National’s budget won’t grow wages
“This Budget fails to look to the future. It does nothing to grow wages. National is fixated on getting to surplus which has meant ignoring the increasing needs of most New Zealanders who have experienced five years of wages staying the same. The Budget is a missed opportunity to use the benefits of a growth period for all New Zealanders”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg.
“The increases to Paid Parental Leave are welcome, and a victory for the successful campaign which gained widespread support. In the end the Government had no option, but has done the least it could get away with, at the expense of children and families.” Rosenberg said.
“A growing economy is meaningless to the people who most need it if they don’t see a fair share of the growth. The Budget fails to address inequality and poverty boosted by the Global Financial Crisis and exacerbated by Government employment, tax and welfare policies. Its forecasts show wage earners getting a falling share of income, and less than their rising productivity justifies.” Rosenberg said.
“The government’s forecast of wage increases are not plausible with continuing tight public spending, unemployment forecast is still over 5% in 2016, and further attacks planned on workers’ rights. Treasury has a record of overestimating wage increases when they are rising as slowly as they have been over the last five years. Its Budget forecast for March this year, 2014, is a 3.0 percent increase – in fact it was 2.5 percent with 46% of kiwis getting no increase at all. The Government’s planned changes to the employment laws which weaken workers’ bargaining power will make it harder for workers to get the increases they deserve.” Rosenberg said.
“The Government’s policies for families ignore the causes which are low incomes and poverty. Its policies on wages and welfare just intensify the problem and while the extension of free doctors’ visits and prescriptions for under 13’s is welcome, the spending in areas such as health and housing are far from what is needed.” Rosenberg said.
“This is a time for forward-looking policy. It won’t be found in this government’s books.” Rosenberg said.