The Slow Burning Fuse

an atheisitic anarchistic scorcher

The China of the South Seas? Low paid jobs and poverty in New Zealand

Three articles caught my eye on the Stuff website this morning which highlights the plight many Kiwis currently find themselves in.  Firstly, there was a report that many Kiwis are having to raid their Kiwisaver accounts to make ends meet, and these are people in work!

Why should this be?  The answer comes from the next article about Australia exporting jobs to New Zealand, to avoid high wages and restrictive labour practices, i.e. health and safety – remember it is unlikely the Pike River outrage would have happened in Australia due to their “restrictive labour practices”.  Hastings Mayor, Lawrence Yule, delightedly pointed to lower levels of unionisation, the ability to operate outside daytime hours, and greater use of seasonal employees as the reason why Watties have made the move over the ditch into his town.  In reality though what this double talk translates is low wages, unsafe work, casualisation, and lack of job security.  Is this what we want for ourselves?  Is this what we want for our children and grandchildren?

The third article encapsulates it all nicely.  A Waikato University academic, Professor Hodgetts, claims the only growing industry in New Zealand is the poverty industry.  According to OECD figures poverty is growing at three times the average rate of all the OECD countries, and at least one in five New Zealand children live in severe or significant hardship, while at least one in four children lived below the semi-official poverty line.

In the last thirty years New Zealand has gone from one of the most equitable societies to one of the worst, with the richest 1 per cent own three times more than the poorest fifty per cent.  Earlier in the month the newspapers were reporting the good news that food costs dropped by a whole 1 per cent last month.  I’m sorry, but I don’t see that as anything to get excited about in comparison to the struggle that is going on for many hard working Kiwis.


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This entry was posted on April 17, 2012 by in poverty and tagged , , , .
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