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Low-wage workers face escalating food prices

RAM - Residents Action Movement
Media release 15 May 2008

Low-wage workers face escalating food prices

Federated Farmers president Charlie Pedersen today released figures from the NZ Institute of Economic Research which, he said, showed that local farmers are not "creaming it" as food prices escalate.

"Some people have expressed doubts to me about the credibility of Mr Pedersen's privately-commissioned figures," noted Grant Morgan, chair of RAM (Residents Action Movement).

"I cannot comment on the credibility of these figures, since Federated Farmers ignored my request to release them to RAM under embargo with sufficient notice to check their accuracy."

"However, there can be no doubt about the accuracy of public statistics that reveal a huge slump in NZ workers' slice of national income over the last quarter century."

"According to Statistics NZ, an independent state department, workers' pay in 1983 amounted to 54% of gross domestic product, which by 1992 had slumped to 42%, recovering only slightly by 2007 to 45%."

"So NZ workers have, as a collective body of people, suffered a stunning 9% fall in their slice of the national 'cake' since the start of the Rogernomics era. This fall is entirely due to the more market policies promoted by corporate lobbyists, including Mr Pedersen," said Grant Morgan.

"As a consequence, New Zealand has become a high-skill, low-wage economy. Now workers and other low-to-modest income people are facing extraordinary spikes in their food costs which are pushing so many family incomes into the red."

"Not surprisingly, RAM's petition for GST to be removed from all food is gaining near-universal support from grassroots people in this country. In the month the petition has been running, it's been signed by 10,000 people."

"RAM stalls outside supermarkets are often surrounded by so many people that I have been asked by the media if we are staging 'food demonstrations'. I have to say no, it's just lots of people queuing to sign our GST-off-food petition," said Grant Morgan.

"Many signatories to our petition go on to join RAM because we're seen as standing up for the 'little people' being ignored by 'the politicians' who only look after 'the rich'. These are the very words being spoken to us by so many petition signatories."

"RAM's nationwide membership has zoomed up to 2,000, and we are on average gaining over 300 new members every week. That makes RAM the fastest growing party in the country," said Grant Morgan.

Here is the Statistics NZ link for workers' share of GDP:


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