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Low wages put pressure on struggling Kiwis

Labour Leader

Monday 1 August 2011

Low wages put pressure on struggling Kiwis

The news that wages have risen just 1.9% in the year to June shows that Kiwi families are doing it tough right now as the price of basic items like milk, petrol and groceries race far ahead of their pay packets, says Labour Leader Phil Goff.

Statistics New Zealand figures show that salary and wage rates increased 1.9% in the year to June 2011.

“This is deeply concerning given that inflation is running at 5.3%. For most New Zealanders, their wages are not keeping up with the rising cost of living. That is having a harsh impact on many families.

“We know that the number of Kiwis having to rely on foodbanks is growing, as is the number of children going to school hungry. We are seeing middle and low-income families struggle to put healthy food on the table, to fill the car with petrol, pay for doctors’ visits and schooling costs.

“The gap between the rich and poor is growing in New Zealand. We’ve seen evidence of that recently with the latest NBR rich list claiming that the wealthiest 150 New Zealanders added $7 billion to their worth at a time when other Kiwis aren’t even getting a pay rise that covers the rising cost of living.

“Labour will give all New Zealanders a helping hand. It’ll allow everyone to earn the first $5000 tax-free – that’s an extra $1000 a year in the hand for a couple. We’ll take the GST off fresh fruit and vegetables so families can afford a healthy diet.

“Labour will ask the country’s top earners to pay a little more and we will create a fair tax system where people who speculate on property pay tax in the same way that those who live off salaries and wages do.

“It’s time we had a Government that was focused on providing a better life for all New Zealanders not one that’s happy to see the gap between the haves and have nots continuing to grow.”


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