Cost of essentials outstrips wages

We are being paid a fifth more than we were five years ago, but the cost of essentials is rising even faster.

According to Statistics New Zealand, the average weekly wage across all industries rose from $705 in the June 2006 quarter to $855 in June this year, an increase of 21 per cent.

But while a 21.5 per cent increase in the financial and insurance industry netted an extra $225 for staff, retail workers’ wages went up only $91, a 21 per cent increase.

Looking at the consumer price index figures for the same five-year period, it can be gauged how wage increases are tracking with the cost of living.

While some items such as rent, home ownership costs and buying a car have increased by less than the average weekly wage, other essentials have shot up.

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