CTU MEDIA RELEASE
28 August 2008
Social Report: Lots done, more to do
The social wellbeing of New Zealanders has improved since the 1990s with most social indicators moving in the right direction, Council of Trade Unions vice president Maori Sharon Clair said today, following the release of the Social Report.
"Clearly there is more to be done. Low wages are still holding back the country, and 13 per cent of households in poverty is 13 per cent too many. In many indicators the trends are good however," Sharon Clair said.
"There are better health outcomes reported compared with the 1990s. Life expectancy has improved for both males and females."
"Early childhood education has improved between 1997 and 2007 - 11.3% for 3 year olds and 5.8% for 4 year olds."
"Income inequality has improved since the mid 1990s," Sharon Clair said. "In 2007, 13% of the population was living in households with incomes below the poverty threshold of 60% of median income, after deducting housing costs, compared with 22% in 1997."
"At the workplace, our median hourly earnings increased over the ten year period from $15.35 to $18.00. Workplace injury claims have fallen, and three quarters of New Zealanders report satisfaction with work-life balance."
"The outcomes for Maori, despite improvements in life expectancy, tertiary education and employment, are poorer than average outcomes for the total population."
"For Pacific people, while they have experienced real gains in well being, outcomes are poorer compared to the total population."
We are seeing progress for low-income people and working people, and there is still more to be done, Sharon Clair said.