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Wage and salary earners $11,500 a year short on their parent’s share of national wealth

Statistics New Zealand’s National Accounts (Income and Expenditure) data released today shows that working people are getting the smallest slice of the pie in New Zealand since 2006.

“A generation ago, it was understood that the people doing the work created the wealth, which is why nearly 60 per cent of our national income sustained working households,” CTU Secretary Sam Huggard said. “Today, less than half of our national income goes back to wage and salary earners, the lowest level in over a decade.”

“Our recent change of Government and a shift in political conversation is being driven by increasing pressure on hard-working Kiwis. It’s clear most New Zealanders intuitively feel the injustice of today’s statistics – now we have the number that proves it.”

“If working people were seeing the same return on their labour we considered fair a generation ago, the average wage and salary earner would be $11,500 a year better off. That’s the lost income working people have generated now captured by corporate shareholders. Working people know $11,500 could be the difference between a decent quality of life and a world of financial stress for many New Zealanders.”

“Changes to our tax system, the laws around collective bargaining and equal pay for women couldn’t come soon enough to right this imbalance.”

“The new Government has a mandate to correct wealth-hoarding at the very top of the income scale, which will allow ordinary people to pay down debt and build a buffer of savings. We need to tweak the rules to reflect what most people consider simple economic justice – those that put in the work deserve a fair share of the rewards.”


Economic note: In the year to March 2017, New Zealand’s 2 million wage and salary earners received only 48.7 percent of the nation’s income. In 1981 they received 58.7 percent of income. Each percentage point loss is worth approximately $1,150 a year.