With the latest labour market statistics confirming wages have only increased 2.1 per cent compared to 3.3 per cent annual inflation, New Zealanders’ pay packets are being eaten up by the rising cost of living, says National’s Shadow Treasurer Andrew Bayly.
“The improving employment figures are welcome news, but Kiwis are getting poorer.
“Wage growth of 2.1 per cent means the cost of living is going up faster than increases in wages, so real wage growth is actually negative.
“In short, Kiwis are now getting poorer with each pay packet.”
Mr Bayly said the recent Productivity Commission report showed New Zealanders were working harder and putting in longer hours than their counterparts in other developed countries.
“But it’s not a good sign for an economy when they are worker longer and harder but are effectively becoming poorer for it.
“Increasing the minimum wage rate is all well and good, but if the Government is serious about increasing incomes, then it also needs to stop fuelling rises in the cost of living through increased fuel and car taxes and housing tax policies that drive up rents.
“Renting families have seen weekly rents increase $40 in just the last 12 months. As the Government has been unable to get the skilled workers that growers and businesses need, the cost of fruit and vegetables has increased 6 per cent in the last 12 months and the cost of a meal out has increased 4 per cent.
“And if the Government wants employers to be able to reward workers more, then it needs to pull back from loading costs onto businesses and think about how to facilitate the ability of businesses to grow.
“Around the country I am hearing business owners frustrated at how they’re being held back, particularly by a lack of skilled workers.”
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