Archive for July 1st, 2008

Reminder: Drinking Liberally tomorrow @ 7.30pm

July 1, 2008

Don’t forget that Drinking Liberally Auckland launches tomorrow.

WHEN: 7:30pm, Wednesday 2 July
WHERE: London Bar, cnr Queen & Wellesley Streets, Auckland City
GUEST SPEAKER: David Slack on ‘New Zealand the way you want it’

The Atlas of Socioeconomic Deprivation in New Zealand

July 1, 2008

The Health Department have produced a series of maps showing the geographical distribution of lack of wealth in NZ. Or, if you’re a Tory, the distribution of envy. No real surprises.

For a quick squiz, the Herald has some of the maps online. The actual maps (1.6–2.0 Mb for NZ/NI/SI) are here.

The “Atlas” was based on Statistics New Zealand’s index of socioeconomic deprivation. According to the Department of Health, the index “was used to monitor inequalities across a range of health indicators, including hospitalisations and mortality. It was also widely used to assess DHB funding. In research, the index was a tool to determine the relationship between socioeconomic status and health outcomes.” (Presumably it still is, and the DoH simply can’t write a press release.)

I’m inclined to ask how you could use the maps for the latter purpose when many of the independent variables are linked (e.g., socio-economic status and ethnicity). Multivariate analysis is required to estimate the independent effects of these variables.

Update: MacDoc raises some important points in his comments. A podcast of a RNZ interview with Peter Crampton, Dean, University of Otago Wellington campus on the Atlas is available.

Using our brains, for a change

July 1, 2008

On his recent visit, Professor Lord Robert Winston added his voice to the chorus advocating greater emphasis on science if NZ wants economic growth.

Our research spending — both public and private — is pathetic. (Except, most recently, for some agricultural research.) We spend a little over 1% of GDP, or $700 million odd, on research. This is well below most other advanced economies — half the OECD average and a third of some OECD countries — and is often cited as a reason for our poor relative economic performance.

We’re in the same league on funding/GDP as Spain, Italy, Turkey and Greece. Yup, the same group we’re part of on the GDP per capita table.