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

  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    12 hours ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    12 hours ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    12 hours ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    13 hours ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    13 hours ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    13 hours ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    18 hours ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    18 hours ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    2 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    2 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    2 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    2 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    2 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    3 days ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    3 days ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    5 days ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    6 days ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    6 days ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    6 days ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    6 days ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    7 days ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    7 days ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    7 days ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    1 week ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    1 week ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    1 week ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    1 week ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour calls on all parties to end coat-tailing
    Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway is encouraging all parties to support his Bill to end the coat-tailing provision when it is debated in Parliament this week.  “New Zealanders have sent MPs a clear message. An opinion poll found more than 70… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government social sector reforms
    I’ve written previously about the major shake-up that is happening in the provision of government and community services. Yesterday, the Minister of Social Development spoke publically about what these reforms are likely to look like within MSD. There are major… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • PM must explain Saudi sheep scandal backflips
    John Key’s explanations of the Saudi sheep scandal continue to be riddled with inconsistencies and irreconcilable backflips, Labour’s Trade Spokesperson David Parker says. “Either he has been misled by his Minister Murray McCully or the Prime Minister is deliberately obfuscating… ...
    1 week ago
  • Independent investigation needed into claims scientists gagged
    Steven Joyce must launch an independent investigation into claims that scientists are being gagged, says Labour’s Science and Innovation spokesperson David Cunliffe. “When 40 percent of scientists say they are being gagged and can’t speak out on issues of public… ...
    1 week ago
  • Swamp kauri mining and exports should stop
    Seeing swamp kauri mining for the first time this week was a shock. Dark peaty soil had been stripped of its plant cover and giant excavators were digging into wet, swampy soil to unearth logs that had been buried for… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD going down wasteful spending track
    The Ministry of Social Development is paying big salaries and forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars on management courses while at the same time looking to hand some services over to a multinational outsourcing company with an appalling track… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • South Auckland housing meeting highlights stark realities
    The stark realities of life for South Aucklanders in substandard Housing New Zealand and private rental homes were fully exposed at a South Auckland housing meeting today, Labour’s MP for Manukau East Jenny Salesa says. “Local people generously shared their… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Pope, the scientists, and the diplomats: getting there on the climate ...
    The Pope’s Encyclical on the climate: ‘On Care for Our Common Home’, has finally been released. Evoking St Francis before him, the Pope reminds us that “our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life, and… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party supports Gifted Kids Awareness Week 2015
    Providing high quality teaching that caters to the specific needs of every child is an enormous challenge, but there is no investment more rewarding for society. Gifted Awareness Week gives us a chance to think about how diverse the needs… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Truck sellers still getting away with rip-offs
    The Government has admitted its brand new lending rules are already inadequate, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesman David Shearer. “Gaping holes in the Responsible Lending Code – which came into effect this month -- mean the vulnerable will not be… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government Screws the Lid Down On Raw Milk Access
    The Government’s raw milk policy announced yesterday will make it more difficult for many consumers to access the quality product of their choice, and may even be setting up the raw milk sector to fail. The Government, in its paranoia… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere