One of the questions voters will ask themselves in November will be: do I feel better off after 3 years of National?
The answer will mostly be “no”.
We’ll have to wait until October for the third year’s statistics, but after the first 2 years the median household is $3489 worse off. In 2008-9 their income went down $1196, and inflation ate up another $1242 from the value of their money. 2009-10 their income went up a meagre $104, but inflation ate up $1155, meaning after 2 years of National most families had lost thousands of dollars. The last year isn’t shaping up any better: inflation is hitting recent highs (released today: food prices up 5.5% in year to March) – so households are on course to lose around $2500 to that – and there’s no evidence that wages are recovering to remotely cover that loss.
Sure the very wealthy who are still in work are doing well – with great pay increases and large tax cuts nicely skewing that average after-tax full-time wage that National like to spout – but peculiar statistics don’t help middle- and lower-income New Zealand pay their grocery bill.
And is it all the recession’s fault? The first 2 years can obviously not be blamed on the Christchurch earthquakes. But Australia is showing that wages in the Great Recession don’t have suffer like they are through National’s massive wealth transfer here.
The wage gap with Australia, ballooned out under the 90s National Government, Labour held it steady for 9 years, and it was still 30% when National came in. In 2009 it grew to 35%, and then further to 41% in 2010. And that’s before adding in the large superannuation payment your employer funds in Australia.
Which leaves us with a government that John Key said had a ‘fundamental purpose’ to close the wage gap with Australia completely failing; and Bill English touting our low wages as an economic advantage, as though it was always part of their plan.
What’s Wealthy? According to National $22,000/year for a single person or ~$50,000/year if you have dependants – that’s the proposed cut-off level for legal-aid for some “lesser” crimes. If they think that’s wealthy it shows just how out of touch they are. Although it would explain why they think the country is doing well despite all evidence…
(Nine to Noon had an excellent interview this morning about the undermining of the right to a fair trial this move will cause.)