The wage gap

Claire Trevett reports:

A war of statistical tables in Parliament left National red-faced after even its own figures showed the gap in earnings between New Zealanders and Australians had increased since it took office in November 2008.

Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee had said in Parliament on Tuesday that the gap was less than it was when Labour was in power  but yesterday the statistics proved him wrong no matter how they were presented.

Prime Minister John Key produced a table which he said most accurately compared average earnings because it took into account purchasing power parity.

But his own figures showed the gap had increased by $22 in the two years since National took over in 2008. Instead, he said it showed the gap was less than it was at the “maximum point” of Labour’s reign  when the gap peaked at $187.60 in 2005.

But it subsequently shrank to $137.89 by Labour’s final year in 2008 and had since increased again to $160.25 under National.

Of course the wage gap has increased. We went into recession, and Australia did not. In a recession you have little wage growth.

I am surprised that a Minister would claim the gap has not increased. Rather than try to push dodgy comparisons, they would be better to outline policies which will help reduce the gap.

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