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Auckland families getting more for their labour

Fri, 22 Oct 2004

Auckland families getting more for their labour

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Auckland city households have reason to celebrate this Labour Day with statistics showing Aucklanders are earning more, says Auckland Central MP Judith Tizard.

New figures from Statistics New Zealand show household incomes in the Auckland region have risen by an average of 22.4 per cent since 1999. "Household incomes for Auckland have gone up by $245 a week in the first four years of this government, demonstrating that ordinary New Zealanders are sharing the benefits of strong economic growth," says Judith Tizard.

The average gross weekly household income in the Auckland region is up from $1,092 a week in 1999 to $1,337 last year.

The lowest paid workers - the 30,000 people across the country on the minimum wage - have seen their hourly rate increase by 29 per cent to $9 for adults and by over 28 percent for youth to $7.20.

Average individual incomes in Auckland are also up over the same period from $482 in 1999 to $588 last year - a 22.0 per cent rise.

Driving the bigger pay packets has been plummeting unemployment, down to 17-year lows, matched by solid jobs growth. Statistics NZ's Household Labour Force Survey shows Auckland's jobs tally rose by 53,000 from 555,600 jobs in December 1999 to 608,600 in June 2004 (figures not seasonally adjusted).

Judith Tizard says steady increases in jobs and incomes, combined with strong economic growth, put the lie to the dire predictions of opposition groups in 2000 about the Labour-led government's workplace reforms.

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"The Employment Relations Act encourages better workplace communication. Industrial action is at historically low levels - 28 stoppages nationally last year, compared to 72 under the high tide of the Employment Contracts Act in 1996."

Work/life balance improvements include Paid Parental Leave. Labour Day is the first public holiday affected by changes to the new Holidays Act, meaning those who work today must get penal rates.

ENDS


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