The Council of Trade Unions has welcomed the Treasury’s release of their scenario projections on the economic effect of COVID-19 on New Zealand as being scary but useful.
CTU Economist Andrea Black comments, “All the scenarios show severe increases in the numbers of people without paid work. Already the numbers of people needing access to benefits have increased.”
“The longer people are without work the harder it is to return. That is why the government provision of a wage subsidy is so important.”
“But work in our pre COVID world was one of low wages, high rents, environmental degradation, low productivity and too many people, especially Maori, excluded from a fairer society. “
“While all the facts are stylised what is very clear is the significant impact that a second fiscal stimulus would have on the numbers of people without paid work.Therefore further stimulus is vital to protect the wellbeing of New Zealanders.”
“It must be government investment that gets us to a place better than we were pre COVID-19.This will involve government stepping up and not leaving things to chance: investing in people and technology.”
What is needed:
Industry transformation – unions, business and government working together to lift productivity.
Housing our people – investing in modular housing using NZ materials and highly skilled Kiwis.
Greener economy – investment in renewable energy, and public transport.
Investing in public services – stop the contracting out where low cost contracts only drives down wages and conditions.
Restoring our public health system.
Social procurement – Government to only spend money with firms that pay at least the living wage, have superior health and safety and fair pay agreement.
Support for displaced workers – social insurance to help them manage the transition into new employment.
Support for the vulnerable – individualise the benefit system and increase benefits so that no one lives in hardship and is unable to thrive.