June 1, 2006
Taxes a bargain but wages a problem
New Zealanders might have to work an average 151 days to pay taxes, but they have the use of services like schools, hospitals, roads, parks and a police and justice system all year round, says the country’s largest union.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that mathematical tricks claiming that New Zealanders work nearly half the year “for nothing” were simply a PR stunt to push the case for tax cuts instead of a real rise in wages.
“Paying tax is about pooling our resources to provide what we all need at some time or another – health care, a good education and a safe and secure society,” he said.
“Tax cuts would benefit the wealthy and hurt the less-well-off, who would have to dig deeper into their own pockets to educate their kids and look after sick and elderly family members. Recent tax cuts in Australia have seen their high marginal rates being cut in a way that has favoured people on high incomes but given middle and low income-earners peanuts.
“The issue really making working New Zealanders angry is that they are paid less than their colleagues in Australia and other similar countries, and they are taking action to change that.”
Mr Little said the EPMU’s Fair Share wages campaign, launched in February last year, had seen wages and salaries in the manufacturing sector rise more than six per cent.