Bill English: NZ's low wages an 'advantage'

  • 10/04/2011

Labour and unions are attacking comments made by Finance Minister Bill English that New Zealand businesses could use New Zealand's low wages to help it compete with Australia.

The comments were made at a leadership forum at the weekend, but Labour and the unions say it's hypocritical to talk about closing the wage gap with Australia then encourage businesses to take advantage of lower wages.

"The best Bill English can do is trumpet that New Zealand wages are 30 per cent below Australia's giving us an 'advantage'," says Labour leader Phil Goff. "This from a Government which campaigned at the last election on closing the gap with Australia."

"Well, it's a way of competing, isn't it?" Mr English told TV1 yesterday. "I mean, if we want to grow this economy, we need the capital - more capital per worker - and we're competing for people as well," he said.

Mr English has defended the comments, saying low wages aren't a good thing, but they're a fact.

RadioLIVE / 3 News

source: newshub archive