The CTU believes that by working together we can build a better economy for New Zealand. This report sets out our goals for that kind of that economy - one that is more productive, more sustainable, and more inclusive. One that recognises the role of tangata whenua as leaders, decision makers, landowners, workers and business owners. New Zealand is already the best country in which to be in business according to the World Bank.[1] The CTU also wants to create an economy in which this is the best country in the world to be a worker and kaimahi.[2] 

As New Zealand emerges from the pandemic, the calls from some to ‘return to normal’ ring hollow. The last three decades have been characterised by a rising housing market, the domination of a few sectors, and wages falling short of output. For too long, the rewards of economic growth have been increasingly privatised, while the negative consequences are increasingly socialised. Aotearoa can’t afford an economy characterised by insecurity, division and a lack of infrastructure and accountability.

The CTU has produced some recommendations, but its time to hear from you. Time to hear how the economy is impacting your wellbeing and your communities. Time to hear how we can improve both — together. Over the coming months, the CTU will be travelling the country listening to communities, talking with experts, and discovering what a positive economic development strategy for New Zealand should look like. This is the start of a conversation, not the end.

Richard Wagstaff, NZCTU President

Foreword from Rūnanga

COVID-19 lockdowns have provided Aotearoa with an opportunity to review, refocus and reset for a future that considers Māori and Pasifika as being crucial to the economic wellbeing of Aotearoa. Be bold, be brave kōkiri.

Syd Keepa, Vice President Māori, Council of Trade Unions & NZCTU Rūnanga,
Laures Park, NZEI & NZCTU Rūnanga


Read about

Our Proposal for Engagement with Aotearoa New Zealand


[1]  World Bank Group. (2020). Doing Business 2020: Comparing Business Regulation in 190 Economies. Doing Business 2020 (worldbank.org)

[2] For the purpose of this Economic Development Strategy, the term worker or kaimahi encompasses all working people including employees, contractors, unpaid labour, and the self-employed.