December 2007, John Key, speaking to Carolyne Brooks-Quan said: “We would love to see wages drop“. Key tried several conflicting excuses, including that he was talking about Australian wages (which became a mini-meme). But actions speak louder than words. Yesterday, we had more confirmation that wages have dropped under Key, except for union members’.
The Quarterly Employment Survey shows that, after adjusting for inflation, the total pay packet of all the country’s workers is down 1.8% since Key came to power. With the population growing at 1% per year, that’s a smaller cake being shared around more mouths.
But the likes of Key haven’t felt the pain, of course. While NZIER says 60% of households got no net gain from the tax swindle, Key has voted himself $23,600 of tax cuts on his PM salary alone since coming to power (oh, and he got a $7,500 pay rise last year). The top 1% of income earners have had an average tax cut of $16,000 each under Key.
Union members are the only group of workers managing to even hold their ground as wages in general drop. The Labour Cost Index, also out yesterday, lets us work out the size of pay rises for union and non-union workers in the past year.
It’s clear: most non-union workers got no pay adjustment and went backwards after inflation while 62.8% of union workers got an above inflation pay rise. The average was approximately 2.5% for union workers, 1.4% for non-union workers.