NZ’s terms of trade, as reported in the NZ Herald, is the best for 34 years. The terms of trade, which measures export values versus imports, rose 4.1% over the last 3 months, and in the year previous to that 11.3%. The growth is mainly due to soaring prices for dairy products exported overseas, and increasing costs of imports due to rising oil prices.
As the NZ Herald put it “the increased purchasing power of the export dollar makes New Zealand a richer country”. Fundamentally NZ is a wealthy country. In 2007 national income rose 5.1%. There's been sustained economic growth since 2000. The wealth, however, has not been shared around. The rich have been gorging themselves while the relative wealth of middle to low income earners has stagnated or fallen. There are real signs that the economy is heading for problems, as a result of the global economic crisis and the bursting of NZ’s housing market bubble. The wealthy elites now want workers and other grassroots people to tighten their belts and be "realistic" about what the country can afford. This would be injustice heaped on injustice. There should be no poverty in NZ today, and we should be rushing to fund public solutions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions. Finding the $400 million a year needed to make tertiary education free should be no problem at all. That's why the demands being put forward by RAM are simply common sense:
- Remove GST tax from all our food.
- Mobilise for climate security, like public transport funded by road budget.
- 2% interest state loan for a first home.
- Lift minimum wage to $15 per hour & legalise workers’ stolen rights.
- Free tertiary education & student living allowance to stop the ‘brain drain’.