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A Tale of Two Cities

Written By: - Date published: 10:03 pm, December 19th, 2013 - 88 comments
Categories: community democracy, len brown, local government, minimum wage, wages - Tags:

It was the best of times for Council workers at the Wellington City Council today, as we heard the full Council approve a draft annual plan that provided for a living wage for Council employees. Far more importantly in my view they also decided to bring the parking wardens, working for contractor Tenix, back into Council employ so that they would also receive a  living wage from July 1.

Parking wardens were to be given additional responsibilities as ambassadors for the city and advisers to citizens. Certainly after listening to Esa Taniela’s eloquence and humour when he spoke at the Council committee meeting last week, they will have no problem doing that job.

The revolutionary aspect is that this is the first time that I am aware that a public body has rolled back that favourite neo-liberal theory, that contract competition for work drives efficiency. Rather than efficiency it drives anxiety, the insidious and pernicious effect of precarious work when combined with low wages.

It sounded like the worst of times for workers however in Auckland, as some of the Council there vented their spleen, all smoke and no gun, and the local paper called for the Mayor to go apparently on the basis that he could not be a one-man band any more! Well having failed to remove Mayor Brown they got their way in that his call for Auckland Council workers to be paid a living wage was overturned by the Scrooges of the right.

Dickensian times indeed. But Auckland Council’s decision will be a pyrrhic victory for the right wing; it will just give more power to the Living Wage campaign which is gaining real momentum because it is the right thing.

 

88 comments on “A Tale of Two Cities”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Dickensian is right. They did not even have the decency to let the people of Auckland submit on the proposal. It could have remained part of the draft plan and the right wingers could have then tried to vote it down.

    The councillors who voted against the living wage include:

    Cr CE Brewer
    Cr WB Cashmore
    Cr LA Cooper
    Cr DA Krum
    Cr C Fletcher
    Cr CM Penrose
    Cr D Quax
    Cr SL Stewart
    Cr JG Walker
    Cr MP Webster
    Cr GS Wood

    Remember those names …

  2. bad12 2

    Yes an extremely good look for the start of Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown’s second term as Mayor with an even greener tinge to the Wellington City Council than the previous elected body,(i will tho be far happier when the majority of the Council is firmly in the grip of the Green Party),

    Hopefully the Council runs a clear eye over all council business to see whether it is (a), a lesser expense for the Council to recall other services back into the Council fold and (b) as in the move to remove ‘parking wardens’ solely from a revenue gathering role in what has become the most expensive parking regime in any New Zealand city, pride in our city might take precedent over capturing windfall profits from the unwary that use it,

    If as it would seem, a large number of Auckland City Councilor’s suffering delusions of grandeur of power that they just do not have, have used the issue of the ‘living wage’ as a stick with which to attempt to beat the Mayor with this current vote i can only hope that the voting public will see them for the minor grasping civil servants sucking the teat of the public purse to a far greater extent than their efforts deserve and vote them off of the Auckland Council at the first opportunity…

    • Ad 2.1

      The most comprehensive rollback of neoliberal reforms over the last two years has been in Queenstown-Lakes District Council. There, Mayor Vanessa Van Uden completely dismantled the CCO structure and bought them in house.

      I don’t agree with everything she’s done (particularly forcing Wanaka Wastebusters to shrink), but the re-centralisation of services away from false corporate boards that added little value, was New Zealand’s biggest leftward shift in governance of the last two years.

  3. chris73 3

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9506386/Living-wage-voted-in-despite-criticism

    One could be churlish and ask Mark Peck if the living wage is such a good idea why doesn’t he implement it in his own company as well

    Of course its easy to give away other peoples money but its a different story when its coming out of your own pocket

    • fender 3.1

      Does Mark Peck have a business with a budget anywhere near that of the council?

      Funny how treasury advocate keeping wages low to maintain higher WFF payments and helping someone “young, childless, single ” is of little interest or merit.

      • chris73 3.1.1

        So hes a hypocrite then

        • Ennui 3.1.1.1

          Chris73, is there something you know about the wages Mark Peck pays in his cafe? Any proof he does not pay a living wage? If so table it.

          If not I suggest you troll off elsewhere and STFU!

          • Woodburner 3.1.1.1.1

            From the link:

            The move followed fellow fresh councillor Mark Peck – who supported the living wage – admitting that he did not pay all his hospitality staff $18.40 – “and I won’t”.

            So he is happy to pay a living wage by taking it from others (rates) but not to pay his own staff from his own pocket. What a hypocrite. If it is unnafforable for him to do in his own business, why on earth does he think he can make ratepayers cover the cost??

            • Ennui 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah I read the link, but it does not state what he actually does pay, nor do I see any evidence that Peck pays unfairly within his industry.

              The interesting thing from RWNJs like Chris34 is that they are all very fast to condemn their targets for not paying a living wage BUT they are also equally fast to dismiss claims for a living or fair wage for all. That to me is the real hypocrisy, so before you go criticizing Peck please state what you think a living wage is, and justify it.

              • Woodburner

                What is a living wage? That is the most subjective question you could ask! For me personally, my living wage is somewhere in the mid $30’s per hour. Why – because I have a lifestyle that requires that level of income.

                Up until eight years ago, I lived on $150/week for years. And I made it work. Could I live on that now? No way, not without serious changes to my lifestyle and family circumstance.

                The point is here that a living wage will differ substantially depending on who you poll and what circumstances are going on in their lives. So a blanket decision that $18.40 is the magic number is just plain nuts.

                And in regards to letting Peck off the hook for being a hypocrite – is that the new standard? We wont demand employers pay a “living wage” if they pay fairly within the industry benchmarks? Because that is what you are implying.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  So a blanket decision that $18.40 is the magic number is just plain nuts.

                  BS, there are some concrete necessities that must be available to live well and they come at a minimum price.

                  • Disraeli Gladstone

                    Very true. However, the people who have calculated the living wage are very open and transparent (which is nice) about the fact that a living wage refers to that of a family with two children.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      How many employed? Because I just don’t see a single wage of $18.40 being enough to support 4 people.

              • Melb

                There’s no evidence that the previous WCC wages were unfair within that industry either.

            • Foreign Waka 3.1.1.1.1.2

              Because the handout mentality is not restricted to a particular group, the difference with these so called businesses is, that the taxpayer bill just gets bigger and bigger as they are happy to life a live in luxury.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Will right wingers ever tire of whining about having to pay their taxes obey the law? Will they ever demonstrate the merest shred of gratitude for all society’s benefits?

                Or would it make their whole false narrative fall apart?

      • alwyn 3.1.2

        Well no, he doesn’t. On the other hand with so many less employees he ought to be able to do it more readily. After all there are supposed to be such great advantages as improving productivity and promoting greater staff loyalty etc, etc. Could it be that he doesn’t really believe that?

    • bad12 3.2

      For fucks sake the Treasury issuing criticism of the ‘living wage’ on the basis that it might lower ‘welfare payments’ to workers, someone please, please pass a fucking Law which requires the Treasury to provide advice on the best means of providing the monies necessary for proposed spending by local and central Government,

      One minute the village idiots are producing reports decrying the welfare payments, the next the fucking hypocrites are bagging wage rises that will stop the workers from having to be Beggars at the local WINZ office…

      • The Red Baron 3.2.1

        After Christmas, lets all run a church fete, round up a few $$$, and send all those nice Treasury officials to North Korea. They tell me, any dissenters there, meet a rather unsavoury fate.

      • srylands 3.2.2

        [deleted]

        [lprent: currently banned. ]

        • millsy 3.2.2.1

          So you think that council workers should get low wages and conditions so rich people like you dont have to pay much rates?

        • Tracey 3.2.2.2

          Thanks for the first chuckle of the day

          Where is it writ that your market way is the only way?

        • Tracey 3.2.2.3

          So you agree with all their advice or just the stuff that sits well with your ideology?

          • KJT 3.2.2.3.1

            Time we got State agencies out of religion.

            Treasury in particular.

            Especially beliefs like “the market” and Neo-liberalism.

        • fender 3.2.2.4

          This “faith in the market” you speak of is laughable to say the least.

          But yeah workers realise treasury are happy to see them receive WFF to subsidise low wages until their children are 18, after that they can just get back to trying to survive on slave wage rates, great scam.

  4. millsy 4

    I dont know why we should even be having a debate about this.

    It seems a no brainer, giving libarians, parks workers, dog rangers, etc a decent/living wage, given that they perform vital services to keep the city ticking over. 30 years ago, this was widely accepted, some how public sector workers have become derided figures, and their wages and conditions should be kept low.

    I think there should also be formal training and professional development for council staff, as well as oppurtunties to compare notes with the staff of other councils.

    As for the taking back of parking ticket issuing back in-house, let me know when they start taking the big stuff in house, like rubbish collection, water reticulation and the like,

    • karol 4.1

      I think it may be the likes of cleaners, rubbish collectors etc that are on sub-living wages. Others probably also are relatively low paid, but get enough to live on.

      I think there should also be formal training and professional development for council staff, as well as oppurtunties to compare notes with the staff of other councils.

      Doesn’t this already happen?

    • bad12 4.2

      The link at (3) shows that the Council is moving in the direction of breaking up the Neo-Liberal ‘contracting out’ cozy profit taking machine, albeit slowly,

      A big thumbs up to Celia and those Councilors willing to challenge the ‘failed’ Neo-liberal orthodoxy where it is obvious that the revenue gathered by the ‘privateers’ rightfully belongs to the rate-payers then it should and must be taken from the hands of those ‘profiting’ from it and put back into the hands and under the control of the Council…

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      30 years ago, this was widely accepted, some how public sector workers have become derided figures, and their wages and conditions should be kept low.

      It was a concerted attack by the psychopaths known as capitalists and it happened around the world.

      • joe90 4.3.1

        Reagan..

        Young people have heard of this mythical time — but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, “When did this all end?”, I say, “It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981.”

        Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to “go for it” — to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.

        http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/30-years-ago-today

        • Colonial Viper 4.3.1.1

          Sorta.

          The rot actually set in, in the 1970’s, when real wages in the US flat lined due to corporate co-ordination and union sell out.

          But yes, the 80’s was when the effort went turbo charged. And both Bush and Clinton carried it on at top speed.

    • alwyn 4.4

      Of course 30 years ago it was widely accepted that men should be paid more than women, and one of the justifications was that men were supporting a family and that women were supplying a second income. Are you in favour of that becoming the status quo again? No I didn’t think so.

      • KJT 4.4.1

        And now!

        People like you are arguing that workers, particularly young ones, should not be paid enough to support themselves, let alone a family.

        The ones who say we cannot afford to pay a “living wage”.

        Is that really an improvement?

        • alwyn 4.4.1.1

          This matter has been debated ad nauseum on this site. Apparently only 6% of the people who would be affected by this “Living wage” ideea are in the bracket it was calculated for.
          I prefer the system that pays people what they are worth to the employer and then, for those who NEED more, such as people supporting a family making it up through the benefit system.
          However we have been over and over this in debates on this site and I don’t really feel like repeating the argument again.
          Perhaps you could explain why the minimum wage, at $13.75/hour for say 2000 hours per year, or a total of $27,500/year is insufficient for a 20 year old single person living with his parents?
          After all a lot of pensioners live on less.

          • Foreign Waka 4.4.1.1.1

            2 wrongs don’t make 1 right. A lot of pensioners eat cat foot, cannot afford appropriate care or having dental work done. One could argue that NZ is more and more becoming the valley where the greet you with a song played on a banjo…… deliverance for all.

            • alwyn 4.4.1.1.1.1

              That’s right. And as I have pointed out on a previous occasion a lot of these pensioners, on a great deal less than this “Living wage”, are the ones whose rates will rise to pay for some politician’s ridiculous “aren’t we generous” impulses. Meanwhile of course these politicians, such as Wellington councillor Mark Peck, have no intention of paying their own employees anything like that much.

              • Colonial Viper

                Don’t be such a grinch alwyn. RBNZ says that household wealth rose by over $5B in the last 3 months alone. A small redistribution of that – a few hundred million tops – and no pensioner need be eating cat food again. It’ll also cover living wages for all local council employees.

                Easy.

                • alwyn

                  I suppose I could really be a grinch and ask for a source of this.
                  If the increase is the value of houses owned I assume that you could always go around and cut off a spare room from each property.
                  Alternatively are you proposing that we bring in a Capital Gains Tax on unrealised capital gains, and include in that first houses? Even Red Rus hasn’t proposed that yet.
                  Incidentally the cost of National Super is about $10 billion per year. A one-off “few hundred million”, won’t go very far to increase the payments to pensioners will it? It is, and I assume “few” to be 2 or 3, only a 2% or 3% increase which probably doesn’t even cover the increased number of recipients as the baby boomers retire.

                  • Foreign Waka

                    Health 14.6 Billion per year, 19% for disability, screening programs, Maori Health etc – just to get some perspective please.

                    http://www.nzdf.mil.nz/downloads/pdf/public-docs/2013/vote-defence-force-2013-14-main-estimates.pdf

                    3,018,902 Mil – Defense force budget.

                    http://www.interest.co.nz/news/64580/budget-2013-social-welfare

                    Welfare Budget Table that contains figures like:

                    452.270 MIL. Tailored Sets of Services to Help People into Work or Achieve Independence
                    1,178.202 MIL. Accommodation assistance

                    You could argue that the later are payments by the Taxpayer to support wages that are not enough to make a decent living.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Just saying there’s plenty of asset wealth out there which can be monetized, alwyn. No one in this country need be hungry. A $30 pw increase in all main benefits would solve lots of poverty problems for around $1.5B pa. Chump change. About 3 1/2 weeks worth of household wealth growth.

                    • alwyn

                      Wow, you must be either Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. They are the only people I can think of who might call $1.5 billion “chump change”.
                      I like Everett Dirksen’s (probably apochryphal) statement.
                      “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money”.
                      Actually I thought you had done the calculation wrongly and that it would have been more but that is about the right amount for the million or so beneficiaries.

                      I found a RBNZ release about the net household wealth whih is the one I assume you were referring to earlier. That was a 10% increase in the quarter. As such I think you have to consider it in the same way as the vaunted 1.66% increase in the Cullen Fund in a month. I wouldn’t bet on it continuing.

                      The $30/week isn’t actually that much. The New Zealand Super, for each member of a couple, is something like $300/week before tax I believe so it won’t be that dramatic will it? One wouldn’t say no of course but I’m not sure about the “lots of poverty problems”.
                      I gather the after tax amount, on the lowest tax rate has gone up from about $480/fortnight to about $550/fortnight in the last 3 years so a $30 increase would be about 2 years normal growth in our current low inflation era.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Wow, you must be either Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. They are the only people I can think of who might call $1.5 billion “chump change”.

                      The difference between an individuals finances and a countries. As far as the country is concerned, $1.5b is chump change.

                      The $30/week isn’t actually that much. The New Zealand Super, for each member of a couple, is something like $300/week before tax I believe so it won’t be that dramatic will it?

                      It may not sound like much to someone on, say, $1500/wk but to someone on $300/wk it’s a huge amount.

          • Olwyn 4.4.1.1.2

            What you are effectively saying Alwyn, is that the government should subsidise businesses by making up the difference between “what people are worth to the employer” and what they need to lead a modestly flourishing life. Should businesses also have that arrangement with their suppliers, with the lease on their premises and so on? No, of course not, because the costs of these things are inevitable, and if you can’t afford them you can’t afford to be in business. So why should the worker be the only variable in the equation?

            As I see it, if you can’t afford to pay a living wage to your employees a living wage, you can’t afford to be in business. As to the 20 year old who lives with mum and doesn’t need so much, perhaps he wants to save a little so as to establish his life on a decent footing. Why on earth should his situation serve to benefit his employer rather than himself? If we had made a living wage a bottom line right at the beginning of the neo-lib experiment, we would be a much healthier society now.

            • alwyn 4.4.1.1.2.1

              Absolute rubbish. The payments needed to allow a person to lead a “decent” life should be provided by the state to those people who cannot earn a wage sufficient to provide them.
              I have commented before about a sad article that was in my local paper some years ago.
              It was a plaintive call from a woman who had a intellectually handicapped child. He had a full time job in what was a sheltered workshop of some kind. The law had just been changed, or possibly reinterpreted, to say that such people had to be paid the minimum wage.
              As his mother, and the person employing him, both said, he couldn’t produce goods worth more than a dollar or two per hour. That was well under the minimum wage. He was therefore going to lose his job.
              His mother said that he was proud of having a job. It gave him a feeling of worth and what was in effect his pocket money. The other costs of supporting him were paid to his family by the state. The work gave him something to do, enabled him to spend his time with other people, got him out of his home, and gave his mother time away from caring for him.
              What do you say to that? Do you think it better to shut such businesses down?
              Incidentally, I fail to see how we accept as gospel the opinions of Charles Waldegrave in Lower Hutt as being the person to set the wages to be paid in New Zealand.

              • Olwyn

                The intellectually handicapped present a special case, and should not be universalised to reject the living wage as a standard. Generally if you employ someone for the hours that make up their working life, you owe it to them to pay them enough to live on.

                • alwyn

                  The last sentence may be your personal belief, but it certainly isn’t mine. I would rather have the state pay benefits to make up the value of peoples wages, based on what they are worth, to the required amount to live decently, than have them unemployed and receiving only a benefit.
                  As for the story I quoted being a special case. It isn’t really. It is simply an extreme point on a continuum.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    I would rather have the state pay benefits to make up the value of peoples wages, based on what they are worth, to the required amount to live decently, than have them unemployed and receiving only a benefit.

                    Are you willing to pay the taxes necessary to support such a system?

                    • alwyn

                      Yes, provided that we insist that those who can work do work.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I’m with you alwyn, provided that full time jobs are guaranteed for everyone who wants a full time job. Might as well put people to work for the nation instead of sitting on their couches, eh?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Yes, provided that we insist that those who can work do work.

                      That’s not a viable insistence. There’s a lot of people out there who do valuable work and don’t get paid for it. Raising children, volunteer work, etc, etc.

                      Then there’s the people like J. K. Rowling who, though unemployed and not doing any/much paid work are actually very busy producing something of massive value. Will you insist that they get taken away from that work?

                      IMO, the majority of valuable work gets done outside of the commercial system and a lot of it only can be commercialised after it’s been finished. This seems to be especially true of R&D and Arts & Craft which is why it has always been governments that have driven innovation.

                  • Olwyn

                    Most people work to earn a living. I would have thought that relying on the state to top up, to a living level, the incomes of one’s employees would be an abdication of the personal responsibility so often urged upon underlings.

                    • alwyn

                      That view may be yours, but I don’t have to accept your projection of your own views onto me.

                  • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                    That’s silly: if the deficit between wages and a living wage has to be met from the tax take, that just amounts to a subsidy to business, and requires a bigger tax take to pay for it, not to mention the extra costs of administering the subsidy.

                    Businesses have to charge people’s time at about three times what they pay them. So a universal living wage would drive prices up, or require costs to be cut elsewhere. Some companies might have to shed a director (OAK’s tip: sack the ex National MPs – on average they have lower IQ’s and can mostly be regarded as dead weight) or two.

                    This might be regarded as a bad thing, were it not for the fact that minimum wage rises do not affect (or have a slightly positive effect on) employment levels – cf. numerous recent studies of minimum wage hikes in the USA.

                    In any event, the value of wages has been seriously eroded by incompetent* employment law and economic mumbo-pocus. Reversing that trend has to be a priority.

                    *Some argue that it’s deliberate. I disagree: I think neo-liberals are fuckwits, not dastards.

                    • alwyn

                      I don’t know how much time I should expend on answering this comment but .
                      Para 1. I don’t regard it as a “subsidy to business” at all. It is a benefit to low income New Zealanders.
                      Para 2. Part 1, probably right although 3 times seems higher than I used to work on.
                      Part 2 I’ll regard as a joke.
                      Para 3. True but you can’t take it too far. No case can be made for an increase of 50% say.
                      Para 4. That is unanswerable as you don’t say what parts you mean. I do think the 90 day law is sensible, which I suspect you would not. In the 1960’s even the most left of the unions, such as the Drivers under Ken Douglas use to accept that. A driver could, with no questions at all, dismiss a driver in his first 90 days. After that you would get trouble if you tried.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Para 1. I don’t regard it as a “subsidy to business” at all. It is a benefit to low income New Zealanders.

                      No, it would be a subsidy to business and, more specifically, it would be a subsidy from successful businesses to unsuccessful business.

                      Para 2. Part 1, probably right although 3 times seems higher than I used to work on.

                      When I first did the needed calculation it was five times higher.

                      Para 3. True but you can’t take it too far. No case can be made for an increase of 50% say.

                      The only case being made is that people should have enough to maintain a reasonable living standard. This will, inevitably, require that the most well off be taxed a hell of a lot more. As I’ve said, the one thing no society can afford is the rich.

                      Para 4. That is unanswerable as you don’t say what parts you mean.

                      Try The entire free-market system that we’ve had imposed upon us over the last thirty years. But I suspect that there’s a good case for just saying capitalism.

  5. Will@Welly 5

    There are two issues here. The “living wage” and what is happening in Auckland and Wellington.
    One, just announcing the living wage is one thing, then handing out ratepayers money is another. There are alot of people struggling, thanks to the policies of the incumbent Government, and the rise in wages to Council workers will be just another burden. Personally, I think the minimum wage should be around $22 – 24.00, but doing it in one swoop is too hard for most people to absorb. I would like to see a complete readjustment of salaries within the public sector, with some of the top salaries scaled down – if they think they really worth that much, and that’s what the private sector will pay them, fine, let them go. Let’s see a real re-distribution of salaries, so some of that top income flows down – the trickle-down-theory in action.
    In Wellington, Kevin Lavery, the new CEO was hired for one thing and one thing only – it wasn’t his financial expertise – ask the people of Cornwall about that – no, the man is the king of outsourcing. He is a devotee of Thatcherism, and Celia is playing her cards very close to her chest. Remember, she closed down CitiOps, and outsourced them, just before the local body elections – they were the inhouse maintenance/cleaning team. There are other examples of her not so “green” initiatives, if you look closely.
    In Auckland, expect virtually any/every proposal associated with Len Brown to be shot down now, as the man is vilified by those on the Council. Len has played in the rights’ hands with his “mistakes”, he has effectively given them control of the Council..
    In both cases, expect to see the Government attempt to seize some sort of control, or get the Council’s to hand over assets that can be sold off. Already in Wellington we have seen the Council over-committing to help fund a runway extension that will benefit the majority shareholder, Infratil, the most. And wouldn’t the Government like to get its hands on the “Ports of Auckland” land.

  6. Ad 6

    Wellington has had a rush of good news recently – and deserves it. The film industry rebate, a solid Council, the new Avatar films, the stronger Council policies – to me they complement a truly vibrant Cuba Street scene, entertainment district, and waterfront.

    Whereas Auckland’s political momentum of two years ago has been killed dead. Auckland now faces three years in which the media has fully turned against its leadership, and a set of Cabinet decisions in May in which Auckland will get even more destructive motorways.

    Auckland has just two areas developing really well: the Waterfront CCO area, and Auckland Airport. For all Auckland’s growth, I would prefer Wellington for living.

  7. cricklewood 7

    I’m starting to think that it will be better for Auckland if Len resigns, If the councillors are going to flat oppose anything progressive just to spite Len the city will grind to a halt for the next three years.
    Unfortunately he has given opposing councillors a big stick to beat him with and I don’t think the media will blame it on personal vendettas when the council is at loggerheads which the city really can’t afford….

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      patience, mate, patience. You go through the process of an election now, you’ll have to wait a year for the city to get up and running with a new team anyway.

    • bad12 7.2

      From what i can gather via RadioNZ National this morning, the vote on the ‘living wage’ for all Auckland City Council employees was NOT a definite NO,

      Apparently the decision has been deferred while more work is done on cost/funding so with the ‘Fabulous Five’ having been revealed as the ‘Flatulent Frauds’ in news this morning it shouldn’t take long for the Auckland Councilors to get back to the job at hand and there is still a large expectation that the Council will vote YES to the ‘living wage’…

  8. Tracey 8

    Has the sky fallen and when will the wellington economy collapse? Thats what will happen wont it? Living wage will cripple everything?

    • srylands 8.1

      [deleted]

      [lprent: currently banned. ]

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 8.2

      Everything. The sky will fall, Hayek is turning in his grave right now (his estate is charging $50 to see it), and apparently all artworks in City Hall are to be replaced by portraits and statues of Uncle Joe Stalin. That’s what I heard anyway.

      Of course, when none of that happens the right-wing shills will need a whole new narrative. Bummer :)

  9. Tracey 9

    Cricklewood. I think the revelation of the non declarations of browns critics will rock some ratepayers back on their heels. Leaving only those for whom it was always about sex but liked to pretend it wasnt

    • cricklewood 9.1

      As far as I’m concerned if things aren’t declared there needs to be proper disciplinary process with consequences depending on the seriousness of breach.
      I can say that I have very little faith in the honesty and integrity of a number of councillors, to me if you’re not declaring you’ve got something to hide and likely a hidden agenda. I can honestly say I have no issue with free trips, hotel rooms or upgrades so long as they are declared. That way I can draw my own conclusions as to the motivations of the councillors.
      For example I was surprised that Len who has been stridently against pokies was cautiously supportive of the sky city deal. Now knowing he hadn’t declared those few rooms I have this nagging feeling that he was doing a little mutual back scratching and didn’t want to be found out…
      Very close to corruption in my mind…

  10. Loudest critic for the Living Wage has been Phil O’Reilly .Well I wonder how much he spends each week to live ? And I wonder how he would manage on the minimum wage? I suggest he and also the Auckland Councilors who voted against the Living wage be made to try and live on the wages most worker are receiving or shut up .
    I for one am sick to death listening to these selfish greedy money grabbers using their power to stop workers receiving a decent wage . The only answer is a return to some form of compulsory unionism. Now that would upset these bastards , would it not??

    • Tracey 10.1

      the spokesperson for the newly branded business roundtable

    • bad12 10.2

      Agree with you on the ‘compulsory unionism’ Pink Postman, my opinion is that all those employees with wages of 40 grand or less a year from full-time work should have to belong to a union,

      The smashing up of the unions was the first step to creating the society of ‘winners and losers’ so loved by the likes of Ruth Richardson,

      The Neo-Libs within Labour who came out of the 80’s as part of the winners circle also support this de-unionisation of the work-force in some delusional bubble world believing that if those previous to them in the same employment positions were not unionized they would have still commanded the same rates of pay that they do today…

  11. RedBaronCV 11

    I’m proud of you Wellington. Making all the little and not so little changes to roll our council back to a more sensible place where our rates arn’t going on profit. Now how about salary caps and a sinking lid at the top end. That’ll pay for the changes.

    • bad12 11.1

      Agree here too, Wellington City Council could take for instance the position of Council CEO, break it up into two positions each attracting a 200,000 dollar a year salary and still save 100,000 dollars,

      Taken to it’s logical conclusion the CEO’s responsibilities could be quartered with a four person team at the top of the council employee pyramid, each earning 100,000 dollars year giving a far more robust over-view of Council activities and still a saving of 100,000 dollars annually would result,

      Applied across all Government departments such a practice would not only boost dramatically the number of management positions in the economy, it would save 10’s if not 100’s of millions of dollars annually,

      Instead of as we do now, import these CEO’s to tell us all what we all already know, as a country with an expanded base of civil managerial experience we could become a nett exporter of such experience…

  12. cricklewood 12

    @ pink postman, compulsory unionism Is not the answer… many don”t want or need it. I have been an elected delegate previously and feel that unions should be able to attract members through value for money. I realise there are issues around piggybacking collective agreements but I dont understand why unions dont think laterally including working out bulk deals for things like power… while I was a delegate there was a discounted health insurance plan ( not really better than anything provided for free publicly) but when I out forward a few things like negotiating bulk dentistry at the exec meeting I was berated as it wasnt profitable for the union or feasible. Maybe I was to young to be take n seriously but it shook my faith in union leadership and ultimately contributed to my withdrawal from the union. Fortunately I am able to negotiate my own terms these days but I cant help but worry that some higher up in the unions manipulate things for political gain rather than do there best for those they purport to represent. ( workplace delegates excluded)

    • KJT 12.1

      I would agree with you, but!

      The problem is that without compulsory Unionism, workers such as shop assistants have no power whatsoever and are grossly exploited.

      Employers single out and get rid of any who join a Union, as we have seen recently.

      Compulsory Unionism avoids the singling out. If it was made compulsory for those with little power, say workers under 40k a year, I can see real advances in fairness at work.

      Abuses of power can be dealt with by legal requirements for democracy and membership participation.

      I would oppose any attempts to return to “closed shops” also.

      • Foreign Waka 12.1.1

        KJT – compulsory unionism interferes with the individual choice. I do hope we still allowed to have one. I feel the issue is far more that of a attitude towards workers who like to make sure that the hard won rights are kept applied and maintained. We all know that there is some serious undermining going on at the workers expense. The next election will show whether people are serious about change and a balanced approach. A lot of people I talk to certainly won’t vote for the current government, the likes of Mrs Bennett (she that needs to be obeyed) and Mr Bridges (he who doesn’t need our trust only the masters).

  13. newsense 13

    We can’t have the reaction yet, we haven’t even had the revolution.

  14. captain hook 14

    if they didnt need the votes of the retail sector then they wouldn’t pay people anything at all.
    or maybe they would open the top floor window on a Friday afternoon, throw coins out and watch the peasants scrabbling for some money.
    thats the way they think.

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