more ethnic diversity and much higher property prices in Auckland or go live somewhere else in New Zealand.

Time to act on water quality

Problems with water availability and quantity are of increasing concern in New Zealand.

Today’s NZ Herald editorial: Urgent need to act on our water supply

Trucks are delivering water to parched vineyards in Marlborough. As river levels dip in the hottest months, water quality falls. Warning signs beside freshwater lagoons at Piha, Karekare and Bethells because of overloaded septic tanks are a familiar summer sight.

Toxic algae has been detected at 15 freshwater sites in Canterbury. North of Christchurch, people who draw water from rural supplies with shallow intakes must permanently boil water used for drinking, oral hygiene and food preparation.

The signs are not positive.

Six years ago, the Government asked the Land and Water Forum to create a plan for freshwater management. The forum, which draws together 67 organisations and is meant to work collaboratively, has made dozens of recommendations in a series of reports on how best to manage water.

In its fourth and latest document, issued in November, the forum pleaded for action, warning that without some concrete steps water quality would continue to deteriorate, and the country would further squander what the forum rightly calls a national treasure and strategic asset.

Forum chairman Alastair Bisley delivered a blunt message to Environment Minister Nick Smith and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, reminding them that most of the previous 153 recommendations continued to gather dust.

Mr Bisley pointedly noted that the forum’s very first recommendation in its new report was to implement all the others “and do that as soon as possible”.

All New Zealanders expect reliable access to clean water. The economy rests on its assured supply. As many as 200,000 jobs – in dairying, horticulture and tourism – directly depend on water.

The Government has been handed all it needs to make their livelihoods secure and protect a renewable asset. It ought to act soon.

From the Land and Water Forum:

In February 2015 Ministers for the Environment and Primary Industries asked the Forum to assist the Government with further development and delivery of water policy reform.

On 27 November 2015 the Forum released the Fourth Report of the Land and Water Forum (pdf, 2.5MB) on how to maximise the economic benefits of freshwater while managing within water quality and quantity limits that are set consistent with the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management 2014 (NPS-FM). It also recommends exclusion of livestock from waterways on plains and lowland hills, addresses a number of urban issues and suggests tools and approaches to assist the Crown’s exploration of rights and interests with iwi.

From the Fourth report:

Fresh water is however a resource that has come under increasing pressure over the last 20 years. In our first report, we noted that although it is still good overall and rates well internationally, both its quality and its availability have been declining, especially in lowland areas, as land use has intensified and our population has grown.

We have made significant progress in dealing with point source discharges, but diffuse discharges remain an issue, and some urban and pastoral waterways remain highly polluted.

Many catchments are overallocated with contaminants.

Lags mean that impacts of present and past practices may not reveal themselves for some time, while. Climate change will increase our difficulties.

Poorer water quality adversely affects biodiversity, aquatic ecosystems, invasive species and in-stream uses,. impacting our health and our amenities.

The report makes a number of recommendations, starting with:

Recommendation 1: The government should complete implementing the Forum’s recommendations from its three previous reports as soon as possible. Unless otherwise explicitly stated in this report, those earlier recommendations remain unchanged.

Increasing land production and population will keep putting more pressure on water resources. This may be accentuated by affects of climate change.

Water availability and quality are fundamental requirements. Government should be doing whatever it can to provide these.