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A New Zealand professor has predicted Kiwis will flock to Australia to reap the benefits of Anthony Albanese‘s promised rise of the nation’s minimum wage.
On Monday, Mr Albanese was sworn in as the country’s 31st prime minister, becoming just the fourth person to lead Labor to government from opposition since World War II.
The crushing defeat of the Liberals was welcome news for millions of Aussies who are set to receive a pay boost after Mr Albanese vowed to back a 5.1 per cent hike in the minimum wage in order to keep up with rising inflation if elected into power.
But University of Auckland Public Policy Institute director Jennifer Curtin says the new regime will also incentivise New Zealand workers to move across the ditch after Jacinda Ardern warned local wage growth will not exceed inflation until 2023.
The current minimum wage in Australia is $20.33 (NZ $22.43) – a $1.23 higher than New Zealand’s $21.20.
Anthony Albanese was sworn in as Australia’s 31st prime minister on Monday. A NZ professor says the move will incentivise Kiwis to move to Australia to work after he promised wage rises
‘We know that Albanese promised a real injection of funds into the health sector and into the aged care sector, and we also know that he’s interested in seeing the minimum wage rise by at least 5 percent,’ Professor Curtin told AM.
‘The challenge for New Zealand will be to try [to] make sure we look as lucrative as Australia.
‘We’ve seen our people – our professionals – move across the Tasman before. We’ll probably start seeing it again.’
However, Professor Curtin noted that Australia also has a cost of living crisis, with annual wage growth currently sitting at 2.4 per cent – almost half of the inflation rate, which is 5.1 per cent.
Although the minimum wage in New Zealand has been growing annually under Labor, Ms Ardern on Monday announced wage growth would remain stymied for at least another 12 months as the nation grapples with the skyrocketing price of goods.
NZ Herald property editor Anne Gibson told the Front Page podcast says rising wages are not the only thing luring Kiwis across the ditch.
‘Australian companies are offering much higher salaries, some are covering moving expenses, going as far as even moving the cat if you want that,’ says Gibson.
‘They’re also offering a better lifestyle and cheaper living, especially when it comes to houses.
‘ANZ has forecast 20,000 Kiwis leaving in a year to Australia and other parts of the world. It’s very worrying,’ she explained.
She explained how her fiends moved to Queensland, and were earning far more money in Australia.
‘Where they are now, they’ve got the Gold Coast on their doorstep, they’ve been to Australia Zoo already, they like the warmer climate and they love having a Costco over there. These are the types of things that make people in their 20s happier.
‘[One of them] is earning about another $30,000,’ says Gibson.
‘In your 20s, that’s pretty significant. I mean, that’s around half the average salary in New Zealand, so it’s a major lure.’
‘Since 2017 wages and wage growth in New Zealand has been growing at a faster rate, at a higher rate than the cost of living and until this year. Then it changes back next year,’ Ms Ardern said on Monday.
‘In the Budget forecast, you will see we get back to that position of wages growing faster than the cost of living [in 2023]. We just happen to be in a difficult moment here and now.’
In recent months, some Kiwis have slashing their grocery bills by purchasing items from Australia and having them shipped to New Zealand, as the cost of living in the country soars.
New Zealanders are saving up to 35 per cent by ordering groceries from Australia – even when including shipping costs.
Wellington resident Steven Hobman told Daily Mail Australia the two big New Zealand stores, Countdown and Foodstuffs, are charging more than they should.
‘There is nothing being put in place to pull their prices down, there should be tighter regulations and an encouragement of more competition,’ the retired engineer said.
‘There’s a duopoly going on there … there is just two of them working together, driving up prices, and the profits have been a lot higher than they would normally be for supermarkets.’
Mr Hobman said the country doesn’t have ‘cheapie’ stores like Aldi to go to.
‘People are coming from overseas and saying, “why are your prices so dear?”’ Mr Hobman said.
New Zealand supermarkets have come under scrutiny with the country’s competition watchdog finding ‘competition is not working well for consumers’.
The NZCC’s March report into the retail grocery sector said ‘if competition was more effective, the major grocery retailers would face stronger pressures to deliver the right prices, quality and range’.
Shoddy retail practices were also called into question with an imbalance of bargaining power between retailers and their suppliers.
Mr Hobman can afford to not feel the pressure as much as other low income earners in the country do, and orders items like milk and toothpaste directly from suppliers.
An Otago woman saved 35 per cent off her bill last month by ordering long-life shelf items from Australia, such as pasta, nuts, rolled oats, shampoo and toothpaste.
The shopper said that she ordered the goods via Amazon and received her products within five days.
New Zealand’s opposition party blamed Jacinda Ardern’s government for the sharp price hikes.
But the Government responded saying the rising cost of living is what ‘nearly every country is facing’ due to Covid related supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine.
Mr Albanese attended Government House in Canberra on Monday to be sworn into office, accompanied by incoming Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher.
Jacinda Ardern has warned wages will struggle to keep up with inflation in New Zealamnd
His proposed changes will benefit the estimated 180,000 workers currently on the minimum wage, as well as 2.6 million workers across 121 awards that will also be adjusted.
‘You should be able to pay your rent, to buy food, to get by, and the Fair Work Commission should bear that in mind in the decision that they make,’ Mr Albanese said in Melbourne last week.
‘Labor has a plan to lift wages and that is what we will do.’
The Fair Work Commission reviews the minimum wage and the national award minimum wage annually.
The two are usually linked, with the commission last year applying the minimum wage percentage to all other award wages.
Currently, the minimum wage of $20.33 per hour equates to $772.60 across a standard 38 hour week.
Millions of Australians are set to get a pay rise after the ALP leader pledged to boost the minimum wage by 5.1 per cent to help tackle the cost of living crisis (pictured, Australians line up outside Centrelink in Melbourne)
The pledge came after a submission from the Australian Council of Trade Unions to the Fair Work Commission backing a rise in the minimum wage of 5.5 per cent.
But economists have warned that if wages increase significantly, interest rates will have to increase as well to stop inflation.
The CBA’s Head of Australian Economics said: ‘In short, wages growth of 5.1 per cent all else being equal means higher interest rates than otherwise and the pain lands on those with a mortgage’.
The ACTU wants an increase in the minimum wage from $20.33 to $21.45 an hour, or $42,384.84 a year.
Mr Albanese said it was important wages did not go backwards.
‘We have a government that have low wage growth as a key feature of their economic architecture. They’ve said that.’
How Anthony Albanese made history with his election win
By Stephen Johnson for Daily Mail Australia
The man raised by a single mother in housing commission will be Australia’s first PM to have gone through a marriage break-up, with his girlfriend Jodie Haydon and his estranged wife, former NSW deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt, both joining him in celebrating victory at an RSL club with their son Nathan.
Australia has rejected at eight elections Opposition leaders who have divorced and remarried: on the Liberal Party side Andrew Peacock (1984 and 1990) and John Hewson (1993), and on the Labor side Kim Beazley (1998 and 2001), Mark Latham (2004) and Bill Shorten (2016 and 2019)
He is also the first modern Labor leader from the party’s more radical Left faction to win from opposition.
This signaled to supporters on election night he will be socially progressive on women’s and indigenous issues and make Australia a ‘renewable energy superpower’.
He is the first prime minister to be raised in public housing and the seventh Catholic PM who also supports the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Mr Albanese paid tribute to his mother Maryanne who raised him in public housing in Camperdown.
‘I hope there are families in public housing watching this tonight because I want every parent to be able to tell their child, no matter where you live or where you come from, in Australia, the doors of opportunity are open to us all,’ he said.
‘I want Australia to continue to be a country that no matter where you live, who you worship, who you love, or what your last name is, that places no restrictions on your journey in life.’