Health Minister Tony Ryall, like his Education counterpart Anne Tolley, is facing a big fight over wages. The health budget is chock-full of cuts as it is and Ryall says there simply isn’t any money to give doctors pay rises as they and other workers face nearly 6% inflation next year. The government can find billions for tax cuts for the rich but not to pay doctors and teachers. Priorities.
Before the last election, there was a junior doctors’ pay dispute. Asked what he would do, John Key promised to increase doctors’ wages through tax cuts (and cutting admin staff). Well, we’ve had the tax cuts and, as The Standard’s writers were noting at the time, they simply are no substitute for wage increases. If doctors and teachers are unable to win pay rises this year their real wages will fall.
Let’s face it. The government has no plan to close the wage gap with Australia. Their only priority is tax cuts for the wealthy few. And, so, we’ll keep on losing valuable workers overseas.