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New Zealand|Politics

Interactive: How do you think the Govt has done? Test your knowledge

NZ Herald

The Labour-led Government has been in power for more than two years now and, as it enjoys its annual conference this weekend, will no doubt be trumpeting its areas of success.

Meanwhile, National will be throwing stones at the Government and accusing it of not delivering in some key areas.

But what do the numbers say? Herald data journalists Chris Knox has dug into some of the most interesting statistics since Labour took power in 2017.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson didn't have time to talk to the Herald – but his political rival, National's finance spokesman Paul Goldsmith, said some of the numbers show the Government is underperforming in some important areas.

How do you think the Government has done? Test your knowledge here:

On the graphs below drag the dot to draw your guess of things have changed. Once have finished the actual values will be revealed.

After a brief spike, net migration has been falling and is projected to continue to do so.

There are a number of reasons for the fall after the brief spike, according to immigration specialist David Cooper, director at Malcolm Pacific Director.

For example, international student numbers have flattened, he said.

Immigration is likely to be an election issue – think New Zealand First – so definitely more to come on this one.

Earlier this year, unemployment reached a 10-year low of 3.9 per cent.

Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen said although economic growth has not been as high as it was in previous years, it's still high.

Growth in the service and construction sector has led to more job creation, he said.

But he said that might be all about to end as the economy begins to slow.

Despite the Government's KiwiBuild woes, the data shows the number of new residential building consents since the Government took over has increased.

Westpac Economist Satish Ranchhod said while there has been a lot of house building across the country, the biggest increase has been in Auckland.

"However, over the past five years, building activity in the region hasn't kept up with increases in the population. That's left Auckland with a shortfall of around 20,000 homes."

Like a lot of other measures on this list, average household income has continued to rise since the early 2010s.

Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesman Ricardo Menendez said the average rise was not filtering through to people with low income.

But Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the Government's policies have seen the minimum wage rise, families are getting on average an extra $75 a week through the Families Package.

This one will probably not surprise a lot of people.

Statistics New Zealand has been saying for years now New Zealand's population is projected to continue climbing for the foreseeable future.

Health Minister David Clark said the Government has pledged to invest an additional $8 billion between 2017-2021 in health funding. That is reflected in the data.

National's health spokesman Michael Woodhouse said health spending is always increasing and Labour were always going to outspend National.

But he questioned some of the health outcomes and said the Government should be doing more to reduce key surgery wait times.

Looking at the past two years, it's pretty much flat to falling slightly.

But that didn't stop National's Early Childhood Education spokesperson Nicola Willis from being very critical of the numbers.

She said the drop shows the Government has failed to deliver on its major promises in early childhood education and has instead prioritised its promise of Fees Free tertiary study.

There is a clear and sizable drop after this Government took over in 2017.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said the drop helps reflect the extra $243 million the Government has spent on reducing reoffending.

As can be seen historically on this measure, it jumps around a lot – but there is a clear trend upwards.

Davis said the reasons behind the rise in the remand population are varied, but a contributing factor is court scheduling.

"The number of court events, and the time between then, has been growing," he said.

Economic growth per person has increased since Labour took over.

But National's finance spokesman Paul Goldsmith says the small uptick is not as good as it seems.

He said population growth is responsible for much of the GDP per person increase. If that were to be stripped out, he said the figure would not actually be all that impressive.

Robertson, however, said he was pleased with the numbers and expected the trend to continue – "albeit in a part of the economic cycle where headline GDP growth is slower".

This year the road toll for the year to June has dropped for the first time in four years.

But a return to an annual road toll of under 300 still seems a long way off.

Probably not a shock to most people, but house prices have been increasing.

But not as fast as in previous years.

Before the 2017 election, Robertson promised to get net core crown debt, as a percentage of GDP, to below 20 per cent.

He has been successful at doing so, as the graph shows.

Job growth in the primary sector has been more, or less, flat according to the data.

But the primary sector now employs more people than it ever has.

Alcohol consumption has dipped slightly, before jumping back up again; it's now at pre-election levels. Despite this, it remains at the lowest levels since the mid-2000s.

But Statistics Professor Thomas Lumley of University of Auckland warns things change over time for a lot of reasons and the Government is just one possibility.

Data Sources

Net migration — Statistics New Zealand
Unemployment Rate — Statistics New Zealand
New Residential Building Consents — Statistics New Zealand
Average Household Income — Statistics New Zealand
Population — Statistics New Zealand
DHB Funding per Person — Statistics New Zealand and Treasury
Early Childhood Education — Statistics New Zealand and Treasury
Sentenced Prisoners — Ministry of Justice
Remand Prisoners — Ministry of Justice
GDP per Person — Statistics New Zealand
Annual Road Roll — Ministry of Transport
Average House Price — CoreLogic
Core Crown Debt — Treasury via Figure.NZ
Primary Sector Jobs — Statistics New Zealand
Per-capita Alcohol Consumption — Statistics New Zealand