The Daily Bork

February 02, 2005

NZ overtakes Spain in per capita income table - report

NZ overtakes Spain in per capita income table - report

New Zealand has made a small step towards the Government goal of regaining the top half of the OECD in per capita income by overtaking Spain.

However, a Treasury and Ministry of Economic Development report on economic indicators out today shows it has a long way to go to achieve the goal - New Zealand now lies 20th out of the 30 member club of industrialised nations.

I have always been a little perplexed by the obsession with league tables in comparing countries. After all, what does it mean that NZ is 20 out of 30? What if all 30 are, statistically speaking over an appropriate time period, the same? Any test that gives a rank based on a multitude of measures will give inevitably produce countries with differing scores, even though they are for all intents and purposes equivalent. How do they account for the noise? They don't. So what does an article like this mean? Nothing. Anyway, not everyone can lie in the top half of the table by its very definition. Anyway, isn't this obsession with rankings by a socialist government all a bit unseemly? Shouldn't the rankings be corrected by changing the ranking system? That seems to be the way in every other aspect of the Labour government. Too many people on unemployment benefits? Stick them on new sickness benefits and hey presto! The unemployment rate drops a few points! Etc etc.

They said skill levels were improving with both the proportion of adults with a tertiary qualification (30 per cent) and the expected number of years in education of students (18.3) above the OECD average.

This is rather hysterical considering the previous posts about educational standards. After all, they have raised the number of years of education by raising the minimum school-leaver age and conning everyone into believing that a degree is the passport to a job. And if you have already spent your teenage years getting a substandard education in geography why not go on to university and waste a few more years getting a degree? The universities will gladly take you in regardless of whether or not you can write a legibile, grammatically correct sentence so long as you pony up the fees. Why not be done with it and give everyone a degree in the subject of their choice when they turn 21? Then the country would be miles ahead of the OECD, and it would mean just as much.

"But despite all this, a number of industries are now experiencing severe skills shortages so there is clearly more work to do."

Yes. Because the final employer wants a qualified/competent/literate/whatever employee so looks to other indicators, or sets their own aptitude tests.


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