web analytics
The Standard

A living wage

Written By: - Date published: 10:34 am, May 23rd, 2012 - 17 comments
Categories: wages - Tags: ,

The Service and Food Workers Union is launching a campaign for a living wage at 12 o’clock today.

The launch is at St Stephen’s Church in Ponsonby, and will be a colourful, musical event with speakers from clergy, budgeting services as well as unions.  They’ll be inviting organisations to sign up to the concept – as most councils in the UK have, and many in the US as well.

The concept of the living wage is making sure that wages cover people’s costs.  Our current minimum wage doesn’t – as is made clear in the Herald article and will be shown for 3 nights on Campbell Live this week.

It’s not an unreasonable ask – any decent employer should want to do this.  So the SFWU will establish a coalition of organisations (churches, budgeting services, pressure groups and other unions) to pressure Government and councils to live up to their good employer obligations, and businesses to get credit with their customers.  People like to know that what they buy was made without increasing poverty.

After inflation, average wages have fallen under John Key’s government.  The minimum wage hasn’t been increased enough to raise people out of poverty.  So we evidently need some external pressure to help.

This campaign should be a good start.

[Update: Campaign site]

17 comments on “A living wage”

  1. Sam Hall 1

    The IMF have advised the UK government that “their”(literal) country is in difficulties

  2. aerobubble 2

    As the meat workers have proved, you need to engage the producers of raw materials and make real statements about the social costs, to get a seat a Key’s class table. Reality.

    A living wage is not possible until farmers are on board and realize they have been vomiting into the wind, and losing when the opportunities to broaden the economy are lost.

    i.e. when we have a living wage in NZ we won’t be dependent on the farm and other primary sectors.

    This is why we need a CGT, to stage a coup against the property developer political block.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Go SFWU!
    The POA and Talley/AFFCO lockouts and resulting organisation and solidarity actions have had several positive spinoffs.

    Apart from frustrating bully boy employer intentions to smash collectivism and reduce workers to individual ‘labour units’ there is a growing realisation that todays voluntary unionists are not some stand alone group of selfish ‘others’, but are in fact community members and parents with a stake in this country like most of the 99%ers.

    In fact the 350,000 or so union members have kept the non union freeloaders afloat to a large extent.
    A Living Wage is an outrageous concept to the Natz and a new one possibly to the half million kiwis on minimum wage or worse. Unite all who can be united and go for it.

    • Olwyn 3.1

      I have just come back from the launch in Jervois Rd, and I have the T shirt to prove it. It was very very heartening – a good sized, enthusiastic crowd, and excellent speakers, Helen Kelly among them. Darien was there. A lively round of “She works hard for the money,” led by a minister, with everyone gyrating and clapping. It felt like the start of something really promising.

  4. jaymam 4

    A living wage is an excellent idea. And if John Key wants NZ to catch up with Australia, how about we have the same minimum wage as them?

    I think a major cost for a household is caused by the high price of land. My small section is valued at several times the value of my house. That is the fault of Councils for disallowing new subdivisions.

    An article in the Herald has an example of a low income household. But they have been paying $500 a week to finance companies for “furniture and other items including two cars”. On a low income I never buy new furniture, and I still never borrow money except for a mortgage on a house.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      That is the fault of Councils for disallowing new subdivisions.

      Or it could be that land is a scarce resource. Also, growing a city outward is far more expensive in terms of council services than growing upwards.

    • Herodotus 4.2

      If property had maintained its “relative” price based on income:price ratio then the current medium wage would suffice being a livable wage (taking that rentals also maintain a similar ratio), as the cost of housing would be something like 30% less than it currently is and this would be reflected in smaller mortgages and servicing costs & rentals. Given that property prices doubled over the 2000-2005, with the bubble starting to re-inflate.
      Pity the housing issue is been left to “Market Forces” to work it out. As many of the issues are govt induced-immigration, ability for banks to loan e.g. Bank capital ratios, and that banks can loan 100% mortgages, and finally that lack of govts. motives to review, amend favorable tax management and inability for the IRD to investigate trading.
      Look at drivers of issues to solve not the symptoms- as by fiddling all that happens is greater unforeseen consequences.
      http://www.productivity.govt.nz/final-report/1468

  5. Credit 5

    Saved as a favorite, I love your site!

  6. belladonna 6

    Let’s hope beneficiaries are not forgotten. They are the real poor but are ignored by both National and Labour.

  7. indiana 7

    According to the info in this Herald article: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10807860, the subject earns $240.00 (gross or net, not specified) per week for 35 hours of work, which equates to $6.86 per hour – make you wonder who her employer is – name and shame?.

    The minimum wage is $13.50 per hour, which means she should be earning $472.50 gross per week…I guess that article is not well researched.

    The danger of bringing forward examples of people earning low wages, is that everything about them gets scrutinised to reveal the whole truth, much in the same way rich people are scrutinised when they plead poverty if their business ventures go belly up – the former saviour of the Phoenix for example.

    • Carol 7.1

      It doesn’t say she earns $240.00 per week. It says she’s trying to raise her children on around that amount. The vagueness of the amount (“around”) suggests it’s likely she’s talking about things other than rent.

      • indiana 7.1.1

        @Carol

        “is trying to raise her two young children on around $240 a week, a wage she says is not enough to provide her family with a decent quality of life.”

        This is the sentance from the article…poorly written I agree and does not clarify if this is her total net wage or gross before any expenses.

        The real problem is that the public will want to dig deeper and see the whole truth before making an absolute determination that the wage being earnt is not a livable wage when compared to their own circumstances. This is where the battle of words will be in this campaign. The comments to my post are proof as people are now speculating how much state assistance this example is getting.

        So when the campaigners bring forward their examples of people suffering on low incomes, make sure those example know that their whole lives will need to be exposed including all the good luck and bad luck experiences.

    • Wonker 7.2

      Yes strange figures. If she only earns $240 a week, works more than 20 hours a week, and has two children under ten then WFF payments would total an additional $436 ($22k a year) a week on top of the $240. So she should be receiving around $676 a week. One can only assume the $240 is after rent and some other costs.

      http://www.ird.govt.nz/calculators/tool-name/tools-c/calculator-wfftc-estimate-2013.html?id=homepage

      • Wonker 7.2.1

        She’d be getting more WFF if she earns $472 so in total she’d be getting over $1000 a week.

        • Wonker 7.2.1.1

          stupid wonker you forget to annualise the income! She’d actually be getting less WFF of $242. So would be in roughly the same position.

  8. Phil 8

    Loved the quote from the Auckland Uni academic “no free lunch”.
    Surely that’s the point mister.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Steven Joyce takes the scalpel to medical students
    This November access to the Student Loan scheme will be cut off at seven years seriously harming medical students. Studying to become a doctor takes years of hard work, dedication and intense study and it’s a blunt tool and… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 days ago
  • Tolley must assure safety of vulnerable clients
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley must guarantee the safety of Relationships Aotearoa’s thousands of Māori clients – some of whom are very vulnerable – following the closure of the nationwide counselling service, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. Relationships… ...
    2 days ago
  • ANZ has moral obligation to fully compensate farmers
      The ANZ Bank has a moral obligation to fully compensate farmers after the High Court today declared it breached the Fair Trading Act by misleadingly representing interest rate swap loans, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. The Commerce… ...
    2 days ago
  • Fairfax can’t use restructure to cut terms and conditions
    The restructure and upheavals at Fairfax should not be used as an opportunity to cut journalists’ terms and conditions, Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Businesses have to adapt to new technologies and consumer demands and there is… ...
    2 days ago
  • McCully excuses unravel in Saudi sheep scandal
    Murray McCully has misled New Zealanders, Parliament and his Cabinet colleagues on the real reasons for paying millions of dollars in the Saudi sheep scandal – it’s time for him to clean, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David… ...
    3 days ago
  • Nats break health and education spending promises
    National has outstanding promises of almost $1 billion to be spent on health, education and agriculture from the Future Investment Fund but has only $536 million left in the fund, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “John Key and Bill… ...
    3 days ago
  • Manurewa youth leaders acknowledged
    The depth and breadth of leadership of youth throughout Manurewa, which has been recognized at the Youth Week Award ceremony held at Parliament this week, should make the community extremely proud, Manurewa Labour MP Louisa Wall says. “The 'Limitless Youth… ...
    3 days ago
  • Oi Auckland Transport: fare’s fair
    Auckland Transport should go back to the drawing board on its proposal to charge commuters for its park-and-rides, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “When we need to be getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, it’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • Is Nick Smith making it up as he goes along?
      Housing Minister Nick Smith must release the list of Crown land parcels which formed the basis of the Government’s Budget announcement, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “If the public is to have any faith the Government is not just… ...
    3 days ago
  • Norway moves first to dump coal investments
    The Green Party today called on the Government to secure cross-party support to sell its investments in coal mining companies.The Norwegian Parliament's finance committee agreed in a bipartisan motion yesterday to instruct the $1.2 trillion Government Pension Fund to sell… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    3 days ago
  • Fonterra payout $13b black hole over 2 years
    Fonterra’s dramatic cut to its forecast farmgate payout over this season and next will lead to a $13 billion black hole over two years, and shows the need for a plan to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour calls for select ctte inquiry into Rural Broadband Initiative
    Labour is calling for an immediate inquiry into the flailing $300 million rural broadband initiative, before companies and consumers are forced to pick up the tab for the new $150 million broadband tax, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “Rural… ...
    3 days ago
  • Public broadcasting takes big hit under National Government
    Public broadcasting funding has been cut by 25 per cent in real terms since the National Government took office in 2009, leading to the erosion of our once world-class news and current affairs culture, says Labour Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. … ...
    3 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another snag
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    3 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another sang
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    3 days ago
  • Wilkinson appointment wrong in principle
    The appointment of former Conservation Minister Hon Kate Wilkinson as an Environment Commissioner is wrong in principle, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker. “The doctrine of separation of powers requires judicial processes to remain separate and independent from the legislature… ...
    3 days ago
  • McCully doesn’t deny bribe in Saudi sheep scandal
    “In Parliament today I asked Murray McCully directly: Why is he the first Minister in history to back a multi-million dollar facilitation arrangement which in other jurisdictions is called a bribe? says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.… ...
    3 days ago
  • National must back our future doctors
    National must support our future doctors and agree to the calls from the Medical Students’ Association and the Young Nats to lift the arbitrary 7 year cap on student loans for medical and dental students, Labour’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson David… ...
    3 days ago
  • Taxpayer the loser after Government folds
    Steven Joyce today admitted the main exhibition hall at the New Zealand International Convention Centre is 19 per cent smaller than what was described at the time other bidders were edged out of the process, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David… ...
    4 days ago
  • Govt’s lack of ambition for women
    Yesterday, the Government put out a media release entitled “Number of women leaders continues to grow”. It was to inform us that the percentage of women on state-appointed boards has increased to 41.7%, up from 41.1% in 2013. Well, woo-hoo… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Auditor-General exposes Key’s scapegoating of Council
    The National Government's blaming of Auckland Council for the city’s housing crisis has been exposed as scapegoating in the Office of the Auditor-General’s latest report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Auditor-General says Auckland Council’s part in fixing the… ...
    4 days ago
  • Reform – not money – needed for meat sector
    The National Government continues to throw good money after bad at the meat industry instead of addressing the fundamental problem of its dysfunctional structure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The latest Primary Growth Partnership grant to the venison… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government cuts corners on school bus funding
    The safety of children – not cost cutting – should be the main objective behind the Government’s funding of school buses, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Buried in the detail of this year’s Budget are $19 million of funding… ...
    4 days ago
  • Women the losers under National’s cuts
    National’s poor performance in appointing women to state sector boards is set to get worse with funding cuts to the nomination service provided by the Ministry for Women, Labour’s Woman’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Minister for Women Louise Upston… ...
    4 days ago
  • Help sought by agencies now asked to help
    The organisation Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has tasked with setting up an emergency hotline for stranded Relationships Aotearoa clients has just lost a bid for a government contract to launch a new national helpline, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson… ...
    4 days ago
  • Wellington got loud again on climate
    On Monday night, in Wellington, I attended the last of the Government’s climate target consultation meetings. It was quite well attended with maybe 150 people, not bad for a second meeting with very little notice and, as far as I… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Final nail in coffin for Solid Energy workers
    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our economy can no longer rely on… ...
    4 days ago
  • Ramadi proves Iraq deployment high risk, low benefit
    The fall of Ramadi and the collapse of the Iraqi Army proves Labour was right to be concerned about the deployment of our troops to Iraq, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “The fall of Ramadi brings IS fighters within… ...
    4 days ago
  • English admits new taxes on the cards
    Eight months after pledging “no new taxes” at the election Bill English today admitted he would bring in more sneaky taxes along the lines of the border tax, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Not only did National bring in… ...
    5 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping methods. “The Board’s draft 10-year plan document forecasts a cumulative… ...
    5 days ago
  • Teachers turn backs on new professional body
      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    5 days ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    5 days ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    5 days ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    5 days ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    5 days ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    6 days ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    6 days ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    1 week ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    1 week ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 week ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere