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Discussion paper

Gains for everyone

Towards an inclusive growth agenda for Aotearoa New Zealand
Low-wage industries Business innovation Economic growth Employment Social inequality New Zealand
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Gains for everyone 6.61 MB

The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major social and economic shock to Aotearoa New Zealand. These impacts have not been distributed evenly. Those already facing systemic disadvantage – Māori, Pacific people, people with disabilities, young people, and women – have disproportionately shouldered the burdens caused by job losses and economic uncertainty.

However, the paradigm-shifting nature of this truly global event also presents a unique opportunity to create a more equitable economic model, crafting a post-pandemic Aotearoa New Zealand characterised by more-inclusive growth for the next generation. Inclusive growth is that which shares gains and does so in a sustainable way. This paper draws on the OECD Framework for Policy Action on Inclusive Growth to outline an inclusive growth agenda that could work for Aotearoa New Zealand.

This document suggests the following opportunities for developing an inclusive growth agenda in Aotearoa New Zealand, by investing in people and places currently left behind by:

  1. Identifying and removing barriers to skills development and learning for those ‘stuck’ in low-wage jobs.
  2. Identifying and providing social support to reduce precarity (a state of persistent insecurity with regard to employment or income) such as childcare and accessible transport.

It further suggests supporting business dynamism and inclusive labour markets by:

  1. Placing less emphasis on short-term disemployment effects and more on a medium to long-term view of significantly raising the minimum wage to encourage investment in upskilling and gains to productivity when reviewing the minimum wage.
  2. Supporting entrepreneurship, innovation, and dynamic markets to lift firm performance and, when necessary, worker transitions to firms and sectors with a more positive outlook.

Finally, it suggests the enhancement of efficient and responsive government by:

  1. using good-practice participatory engagement tools to involve citizens and service users in the design of policies and programmes that affect them.
  2. requiring child and youth impact assessments for major policy proposals with likely intergenerational distributional impacts.


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