As planning has become distinctly unfashionable, has New Zealand's lack of vision and perspective cost us our last, best hope of coping with the massive challenges facing us in coming decades?  What will be the nature and consequences of the boomer generation's legacy to its children and grandchildren?

On Thursday June 9th at 7pm, the Fabians offer a free seminar featuring Ian Pool and Natalie Jackson

intended to provoke a broader debate on these issues? You can register here.

Ian Pool is Emeritus Professor of Demography, University of Waikato, and is affiliated with the National Institute for Demographic & Economic Analysis

Squandering Our Demographic Dividend

The future path for New Zealand’s development looms high in this election year.  Among developed countries, we have an almost unique window of opportunity (WO): a relatively high proportion of our population is at youth ages (15-24/29 years). Technically, this is termed a demographic dividend, but becomes a real bonus only with careful management, which, if successful, could also produce a Second Dividend about the time the Baby Boomers really age (say 2026); instead, over the period that the WO has been available, from the early 1970s, we have squandered it, and it ends circa 2016. My argument is that investments such as those Sir Paul Callaghan set out capitalize on the WO as they are human capital-dependent – ultimately on young New Zealanders in whom we have already invested yet seem to find no place for. They allow us to capture the dying phases of the WO.
Natalie Jackson is Professor of Demography and Director of the National Institute of Demographic & Economic Analysis at the University of Waikato

The Demographic Forces Shaping New Zealand's Future

New Zealand has the highest birth rate in the developed world, currently very high net migration gains, and an annual growth rate equal to the global growth rate. These dynamics suggest that the nation’s population is on a steady growth path. However what is actually on the horizon is an emerging crisis. First, as each successive wave of boomers retire they will be replaced by an ever-smaller cohort, while located between the two is a bite in the age structure that is already creating a skills vacuum in the labour market. Second, population ageing is unfolding at markedly different rates across the country, as non-urban age structures are even more deeply gouged out by youthful net migration loss and/or in sun-belt areas expanded at older ages by an influx of retirees. Both lead to an accelerated end of growth, already the case in 15 (22 per cent) of the country's Territorial Authorities, while 42 per cent already have fewer people at labour market entry than exit age. A burning question is when does population growth 'end'?
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