The Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff said that the latest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures out today showed economic anxiety from some business leaders is a political response, rather than one grounded in evidence.
“There have been some rumblings on the ‘mood of the boardroom’ around economic outlook, but GDP growth hasn’t changed,” he said. “As Treasury and the Reserve Bank have predicted, GDP continues to rise at much the same rate as it has for some time.”
“But it’s time we did better than business as usual. GDP per person rose only 0.1 percent in the three months to December and 0.7 percent in the year – about a third the rate of what it was in the 2000s.”
“Exacerbating a long-term trend of slower growth, returns for working people have been out of step with increasing wealth. As our research showed last year the hourly earnings of low and middle income wage and salary earners went up at half the rate of the highest paid over the last 17 years. On top of this, around one third of workers are in insecure jobs.”
“Decisions around employment and wage rises can be taken with confidence by both businesses and Government, with the figures tracking along previous projections. It’s fine for chief executives and bank economists to have political opinions and feelings, but these alone shouldn’t form the basis for employment policy settings. We’re ready to work with both business and policy writers to create more high-wage jobs that support sustainable development and healthy lives for New Zealanders.”