Press Release – Public Service Association
A recent A$2 billion pledge to address pay equity in Australia offers the new National-led government here in New Zealand a real challenge on which to play catch up with our Tasman neighbour.PSA Media Release
November 30, 2011
PSA MEDIA RELEASE
Gillard pledge offers “catch up” challenge to NZ
A recent A$2 billion pledge to address pay equity in Australia offers the new National-led government here in New Zealand a real challenge on which to play catch up with our Tasman neighbour.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says her Government is prepared to spend A$2 billion over six years to lift the wages of under-paid workers and close the long-standing pay gap between men and women in Australian workplaces.
“At the 2008 election National campaigned on closing the wage gap with Australia; if it’s truly committed to that goal it will follow Julia Gillard’s example,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.
Women in Australia earn on average a fifth less than men, or as Julia Gillard puts it, “women work nearly seven weeks every year for free.”
“We also have a big pay equity problem in New Zealand. While the national average gender pay gap is 12 percent, nearly a third of government departments have gender pay gaps above 20 percent and in one, the New Zealand Defence Force, it is nearly 39 percent, says Brenda Pilott.
“These are shameful statistics given that 59 percent of New Zealand’s public service workers are women.
“In April, Finance Minister Bill English boasted that New Zealand’s low wages helped it compete with Australia, but this doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
“A recent report from Goldman Sachs estimates that closing the pay gap between men and women in New Zealand would boost New Zealand’s GDP by 10 percent.
“The investment banking firm believes that addressing this, along with other gender disparities could bring considerable economic benefits to New Zealand. Surely that’s an attractive proposition for Mr English?
“Julia Gillard’s Government has shown real leadership on addressing pay equity in Australia. If the new National-led Government were to implement a similar pledge here, not only would it be addressing the pay disparity between men and women, it would also be taking action on the widening gap with our neighbour across the Tasman.
“It would also assist low paid workers in the disability sector, who are predominantly female, gaining pay parity with their state sector equivalents doing similar work,” says Brenda Pilott.