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Economy steady but need to prepare for change

“The GDP figures out this morning confirm that the economy is growing steadily and doing well compared to other OECD countries,” says Richard Wagstaff, President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.

“It is good to see that business investment is tracking up from low points in the middle of last year. The main short term threats to New Zealanders’ economic wellbeing are from international events such as downturns in China, the US, the U.K. or Europe, or the tensions in the Middle East aggravated by the Trump administration.”

“We must also be making changes to get out of our low-wage, low-productivity rut and to ensure people are helped through changes in their work due to technology, globalisation and climate change.”

“That emphasises the important role of government. Government must be prepared to play a crucial and active role in taking us through downturns, in helping people through change, in moving our industries towards higher productivity, and in ensuring working people receive the higher wages they deserve.

“To achieve this, the government must be well resourced. The problem is not government debt, which is already very low as Treasury has confirmed, but insufficient revenue. More revenue, gathered in a way that reduces New Zealand’s high level of inequality, is essential for resilience and to rebuild the public services and support that are essential for New Zealanders’ wellbeing,” Wagstaff said. E