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Thursday, 22 February 2018 07:54 am

Kiwis not sharing in their country’s economic growth

Feb 14th, 2018 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Lead Story, News

Graphic: Andrew Bevin

 

The Cover of this years report

New Zealand is richer, but New Zealanders are not, according to the annual State of the Nation report produced by the Salvation Army.

 

Infant mortality is down, teen pregnancy rates continue to drop, the educational achievement gap is decreasing and there is sustained economic growth.

But the economic growth has not translated into higher wages for New Zealanders, says the report released today.

Over the past year the per person increase in our gross domestic product is 2.5% when adjusted for inflation.

However, wages have only increased by 1% when adjusted for inflation.

The report says this may be the reason for a 12% increase in the number of food parcels the Salvation Army handed out last year.

“The Salvation Army has not studied the reason for this expansion in food parcel demand, but notes that it has occurred alongside rising rents and very modest, recent increases in wages,” says the report.

There is also currently a housing shortage following a period of high population growth.

In the past four years, New Zealand’s population grew by 8%, but houses are not being built at the same rate.

“Over the past five years (2012 to 2017) the housing deficit in Auckland is estimated at just less than 20,000 units,” says the report.

The rest of New Zealand has a housing deficit of about 5000 units.

Nationally rents have gone up 26.1% over the last 5 years, with Auckland and more recently Wellington, the worst affected by rent raises.

Another concern raised in the report is the apparent rise in methamphetamine use across the country.

There was a 78% increase in meth related crimes between 2012 and 2017.

The report says there is clear evidence this is not simply a case of an increase in prosecutions, but increased availability of meth.

The State of the Nation quotes the Arrestees Drug Use Monitoring Report, which found from 2010 to 2016, meth use increased by 8%, and the price of meth fell $103 per gram to $670.

It says no substantial improvement has been made in areas such as child abuse and neglect, and youth offending.

While there has been a decrease in children living in severe material hardship, down from 90,000 in 2012 to 70,000 in 2016, child abuse and neglect remain high.

In 2017 there were 14,802 substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect in New Zealand, and 7016 cases of physical or sexual assaults on children.

This year the Salvation Army has named the report “Kei a Tātou-It is us.”

Director of the Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit Ian Hutson says the statistical information can seem separate from us, but in reality it is us.

“As a society, a nation, we are intimately connected to each other in a relationship of belonging, so those that stumble or fall outside the margins are part of us.”

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