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Key slips and slides over the truth. Again

26 March 2008 Media Statement

Key slips and slides over the truth. Again.

Comments attributed to the leader of the National Party at a forum in Sydney today about trends in the wage gap between Australia and New Zealand are inaccurate to the point of absurdity, says Labour Minister Trevor Mallard.

"I have received reports that Mr Key told his audience today that any future National-led government would ‘work on narrowing the wage gap’ between New Zealand and Australian workers. Of course he was again superficially once-over-lightly, slipping and sliding over the real facts and failing to explain any policy," Trevor Mallard said.

"He is either telling lies deliberately or is just making things up. Mr Key apparently also said that the wage gap has been ‘steadily increasing over the past decade’, which is not true although it accurately describes the situation under National Party administration in the 1990s when workers were under repeated attack by that party. The wage gap since 1999 has in fact stabilised under Labour.

"The real or inflation-adjusted gap in Australian and New Zealand wages was 18.9 per cent in 1990 when National got elected into government and that gap grew to 28.4 per cent by 1999, when National lost office.

"Since the election of a Labour-led government in late 1999, any widening in the wages gap has been stopped in its tracks - the latest available data shows that in 2007, the wage gap was just 0.4 per cent wider than it had been when Labour first came into government.

"It's time Mr Key stops his hollow claims and shallow approach, and starts talking facts and policy," Trevor Mallard said.


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