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.