Economy steady but need to prepare for change

“The GDP figures out this morning confirmthat the economy is growing steadily and doing well compared to other OECDcountries,” says Richard Wagstaff, President of the New Zealand Council ofTrade Unions.

“It is good to see that businessinvestment is tracking up from low points in the middle of last year. The mainshort term threats to New Zealanders’ economic wellbeing are from internationalevents such as downturns in China, the US, the U.K. or Europe, or the tensionsin the Middle East aggravated by the Trump administration.”

“We must also be making changes to get outof our low-wage, low-productivity rut and to ensure people are helped throughchanges in their work due to technology, globalisation and climatechange.”

“That emphasises the important role ofgovernment. Government must be prepared to play a crucial and active role intaking us through downturns, in helping people through change, in moving ourindustries towards higher productivity, and in ensuring working people receivethe higher wages they deserve.

“To achieve this, the government must bewell resourced. The problem is not government debt, which is already very lowas Treasury has confirmed, but insufficient revenue. More revenue, gathered ina way that reduces New Zealand’s high level of inequality, is essential forresilience and to rebuild the public services and support that are essentialfor New Zealanders’ wellbeing,” Wagstaff said. E

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