Thursday, 28 November 2013

An open-minded people

Statistics New Zealand's Tuesday function on measuring well-being has got quite a bit of coverage - see for example this post from Matt Nolan and this one from Shamubeel Eaqub, both over at The Visible Hand in Economics, as well as my own summary.

I'll only add one more thing, and it's based on the leaflet, 'Social Well-being in New Zealand: Insights from the New Zealand General Social Survey 2012', that was put out on the attendees' tables. You can get your own copy here.

Reading the leaflet, I was struck by the finding that "80% of Wellingtonians agreed that immigration benefits New Zealand". Here's the source - it's actually from the 'Social Cohesion' findings of the 2008 General Social Survey, and it's the national results and not just Wellington. I gather the 2008 data will be updated with the 2012 results any day now.

Overseas, politicians have been pandering to the worst fears and lowest common denominators of their electorates - immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan political issues in the US right now, while any quick trek through the European media will show you the UK, French and German governments all trying to gummage up the free movement of people across the EU (they've got eastern Europe in mind, mainly). Some of this recent anti-immigration posturing is the bigger political parties trying to cut off even worse options, and prevent anti-immigration voters defecting to more extreme options (such as France's National Front). Even allowing for the realpolitik of the whole thing, though, it's all pretty discreditable.

So I was quietly chuffed to come across evidence that we, at least, are still open-minded, liberal, and decent people.

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