Labour's wage freeze needs to be immediately thawed
Labour's wage freeze is a dangerous repeat of history, with austerity measures that punish our key public sector workers. Living costs will continue to rise, while the real income of our teachers, nurses and public servants will reduce. What happened to the party that once represented unions and workers?
We've seen this all play out before, and the outcome is the same - with reduced spending, the Reserve Bank will keep interest rates low, and house prices will continue to rise.
Labour is once again producing the same results we had under National - an economy based on house-price inflation, not job creation, and not higher wages. And we wonder why we have such low productivity, with house prices and rents we cannot afford. That's right, Labour, just like National before it, is continuing to put in place policies that benefit wealthy property owners over the working class renters.
The Government is now effectively telling workers they are not valued, and that their incomes will reduce because the costs of housing will continue to rise at an ever rapid pace.
But why the obsession with reducing public debt in the first place? Lending is cheap, and New Zealand is less than 22% of GDP. We can afford to borrow A LOT more. By comparison, Australia's debt level is closer to 50% of GDP, and the United States' debt is over 100% of its GDP.
Our public sector workers are skilled and under-paid as it is. With their rents rising and wages frozen, how can we expect them to stay in their current roles? As for Wellington public servants, they may be forced to apply for jobs in different departments just to get a higher pay. Meanwhile we lose institutional knowledge and morale at a time when the Government clearly needs wise advice - and to listen to it.
If you are still confused by Labour's actions here - join the club. Their approach is as mind-boggling as it sounds.
Nurses deserve better, and so do our teachers, and police, and all other public workers.