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New Zealand’s productivity keeps slip-sliding away

The latest productivity figures from Statistics New Zealand, revealing Labour productivity fell 0.7 percent in the year ended March 2016, show Kiwis are working harder than ever before and getting less and less for their hard work, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“We are slipping further and further behind in a measure that matters to Kiwis’ quality of life, we’re all working harder but getting nothing extra for our efforts.

“Productivity, which measures the output of work compared to the hours put in, is essential to increasing New Zealand’s standard of living in the long run, but under National the trend has been slip-sliding downwards.

“Australia also experienced a higher rate of growth in labour productivity over the same period – an average of 2.2 percent a year compared with 1.3 percent a year in New Zealand. This is why average Australian pay rates are moving away from New Zealand rates.

“We get higher wage jobs if we are more productive, however we are getting less productive especially relative to Australia. National used to make a big deal out of catching up with Australia’s economy, but they’ve been strangely silent on the widening gap that’s now apparent.

“Our recent sectors of growth have been in tourism, real estate and construction – these are sectors in which it is difficult to achieve significant productivity growth.

“Under National, Kiwis are working harder and harder, but are getting less and less extra out.

“It’s time for a government that will support growth in high productivity sectors of the economy, and will invest to make sure that New Zealand is no longer lagging behind,” says Grant Robertson.