Thursday, October 07, 2010

The effects of a National government

The New Zealand Income Survey is out today, and it shows a drop in median weekly earnings from $538 to $529 a week. Statistics New Zealand calls this "non-significant". It is however the first time median incomes have dropped since the survey began. And against a backdrop of rising GST, rising childcare costs, higher ACC levies and general economic insecurity, you can be damn sure its significant to actual people.

Meanwhile, while median incomes were dropping, average incomes rose. We've seen this picture before, during the 90's, and it means the rich are doing well. Which is National in a nutshell: impoverish the many for the benefit of the few.

The one point of good news is that the survey shows the gender-pay gap (as measured by comparing median hourly earnings) shrinking from 11.3% to 10.6%. Not due to any actual policy from the government, mind you, but simply because we've had a recession. At this rate, it'll take 15 years for the gap to close. It would be nice if the government made that more of a priority and implemented some policies to make it happen sooner.