Gender Pay Gap Widens as New Zealand Incomes Rise: Official

October 3, 2015
Editor: Kiki Liu

Median household incomes are on the rise in New Zealand, according to official figures out on October 2, but political leaders expressed dismay over a widening gender pay gap.

Median weekly income from was up 26 NZ dollars (U.S. $17) in the June quarter from a year ago, with half the population aged 15 or over years receiving more than 621 NZ dollars (U.S. $398) a week, according to the government's Statistics New Zealand agency.

"Over the last year, there were more wage and salary earners, particularly more full-time workers," labor market and households statistics manager Diane Ramsay said in a statement.

"This contributed to the income rise for all people, as full- time workers tend to receive higher income than the rest of the population."

However, median hourly earnings for men were up 4.6 percent to 24.07 (U.S. $15.42) while median hourly earnings for women rose "non-significantly" by 2.4 percent to 21.23 NZ dollars (U.S. $13.60), said a commentary from the agency.

The gender pay gap of 11.8 percent compared with 9.9 percent in the June 2014 quarter and 11.2 percent in the June 2013 quarter.

Minister for Women Louise Upston said she was disappointed by the figures.

"While it's been encouraging to see a downwards trend in gender pay gap figures over the past 17 years, it's disappointing to see this increase," Upston said in a statement.

"There shouldn't be a difference in the average salaries of men and women in this country, and what this increase shows is we still have work to do to ensure women are paid fairly for their skills," she said.

"Women should be encouraged into fields where they have been traditionally underrepresented. Many of these areas, such as technology, construction and trades are experiencing high growth and high wages."

The opposition Green Party said the government's "hands off" approach to gender equality was failing women in the workforce.

The government had axed the Pay and Equality Equity unit when it was elected in 2008 and was now trying to blame workers themselves for the gender pay gap, Green Party women's spokesperson Jan Logie said in a statement.

(Source: Xinhua)

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