Trans Tasman Migration and Real GDP/Capita

Spent a very enjoyable day at the University of Waikato where the Economics Dept presented a series of interesting lectures and facilitated some great discussion amongst colleagues. Among the presentations was one by Jacques Poot – Professor of Population Economics. A couple of graphs that I thought would be useful in teaching this area are as follows:

1. Trans Tasman Migration

Until the 1970s, the numbers on both sides of the Tasman were quite similar. In the early 20th century there were more Australians in NZ than vice versa. The current trend started after the 1967 recession, which is referred to economic historians such as Hawke and Gould as the end of the golden weather. It would be dangerous to extrapolate, but it is clear that the 2011 census will show further growth, certainly passing 400,000.

2. Real GDP per capita: Australia, New Zealand and OECD, 1950-2007

This figure will be familiar. It also features in the 2025 Taskforce reports. All sources of data show the same trends. The interesting aspect is that NZ starts lagging behind exactly when the migration trend commenced. In recent years, NZ moves along parallel OECD; Australia forged ahead “Taking on the West Island” shows that NZ labour productivity growth is not lower in all sectors: in fact in measured sectors such as manufacturing NZ does better, but worse in the public sector and property and business services.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *