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Many households just keeping head above water

Media release: FIRST Union

Thursday November 28, 2013

Many households just keeping head above water

Latest household income and expenditure figures show many New Zealand families are just keeping their heads above water, FIRST Union said today.

Today’s Household Economic Survey shows that in the last three years annual household income was up 11.5%, and average weekly household expenditure was up 9.1%.

“The increased spending on food, petrol and other items reflects what we hear day to day from members of our union in low paid jobs,” said Robert Reid, General Secretary, FIRST Union.

“Many families do not feel they are getting ahead, let alone the many households where one or more of their workers have lost jobs in recent times.”

“Unemployment remains above 6%, and wage growth is subdued, especially for those without access to union collective bargaining.”

“43% of respondents to an ‘adequacy of income’ section of the survey out today said their income was just enough or not enough to meet their everyday needs, and for the poorest 20% of households, two-thirds said their income was not enough or only just enough.”

Robert Reid said that more workers having access to collective bargaining was an important solution to moving people from poverty wages to a living wage.
“The living wage movement has struck a real chord for our members.  It is shifting the debate from workers scraping by on the starvation minimum wage, to how we get to a living wage that enables people to more fully participate in their communities,” he said.


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