National was elected on the promise to close the wage gap with Australia. It’s getting bigger – which probably has something to do with why record numbers of Kiwis are crossing the ditch. New figures yesterday continue the trend:
Income gap growing wide as the Ditch
Despite rising salaries, Kiwis’ pay packets are still well behind those of their Australian counterparts – and the gap is getting bigger.
At the end of last year the average New Zealander earned 26.3 per cent – or $12,800 – less than the average Australian, the latest Roy Morgan state of the nation report reveals. Kiwi salaries have risen from $35,000 to $48,600 since 2001, but across the Tasman incomes have increased from $38,800 to $61,400.
Evidence of the widening gap is even more pronounced among fulltime workers, with Australians earning 24.1 per cent more than fulltime workers in New Zealand – a difference that 10 years ago was only 6.6 per cent.
The number of Kiwis chasing the Australian dollar has been increasing in the same decade, a record 53,763 people leaving in the 12 months to June last year.
Great work National. Thank you John Key. Your policies, such as they are, are not the solution, they are part of the problem. And when it comes to the “captains of industry” what we get is the old productivity lie again:
Employers and Manufacturing Association spokesman Gilbert Peterson called the latest figures a “sobering reality check”. “We could do considerably more I’m sure and we need to keep working at it but we have had the global financial crisis to contend with and the earthquake in Christchurch which has been a big challenge, and of course we can do more to lift the productivity of New Zealanders …
This line is just an endless treadmill for workers – the promised higher wages are forever out of reach. Productivity has gone up and up and up – wages have not followed. There’s a long CTU report about it here, but the short version is that:
Between 1980 and 2008 (the latest data available) labour productivity grew by no less than 82 percent – while the average ordinary time real wage grew by just 18 percent.
The way to raise wages is to have a healthy economy, a living minimum wage, and a strong union sector. The Nats have held back the first, will never deliver the second, and always work to undermine the third. Nor do we need another rerun of the productivity lie. What we need is a change of government.