Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


In-work poverty symptomatic of economic injustice

Media Release: The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW)

November 26th 2019

A report on in-work poverty published this week by the Human Rights Commission (HRC) is a reminder that a fair pay is an absolute prerequisite to making progress on many of our country’s chronic social challenges.

The study revealed the scale of working poverty in the country, finding that 50,000 working households were deprived, with many more only just getting by. Women / wahine, minorities, the disabled and single-parent families / whānau were disproportionately affected.

“The government, which has made child poverty, equality and well-being centrepiece policy issues, should take note of this report and its very clear implications,” ANZASW Chief Executive Lucy Sandford-Reed said.

HRC’s report has clearly demonstrated how working poverty disproportionately affects children / tamariki, noting that 10% of children / tamariki living in working households are below the poverty line, compared with 7.2% of adults.

“So if we want to see better outcomes for children / tamariki in poverty, less inequality and poor social outcomes more generally it’s hardly controversial to note that earners in households need to be paid enough to avoid subsistence living, or worse, working full time and not even having enough,” Sandford-Reed said.

But it’s not just those on the lowest in-work incomes that are affected. The data in the report also demonstrates that government top-ups are keeping thousands more households only just out of reach of poverty.

Constant financial precarity can also significantly impact on the well-being of whānau / families and individuals.

Why does work not pay?

The wider question posed by this study is: why does work not pay for so many New Zealanders?

Changes in the economic environment suggest answers as to why such a large segment of the working population are not able to make ends meet.

Max Rashbrooke, senior associate at Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, has noted that the mismatch between growth in the overall economy and wage rises have left workers on average $11,500 worse off per year, with companies paying 10% less of their profits than they did decades ago.

The divergence began in the 1980s and accelerated in the decades afterwards, during a period in which neoliberal economics was in the ascendant across the western world, with Aotearoa New Zealand no exception.

As a result, inequality has risen to severe extremes: as noted by Oxfam NZ, the wealthiest 20 per cent of households in New Zealand hold 70 per cent of the wealth, while the top 10 per cent hold half the wealth; while two billionaires have a combined wealth greater than the bottom 30 per cent of the adult population of New Zealand.

“The impact of the neoliberal era on workers has largely been restricted wages, rising household debt and constant worry about making ends meet. Modest but welcome reforms only go so far; structural change is needed.

“Wages should keep pace with growth- this is a matter of fundamental economic justice,” Sandford-Reed concluded.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Clark Exit, Convention Centres, And The Killing Of Hachalu Hundessa

Goodbye, David Clark. In the end, the outgoing Health Minister decided that in the midst of a pandemic the best thing he could do for New Zealand would be to no longer be there – given that being there had involved hiving off on his mountain bike during a lockdown, and throwing the country’s most beloved Health bureaucrat under a bus. As Clark indicated so memorably at last week’s press conference, when it comes to managing public health risks at the border the buck stops with…that guy over there! In the aftermath of that debacle, Clark reached the same conclusion the nation had reached some time ago, that leadership just wasn’t his thing. Once again, he got on his bike.... More>>

Government: David Clark Resigns As Health Minister

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted David Clark’s resignation as Health Minister. More>>


Election 2020: Green Party Unveils Income Policy

The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity. The scheme resets income support payments to ensure everyone not in full-time paid work gets at least ... More>>


Conservation: New Protection For Dolphins

Extensive new protections are being put in place as part of an updated plan to look after New Zealand’s native Hector’s and Māui dolphins, announced Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. More>>


Auckland: Water Consent Referred To Board Of Inquiry

Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses... More>>


Gun Law: A New Firearms System Focused On Safety

Tougher gun laws will begin to take effect from next week following the passage of new firearms legislation through Parliament today. The Minister of Police says the Third Reading of the Arms Legislation Bill is an historic milestone for community ... More>>


Government: Building A Stronger Health And Disability System

The Government is committing to a long-term programme of reform to build a stronger New Zealand Health and Disability System that delivers for all. More>>


National: Todd Muller Announces Caucus Reshuffle

Today I am confirming a minor shadow cabinet reshuffle due to the retirement of Paula Bennett. Dr Shane Reti will be ranked number 13 and will take on Associate Drug Reform. Shane has demonstrated a huge intellect and capacity for work, supporting ... More>>

Biosecurity: Winston Peters On EU Travel: 'We're Not Going To Compromise Our Country's Health'

Foreign Minister Winston Peters says New Zealanders who head to Europe on holiday should pay for their two weeks' hotel quarantine when they return. More>>

Economy: Infrastructure Investment To Create Jobs, Kick-Start COVID Rebuild

A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister ... More>>


Covid-19: Isolation System To Be Beefed Up After Stress

A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify ... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into Gear

ACT has today announced its list for the 2020 General Election. “The calibre and experience of our candidates will impress voters of every persuasion. We have candidates from all walks of life. People who have built their homes, families and businesses ... More>>


Int'l Trade: New Zealand To Host Virtual APEC In 2021

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced today that New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms. Mr Peters said the global disruption caused by COVID-19, ... More>>






InfoPages News Channels