Is it not standard journalistic practice to put your allegations to the subject of your investigation prior to publication? Hager testified in the High Court that
… where the allegations were serious and the evidence was far from being solid enough to publish with confidence, I would definitely have gone to the person being accused to hear their side. Not only is that fair to the person concerned but also it would form a vital part of the checking of the facts. The person’s response would be very important as to whether I proceeded to publish the allegations about that person.
A Wellington journalist who should have known better wondered why the New Zealand Army took so long to respond to Hit and Run. The reason was they received no advance copies. They were still reading it into the night.
The Council of Trade Unions and Closer Together Whakatata Mai charted similar statistics to show that everything has gone to hell in a hand basket since neoliberalism seized power in New Zealand in 1984 and in particular after the passing of the Employment Contracts Act in 1991.
The passage of the Employment Contracts Act greatly reduced union power and union membership and with it wages growth in New Zealand, according to what is left of the New Zealand union movement.
Even the most casual inspection of the data charted above and reproduced below with some annotations shows that real wages growth returned to New Zealand in the early 1990s after 20 years of real wage stagnation.
The reforms of the 1980s stopped what was a long-term decline in average real wages. The reforms of the early 1990s including the passing of the Employment Contracts Act was followed by the resumption of sustained growth in average real wages with little interruption since.
Closer Together Whakatata Mai has even stumbled onto the great improvements in household incomes across all ethnicities since the early 1990s.
The increase in percentage terms of Maori and Pasifika real household income is much larger than for Pakeha. As Bryan Perry (2015, p. 67) explains when commenting on the very table D6 sourced by Closer Together Whakatata Mai:
From a longer-term perspective, all groups showed a strong rise from the low point in the mid 1990s through to 2010. In real terms, overall median household income rose 47% from 1994 to 2010: for Maori, the rise was even stronger at 68%, and for Pacific, 77%. These findings for longer- term trends are robust, even though some year on year changes may be less certain. For 2004 to 2010, the respective growth figures were 21%, 31% and 14%.
Source: Bryan Perry, Household Incomes in New Zealand: trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2014 – Ministry of Social Development, Wellington (August 2015), Table D6.
As Closer Together Whakatata Mai documented, incomes increased in real terms by 14% for the bottom and 19% for the middle.
Perry noted that in the lowest decile had too many implausible incomes including many on zero income so he was wary of relying on it. I have therefore charted the second, median and top decile before and after housing costs below. All three deciles charted showed substantial improvements in incomes both before and after housing costs.
Source: Bryan Perry, Household Incomes in New Zealand: trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2014 – Ministry of Social Development, Wellington (August 2015).
Naturally, measuring changes in living standards over long periods of time is fraught with under-estimation. There are new goods to be accounted for and product upgrades too.