New Zealand’s post-Covid inequalities concerning

Concerns about New Zealand’s post-Covid inequalities are piling up.

There is disquiet that the monetary response to Covid-19 is fuelling inequality by driving up share-markets and house prices.

Recent Stat’s NZ data shows high-spending households are benefiting from zero inflation on the mix of products and services they buy. In contrast, price rises are still impacting those with less money to spend.

Stats NZ says thanks mainly to falling interest rates, high-spending households experienced zero inflation in the three months to the end of September. This was even while prices overall rose 0.4 percent.

The biggest losers in the inflation stakes over the past three months were superannuants. Stats NZ says they had the highest inflation rate during the quarter – 0.7 percent.

The reason: they were proportionally most impacted by rises in local authority rates bills.

“The highest-spending households benefited the most from the recent drop in interest rates, helping offset rising local authority rates,” consumer prices manager Nicola Growden says.

“Interest payments make up about $1 in every $10 of this household group’s spending.”

Growden says spending on interest payments fell 6.4 percent when compared with the three months to the end of June and by 10 per cent compared with a year ago.

Rates rose 3.1 percent during the quarter.

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) has also expressed concern in a recent report about unemployment inequalities.

The report says women are disproportionately impacted by unemployment, which rose to 5.3 per cent in the September quarter.

CTU economist Andrea Black says the unemployment rate was 4.8 percent for men but 5.8 percent for women.

“It is also important to note that even in good times the unemployment rates for Māori and Pasifika are higher than for Pakeha,” she said.

“This trend continues with the Māori unemployment rate of 8.8 percent and Pasifika at 8.1 percent.”

Black says the CTU wants the Government to invest more resources into social infrastructure. These include early childhood education, midwifery and the care sector.


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