Tag Archives: Social inequality

Payrise for low-wage workers in aged care and home support #genderpaygap

About 55,000 low-paid workers, mainly women, are about to get one of the biggest pay rises ever after details of a historic pay equity settlement are revealed today. The deal will cost the Government more than $500 million a year when fully implemented in five years, assuming it is signed off by union members and the Cabinet. The settlement will mean hefty pay increases from July in three government-funded service sectors which employ mainly women on low rates: aged residential care, home support, disability services. Prime Minister Bill English says today’s historic pay equity deal is likely to have ramifications for the private sector. –NZ Herald

At Facebook:

The Herald understands that for the primary litigant, rest home caregiver Kristine Bartlett, it will mean an increase from about $16 an hour to about $23 an hour, more than 43 per cent. […] The case is the first legal settlement in New Zealand that recognises that some jobs pay less because they are done mainly by women. […] The Service and Food Workers’ Union lodged a claim on Bartlett’s behalf with the Employment Relations Authority in 2012. […] The union took the case on behalf of Bartlett and 14 other union members of the 110 employed by Terranova rest home. Their wages were effectively set by the government subsidy paid by the Ministry of Health for rest home services. The case was elevated to the Employment Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. But once the Court of Appeal confirmed that pay equity cases could be heard under the Equal Pay Act of 1972, the Government stepped into the process because it was loath to leave a case with such far-reaching repercussions solely in the court’s hands.

At Twitter:

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A U D I O

### radionz.co.nz Tue, 18 March 2017 at 8:11 a.m.
Morning Report with Susie Ferguson and Guyon Espiner
money life and society
Low-paid women are at parliament today for an announcement on pay
Tax specialist Deborah Russell says an announcement today on a reported big pay rise for women in low-paid work.
Audio | Download: Ogg MP3 (4′40″)

The New Zealand GST burden:

### radionz.co.nz Tue, 18 March 2017 at 8:15 a.m.
Morning Report with Susie Ferguson and Guyon Espiner
economy
NZ wage earners among the lowest taxed in OECD
A new report from the OECD shows out of 35 countries New Zealand and Chile workers are taxed the least, and those in Belguim and France the most. As Patrick O’Meara report, this comes as the Government considers tax cuts for low and middle income workers.
Audio | Download: Ogg MP3 (3′50″)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

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Filed under Business, Democracy, Economics, Education, Finance, Geography, Inspiration, Leading edge, Media, New Zealand, People, Politics, Public interest

Jane Kelsey —The FIRE Economy: New Zealand’s Reckoning #book

The name of Kelsey’s book refers to an acronym for economies primarily based around “finance, insurance and real estate”.

### ODT Online Thu, 10 Sep 2015
Foretelling end of neoliberalism
By Carla Green
Legal scholar Jane Kelsey has described the “morbid symptoms” of neoliberalism’s impending downfall. The University of Auckland law professor was speaking during the presentation of her new book, The Fire Economy, in Dunedin this week.
Read more

Fire economy jkelsey [via Idealog.co.nz]Image via Idealog.co.nz

Bridget Williams Books (promotion + sales)

The FIRE Economy: New Zealand’s Reckoning
Jane Kelsey

The FIRE economy – built on finance, insurance and real estate – is now the world’s principal source of wealth creation. Its rise has transformed our political, economic and social landscapes, supported by a neoliberal regime that celebrates markets, profit and risk. From rising inequality and ballooning household debt to a global financial crisis and fiscal austerity, the neoliberal ‘orthodoxy’ has brought instability and empowered the few. Yet it remains remarkably resilient, even resurgent, in New Zealand and abroad.
In 1995 Jane Kelsey set out a groundbreaking account of the neoliberal revolution in The New Zealand Experiment. Now she marshals an exceptional range of evidence to show how this transfer of wealth and power has been systematically embedded over three decades.
Today organisations and commentators once at the vanguard of neoliberal reform, including the IMF and Financial Times journalist Martin Wolf, are warning the current model is unsustainable. A post-neoliberal era beckons. In The FIRE Economy Kelsey identifies the risks posed by FIRE and the barriers embedded neoliberalism presents to a progressive, post-neoliberal transformation – and urges us to act. This is a book New Zealand cannot afford to ignore.
BWB Link + Book Preview

Videos at YouTube (published by Scoop):

Jane Kelsey “The Fire Economy” Book Talk To The Fabians 5 August 2015 (pt 1)
Jane Kelsey “The Fire Economy” Book Talk To The Fabians 5 August 2015 (pt 2)
Jane Kelsey “The Fire Economy” Book Talk To The Fabians 5 August 2015 (pt 3)

[via Scoop.co.nz]

Fri, 17 Jul 2015, 4:30 pm
The FIRE Economy: New Zealand’s Reckoning – By Jane Kelsey
Opinion: Professor Jane Kelsey
Introduction – An Extract

fire_ad_460x120_v1 [via Scoop.co.nz]

The global economy imploded in 2008 and confirmed a stark reality. Entire nations and billions of people are captives of an unstable and amoral economic system powered by finance, insurance and real estate – FIRE. New Zealand included.
‘The FIRE economy’ is a metaphor for the fundamental shift in global capitalism since the 1970s. Finance has replaced industry as the driver of wealth creation in affluent countries – a transformation known as financialisation. Neoliberal ideology, rules and institutions acted first as the midwife and then as the guardian of this new economic order.
The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) showed the world’s richest countries, notably the US and the nations of Europe, that the globally integrated economy they had created, and from which they have prospered, could also bring them to their knees. Faith in the neoliberal ‘orthodoxy’ that shaped and sustained them seemed shattered. The fallout was fast and furious, and quickly spread to many other parts of the world.
A cursory look might suggest that little has really changed. Neoliberalism remains deeply embedded in most countries. The finance industry is resurgent and those who profit from it are unrepentant. Conservative parties with pro-market and pro-austerity mandates have been elected to govern some of the countries hardest hit.
Appearances are, however, deceptive. Confidence in the FIRE economy has faltered since the GFC and the hegemony of the neoliberal model is in decline. Core tenets of neoliberal ideology are being repudiated, even in institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Social inequality and poverty in and between countries are now recognised as symptoms of a sick system. Popular unrest in Europe has intensified, and new political parties from neo-Nazi fascists to the socialist left have gained ground. There are credible predictions of further crises.
The United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) warned in its flagship Trade and Development report for 2014, six years after the GFC erupted, that the ‘world economy has not yet escaped the growth doldrums in which it has been marooned for the past four years, and there is a growing danger that this state of affairs is becoming accepted as the “new normal”’. That ‘new normal’ is not sustainable.
The world is entering a period of transformation equivalent to the epochal shift to Keynesian interventionism from the 1930s and the neoliberal revolution from the late 1970s. We are in the interregnum. The old orthodoxy is unstable and fragile; a new one has yet to be born. It remains to be seen how this plays out, how much resistance it will encounter, and whether alternative approaches can really break through the barriers designed to protect neoliberalism and the FIRE economy from just such a transformation.

Kiwi complacency
While the GFC has plunged rich countries like the US and England and later Spain and Greece into turmoil, New Zealand seems to be basking in the belief that it has survived the crisis pretty much unscathed. The standard Kiwi narrative treats it as a northern hemisphere affair, triggered by greedy American bankers and profligate European governments. The story goes something like this.
In today’s globalised world there was bound to be some collateral damage from other countries’ post-crisis recessions, but our financial system was shown to be basically sound (mainly because the Australian banks that own ours are sound). Governments on both sides of the Tasman responded promptly and effectively. Temporary interventions provided fiscal stimulus and bank guarantees steadied the ship, staving off a more serious recession. Stability was restored. Each country then resumed business as usual, regardless of their governments’ political hue. Helped by exports to China, future prospects looked positive, even rosy. Exuberant commentators went so far as to hail New Zealand as the ‘rock star’ economy of 2014. The strong centre-right vote at the 2014 election suggested confidence in the status quo or, at least, that the belief in TINA – there is no alternative – still prevails.
Before the 2008 election, as the GFC began to erupt, business journalist Bob Edlin observed how the country’s leaders seemed ‘curiously phlegmatic about global financial upheaval and its economic implications’. Their offerings ‘amounted to little more than tweaks of programmes that have brought us to where we are – a standstill’. No one was ‘peddling a cyclone-shelter or rebuilding programme’. Nothing has changed since then.

Couldn’t happen here?
This complacency is deeply disturbing. Neoliberalism has not served most New Zealanders well. Nor, in other than a hedonistic sense, has financialisation. Structural poverty and deep inequalities of wealth and income have transformed the social landscape. We have a shallow economy that depends on FIRE, farming, post-earthquake reconstruction and immigration. Periods of sustained economic growth in the 2000s have been fuelled by cheap credit. As a consequence, households, farmers and the country sit on a growing mountain of debt. Trading in property has become the main source of easy wealth, creating repeated incipient property bubbles. We have most of the preconditions that have been identified as triggers for a crisis.
A former Reserve Bank of Australia governor, Ian Macfarlane, is under no illusion there will be further crises. In 2008 he pointed to at least eight financial crises that impacted on Australia – and hence New Zealand – in the three decades before the GFC. Five were banking crises, and three involved excessive and risky lending in the property sector. Some affected New Zealand much more severely than the GFC. However, it was the depth and contagion of the latest crisis that Macfarlane says made it the most significant internationally and invalidated the model of the deregulated financial system.
New Zealand is much more at risk than Australia because successive Labour and National governments have located this country at the pure end of the neoliberal spectrum. For years it was known as the Wild West of financial markets. Adjustments during the 2000s were still premised on light-handed risk-tolerant regulation. Even since the GFC, governments and their advisers have continued to position New Zealand as an outlier, ignoring doubts in other countries and international institutions over the wisdom of letting financial markets rule.
Without some fundamental changes, New Zealand risks sleepwalking into a social, economic and political catastrophe. No one knows how or when that might happen. The tipping point could be another massive offshore crisis. Or it could be self-generated, as it was in Iceland and Ireland, if we fail to heed the warning signs. There is much to learn from Iceland’s successful post-crisis strategy of intervention, redistribution and capital controls, and from the tragedy of austerity economics in Greece, Spain and Ireland.

Time to act
Waiting for Armageddon is hardly a progressive strategy. It makes much more sense for New Zealanders to confront the country’s challenges now and begin to shape a socially progressive alternative than to battle over models in the midst of a crisis. While it is true New Zealand’s fate will inevitably be caught up in the unfolding of international events, Kiwis can influence how those global dynamics shape our future.
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under Business, Democracy, Economics, Events, Geography, Heritage, Inspiration, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, What stadium

‘Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising’

The gap between New Zealand’s rich and poor is growing faster than any other developed nation, a new OECD report shows.

### 3news.co.nz Tue, 06 Dec 2011 12:48p.m.
Rich, poor gap growing fast
The report, called Divided We Stand, charts the widening gap between the top 10 per cent wealthiest residents and the poorest 10 per cent. The richest Kiwis now claim an income 10 times that of the poorest residents. This is considerably less than the huge margin seen in the worst countries Brazil, Russia, China and India where the wealthy earn 50 times more, but New Zealand won the dubious honour of the gap widening the fastest. On an inequality index called the Gini coefficient, where zero means everybody has the same income and one means the richest person has all the income, New Zealand scored 0.33. This is up six percentage points from 1985, when it scored 0.27, constituting the biggest jump of any OECD country.
Read more

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### freshbusinessthinking.com 05/12/2011
Divided we stand: rich-poor gap hits 30 year high
By Maximilian Clarke
The richest 10% of OECD member states own 9 times more than the poorest 10%- the highest income disparity for more than 30 years. A new report by the Paris-based OECD (the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) entitled Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising urges governments to act quickly to prevent the growing discord between the haves and have-nots, which – particularly during times of economic decline – can fuel political instability.
The main driver behind rising income gaps has been greater inequality in wages and salaries, as the high-skilled have benefitted more from technological progress than the low-skilled. Reforms to boost competition and to make labour markets more adaptable, for example by promoting part-time work or more flexible hours, have promoted productivity and brought more people into work, especially women and low-paid workers. But the rise in part-time and low-paid work also extended the wage gap.
Tax and benefit systems play a major role in reducing market-driven inequality, but have become less effective at redistributing income since the mid-1990s. The main reason lies on the benefits side: benefits levels fell in nearly all OECD countries, eligibility rules were tightened to contain spending on social protection, and transfers to the poorest failed to keep pace with earnings growth.
The income gap has risen even in traditionally egalitarian countries, such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden, from 5 to 1 in the 1980s to 6 to 1 today. The gap is 10 to 1 in Italy, Japan, Korea and the United Kingdom, and higher still, at 14 to 1 in Israel, Turkey and the United States. In Chile and Mexico, the incomes of the richest are still more than 25 times those of the poorest, the highest in the OECD, but have finally started dropping.
Income inequality is much higher in some major emerging economies outside the OECD area. At 50 to 1, Brazil’s income gap remains much higher than in many other countries, although it has been falling significantly over the past decade. FBT Link

OECD Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under Economics, Geography, People, Politics

amalgamation, Anyone?

Would you trust your own mother with the information that Dunedin City Council (DCC) is fully debt laden, that is, stony broke? You should.

Also, tell her DCC has no insurance for infrastructure assets, which badly need upgrade and replacement. Prettily, DCC has a new stadium that’s bleeding millions of dollars annually and it will continue to do so for years and years and years. She’ll want to know that each DCC ratepayer is now carrying five to six times the debt burden of the average New Zealand ratepayer.

The list goes on. She’ll love you for it.

Or would you hide this from her and pretend a forensic audit of the Council books wasn’t needed – so to foster happy collaborations (comings together) with ‘super’ fellow cities, as if Dunedin was level-pegging?

Dear god, your Dunedin ratepayer base is around 53,000. A high proportion of the population is low-waged and or receiving some sort of benefit assistance. The majority of citizens live in ‘old, cold and costly’ houses. Fatally, your Council keeps borrowing like there’s no tomorrow.

Definitely grounds for inter-city collaboration and blending there. If other cities want to share our deep impoverishment due to Council’s continuing lack of fiduciary responsibility, roll on up. Ignore our weaknesses and transgressions, love your mother and the useless council despots.

Register to read D Scene online at
http://fairfaxmedia.newspaperdirect.com/

### D Scene 30-11-11 (page 5)
Add it up
Dunedin City Council Economic Development Unit and Corporate Policy department is working on the first draft of a central government project to compare the economies of 6 core NZ cities. Due for completion in early December, the project analyses economic and social information about the cities, highlighting strengths and areas for potential collaboration between them. The project is being led by the Ministry for Economic Development and Local Government New Zealand. #bookmark

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under DCC, Economics, Geography, Politics, Project management

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame, explains

Uploaded by rogerwaterschannel on 4 Nov 2011
Thanks to Paul Allen for this video link.

Uploaded by rogerwaterschannel on 5 Nov 2011



Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under Economics, Events, Inspiration, People, Politics, Site

DCC has PR problem

The Octagon Occupy (a peaceful legitimate protest) and the weekend’s North Dunedin fires (arson, threat to property, drunkenness and street fighting, threat to health and safety) are exerting pressure on the Dunedin City Council to enter meaningful – open and transparent – communication with residents and ratepayers; evidently, this should extend to the university and the police.

The protesters have won a significant victory and it will be even more difficult to move them now.

### ODT Online Wed, 9 Nov 2011
Editorial: Communication breakdown
Have the Dunedin City Council and senior police officers stopped talking to each other? After last Tuesday night’s public relations disaster when the council failed in its attempt to have trespassed protesters removed from the Octagon, the residents of Dunedin could well be forgiven for thinking sensible communication has ceased. The “Occupy Dunedin” protesters – some call them noble and brave and others bludgers and beneficiaries – pitched more than 30 tents in the upper Octagon on October 15, joining a global movement protesting corporate greed and social inequality and calling for greater protection of the environment.
Read more

Related Posts:
19.10.11 Octagon protest occupies minds!
21.10.11 INSANE, Dave! Occupy Dunedin STAYS in the Octagon.
24.10.11 #Occupy #OWS Good guy! US Marine Sgt Shamar Thomas

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under DCC, Economics, Events, Media, People, Politics, Site

INSANE, Dave! Occupy Dunedin STAYS in the Octagon.

DON’T MOVE. DON’T ACCEPT THE MARKET RESERVE. KEEP THE PROTEST CENTRAL AND HIGHLY VISIBLE . . . WHILE DUNEDIN CITY COUNCILLORS CONTINUE TO SELL OUR FUTURE DOWN THE TUBES.

### ODT Online Fri, 21 Oct 2011
Occupy protesters offered other site
By David Loughrey
Protesters in the Octagon have been offered an alternative site at the Market Reserve in Dunedin, a move Mayor Dave Cull said was designed to return the Octagon to all city residents. Mr Cull last night said council chief executive Paul Orders had organised a staff member to pass on the message to the group yesterday afternoon. The protesters had been invited to the council today to speak to Mr Orders, and give their response.
Read more

Images ©2011 Elizabeth Kerr

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under DCC, Economics, Events, Geography, People, Politics