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Families no better off 20 years on

Filed under: General — Julie @ 10:36 am Sat 25th November 2006

By Simon Collins


“A massive shift of women into paid work over the past 20 years has left the average New Zealand family no better off.

A research project led by Prime Minister Helen Clark’s husband, Auckland University sociologist Peter Davis, has found that the median family income, after adjusting for inflation and family size, was just over $37,000 a year in 1981 – and was still just over $37,000 in 2001.”

Families on middle and low incomes have ended up merely holding their own, while high-income families are better off.

A sociologist in the team, Gerard Cotterell, said other measures also showed that real wages had been static or falling over the past 20 years.

Benefit levels were cut in the late 1980s and particularly in 1991 and had never recovered in real terms.

“It’s kind of stunning,” he said.

“Income inequality has increased in Western countries.

“What’s scary in New Zealand is that it hasn’t got better under Labour. There are more people in employment, but it’s low-paid employment.”

Then the article explains how the stats are founded with this line at the end…

so that it is not affected by social changes such as the trend towards more sole-parent families.

But dear me, taxpayers have 3 generations of sole parents to look after till death yet. LOL.


  1. Julie,
    Why Peter Davis should be stunned is anyones guess. After all it stands to reason that if huge numbers of women enter the workforce it will drive down wages as employers have a larger pool of workers to choose from. It’s simple supply economics 101 that when a commodity is in short supply, demand is high and the price of that commodity goes DOWN. Conversely if a commodity (including human labour as with a huge movement of women into the paid workforce) is very abundant or oversupplied it’s value goes down.
    Increasingly it seems we’ve got competitors rather than lovers. Divorces rather than marriages. Isolated individuals rather than communities and Big nanny government and big business rather than liberty.
    We live in strange times.

    Comment by Stephen — Sat 25th November 2006 @ 11:00 am

  2. Excuse me.
    I should have said UP where I wrote DOWN in the above posting.

    Comment by Stephen — Sat 25th November 2006 @ 11:02 am

  3. Talk about “keep it in the family”.

    And just what does a “university sociologist” contribute to New Zealand’s GDP?

    Comment by Sparkz — Sat 9th December 2006 @ 1:05 pm

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