My last post showed where New Zealanders’ incomes would rank if we were a state of Australia. (9th out of 9.)
What if we extended that comparison to the whole of the Anglo world?
In such a union, we’d be one of 80: 50 states and 1 district of the USA; 6 states and 2 territories of Australia; 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada; 4 countries and 2 Channel Islands of the UK; plus Ireland and us.
Of the 6 countries, we’d be the smallest. But of the 80 states, we’d be 36th.
50 of those 80 have populations between 1 and 10 million – 20 of those 50 between 3 and 6 million.
So at 4 million, we’re right in the middle of the pack. A bit smaller than British Columbia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Ireland and Queensland. And a bit bigger than Oregon, Alberta, Oklahoma, Connecticut and Iowa.
But when we rank the same states by standard of living, the pack shuffles. And poor old NZ just about falls off the table…
77th out of 80.
And if you said, “At least we’re richer than Northern Ireland and Wales,” don’t be too sure. Their figures were taken a year earlier than ours.
The only one of the 80 states we definitely pip is Prince Edward Island – a Canadian pimple with the population of Hamilton.
Now let’s decolour all states apart from New Zealand and our ten closest neighbours in the population rankings.
Again, you can see we’re by far the poorest. From $11,000 a year poorer than Queensland to $60,000 a year poorer than Alberta.
All of which begs three questions:
Are all 76 of New Zealand’s economic superiors awash with oil, gold or other natural assets that we lack?
Does our remoteness account for our failure to keep up with our population peers?
Or could it be that our poor performance is the legacy of a history of poor management?
I look forward to the government’s ambitious plan to catch up with Mississippi and Tasmania and keep our noses in front of those plucky Prince Edward Islanders.