Longer hours at work boost pay packets

Feeling richer? You might just be working longer (Getty)
Feeling richer? You might just be working longer (Getty)

Pay packets are rising at their fastest rate since 2007, but it's partly because we're working longer hours.

New figures from Statistics NZ show the median weekly earnings for people in paid employment rose $44 in the year to June, up to $924. That includes salary and wage earners, and the self-employed.

The 5 percent jump is the biggest since 2007.

But the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) says it's because the average fulltime person now works 42.6 hours a week, up half an hour.

"Working harder rather than getting better pay reflects weak productivity growth," says CTU economist Bill Rosenberg.

"The amount we produce for each hour worked is barely increasing and may even be falling."

Wellington has the highest median weekly pay, up 6.4 percent to $1007.

The capital is followed by Auckland on $983 (up 6 percent), Waikato and Canterbury (both $921) and Southland ($903).

The lowest median pay can be found in Nelson/Tasman/West Coast - $810.

Longer hours at work boost pay packets

(Statistics NZ / supplied)

Almost 80 percent of workers are now full-time, the highest percentage since records began in 1998.

Couples with children are also more likely to both be working, up from 62 percent to 70 percent in the last four years - back to levels last seen in the 1990s, according to the CTU.

Women also fell further behind men, with the pay gap increasing from 11.8 to 12 percent - continuing a trend that began in 2014, when the gap was below 10 percent.

"New Zealanders value fairness and equality - we want a country where everyone is paid fairly for the work that they do," says Mr Rosenberg.

Statistics NZ says the latest increase was so small to be "statistically insignificant".