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English: excuses but no solutions on plummeting incomes

Written By: - Date published: 8:52 am, November 19th, 2010 - 33 comments
Categories: bill english, class war, jobs, wages - Tags: , ,

Labour picked up on the statistics I revealed yesterday that show the median income of Maori has fallen 11.5% under National and the Pacific Island median income is down an astounding 19%. Kris Fa’afoi and Annette King put out press releases. Then King took the battle to Bill English in the House, who it seems is also a reader 🙂

Hon Annette King: Would a drop in income and an increase in GST have an impact on the budgets of low-income New Zealanders?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Of course, if that happened in an individual case they may be worse off. Any drop in income, which I am sure is the drop the member will refer to, occurs when people, for instance, lose their jobs. A whole lot of Māori and Pacific people lost their jobs because those jobs were reliant on excessive Government spending and excessive borrowing, and they were not sustainable jobs. We are going to create sustainable jobs so that when people get the jobs they can keep them.

“excessive spending and excessive borrowing”? Um. Labour ran surpluses every year and spending declined as a % of GDP, while both borrowing and spending (because of more beneficiaries) are up under National.

Hon Annette King: Can I take from that answer, then, that the Minister has seen the information from Statistics New Zealand showing that the median income for Māori has dropped by 11 percent and the median income for Pacific people has dropped by 19 percent in the 2 years under a National Government, and does she think this will impact on the ability of families to cope at present?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: As I pointed out, those figures take account of all sources of income. For those who have kept their jobs, wages have gone up. As for those who have lost their jobs, Labour should be apologising to them, because those jobs were created by wasteful Government spending and a mismanaged economy. They were not sustainable jobs.

So, we’re meant to believe that these weren’t ‘real’ or ‘useful’ jobs and that the natural and right condition is for Maori and Pacific Islanders to be unemployed. How’s that for ambitious for New Zealand?

And of course the “figures take account of all sources of income”. If you only count the median of those who have a job then the median will rise sharply when low income people lose their jobs. That might look good if you want to play statistical games like English, but it’s not good for working Kiwis.

Hon Annette King: In light of the Prime Minister saying New Zealanders would be better off after the tax switch, how can that be the case for Pacific people, whose inflation-adjusted median weekly income has dropped by $89 per week, and for Māori, whose same income has dropped by $60 per week, in the 2 years under a National Government? It has nothing to with a Labour Government; it occurred under a National Government, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Hon BILL ENGLISH: As I have explained, the drop in the median income has occurred because Māori and Pacific unemployment has gone up, and it has gone up because of the recession induced by the Labour Government through its damaging economic policies, and a global financial recession. The wages of Māori and Pacific people who have kept their jobs or found new jobs—if they are among the 40,000 who have found new jobs—have gone up. We will create sustainable jobs for those on benefits.

When are you going to create this jobs, Bill? Because John Key’s economic policy – hi-fiving schoolgirls and playing with spiders – isn’t doing the trick.

Hon Annette King: Do I take from the Minister’s answer that he is saying that the job of a Pacific Island woman—a job she has lost—providing home care to an elderly person under a Labour Government that was providing such care was a waste of money and time?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: No, I am not saying that. I am saying that the promises made by the Labour Government to Pacific Island communities that it had performed some magic and created jobs for them turned out to be false promises. This time round, we will manage the economy properly so that sustainable jobs are created, and so that once people get new jobs they will keep them.

King’s example is a pearler. Here is a worker whose job was funded by the government and that funding was cut by National resulting in her losing her job. Therefore, one can only conclude that English believes spending money on creating jobs in home help for the elderly was a waste of money. English was completely caught out.

33 comments on “English: excuses but no solutions on plummeting incomes”

  1. just saying 1

    “…Bill English in the House, who it seems is also a reader :-)”
    -More the merrier.

    Good work Labour (pity you picked it up from Marty rather than vice-versa, but hey). See what you can achieve when you stop turning a blind eye to the poor!

  2. Fisiani 2

    Another own goal on the Standard. Your shonky stats were refuted and you were told yesterday on this blog and then in the House by Bill English that the average after tax income for working people of Maori and PI origin has risen. Get with the play.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1

      Dont you know median trumps average. English has shifted the goalposts as well using a different period. This from the guy who wanted more government money to clean his house

    • Bright Red 2.2

      The stats weren’t refuted here or in the House. Indeed, English accepts them:

      “Any drop in income, which I am sure is the drop the member will refer to, occurs when people, for instance, lose their jobs. A whole lot of Māori and Pacific people lost their jobs”

      and you can go to the Stats table builder and work them out yourself, if you have the numeracy.

      captcha: numbers

    • bbfloyd 2.3

      i didn’t believe you could get any more desperate fisi.. i stand corrected…

    • Jum 2.4

      Fisiani, That’s what I hate about your Pondscum Inc. What is happening in New Zealand is not a play. It is real life and your masters are destroying people’s lives by their creative crxp. But no doubt you and they are pleased; it’s all going to plan. Cheap, desperate labour. Nice one Fisiani. You’re a true believer in greed and misogyny. When you belong to NAct that’s your profile.

  3. Carol 3

    In the exchange linked to by Marty, there is also this question from Horomia, that was disallowed by the Speaker :

    Hon Parekura Horomia: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister seems quite clear on why things have happened. Can he give us a response as to why the unemployment rate for Māori is the same as what it was before—

    Actually the employment rate for Maori has fallen by about 1.1% and 0.3% over the last 5 years. But that’s a lot different from the 11.5% decrease in median income for Maori.

    http://www.dol.govt.nz/publications/lmr/quick-facts/maori.asp

    And the unemployment rate rose for both Maori & Pacific Island people between March 2009 & March 2010

    http://pacificeyewitness.com/2010/05/06/latest-nz-unemployed-stats-delivers-more-bad-news-for-pacific-maori/

    The data shows a worsening job market for Maori and Pacific communities.

    Over the past 12 months since March 2009, statistics show Pacific unemployment has steadily climbed from 13.6 percent to a staggering 14.4 percent.

    During the same period, Maori unemployment has gone from 10.7 percent to 14.2 percent. Meanwhile, the European rate of employment is at 4.4 percent.

    But isn’t that a rise of 1% for Pacific people and 1.5% for Maori, over the last year?

    So, help me out here, please? Isn’t Horomia incorrect in saying the unemployment rate has remained the same for Maori. OTOH, the rise in unemployment for both Maori and Pacific people is not as big as the drop in income?

    But it looks to me that I am not comparing like-with-like: ie drop in the media wage, with percentage of people unemployed or employed, are not the same sort of statistics. And the unemployment stats are only for one year.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      Are you looking at the labour participation rate? because the unemployment graph is the one below that and shows Maori unemployment up 5.5% in the past five years.

      Of course, it hasn’t gone up much recently and the drop in incomes is far more dramatic – because wages are going backwards.

      captcha: compare (love it!)

      • Carol 3.1.1

        thanks, Bright Red. So, Horomia was correct in principle, and Blinglish’s claims about the drop in Maori & Pacific median incomes being totally due to axing the “unreal” jobs in the public sector is incorrect.

    • freedom 3.2

      it would have been better had he asked for a supplementary question but he kind of stuffed it by jumping in and the question inevitably was never officially asked,… in that session. he had a big grin though as he sat back watching the speaker rustling throught the order papers

      can one of our resident experts tell us if it can be put as a new question in the next sitting ?

  4. Lanthanide 4

    Bill seems to be saying that any jobs created by National, are “real” and permanent jobs, that apparently will never disappear, ever. This seems like it can easily come back to bite him, if there is another recession/rise in unemployment under a National government, the question to ask if “I thought you said these were sustainable jobs? Why haven’t they been sustained?”.

  5. Nice work Marty.

    When are you going to create these jobs, Bill?

    i wondered that too and where and how is he gonna create them ?

    • freedom 5.1

      they must still be studying how many people it takes to carve a cycleway out of bullshit?

      • bbfloyd 5.1.1

        freedom…that must be why it’s taking so long.. they have to wait for it to dry out enough not to splatter when hit with a pickaxe..

  6. KJT 6

    “For those who have kept their jobs, wages have gone up”.

    That what tends to happen when the low waged jobs disappear. Statistically average wages go up when low paid jobs disappear and executive pay goes up. We all know that wages for most of us are dropping rapidly compared to prices of necessities as they have been since the 80’s.

  7. KJT 7

    Sustainable jobs? 6000 dollars to McD’s so they can employ another part timer while telling WINZ it is a full time job until they get the employee to leave, because the hours do not pay for travel , so the can get the subsidy for another one.
    3 months work on a cycleway.

    That sort of sustainable jobs?

  8. KJT 8

    Meanwhile, as the neo-liberal circus carries on, China is spending as much of their US dollars as possible in buying concrete assets and resources before the $US becomes as valueless as blankets and beads.

    Stupid mugs like us keep selling to them for $US..

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      Ultimately, possession is 9/10ths of the law. China buying foreign assets with soon-to-be-worthless-US$ doesn’t help them if the victim country decides to re-nationalise the asset when the US$ does become worthless.

      Of course the flipside of that is that whoever has the biggest stick, makes the rules, and China’s stick is on the path to become bigger than the US’s and Russia’s.

  9. tc 9

    ‘We are going to create sustainable jobs so that when people get the jobs they can keep them…’

    which in nat speak is jobz for the boyz which we’ll try and entrench as far as we possibly can.

    when is labour going to take down this clown over this continued whining about a mismanaged economy…..no point in waiting for the msm to illustrate it as they’re too busy cowering in the corner writing lightweight puff pieces and trying not to upset big daddy.

  10. Colonial Viper 10

    The Standard is having a real impact. Well done fellas 😀

    Now its about taking the fight to the streets; politics is our country’s contact sport and once the mob start paying attention to how the teams are performing on the field as opposed to the bluster of the coaches, National is finished. 😀

    ps although it would have been nice to see Labour pull up the stats itself, dumping the Blue Boys next year is going to be a team effort. Let’s see if National’s individualism every bloke for himself mantra is going to trump the Left’s power through co-ordinated collective action mantra 😀

  11. Red Rosa 11

    Bill English must be quietly tearing his hair out. It always was a massive gamble that the economy could stand that dodgy Budget move. The expected shift in spending resulting from the GST increase/tax cut on high incomes has not happened.

    Instead, the economy has been nudged further downhill, and the chickens are coming home to roost.

    The contrast to the prudent Cullen/Clark years, with their govt surpluses, gets more obvious by the day. When English took over, as he occasionally admits, the books were in great shape.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      The expected shift in spending resulting from the GST increase/tax cut on high incomes has not happened.

      Honestly only very very few people were actually and sincerely “expecting” it.

      The NATs know how to game an economy they don’t know how to build one.

  12. Jim Nald 12

    Oh Dipton is acting minister. Good acting.

    Anyway, where is dear dahling Ms Benefit Bennett?
    At a time when things are tough for the people, she is in absentia.
    Is her social development portfolio (and youth affairs) so unimportant and insignificant that we haven’t got a real minister for that portfolio in the country?

    Any updates on the work she is doing overseas, how much taxpayers are still paying her to be so very busy to be minister, her travel perks, etc?

  13. PC Brigadier 13

    Yes, Labour is lucky that stories like this are getting picked up. They are sleep walking. I can’t see much difference between Labour and National still, despite Phil Goff’s single speech indicating new directions. I’m voting Unite party.

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