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Latest wage gap figure is a real concern

Bill English MP
National Party Finance Spokesman

5 September 2008

Latest wage gap figure is a real concern

National Party Finance spokesman Bill English says the latest figures on the Australia/New Zealand wage gap show the cost of nine years of complacency under Labour as Kiwis head across the Tasman in record numbers

“Labour pretends it doesn’t matter and it’s not getting worse - but it does, and it is.”

Mr English is referring to newly released comparisons from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on the average wage, which shows in Australia the average weekly wage is A$1131.40 (NZ$1398), compared with New Zealand's average weekly wage of just over $886.

When the figures were adjusted for exchange rate and cost of living difference, the variation between pay packets was 49.7 per cent.

“And in Australia they’ve had year-on-year tax-cuts. Here in New Zealand, the one set of income tax cuts we were promised were cancelled, and in the end it has taken nine long years for Labour to get around to it.”

Mr English says Michael Cullen is on the record in a formal speech as saying New Zealanders going to Australia were ‘functionally innumerate’ and that New Zealand was ‘probably better off without them’**.

“It’s little wonder then that Labour’s done very little about it.

“If New Zealand is to have a brighter future it is critical that the Government snaps out of its complacency, raises expectations, and pursues policies that will lift incomes in a war over our talent.

“In the past, Australia has made no secret that they see New Zealanders as good candidates for filling their skills shortages. Our economy and our policies must be dynamic and positive if we are to compete.”


** Dr Cullen to Wellington District Law Society, 19 July 2005: ‘If, as some have suggested, New Zealanders are fleeing as tax exiles to Australia, one can only conclude that those individuals are functionally innumerate, and we are probably better off without them’.

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