New Zealand developed until the 1990s into a welfare
state with growing budget deficits. However, the economic
crisis hit the country hard, and in 1991 unemployment was 11
percent. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of ZK and acronym for New Zealand.
The economy recovered slowly for two decades.
Unemployment fell and was down 3.5 percent in 2008. However,
the global financial crisis in 2008 also posed a severe
strain on the economy and led to rising unemployment. In
order to create more jobs, large investments were made in
infrastructure, which led to an increase in government debt.
In 2010, a budget deficit emerged after almost a decade of
surplus in the Treasury, with the effect that the government
made sharp cuts in health care, schooling and care.
Growth has increased until 2016 but is still sensitive to
fluctuations in the world market.
Unemployment in New Zealand has been fairly stable for a
period and was 5.2 per cent in 2016.
The lack of highly educated labor has created greater
opportunities for women, Maoris and Polynesian immigrants to
take a place in the labor market. Women nowadays work almost
as much as men. Although the law prohibits gender
discrimination, the woman's average salary is generally
significantly lower than the male's.
However, many women have reached high political
positions. Nearly a third of Parliament's members were women
after the 2011 elections and in 2005–06 women were found in
positions such as Head of State, Head of Government,
President of Parliament, Governor General and Supreme Court
New Zealand has had a traditionally strong trade union
movement. In the past, union membership has been mandatory,
but this was abolished by the bourgeois government in the
early 1990s. Furthermore, the right to strike was limited at
the same time as the central negotiation system was
terminated. Working hours were deregulated by the then
bourgeois government. Previously, the working week was 40
hours, but after 1991 many work more than 50 hours per week.
Since 2007, employees have been entitled to four weeks'
During Labour's reign of 1999–2008, the weakened trade
union movement regained some power. For example, workers
were again entitled to collective bargaining. Nowadays,
every fifth worker is unionized.
Unemployment insurance exists for people who have been
resident in New Zealand for at least two years. The
remuneration is income tested and assumes that the
unemployed are actively seeking work.
New Zealand introduced an old-age pension as early as
1898. It was then valid for 65 years and was needs tested.
For a period, the retirement age was reduced to 60 years for
poor and worn-out body workers. The retirement age has
gradually been raised and in 2001 it was again 65 years. In
1977, the state pension needs test was removed.
Welfare and poverty
In 2015, the median income in New Zealand was SEK 14,300
per month. The median salary was SEK 20,300 per month.
Since the beginning of the 1980s, the number of poor
people has risen. In 2015, more than 16 percent of the
country's residents were poor. Above all, child poverty has
become a problem for New Zealand. Twice as many children as
1984, almost 20 percent of all children, live in poverty,
which means that they live in families where income is lower
than 60 percent of median income.
In New Zealand, child poverty manifests itself because
children have a significantly lower standard of living and
limitations in their lives. Child poverty means that
children are sometimes homeless but also that they cannot
participate in activities, have access to a healthy diet,
accommodation, full education and hopes for the future.
Inequality in the country partly follows ethnic divides
in New Zealand. There is an over-representation of Maoris
and immigrants from island states in the Pacific in the
unemployment and poverty statistics. Among these, violence
against women and other crimes is also more frequent. The
Maori life expectancy, which is about ten years shorter than
the remaining population, also testifies to the social and
economic differences between groups. However, there are also
poor people of European descent.
Indigenous rights, especially their fishing rights and
land rights, have been a contentious issue in New Zealand.
In 2010, the bourgeois government signed the UN Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The decision was
controversial and met with resistance within both his own
party and Labor and the government's support party ACT.
Like social security benefits, social insurance is
customized to the needs and requires a certain length of
stay in the country to apply.
Health care is largely tax-financed. Parts of healthcare
are free or subsidized, while other costs are covered by
private insurance. Nearly a quarter are covered by private
As long as their cases are pending, asylum seekers are
entitled to state-funded health care. Similarly, the
children of the paperless are entitled to schooling.
Non-residents, as well as the paperless, must pay full
health care costs unless their state of health is not the
result of an accident. In such circumstances, care is
covered by the state.
Abortion is only allowed when the fetus is damaged or if
the woman's condition is life-threatening. Pregnancy as a
result of rape or if the mother is very young are also
accepted reasons for abortion.
Since 2004, gay and heterosexual couples have the same
rights regarding the custody of children, tax rules and
social welfare. Same-sex marriage became legal in August
In New Zealand, parents are entitled to 18 weeks of paid
parental leave. However, this can be extended to 52 weeks
but the time that exceeds the first 18 weeks is then unpaid.
Parental leave can be divided between both parents.
Most children in New Zealand, around 95 percent, have
some form of childcare. This is usually 20-22 hours a week.
The first 20 hours of childcare per week are state-funded
from the age of 3 until the children start school after they
turn five. This applies regardless of whether the children
have a visa or not. Both teacher and parent-led child care
Like the pension, the child allowance is a benefit of an
old date. In the 1940s it became commonplace, but in 1985 it
began to be tested again. The child allowance was completely
abolished in 1991, when tax incentives for low-income
families were introduced instead. Since 2005, a family
package also exists, which has improved the situation for
many families in a country where child poverty is relatively