Council of Trade Unions media release
11 October 2010
The Council of Trade Unions has released an alternative economic strategy.
Peter Conway, CTU Secretary, said that this strategy has been developed over the last 12 months through discussion and debate among union members.
“It responds to the long run economic problems facing New Zealand as well as the impact of the global financial crisis. The economy is failing to meet the needs of people and the environment and it is a time for serious consideration of alternatives. This is a union contribution to that process.”
Bill Rosenberg, CTU Economist said that the Alternative Economic Strategy is based on six principles: Fairness; Participation; Security; Improving Living Standards; Sustainability; and Sovereignty.
It is framed around three pillars: Sustainable economic development; Decent work and a good life, and; Voice: real participation in decisions in the workplace, economy and community.”
Bill Rosenberg said: “The strategy includes over 100 specific policy recommendations across many areas including economic development, education, financial stability, globalisation, the environment, employment, social security, housing, retirement, inequality, worker participation and the media.”
Specific policies include:
- An infrastructure plan including a human infrastructure fund to give longer term certainty for tertiary education and workplace training and buying back Telecom's physical network at a price reflecting its short life and long neglect.
- Stabilise the exchange rate through broader Reserve Bank objectives, international capital controls, an international financial transactions tax and pegging the exchange rate.
- Lift wages through industry bargaining, higher productivity and a boost to the minimum wage.
- A tax-free band and/or tax rebate for people on incomes under $35,000, tax rates of 38 percent on income above $100,000 and 45 percent on income above $150,000 (three times the average wage) and a capital gains or assets tax exempting the primary home.
- A strategic approach to economic development focusing on certain sectors such as ICT and high level processing of agricultural products, and themes such as environmentally beneficial and high productivity. Provide support to firms which are prepared to work within this strategy and principles of decent work.
- “Flexicurity” providing security of employment alongside flexibility for firms including retaining 90% of prior income for up to 12 months unemployment, conditional on commitment to acquiring new skills and job searching, funded through compulsory employer levies and taxation. Active support to acquire new skills and find new jobs including relocation assistance.
- Consider Kiwisaver enhancements after an appropriate inquiry of
* Compulsory employer contributions of 6% phased in over 4 years
* Compulsory employee contribution 2%; Government top-up 2%
* Government contribution for those not in paid work
The full Alternative Economic Strategy document can be downloaded from:
A one page summary is also available at http://union.org.nz/sites/union/files/Alternative%20Economic%20Strategy%20-%20one%20pager.pdf