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Wages not keeping up with cost of living

Too many Kiwis are being left behind due to stagnant wages in the face of rising inflation, according to the latest employment figures released today, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“While it is always good to see the total rate of unemployment come down, looking beyond the rosy headline figure reveals deeper concerns that should worry New Zealanders.

“Wages rose last year by an average of 1.6 per cent, however inflation is currently 2.2 per cent meaning that most Kiwis actually had a cut in real wages last year.

“In fact, 67 per cent of Kiwi workers got a pay-rise of less than two percent, so most New Zealanders are working harder for less.

“As always, National are playing catch-up while inequalities have grown significantly under their watch. Despite the recent Terra Nova settlement, the average gap between male and female hourly earnings has increased by 19 per cent since National came to office, now standing at $3.92 an hour.

“Young New Zealanders still aren’t getting the opportunities they need to get a better life in New Zealand, with the number of 15-24 year-olds not earning or learning now up to 90,800 – up 41 per cent since National came to office.

“The fact is that there are still more New Zealanders out of work and losing touch with the opportunities of a growing economy. Unemployment now stands at 132,000 – an increase of 31,000 on National’s watch and exactly where it was a year ago.

“The number of people who have been unemployed more than six months is now 43,200, which has trebled under National’s watch.

“So much for the ‘rockstar economy’ that National has crowed about for years. It’s clear they don’t have a plan to help all New Zealanders get jobs and get a better life.

“Only a Labour Government genuinely cares about getting young New Zealanders into work and into training, and grow decent jobs with higher wages,” says Grant Robertson.