The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has launched its 2023 election campaign focused on why a National-led government will leave working people worse off.
“Christopher Luxon and National will take New Zealand backwards and working people will be the first to feel the pain,” said NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff.
“The buck stops with Christopher Luxon. He’s the leader, these are his policies. People need to take notice of that.
“We are running a strong, evidence-based campaign which sets out why Christopher Luxon and National are out of touch with what matters to the lives of working people – and out of touch with the challenges New Zealand faces.
“It’s not just us. A Newshub poll in May found nearly half of New Zealanders thought he was out of touch.
“Anyone who thinks the answer is a $10 per week tax cut for someone on the minimum wage, and savage cuts to public services, has to be seriously out of touch.”
The NZCTU said the campaign would focus on the clear evidence of what National is promising:
- Fair Pay Agreements would be abolished – these provide minimum protections for workers and prevent the race to the bottom, by cutting the wages of the most vulnerable workers.
- 90-day trials for workers would be reinstated – there is no evidence these help businesses hire workers. In fact, it is the opposite, it will be easier to lay off workers for no reason.
- Minimum wage rises would be restrained – National promises to raise the minimum wage every year, but we know National’s track record is poor. Under the current government minimum wages rises have increased the fortnightly income of those workers by $556 since 2017.
- Tax breaks for landlords and speculators would make a comeback – these fuel the property market and simply enrich property investors, making it harder to buy a first home and pushing up rents.
- Public transport costs for many low-paid workers would rise, along with prescription charges.
- Welfare payments would be pegged to CPI inflation, meaning that many of the lowest-income New Zealanders will fall further behind.
- The public service would be gutted – National would cut $8.5 billion of spending and savage frontline services up and down the country. Services working people depend on, and jobs that employ union members.
- Climate Emergency Response Fund would be axed – $2.4 billion dollars committed to reducing our climate emissions to fund National’s landlord tax breaks. This will undermine New Zealand’s ability to tackle our climate crisis.
“National’s plan under Christopher Luxon is short-sighted, it is not good economic management,” said Wagstaff.
“October’s election is the most significant election for working people in a generation. It’s essential that going into this election, people understand what is at risk for not just working people, but all New Zealanders.”