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The rich get richer….

3 Oct

By Mike Treen, Unite Union National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman highlights the growing inequality in this article in the New York Times. The left wing slogan that the “the rich get richer” is a fact of almost perverse power. The most recent period of expansion in the USA the top 1% got 95% of the income gains. They did this after creating the crisis in the first place. So instead of being put in prison for fraud and negligence they continue to rob us blind.

It is little wonder that some of the 1% are beginning to worry that “the pitchforks are are going to come for us” as US entrepreneur Nick Hanauer wrote recently in Politico in an open letter to “my fellow zillinaires”.

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New Zealand’s income inequality problem

2 Sep


If you’re 35 or younger, the New Zealand you grew up is in many ways remarkably different to people older than you. One of the most profound differences is in the degree of income inequality.

Over the last three decades New Zealand there has been a step change in inequality — we’ve gone from being one of the most equal to one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.

Our income inequality increased very rapidly in the late 1980s and ’90s — faster in fact than in any other wealthy country. Since then the rest of the world has caught up with us. Over these decades a big gap between rich and poor has opened up.

Over that time we’ve seen:

  • The top incomes double
  • The bottom half of incomes barely changed
  • The current trend shows no sign that this ‘step change’ to inequality will be reversed

How did this happen?

  • Tax cuts gave big breaks to higher income earners
  • Welfare benefit cuts of up to 20% reduced incomes for New Zealand’s poorest
  • Changes to employment law weakened the bargaining power of low-paid workers so they found it harder to win pay increases
  • Rising unemployment means fewer people earning wages and more people reliant on much lower welfare benefits

Where the parties stand on inequality

2 Sep


22 Aug

It doesn’t have to be like this (6/10)

End Child Poverty Hikoi 6 September – help spread the word

22 Aug
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Join the hikoi to end child poverty

in New Zealand

Britomart to Aotea Square

Saturday 6 Sept * 11am * Auckland

We want all our beautiful children to reach their potential – but sadly one in four children don’t get a fair go in New Zealand.

Child Poverty Action Group is calling on people and organisations across Auckland to join a march from Britomart to Aotea Square to demand action on child poverty in Aotearoa.

We’ve invited politicians from across the political spectrum to attend the march. We’re looking for a firm indication from political leaders that they are committed to the steps needed to give all children a fair go so they can reach their potential.

We aim for this to be a really colourful, child-friendly event – we’d love to bring people together from all sections in our society to show the nation how much we care about our children and their well-being.

The main thing now is to get as many people along as possible and we could really use your help!

Spread the word about the Hikoi in your newsletters or emails to supporters (we’ve included some newsletter blurbs below)

admin if you’d like to order printed copies.

Join the event on Facebook here – ask your supporters to sign up too and share with friends and family

Tweet about the Hikoi – #endchildpoverty #tick4kids #childpovertynz

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Income gap

15 Aug

It doesn’t have to be like this (5/10)

NZ’s low wage economy

11 Aug

It doesn’t have to be like this (2/10)

Change the Government to improve jobs and wages

6 Aug

Media release

Change the Government to improve jobs and wages

“The wage and employment statistics out today, the last before the election, show how the Government has failed workers over its two terms,” says CTU President, Helen Kelly. “Unemployment has at last fallen below 6% but at 5.6% and 137,000 people, it is still far higher than the 3.5% in December 2007 – so we know we can and should do much better. Despite the luck of booming dairy sales (now running out) and lots of jobs created for the Canterbury rebuild, which account for half of the growth in employment during the year, the Government has created a record of 20 quarters – five years – with unemployment higher than Australia. We usually have lower unemployment than Australia: over two-thirds of the time since 1986.” Kelly said. “This is the first quarter to end that appalling record, but reflects temporary factors, not a permanent turn around in jobs. On top of the 137,000 unemployed are 104,500 looking for work but not officially classified as unemployed – up from 97,200 a year ago. The number of part-time workers wanting more hours has risen from 87,500 to 98,200 over the year.” Kelly said.

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NZ – Inequality and poverty measured

22 Jul

By Mike Treen, Unite National Director

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

The Household Incomes Report by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) are providing powerful evidence that New Zealand is a deeply unequal society with intractable levels of poverty that includes many with jobs as well as those without.

The reports which are produced annually cover changes in household income since 1982. This is very useful as it covers the full period from the beginning of the so-called “neoliberal” assault against working people in the interests of big business. It registers a steep decline in living standards for working people, a rise very rapid rise in inequality and a trebling of poverty rates from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s.

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The politics behind the minimum wage rise

24 Feb

By Mike Treen
National Director, Unite Union

(Reprinted from The Daily Blog)

The government decision to increase the minimum wage by 50 cents was an interesting decision on a number of levels.

$14.25 is clearly not enough to live on – especially given that minimum wage workers often also work in industries that have no guaranteed hours week to week.

An immediate increase to $15 an hour and then a staged increase over the next few years to the CTU target of 66% of the average wage would have been more reasonable and done something to put a dent into the gross inequality and low wage culture that operates in this country.

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