Spend­ing se­crets

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

I’ve had the tune ‘‘I think I’m turn­ing Ja­pa­nese’’ go­ing round in my head this morn­ing.

It’s an ap­pro­pri­ate tune to ac­com­pany the writ­ing of my col­umn, be­cause re­cently I found statis­tics that in­di­cate that I am Asian – at least when it comes to my spend­ing pat­terns . . . some of them, any­way.

New Zealand has ex­pe­ri­enced a large rise in its Asian pop­u­la­tion.

In 1996, there were just un­der 195,000 eth­ni­cally Asian peo­ple in the coun­try.

By 2006 the num­ber had risen to more than 400,000.

And with that rise comes in­creas­ing no­tice from the gov­ern­ment statis­ti­cians re­spon­si­ble for track­ing our spend­ing pat­terns.

Gov­ern­ments like to know what we spend our money on and it turns out that viewed from on­high, eth­ni­cally Asian New Zealan­ders do have dif­fer­ent spend­ing pat­terns com­pared to other eth­nic groups like Pakeha and Maori.

And look­ing at the data made me feel pos­i­tively Asian, though I am go­ing to be cau­tious in draw­ing many con­clu- sions other than that some of the val­ues which Asian spend­ing pat­terns seem to sug­gest val­ues I hold dear.

Let me break down the as­pects of our spend­ing pat­terns that in­ter­est me most.

Ed­u­ca­tion spend: I’ll start with one of my big­gest pre­oc­cu­pa­tions – ed­u­ca­tion.

Be­ing fa­ther to two girls, my great­est de­light is their progress in life.

I’m su­per proud of them and love to see the school work, piano, danc­ing, swim­ming and French go­ing well.

There’s a bit of an in­vest­ment go­ing on there but I don’t be­grudge a penny.

The spend­ing pat­terns as mea­sured by Stats NZ show that while edu- cation spend­ing ac­counted for 1.2 per cent of Pakeha spend­ing in 2011 and 1.7 per cent for Maori, it was 3.7 per cent for Asian house­holds.

If suc­cess is de­ter­mined by ed­u­ca­tion, then this is an area Pakeha and Maori New Zealand may want to try a bit harder on.

In­ter­est: Higher in­come peo­ple tend to spend more on in­ter­est.

That’s a house own­er­ship ef­fect.

Sim­i­larly, the amount you spend on a house th­ese days is di­rectly linked to the ed­u­ca­tion you want for the kids.

Par­ents who want a bet­ter than av­er­age state ed­u­ca­tion for their kids of­ten spend more than av­er­age on buy­ing a home in an area where there is a school that de­liv­ers that.

I don’t want to draw any hard con­clu­sions but the spend­ing stats in this area for 2011 reads: 10 per cent of Asian house­hold spend­ing, com­pared to 8 per cent for Pakeha and 8.2 per cent for Maori.

Booze and fags: OK, I may not be quite as Asian as I boasted ear­lier. I do like a drink and so do some of my col- leagues which some weeks sees me in­dulge a lit­tle more.

This week hav­ing bought rum, stout and bar­ley wine in prepa­ra­tion for mak­ing a tra­di­tional Christ­mas steamed pud­ding, any­one analysing my credit card state­ment might con­clude I was an al­co­holic with eclec­tic tastes.

But the fig­ures on booze and to­bacco spend­ing are pretty stark: Pakeha 6.6 per cent, Maori 8.1 per cent, Asian 2.6 per cent.

Amus­ingly, peo­ple lie to statis­ti­cians about how much they drink, so they find clever ways of re­con­struct­ing the data.

Recre­ation and cul­ture: The fig­ures for spend­ing in this area are 9 per cent Pakeha, 7.2 per cent Maori and 6.8 per cent Asian.

I have a bit of a book habit but in re­cent years have been a bit of a home­body. That’s made me a lean fun­der of the arts, though I have chipped a bit into the cof­fers of var­i­ous half marathon or­gan­is­ers.

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