Sunday, June 26, 2016

NZ's demographic timebomb

These slides are from a compelling presentation made at the New Zealand Planning Institute conference in Dunedin this year. Many attendees - including me - found it very enlightening and disturbing. Up there with climate change in terms of its remorseless and over-whelming effect.
 Structural ageing was a key theme. This relates to the proportions in a given slice of population that are of child-bearing age. It requires an understanding of the different age cohorts there are in different parts of the country, and what that will mean in future years - and future generations - for the makeup of the population. This graph really tells the story of NZ's baby boomer demographic structure. It shows the changes in the proportion of different age ranges across the country over the next 10 years. Thus there will be 70% more people aged between 75 and 79, and 10% fewer people aged between 40 and 50. Analysis of these numbers leads to assessments about the numbers of births in future years less the number of deaths in those years, and to predictions of zero and negative population increase (when deaths exceed births in a community).

The population structure in different parts of New Zealand is very different. These two examples are Thames Coromandel and Hamilton. The former has the greatest proportion of older people in the population in New Zealand.
 The data in this rpesentation is largely drawn from NZ Statistics. ie it is readily available. However in my experience not a lot of attention has been focussed on it by planning and planners at territorial authority level in preparing for the future needs of communities. This may be because of the very short-term focus that predominates in New Zealand today.

This OAG comment notes that the demographic situation NZ is entering now, because of its baby boomer origins, is not a situation we have experienced before, and one we may be ill-prepared for in planning terms.

Parts of New Zealand (notably Auckland) are like Sydney and Melbourne and London - cities where 30 to 40% of the population were born overseas. Brexit has led to all sorts of analysis - one question might be why was it that 70% of voters in many inner city London suburbs voted to remain, while many outside London did not. A consideration in this analysis must be the very high proportion of Londoners who were not born in the UK. These globalisation changes present challenges. Urban areas not affected by/suffering from/benefiting from sharply increasing immigration tend to worry about the way their country is changing - "doesn't feel like home anymore...". Demographic changes in parts of New Zealand will be similar, and this graphic, and others like it, are harbingers of that future. It is a debate that needs to be had in New Zealand, and it needs to be had and settled before any consequences are immutable.

 This slide draws attention to the fact that as the age makeup of a community population changes, so too do the proportional needs and requirements that need to be met. This change is not about size and increasing numbers, but about changes in the occupancy of different age groups. Taking Thames Coromandel as an example - it has a very high proportion of people older than 65, and a low proportion of working age people.
 NZ Stats has provided maps of the changing areas of New Zealand.
 NZ Stats has tabulated population projections. Today NZ Government is primarily focused on parts of NZ that are growing strongly - in overall numbers - such as Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Christchurch and Queenstown. These are the areas of NZ that are experiencing greatest net population growth and related economic activity growth. Government's $5,000 offer to relocate away from Auckland is a trivial start in countrywide demographic planning and population management.

This is an interesting snippet of what is happening in Australia, parts of which are encountering similar demographic challenges. This is a recognition that TLAs have different abilities to fund their activities. Having an ageing and retired population on fixed incomes makes it difficult to raise rates needed to fund local services.
 This slide outlines some of the approaches that are adopted in different countries. I think the message here is that NZ is firmly in the "build it and they will come" camp.
 Interestingly, the demographic analysis also applies to the labour market. Different occupations in a country require/rely upon a steady supply of skilled entrants to pick up the work that needs to be done. It is critical to a country's economic future that it has the workers it needs to do the jobs that need  to be done. One reason - perhaps - why immigration of skilled workers is supported.
 This was an intriguing reflection By Natalie - for the planning conference - on her demographic assessment of the age profile of resource management planners.
And here's her summary of take away points. Key recommendation here: begin the dialogue. We need a national population/settlement strategy and plan in New Zealand. Just turning on the immigration tap to keep GDP bubbling along, and then expecting Councils to respond to the market thus created is not the sort of dialogue and cooperative approach that is needed.

1 comment:

John Brockies said...

Natalie gave an earlier version of this presentation at the IPWEA conference in 2014.

"Understanding today's demography for tomorrow's infrastructure. Natalie Jackson
In this presentation, Natalie will outline the implications of New Zealand's subnational demography for infrastructure provision"

Important features of that presentation for me were that most forecast growth is in Auckland and Hamilton and most of that growth is in the 65+ cohort. This has implications for housing forms to suit the needs of the downsizing generation.

Implications also are in property markets where the ratio of downsizers to new buyers is forecast to be no better than 1:1 ( perhaps Taupo ) meaning that capital gains will be zero.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

NZ's demographic timebomb

These slides are from a compelling presentation made at the New Zealand Planning Institute conference in Dunedin this year. Many attendees - including me - found it very enlightening and disturbing. Up there with climate change in terms of its remorseless and over-whelming effect.
 Structural ageing was a key theme. This relates to the proportions in a given slice of population that are of child-bearing age. It requires an understanding of the different age cohorts there are in different parts of the country, and what that will mean in future years - and future generations - for the makeup of the population. This graph really tells the story of NZ's baby boomer demographic structure. It shows the changes in the proportion of different age ranges across the country over the next 10 years. Thus there will be 70% more people aged between 75 and 79, and 10% fewer people aged between 40 and 50. Analysis of these numbers leads to assessments about the numbers of births in future years less the number of deaths in those years, and to predictions of zero and negative population increase (when deaths exceed births in a community).

The population structure in different parts of New Zealand is very different. These two examples are Thames Coromandel and Hamilton. The former has the greatest proportion of older people in the population in New Zealand.
 The data in this rpesentation is largely drawn from NZ Statistics. ie it is readily available. However in my experience not a lot of attention has been focussed on it by planning and planners at territorial authority level in preparing for the future needs of communities. This may be because of the very short-term focus that predominates in New Zealand today.

This OAG comment notes that the demographic situation NZ is entering now, because of its baby boomer origins, is not a situation we have experienced before, and one we may be ill-prepared for in planning terms.

Parts of New Zealand (notably Auckland) are like Sydney and Melbourne and London - cities where 30 to 40% of the population were born overseas. Brexit has led to all sorts of analysis - one question might be why was it that 70% of voters in many inner city London suburbs voted to remain, while many outside London did not. A consideration in this analysis must be the very high proportion of Londoners who were not born in the UK. These globalisation changes present challenges. Urban areas not affected by/suffering from/benefiting from sharply increasing immigration tend to worry about the way their country is changing - "doesn't feel like home anymore...". Demographic changes in parts of New Zealand will be similar, and this graphic, and others like it, are harbingers of that future. It is a debate that needs to be had in New Zealand, and it needs to be had and settled before any consequences are immutable.

 This slide draws attention to the fact that as the age makeup of a community population changes, so too do the proportional needs and requirements that need to be met. This change is not about size and increasing numbers, but about changes in the occupancy of different age groups. Taking Thames Coromandel as an example - it has a very high proportion of people older than 65, and a low proportion of working age people.
 NZ Stats has provided maps of the changing areas of New Zealand.
 NZ Stats has tabulated population projections. Today NZ Government is primarily focused on parts of NZ that are growing strongly - in overall numbers - such as Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Christchurch and Queenstown. These are the areas of NZ that are experiencing greatest net population growth and related economic activity growth. Government's $5,000 offer to relocate away from Auckland is a trivial start in countrywide demographic planning and population management.

This is an interesting snippet of what is happening in Australia, parts of which are encountering similar demographic challenges. This is a recognition that TLAs have different abilities to fund their activities. Having an ageing and retired population on fixed incomes makes it difficult to raise rates needed to fund local services.
 This slide outlines some of the approaches that are adopted in different countries. I think the message here is that NZ is firmly in the "build it and they will come" camp.
 Interestingly, the demographic analysis also applies to the labour market. Different occupations in a country require/rely upon a steady supply of skilled entrants to pick up the work that needs to be done. It is critical to a country's economic future that it has the workers it needs to do the jobs that need  to be done. One reason - perhaps - why immigration of skilled workers is supported.
 This was an intriguing reflection By Natalie - for the planning conference - on her demographic assessment of the age profile of resource management planners.
And here's her summary of take away points. Key recommendation here: begin the dialogue. We need a national population/settlement strategy and plan in New Zealand. Just turning on the immigration tap to keep GDP bubbling along, and then expecting Councils to respond to the market thus created is not the sort of dialogue and cooperative approach that is needed.

1 comment:

John Brockies said...

Natalie gave an earlier version of this presentation at the IPWEA conference in 2014.

"Understanding today's demography for tomorrow's infrastructure. Natalie Jackson
In this presentation, Natalie will outline the implications of New Zealand's subnational demography for infrastructure provision"

Important features of that presentation for me were that most forecast growth is in Auckland and Hamilton and most of that growth is in the 65+ cohort. This has implications for housing forms to suit the needs of the downsizing generation.

Implications also are in property markets where the ratio of downsizers to new buyers is forecast to be no better than 1:1 ( perhaps Taupo ) meaning that capital gains will be zero.