National’s one and only strategy this election was lying about Labour, specifically Labour’s budget and their tax policy. The $11.7bn hole lie just made the Nats look stupid, but the evidence suggests that the tax lie did real damage.
Why are we so angry about tax and so apathetic about the much more important issue of low pay? Hamish Fletcher in The Herald:
Many Kiwis are giving up on the promise on a pay rise. In fact, workers haven’t been this glum about getting a pay bump since the global financial crisis.
New Zealand employees, according to the latest Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index, are displaying “a lot of nervousness about what’s happening to wages and salaries”. “When it comes to the outlook for earnings, sentiment is really in the dumps.
Increasing numbers of workers are telling us that they don’t expect any change in their earnings from work over the coming year. In fact, the number of workers who expect to receive a pay increase over the coming year is languishing at the sort of lows we saw during the financial crisis,” Westpac senior Economist Ranchhod said.
So why are workers in the doldrums?
Westpac said that bleak mood is probably due to years of muted wage growth. Salary and wages – as measured by the Statistics New Zealand’s labour cost index – grew 1.7 per cent in the 12 months to June. That equalled the rate of inflation, meaning people won’t be feeling any richer as a result. And given private sector wage rates only grew by 1.6 per cent, there’s a big chunk of workers whose spending power fell. …
Business profits leap ahead while wages struggle to outpace inflation
Big Read: Hey! Where did my pay rise go?
Strong GDP makes little difference to average earners – English
New Zealand’s economic growth driven almost exclusively by rising population
Bad luck: Pay rises probably off the table until next election
Brian Fallow: Something is missing in Govt success story
Wages not keeping up with cost of living
and so on and so on.
Back to the quoted article:
But nothing would give sentiment a shot in the arm like an significant lift in real wages. Just how Labour or National – together with Winston Peters – will achieve this remains to be seen.
I’m glad you asked! In the case of Labour see their workplace relations policy here. Vernon Small on Stuff:
Labour is promising to boost incomes and stop a race to the bottom by bad employers with an employment relations package that includes a move to base industry employment standards.
Key changes proposed by Labour include a lift in the minimum wage from $15.75 to $16.50. It would base future rises on the cost of living for people on low incomes.
To all those voters worried about lies about taxes that largely won’t affect you anyway – why not worry about your wages instead? Wage stagnation is only inevitable if you accept it.
Footnote. Don’t worry though! Bill English said before the election that pay rises are coming. He said the same thing in 2016. He said the same thing in 2014. The same thing in 2012. The same thing in 2011 (when he also tried to convince us that low wages were actually an advantage for NZ). For some reason I don’t believe Bill English…