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The Standard

For a living wage

Written By: - Date published: 7:26 am, February 11th, 2013 - 174 comments
Categories: cost of living, jobs, wages - Tags:

The living wage campaign is announcing this week the results of its study into the pay that a family needs to afford the basics for a decent life in New Zealand. It’ll be around $18-$20 an hour, which is more than 40% of workers get. I look forward to the proposal receiving strong support from the parties of the Left – the Left has always said a well-paying job is better than welfare.

I also expect to hear the same old rich buggers saying it’s ‘unaffordable’. But it’s not.

This is a rich country – it’s just a question of how we spread the wealth. A decent life for all (generated by a sustainable economy) should be our first and highest goal.

Oh, and good on the Herald for its living wage series, which kicks off today.

I’m particularly interested in how many low and middle wage workers have been forced to become ‘contractors’, who are sold as independent business people but are, in fact, slaves with no work rights and who (as Mainzeal workers are finding) stand last in line for their money if something goes wrong. The rules around permanent jobs being done by dependent contractors need to be strengthen and there need to be requirements for businesses to take out insurance for money they owe contractors.

174 comments on “For a living wage”

  1. IrishBill 1

    The rules around permanent jobs being done by dependent contractors need to be strengthen and there need to be requirements for businesses to take out insurance for money they owe contractors.

    Absolutely. And yet, with the Hobbit law, this government took us in exactly the opposite direction.

  2. vto 2

    Yep. I am sick to death of subsidising businesses with my taxes.

    Bloody free-loading business and employers. Why should I susbsidise them so their workers can feed themselves?

    Pay your costs business and employers and stop being bludging freeloaders.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      First target is large corporates and infrastructure monopolists ticket clipping and holding up costs while adding very little business value. Small businesses are being screwed in every direction currently.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        First target is large corporates and infrastructure monopolists ticket clipping and holding up costs while adding very little business value.

        The collapse of Mainzeal and all the finance companies is proof of just how much value the big corporates and their high paid managers actually add.

    • TightyRighty 2.2

      Do you think it is ok for individuals to bludge off the taxpayer?

      [RL: Looks like a stupid threadjack to me. We all depend on each other one way or another.]

      • TightyRighty 2.2.1

        No, it’s a question that is fundamental in me replying to VTO’s comment. If you thought things through a little more you might realise that. It’s the same old story with the intellectually bankrupt on this site. If it’s good for the goose it should be good for the gander, except if the gander is someone who the “progressives” on this site seek to “protect” from “society. So if VTO hates businesses bludging, despite the tax, rates and jobs they provide, VTO should equally hate those individuals who sit around watching sky on benefits.

        • bad12 2.2.1.1

          So you believe in ‘magic’ then??? having a couple of hundred thousand beneficiaries all running round out in the economy asking for work will ‘magically’ produce 1000,s of those jobs will it???,

          There is only X amount of employment in the economy and jobs don’t ‘magically’ appear just because someone looks for one, i know you will find that hard to believe and provide us with a link or something which proves that such ‘magic’ solutions such as ‘looking for’ create employment…

        • vto 2.2.1.2

          Go and ask your question of yourself fool.

          I made no mention of individuals who bludge off the taxpayer. You just don’t like the fact that it is the rich and business who do the greater bludging.

          Wanna play add up the bludge?

    • swan 2.3

      This argument makes no sense. Employers pay the market clearing rate (except where the minimum wage prevents them from doing so). The taxpayer is not subsidising the employer, they are making a transfer to low wage earners. If you believed your argument you could apply it to the entire welfare state: “Why should I subsidise these employers by paying for their employees healthcare/ childrens education etc”

  3. fatty 3

    I hope Labour, Greens and Mana all propose $20 per hour. If not, they should not get your vote. How can a party on the left have policies that create working poor in NZ?
    This will mean raising taxes for the rich. So stop fucking around and say you are raising taxes…I’m looking at you Labour, do you care? If you are not willing to stand up for the working poor then you are a burden on humanity, and you are creating the working poor…Don’t deny it. Its true. Do us a favour and stop being a politician if being ethical is beyond you.

    This is not something that can be ignored

    • Polish Pride 3.1

      Thats cool so long as small businesses can increase prices on their goods to compensate them for the extra in wages they need to pay….but then will your living wage still be a living wage at that point.

      • David H 3.1.1

        Why they won’t need the compensation, because people will have extra money and they will spend it, then the businesses will have to hire more staff, to cope with the extra business. It’s the opposite of the vicious circle.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.2

        Thats cool so long as small businesses can increase prices on their goods to compensate them for the extra in wages they need to pay….but then will your living wage still be a living wage at that point.

        So let’s try it and find out what actually happens.

      • Foreign Waka 3.1.3

        The lopsided economy is a result of having an increase in GDP without corresponding increase of the “share” in terms of increase in wages. You will notice that $1 bought more 10 years ago than an equally inflation adjusted $1 today. The wages stayed put in real terms and the minority got an even higher stake in the wealth. I am sure it makes sense when you look at the wage and purchasing power a decade ago vs today. The only way this can be righted is an equitable approach to tax. I know, it is not very “hip” but the load has to be spread in order to have a meaningful society. And in the end, for the majority of people, it is a meaningful life they want not a constant economic live lesson.

    • cricklewood 3.2

      Shouldn’t need to increase taxes, Working for families payments will plummet at current settings as will accomodation supplements. Even student loan payback will increase dramitically. Unless of course we move all the settings in line with a minimum wage increase…

  4. ianmac 4

    Perhaps those super rich politicians could show leadership by paying the Parliamentary cleaners a living wage?

    • David H 4.1

      Don’t make me laugh. All slippery wants is a lower than basic wage economy. Where he can count his success by the increase in homelessness, and beggars in the street, for him to spit on.

  5. felixviper 5

    “I also expect to hear the same old rich buggers saying it’s ‘unaffordable’ “

    Of course, and they’ll be here shortly whinging that it’s too much of a jump from the current level. But the fact is that it’s only a big jump because the min wage has been held way too low for too long.

    Should’ve been $15 5 or 6 years ago.

    • King Kong 5.1

      Personally I think everyone should be earning at least $50 an hour. I can’t see how you could possibly afford a decent case of Haut Brion if you were on anything less than that.

      Of course then I realised that would mean it would cost $100 a week to have your papers delivered and realised that was just stupid.

      [RL: Stupid is as stupid does. You are just one more of these away from self-martyrdom.]

      • vto 5.1.1

        just stupid

      • bad12 5.1.2

        i would suggest that that comment from you just moved the clock that indicates the length of your stay among us here as a commenter just moved to 2 minutes to midnight…

      • emergency mike 5.1.3

        The really funny part about this is that I’m pretty sure our dear leader has trotted out exactly the same ‘$15? Why not $20? Why not $30? Look the reality is…’ line as this moronic tr0ll. (Can’t find a link, maybe it was in a leaaders debate or something?)

        • swan 5.1.3.1

          So, what is the rebuttal to the argument then? I cant find it in this comments thread.

          • felixviper 5.1.3.1.1

            The rebuttal is that everyone should earn zero dollars per hour.

            It’s stupid, irrelevant, as logical as King Kong’s argument, and so bleeding obvious that no-one but you needed it said out loud.

            • swan 5.1.3.1.1.1

              You’ll have to explain it better. I dont understand what you mean.

              Lets just flesh out the arguments a bit. To simplify things a bit, there are two ways of setting labour rates – one is to let the market find its own equilibrium, the other is government regulation. So if the government is to regulate a higher level, what is the limit to this? If there are no unfavourable trade offs, then $50 an hour should be the policy surely. If there are unfavourable trade offs, then why do they not exist at $20 an hour? And if they do exist at $20 an hour, shouldn’t we carefully weigh them against the benefits of the policy?

              • Colonial Viper

                There’s plenty of unfavourable outcomes at market set pricing, you just like to ignore those because they are generally unfavourable to labour.

              • felixviper

                I’m not going to get into a discussion about markets determining a minimum wage.

                In our society we’ve decided to have a minimum wage to ensure a basic minimum standard of lifestyle, to ensure that people can feed their kids, to ensure that people aren’t grossly exploited for profit, to ensure that people can participate at a meaningful level in society.

                If it’s not enough to achieve these objectives (or whatever the stated objectives are) then it needs to be raised. Simple as that.

                Whether the market, left to it’s own devices, would determine an even lower minimum is irrelevant in this context as we’ve already decided to have a society with minimum standards. At best it’s another (usually boring) discussion but it’s not really part of this one.

                • swan

                  Except that “markets determining a minimum wage” is just another way of saying “labour markets reaching equilibrium”. So if you are not interested in equilibrium then you are not interested in the manifestation of a lack of equilibirum – ie unemployment. I think unemployment is a pretty important topic myself, and one that is central to any discussion about minimum wages.

                  • felixviper

                    No, I’m not interested in markets reaching equilibrium. I’m interested in a society with minimum standards.

                    Have you not been paying attention?

                    • swan

                      Well you could be interested in both those things if you wanted to be.

                      So you are not interested in unemployment, but you are interested in a society with minimum standards. Are you sure?

                    • vto

                      I can pick felix’s next reply from 10,000 miles. he he

                    • felixviper

                      lolz v, I don’t think I can even be bothered. As above, boring discussion.

                    • swan

                      OK thanks for trying to explain it to me.

                    • emergency mike

                      ‘s weird tho, i thought neo-classical economics had been pronounced dead once people realised that in spite of the x goes up y goes down awesomeness of it, it had no meaningful relationship to reality. apparently there’s still a few muffins who didn’t get the memo.

                    • swan

                      “‘s weird tho, i thought neo-classical economics had been pronounced dead once people realised that in spite of the x goes up y goes down awesomeness of it, it had no meaningful relationship to reality”

                      I dont know where you got this idea from??

                    • felixviper

                      From seeing these exact same discussions played out over and over again with such predictable results?

                  • Are you seriously trying to argue that unemployment doesn’t happen without a minimum wage?

                    That demonstrates either a severe lack of understanding about what drives unemployment, or a high degree of understanding of trolling.

                    • felixviper

                      I don’t think he was seriously trying, no.

                    • swan

                      No. Saying x causes y does not mean x is the only cause of y.

                    • McFlock

                      fine then – we can set a minimum wage at a liveable standard, and work on the other causes of full employment to counteract any (so far undemonstrated) adverse effect from the existence of minimum wages and unemployment benefits.

                    • swan

                      So McFlock,

                      On that basis, lets go for $50 an hour as policy. Surely better $20

                    • McFlock

                      Yes, because how can a banker possibly live in dignity on under $50/hr?

                      That’s all the topic is about. Not an “if we set a UBI at a zillion dollars, we’d all be RICH, I tells ya!” absurdity. Just the belief that kids shouldn’t go hungry and that everyone should have a home before we start spending money on coffee beans that were shit out of a cat’s arse.

                      But keep up with the crazy talk, you funny.

                  • Mike

                    Who gives a flying fuck about the markets equilibrium. Lets get people a decent living wage first and let the fucking “markets” equilibrate. (not a word i think..hehe) from there. You can’t have any semblance of real market equilibration when the market is manipulated by the wealthy to their own advantage through rent seeking.

                    Go and start talking about the markets to someone struggling to pay the rent and feed their family on $13.50 an hour. Good luck.

                    There is no room in the market economic model for social relations or responsibility. People and their welfare are not deemed important other than they are producers and consumers. Take any of the free market model calculations or measures and you’ll see none of them have the welfare or stableness of society as part of the equation. The family and their ability to survive are not considered as relevant in terms of inputs into calculations.

                    Fuck the market!

    • alwyn 5.2

      The New Zealand minimum wage is, by international standards, actually very high in comparison to the median wage. In NZ, in 2011 it was 59% of the median wage. The only country in the OECD that was higher was France on 60%.
      In comparison Britain was 46%, Canada 45% and the US was 38%.
      When you suggest that it should have been $15 5 or 6 years ago I suspect you are like the (probably apocryphal) union leader who said that he would never be happy until every worker earned more than the average wage. $15 would have been more than the median wage for the time and would certainly have been inflationary.
      ref to the Economist
      http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21567072-evidence-mounting-moderate-minimum-wages-can-do-more-good-harm

      • vto 5.2.1

        That may well be the case but there appears to be no relevance to the issue of being able to actually live on the wage. Bit useless that bit of information.

        It is cheaper to employ someone than keep a slave.

        • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.1

          Also, the NZ median wage has been collapsing as jobs have been lost, so no wonder the minimum wage looks Ok in comparison.

      • RedLogix 5.2.2

        Unfortunately alwyn you haven’t included any data on the cost of living in these various countries.

        In NZ, in 2011 it was 59% of the median wage.

        This might just tell us that our median wage is pretty crap too …

        • Colonial Weka 5.2.2.1

          And why the median? If you have lots of people on a low wage and a few people on a high wage, doesn’t that mean that the median is low? Wouldn’t the average wage be a more useful figure?

          • RedLogix 5.2.2.1.1

            Well it doesn’t really matter CW … just so long as you know which figure is being used, what it means and critically, WHY the person using it has chosen it.

          • RJL 5.2.2.1.2

            If you are interested in what proportions of the population actually earn, then median is more useful. As you say, if there are few people on a very high wage and many on a low wage, then all may look well looking at the average wage — but all the low wage people could be in desperate poverty.

            Average isn’t really that useful at all in this context. Although a comparison between the median and the average might tell you something about how skewed to the wealthy (or not) wages are.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.2.2.1.2.1

              Although a comparison between the median and the average might tell you something about how skewed to the wealthy (or not) wages are.

              IIRC, the median wage in NZ ATM is approximately half the average wage. Somewhere around 75% of the working population have an income less than the average wage.

          • Mike 5.2.2.1.3

            At least with the median you know where you stand. Looking at the median you can factually state that 50% of incomes are above that and 50% below.

            The average is not useful at all and in fact creates false perceptions of the real situation. The average is looked at by most people (who don’t stop to think) as the middle of the road thanks mainly to the MSM, when in fact the average is always way higher than what most people earn.

            For example the media uses the median regularly when looking at house prices but almost all of the time uses the average when looking at wages and incomes. The result, house prices don’t look so bad (a perception created by the media) and wages aren’t that low (again, a created perception). You have to wonder if there’s a policy in the media regarding this as it just doesn’t make sense.

            They also do things such as often using the household income, which again subconsciously creates a perception in many people of higher incomes than what the reality actually is. Most married couples (and unmarried couples), don’t hear the term household income and then think about how that relates to individuals. They can’t be blamed for that, but the politicians take advantage of such things thanks to a complicit media.

      • geoff 5.2.3

        What a load of horse shit, I hate this “if everyone was paid better it would just cause inflation, therefore we shouldn’t do it” meme.
        As if the situation we are in now isn’t completely inflated. Look at electricity prices, house prices, the price of food, it’s all way way over inflated compared to what it should be. You haven’t said anything about cost of living in your calculations.
        Prices are so bloated that everyone is struggling to keep their heads above water, aggregate demand is fucking dead as a dead thing, because people have been bled dry.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.2.4

        union leader who said that he would never be happy until every worker earned more than the average wage.

        [Citation needed]

      • Shane Gallagher 5.2.5

        As someone who moved here from Europe in 2002 I can tell you that the median wage here is terrible, which is why the minimum wage here is so high relative to it. What the figures actually show is that much of NZ is living on poverty wages…

        oh look 270,000 children living in poverty. What a coincidence! :-)

      • Mike 5.2.6

        “The New Zealand minimum wage is, by international standards, actually very high in comparison to the median wage.”

        And no doubt the New Zealand median wage is, by international standards, actually very low, making your stat irrelevant.

        It’s not just the minimum wage that is too low to live on. Wages in general for those on lower incomes are too low. comparing the median wage to the minimum wage means nothing when there is such huge income disparity between the top and the rest.

  6. bad12 6

    There’s 2 forms of ‘contractor’ in the economy at the moment, the ‘willing’ small business owner who is in effect carrying most of the risk for the likes of just collapsed construction comapny Mainzeal who have multiple contractors supplying most of the labour and having the burdon of ‘risk’ being forced upon them on those construction sites,

    A relatively simple solution which would require a law change would simply see monies paid to the main contractor of any business activity first paid into a relevant ‘trust account’ managed by a specific Government department where contractors to the main contractor could lodge their claims against such monies having a set time frame within which to lodge such claims,

    The other law that need changing is that of ‘who’ is a secured creditor of any business that goes into receivership, my view is that contractors to and employees of the business that has collapsed should be first in the line of creditors as far as any claim against the businesses remaining assets are concerned,

    Obviously such a law would result in Banks being less forthcoming with revolving credit arrangements for such businesses which in turn would result in the businesses themselves having to carry more capital so as to allow their business to continue…

    • vto 6.1

      Yep, the line-up of unsecured creditors should read ……

      1. wage and salary earners.
      2. sub-contractors.
      3. …
      last. IRD.

      Why is the IRD near the top of the list now? Does anyone know what the good reason is for IRD to be ahead of the people who do the work?

      • bad12 6.1.1

        myself i would put the IRD 3rd on the list, the Banks are privately run institutions of ‘risk’ taking and should be last in line as a creditor,

        Not paying their relevant due tax allows such collapsed companies to in effect deny to NZ social services which taxation supports,

        With regards to Mainzeal in particular and the many companies operating in NZ as loss making entities where the parent company is registered in a ‘tax haven’ such as the Bahamas i would suggest that the actions of the directors of those companies have taken deliberate actions,(like de-listing from the NZ stock exchange the parent company and registering it in that tax haven),to circumvent the payment of due taxation in this country…

        • King Kong 6.1.1.1

          And as a bank why the hell would I lend to you without a front ranking security? No loan no business, no business no jobs.

          • RedLogix 6.1.1.1.1

            Why the hell should I work for you without a front ranking security of being paid?

            No work, no business either.

            • King Kong 6.1.1.1.1.1

              What is your total risk? Two weeks wages? You could always ask at the interview to be paid in advance.

              • Colonial Viper

                Wow you’re thick. Two weeks wages AND your home at risk, when you can’t pay your mortgage, let alone feed your family.

                I suggest bringing back enforceable redundancy payout clauses is crucial.

              • Lightly

                not just two weeks’ wages. Redundancy and leave entitlements can be tens of thousands of dollars

              • RedLogix

                Or as a subcontractor there is your whole business at risk. Which is indeed what contracting has devolved into … a means of pushing risk down onto weaker parties.

                Now while there is some merit in spreading some risk onto other parties that are better positioned to assume it. For instance it makes sense to sub-contract technical risk to engineering specialists or professionals, or to companies with specialised equipment that you only need for specific short phases of a project.

                But what has happened instead is that most subcontractors are nowadays doing what used to be core business for the principal. This is not done because it’s any cheaper, it’s not. It’s usually done to spread the commercial risk (and the health and safety risk as well) so that when the principal gets into strife .. there are plenty of hapless subbies around to pass the baby onto.

                • woodpecker

                  Not just financial risk. I know a builder who constructed a roof, as per plan, as per building code, passed inspections, but when the roof sagged under its own weight, guess who ate the 40,000 to replace it.

              • woodpecker

                Alot of subbies work on statement at the end of the month for payment due on the 20th month following. So you could be looking at up to 6 weeks for payment. If you ask for advance the prime just opens the door and shouts NEXT!

                • Foreign Waka

                  And have to pay tax before being actually paid! What a hoot. An invoice issued is already a dollar earned for the IRD. Mind you that did obviously not apply to Mainzeal.

            • vto 6.1.1.1.1.2

              That’s right. Example – people in NZ require buildings to live and work and play in. Mainzeal and others fulfil this never-ending demand. It is simply (and it is simple) a matter of changing the existing set of regulations that Mainzeal and others operate under to another set of regulations to operate under – a set that looks after those that build the buildings ahead of other unsecured creditors, like IRD.

              As for secured creditors like banks, that is a bigger question and more complex. If it is required that workers and subbies rank ahead of banks then that will certainly be an issue for the banks and they will likely up-sticks and go elsewhere. Maybe. Or maybe they will learn to operate under the new set of regulsations – if they want to have a share of the NZ economic pie that is.

              Seeing off the banks wouldn’t be a bad thing anyway – there are other ways of providing credit into the economy (though an incredibly small number of businesses seem to understand this).

              You knows… I am arguing against my interest here as have been in self-employed business etc for some too many years. But the big picture is the more important one. If there is a healthy employed society whereby the big bulk of the populace is prosperous then my business will do well. If the big bulk is struggling then so too does my business. My business will adjust to any new norms and regs, hopefully within a short timeframe. Why do Key desciples insist on driving down the big bulk of the populace???? It seems brainless to me.

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.2

            And as a bank why the hell would I lend to you without a front ranking security? No loan no business, no business no jobs.

            Hence its crucial the Government become a provider of cheap business capital, pressuring the banks to improve their game or get out.

            • King Kong 6.1.1.1.2.1

              The classic left wing lollie scramble answer to everything.

              However, I would have thought that tax payers financing business fat cats on the cheap wouldn’t be a policy that I would hear from you.

              • vto

                How is it a lolly scamble anymore than the current system is? I look forward to your explanation.

                (Also, it is today the rightwing that throws the lolly scrambles – farmers irrigation, South Canterbury Finance, Hollywood, …. best you keep up lest you even more become redundant)

              • Colonial Viper

                What lolly scramble? Business owners are not kids, and the Government has a responsibility to fulfill societal roles that the banks are failing in.

                I would have thought that tax payers financing business fat cats on the cheap wouldn’t be a policy that I would hear from you.

                I thought you said that loans and credit were crucial for business and jobs? I happen to agree with you.

              • fatty

                The classic left wing lollie scramble answer to everything.

                The classic call from the greedy right winger who’s hogging the lollies. Weird how sharing has become an extreme position.

              • Mike

                Why not if it is a good income earning investment and has proper oversight?

          • bad12 6.1.1.1.3

            Yes exactly as you say KK, this is about the first comment from you that makes any sense of all your comments i have had the misfortune to read even tho you obviously haven’t meant the comment to read as it does,

            As a bank, no loan is to make no profits which means no need for Bank to be in New Zealand,

            Bye Bye bank creating a need for someone like a Government to create a loan entity or extend the bank it already owns ability to service the business sector…

          • Mike 6.1.1.1.4

            Because you get interest payments (profit) on ‘money’ which you didn’t actually have in the first place to be able to ‘loan’, created out of thin air at the push of a button and you carry no real risk. If it all goes belly up you end up getting assets or at the worst you write off the ‘loan’ via a bookkeeping entry, which won’t affect your profit other than that interest not realized through the rest of the interest payments that would have occurred.

            Or, if you’re canny, and you know the ‘borrower’ will probably not be able to service the ‘loan’, you could create some sort of new financial instrument enabling you to ‘sell’ the loan onto some unsuspecting retirement fund and then you could rake in some coin betting that the ‘loan’ you arranged would all go belly up.

            If all else fails you can just socialize all your losses and get taxpayers to bail you out with money they have to borrow from one of your subsidiary banks and on which they will have to pay interest over the coming years; which you can use to make sure your executives get a nice little ‘performance’ bonus like they were promised.

            Then, just to plan ahead, you can spend loads of money and time lobbying government to ensure no changes are made and no regulations are put in place to curb the financial industry, ensuring you will be able to make further profits doing the same things again in the future.

      • Mike 6.1.2

        I disagree, I would put IRD 2nd, behind wage and salary earners, as it is the public’s money Then sub-contractors (part of the risk of getting aiming for higher revenue via contracting), then other creditors, then banks.

        (Nah, just kidding….fuck the banks.)

    • RedLogix 6.2

      And the entire NZS 3910 contract model needs to be thrown out and re-written around the principles of good project management.

      What we have at present is merely a lawyer’s charter.

  7. BM 7

    So this $20 per hour for a family with 2 kids.
    Since the church is involved , I’m guessing mum stays at home and looks after the kids

    A one income family with the bread winner making only $18-20 an hour would most certainly
    struggle, luckily this family has working for families to fall back on giving them an extra $150-200(I’m assuming after tax) per week.

    WFF adds around 5$ per hour tax free to the families income, pushing them well above the “living wage”

    • vto 7.1

      But BM, you miss the entire point.

      WFF is a subsidy to business paid for by taxpayers. This government is anti-subsidy but takes full advantage of this subsidy and simply chants, with hands over ears…. “can’t hear you, can’t hear you, nyah nyah nyah”. This is the level of their intellect.

      • BM 7.1.1

        National would can WFF in a heart beat if it could, it’s complete bull shit and has become an albatross around the neck of New Zealand.
        Unfortunately far too many families now rely on WFF to survive these days, it’s now like super if any party touches it, they’re fucked.
        Thanks Helen Clark and Labour.

        • vto 7.1.1.1

          fancy that, you miss the point again

          WFF is a taxpayer subsidy to business and employers. It should be canned and replaced with a wage that people can actually live on.

          • grumpy 7.1.1.1.1

            Exactly vto.

            WFF is the main reason wage rates are so low in NZ. Employers don’t need to pay decent wages because the nice taxpayer makes sure the pittance is topped up.

            I also wonder at those who are pushing for a lower dollar – all that does is further lower everybody’s real income.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I also wonder at those who are pushing for a lower dollar – all that does is further lower everybody’s real income.

              Yes it lowers the value of the monies held by those with large stocks of NZD or who have significant NZD income.

              However, it will also bring an onshoring of jobs and production. It will increase the price competitiveness of NZ products in overseas markets, helping our manufacturers. Given these factors many other NZers will be better off.

              • grumpy

                Goody! We might even get our own Nike and Addidas sweat shops!!!!

              • grumpy

                Not really CV. Purchasing power on virtually everything is diminished – from petrol to milk.
                A drop in $NZ would likely be offset by a rise in inflation.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Only goods with a significant foreign cost component will be impacted by a lower NZD value AFAIK.

                  A drop in $NZ would likely be offset by a rise in inflation.

                  Maybe. If it happens, just take money out of the top end of the economy to balance it out. But I can’t see it really happening other than new cars, Italian olives and smartphones becoming pricier.

                  • alwyn

                    That is simply not true CV.
                    Any goods that we produce in New Zealand and sell to overseas buyers will also be affected.
                    Consider one example. We produce lots of dairy products in New Zealand and sell them overseas. If the value of the NZ dollar drops the price we (or strictly Fonterra) for the exported goods will rise in New Zealand dollar terms. If they don’t we don’t want a reduced value NZ dollar do we? We pay in New Zealand the going rate for the goods. If the export prices go up (or down) the local price we pay for the same goods goes up (or down) to match.
                    This will happen for ALL tradeable goods that we produce.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Sure, I’d love to pay the same price as Australians, Chinese or Brits for a litre of milk. We get ripped off in NZ.

                      In all other cases the answer is still easy: have foreign buyers subsidise NZers for things like milk, meat and other locally grown produce.

                      In other words, don’t make NZers pay more for inferior produce, while sending the best stuff overseas.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      If the value of the NZ dollar drops the price we (or strictly Fonterra) for the exported goods will rise in New Zealand dollar terms.

                      Goods produced in NZ and exported are sold in US$. The seller then converts them to NZ$.

                      If the conversion is low (exchange rate is high) then the amount of NZ$ that can be spent in the NZ economy is also low and vice versa.

                    • alwyn

                      In response to Draco.
                      I reread my comment and realised I had left out the word get between the words “Fonterra)” and “for”. You have obviously interpreted it as being there.
                      Yes, you are right that many internationally goods are priced in US dollars. They don’t strictly have to be but they are. It’s the same reason that foreign exchange trading rooms only maintain exchange rates between each currency and the US dollar. There are far fewer numbers that have to be available and you can get a cross-rate by a simple multiplication.
                      However that’s why I put in the words “rise in New Zealand dollar terms”. You are only agreeing with me on that.
                      Having more New Zealand dollars to spend in New Zealand doesn’t however help the economy as a whole. It may help the dairy farmers but it merely shifts purchasing power to them and away from someone who doesn’t make their income from exporting. For those people prices of things they buy are going up.
                      If you regard having more dollars around is a good thing would you advocate simply issuing ten times as many. If not why not?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Having more New Zealand dollars to spend in New Zealand doesn’t however help the economy as a whole. It may help the dairy farmers but it merely shifts purchasing power to them and away from someone who doesn’t make their income from exporting.

                      In theory, the farmer and manufacturers having more money to spend that money in increasing the business and thus creating more jobs and more wealth. That is, after all, why the government decreased taxes for the rich and increased them for the poor.

                      And you’re right, a lot of that money will just find its way into trust funds and not be used to benefit NZ but some of it actually will be spent on building up businesses.

            • Wayne 7.1.1.1.1.2

              Grumpy, you are wrong on WFF. It reflects the fact that families with children have higher costs than other people. All developed economies have a tax credit system that reflects that reality.

              The intent of WFF is to ensure that families have enough income by essentially redistributing income from all other taxpayers. Remember it goes up with more children. The other alternative is a universal child benefit, but that goes to well off people as well.

              So when Helen introduced WFF, she was continuing a well trodden path, which is why National has kept it. The Nats in 1996 had a Family Tax Credit, which got replaced by WFF, but they essentially do the same thing. WFF recognised 10 years of inflation which is why it is higher than the Family Tax Credit.

              The key point is that to try and replicate WFF through wages would be impossible (or at least fundamentaly uneconomic). It would mean lifting the minimum hourly wage to around $20 per hour. WFF basically produces an income of around $40,000, hence the $20.

              The increase would have to be done for everyone, whether they were a beginning worker, or whether or not they had skills justifying $20. It could not be done just for people with families. And all wages at least up to $60 would have to increase to retain some level of proportinality.

              The New Zealand economy would obviously become uncompetitive.

              It is also why this campaign will fail. The minimum wage is $13.50 (but lets say it is $15). The effect of the campign is get the negotiated minimum wage to $20. That won’t happen, because employers can’t pay differential wages depending on a persons circumstances. essentiaaly it would have to be $20 for everyone. It is WFF that can take account of induividual circumstances.

              A more sensible campaign would be to make sure WFF keeps up with increases in cost of living.

              • Draco T Bastard

                It would mean lifting the minimum hourly wage to around $20 per hour.

                That’s about how much is needed for a single person to live well.

                And all wages at least up to $60 would have to increase to retain some level of proportinality.

                Nope. Proportionality does not need to be maintained. In fact, for the people at the higher end, what we should be seeing is a decrease in wages (probably through taxes so that higher WfF that you’re asking for can be paid).

                The New Zealand economy would obviously become uncompetitive.

                No it wouldn’t if we also worked on decreasing the value of the NZ$ on the forex.

                • Wayne

                  Well, if you were an apprentice on starting on $20 you would expect a substantial increase once you got your certificate, to at least $30, probably more, and after 5 years with a cert probably you expect $40. Otherwise why bother. That is why it will have (and should have) knock on effects.

                  When we had very high wages in meatworks and wharfs it meant a lot of people did not get qualifications who should have; that is why a wage spread is necessary to give people an incentive to gain skills.

                  Pre 1984 or thereabouts our pay scales were too compressed and it meant we had one of the lowest skill levels on the OECD. People who could have got skills could not see that it was worth their while to do so. I suspect one of the reasons we have low productivity is a residual legacy of that period, since it takes time to ensure most people get the higher level skills a modern economy demands.

                  But higher WFF would mean looking at taxes. More likely it will the key priority when looking at the next tax reduction package. This should be able to done in 2015/16 when we are back in surplus or close to it. A core issue for the 2014 election?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Pre 1984 or thereabouts our pay scales were too compressed and it meant we had one of the lowest skill levels on the OECD. People who could have got skills could not see that it was worth their while to do so.

                    To some degree I would agree with that but I also think that you’ll find that the major problem was that there just wasn’t enough capital investment to get rid of those jobs. If the jobs aren’t there, and low skill jobs should be phased out as fast as possible, then the people without skills need to go out and get them (which is why we need free education – our present system is quite literally wasting the abilities of tens of thousands of people, IMO).

                    More likely it will the key priority when looking at the next tax reduction package.

                    Lowering taxes will make the country even worse off just as the National Party has planned.

                  • Mike

                    “I suspect one of the reasons we have low productivity ”

                    Are you for real????

                    Productivity has nearly doubled in the last 40 years.

                    Wages, however, have stagnated or decreased in real terms, with all the additional profit going to those at the top instead of being shared as it used to be before the 80’s.

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1.3

              I also wonder at those who are pushing for a lower dollar – all that does is further lower everybody’s real income.

              Oh, look at that, another idiot.

              No, that’s not all it does. It also makes NZ products more affordable in NZ.

            • swan 7.1.1.1.1.4

              “WFF is the main reason wage rates are so low in NZ. Employers don’t need to pay decent wages because the nice taxpayer makes sure the pittance is topped up.”

              That is absolute nonsense. How does working for families lower the market rate? If anything it would increase the market rate by reducing labour supply – i.e. Mum is able to stay at home.

              • felixviper

                Do you really not understand how subsidies distort markets?

                • swan

                  So you think if we got rid of WFF then employment would go down as people wouldn’t bother working if they didnt get the WFF inducement?

                  • felixviper

                    No.

                    Stop pretending that we’re all constrained in our thinking by the market paradigm to which you’ve limited yourself.

                    • swan

                      Actually it was others that brought up the idea of WFF as a subsidy. It isn’t, unless you are redefining the term.

                    • RedLogix

                      So you think if we got rid of WFF then employment would go down as people wouldn’t bother working if they didnt get the WFF inducement?

                      Only if they had some other equal or better alternative to choose from.

                      Which most people do not have.

                    • felixviper

                      “It isn’t, unless you are redefining the term.”

                      Sure swan, in that case I’m redefining the term “subsidy” to mean “paying for something so someone else doesn’t have to”.

                      Happy now?

                      Oh and before you get too excited, no, I don’t have to renounce all other examples of subsidies just because I think this one is misguided.

                      mkay?

              • Mike

                It’s just another form of rent seeking and if you don’t understand how giving taxpayer top ups to people on low wages enables businesses to keep paying low wages then …… … bleh!

          • indiana 7.1.1.1.2

            The WFF family policy was never sold to the public as a subsidy to business by Labour when they announced the policy. Labour is equally anti-subsidy. When they draft policy, it is to be sold cost free to the recipient of the policy.

        • grumpy 7.1.1.2

          Only half right. Certainly WFF has become an electoral bride alongside Student Loans.

    • Mike 7.2

      WFF is simply another form of rent seeking.

      Instead of paying a proper living wage, companies are subsidized by taxpayers in the form of WFF. If workers were paid a fair wage, there would be no need for WFF.

      And what about single people and those on $13.50 an hour, or those on the unemployment benefit on around $200 per week. (plus landlord subsidy accommodation supplement)

  8. karol 8

    I heard part of the discussion on the topic on Nine-to-Noon this morning. One of the people (a woman) was saying it’s better for businesses to be treating their workforce well and paying a living wage.

    Can’t get the link code to work:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2546062/nz's-living-wage-campaign.asx

  9. NoseViper (The Nose knows) 9

    When talking about contractors, it is a situation where it is very efficient for the project owners and very inefficient for the worker (now Contractor, who has to do most of his paperwork, government forms etc and probably wait longer for his/her wages, a month perhaps and not necessarily bigger wages. One staff procurement company is now going onto weekly payments from its business customers for these reasons.)

  10. SJH 10

    I just want to say this is a very big leap from what was previously a $15 minimum wage campaign. Maybe this is too far? $18-$20 an hour would put a huge amount of people out of work. I have worked for $23 an hour at AFFCO in the past which was a lot of money for me. I am now working for $14.50 an hour in Central Wellington and I am able to survive as well as save and enjoy certain luxuries now and again. It would be nice to earn more but I think we need to be realistic about exactly how much. I find it hard to believe people need $18-$20 an hour just to “Live”.

    • fatty 10.1

      I can live on a couple of hundred dollars too. No problem, been doing it for years. But I don’t have any kids dependent on me…do you SJH?
      We can keep people earning $14 p/h…but when children are involved we are raising them in poverty and the results can be devastating.

      Also, I can frame this with right wing economic logic…
      If we have working poor with children, then the children are growing up learning that working is not worth the effort. Why would they bother busting their arse to live in poverty – a logical response from our children growing up in that situation is to move into crime or just bum around on the dole.

      What are we teaching our younger generation when working results in economic suffering?

      You also claim that it will cost people’s jobs SJH, but if we tax the rich and give to the poor, and that money is then spent in the economy (instead of sitting in a fat-cat’s overseas account, as it is now). Won’t that stimulate the economy and create more jobs? The apparent downside of this is that we must tax the rich – I don’t see how this is a downside

      • SJH 10.1.1

        No, I don’t have kids. I was the son of a solo mother and I know how difficult things can be. My mum has never found it easy to find work and still struggles to this day to find worthwhile employment.

        I don’t think $14 an hour is enough, but I think a sudden jump from a campaign for $15 to $18-20 is pretty signficant. Also $18-$20 is a range of $2, which is the total amount the minimum wage has risen in probably 7 or 8 years ( I don’t have figures to hand, if anyone knows where I can find some data and dates on the hostory of minimum wage in NZ that would be fantastic.)

        A campaign for $16 would likely have been a better move in my opinion. $18-20 just seems too much. Working For Families is already there to help people who have made the decision to have kids. I don’t think it’s any good for people to bust their ass for low wages, but we all know that decisions we make early on in life can make life more difficult as we get older. That doesn’t mean we don’t provide people with opportunities to overcome these difficulties, but it does mean that we have to take into account that some people are simply not going to be skilled enough to earn as much as they would like to.

        It certainly will cost people jobs. Take a restaurant with a staff of 30 for instance. If 20 of the staff are working for $14.50 an hour, and suddenly the minimum wage rose to $19, what kind off effect would that have the business? Thats thousands of dollars per week.

        Taxing the rich may well be a solution to increasing government revenues and increase spending on social programs, but it doesn’t do much to help individual businesses cope with what could be a debilitating wage rise. The only way they’ll deal with that is by firing workers and raising prices.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          Some good points. But remember, on $15/hr you can’t save for the future, save for a deposit on a house, anything like that. Any increase in the minimum wage needs to be substantial, but also graduated. A sudden move from $13.50 to $19/hr would sink a lot of small businesses within the first 3 months.

          What needs to happen for any such change to prove viable is for businesses to experience lifting revenues as people get more discretionary income into their pockets, and start spending more not on imported junk, but on local goods and services.

          • grumpy 10.1.1.1.1

            Agree with your ssentiments but disagree that it can be achieved without a corresponding lift in productivity.

            Higher incomes with a high dollar is what is needed.

            • fatty 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Agree with your ssentiments but disagree that it can be achieved without a corresponding lift in productivity.

              Really? What have our productivity levels been and what do they need to get to?

            • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.1.2

              but disagree that it can be achieved without a corresponding lift in productivity.

              well that’s about major investment in capital equipment, plant, machinery and new technology. And I recognise that foreign machine tools get much more expensive as the NZD drops….

              • Draco T Bastard

                Which is where government printing of money and spending it into R&D really pays off. No need to import that foreign machine if we can make it here.

                • Colonial Viper

                  It takes 10-20 years of dedicated effort to gain competence in new technology via illegal copying and patent theft, and another 10-20 years to gain any kind of independent leadership.

                  So what you are saying can be done, but it will be extraordinarily difficult and a generational task.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Oh noes, we can’t do it over night, oh woe is us.

                    /sarc

                    You do realise that we could license the technology as it is or possibly a generation or two behind and then work from there don’t you?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Of course you can license that knowledge. If anyone wants to sell you their IP, once they know you intend to enter their core markets.

            • Mike 10.1.1.1.1.3

              If wages had increased in line with increases in productivity over the last 30 years as they should have done, this thread would not exist.

          • SJH 10.1.1.1.2

            That’s true. I can’t save much. I’m only earnign a dollar above the minimum wage, but I suspect that’s why we call this the minimum wage.

            Someone starting out on the minimum wage would need to be very frugal and have low debt to save $150 – $200 a week.

            This is where I’m a little confused as to a “living wage”. Have they provided any data as to what exactly a $18-$20 living wage provides? With my student loan repayments and other debtss, if I was earning even $18 an hour I’d be able to save at least $200 a week.

            Is it a living wage, or are we talking about an ideal wage?

            • fatty 10.1.1.1.2.1

              This is just a guess, but its not a living wage in that it is the minimum to stay alive. It would be more as you say an ideal wage. That means that under a livable wage a person has access to opportunities to basic rights, such as a warm dry place to live (not a mansion, but a reasonable place where health will not be compromised), able to afford a healthy diet (veges, meat, grains, cereals etc.) It would also mean people are not excluded from citizenship – so that means being able to afford to partake in community activities, sports, recreation, swimming pools etc.

              That is just a guess, I could be stretching it there.
              I also wonder how they figure this out if this minimum wage is for someone with a child, or three, or none, or living in Westport, or living in Auckland…

              • SJH

                That’s very much what I was referring to.

              • KJT

                University studies show that at present, for a family of four, a healthy diet costs a minimum of $278 a week, rent for a basic family home is at least $250 even in backwaters like Whangarei. A cheap house is unlikely to have close access to public transport, even with non-casual working hours so for most workers a car is a necessity. There goes another $200 a week. Then there are clothes, health care, appliances, beds and bedding, school, some recreation (Eg. Kids rugby boots and fees) and the costs of going to work.

                Wages that are too low and WFF are a subsidy, from the rest of us, for employers who will not or cannot meet the full costs of the resources they use. Not even good capitalism.

                • fatty

                  thanks, do you have links to those studies KJT?…also are you going to start posting on your blog again?

                • KJT

                  Still looking for a publicly available web source for you. It was a recent Otago University study.

                  Incidentally the same study not long ago put the figure at $220.

                  Showing the excessive rise in cost, until the last few months, of staple grocery items.

            • Blue 10.1.1.1.2.2

              From what I read, the calculations relate to a family of four – Mum, Dad and two kids, and based on the assumption that one parent works 40 hours per week, and the other parent 20 hours per week.

              For this family, the ‘living wage’ covers essentials like rent, power, transport, basic nutritional food all cooked at home, rates, levies etc plus about one outing a month.

              http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10864565

              Obviously, single people with no kids will find this pay rate substantially more luxurious, while people with more kids will find it harder to cope on.

            • felixviper 10.1.1.1.2.3

              SJH: “Is it a living wage, or are we talking about an ideal wage?”

              Let’s rephrase that question as “Are we talking about a living wage or a subsistence wage?”

              Sick of these people talking as if it’s controversial to expect ordinary workers to have a decent bloody lifestyle.

            • infused 10.1.1.1.2.4

              ideal wage.

              • fatty

                Blue stated this – For this family, the ‘living wage’ covers essentials like rent, power, transport, basic nutritional food all cooked at home, rates, levies etc plus about one outing a month.

                Infused – do you really call that ideal? It appears to be the minimum to me…what would be your minimum?

            • Mike 10.1.1.1.2.5

              We’re talking about a fair wage for a fair days work. Corporations are making ever increasing profits yet not sharing the increase with workers by way of wage rises.

              A living wage means being paid enough that you are able to participate fully in and feel part of, society.

              It means you can save for retirement if you are careful with your spending, it means not having to stress about which bill doesn’t get paid this month. It means being able to one day maybe buy a house of your own, etc, etc, etc. We’re constantly reminded from birth that we have to “work for a living”, well if we’re working we should be paid enough to ‘have a living’ which is decent and fulfilling.

              “Someone starting out on the minimum wage would need to be very frugal and have low debt to save $150 – $200 a week. ”

              You’re obviously joking. Aren’t you? Someone on the minimum wage receives let’s say around $450 after tax. Take out your “$150 to $200″ savings leaves them with $250 to $300 a week to pay their rent, buy food, petrol, registration, insurance, medical, power, water, phone, repairs, emergencies and so on and so on and so on.

              I don’t know where you live, but my rent is $200 per week which, to get your level of savings if i was on minimum wage would leave me with $50 to $100 a week for all my non rent living expenses. Not a hope in hell! Petrol alone is around $40 per week, leaving me just $10 to $60 for everything else. No matter how frugal, it simply ain’t possible.

              • SJH

                No I’m not joking, Mike.

                I’m only slightly above the minimum wage. If you don’t have any dependents it is possible to survive and save. Not everyone needs a car, I don’t have one. I walked 70 minutes to and from town for work while living in Wellington last year. It is possible, but it is tough. $450 minus $150-$200 savings would leave me with $250 – $300. My home costs are $150 which includes rent ($125), electricity, SKY TV costs. I rent a place with a friend for $250 a week which we split. So that leaves me with $100-$150 a week to buy food, use public transport, buy some beers, go to a gig or whatever I like. That’s why I said you would have to be very frugal. When I’m not frugal, I can either dip into my savings or go without. I’m lucky that I have a job and am reasonably frugal.

          • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 10.1.1.1.3

            CV
            Gradual implementation of higher minimum rates is the job. But some national controls on loose lending by big companies would be good. All purchases need to have a deposit and immediate payments – adjustable amounts could make it easier all around but no payment holidays etc. Also let’s start with special housing accounts at Kiwibank with encouraging features.

    • joe90 10.2

      Nothing quite like the politics of resentment.

    • RedLogix 10.3

      Once upon a time employers paid married men more than single men. Now we have WFF.

      Get it?

    • felixviper 10.4

      SJH: “I just want to say this is a very big leap from what was previously a $15 minimum wage campaign. Maybe this is too far?”

      Right on cue.

  11. tamati 11

    If you want an example of “contracting” being used to circumvent minimum wage laws look no further than the courier industry!
    Ever wonder why couriers come at 6am to drop of that parcel? They have to work twelve hours a day to feed themselves. The left should investigate this, the whole indusrty is a rort!

  12. rod 12

    Evidently, John Key isn’t keen on the $18-$20 per hour living wage idea.

    • Skinny 12.1

      Of course Key is not keen at all on a $18-$20 living wage, he isn’t keen on raising the minimum wage. 

      This is a great strategy by the mighty Unions to highlight the low wage economy in NZ. All opposition party’s need to run with this and put pressure on the Government to ‘get real’ and act for all our citizens not just the rich!

  13. Foreign Waka 13

    Article 23 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ” Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and for his family an existence worthy of human dignity.”
    Human dignity would be the word that is important here because it is closely related to the participation within society as a whole. The only way to enable this is be having the means to do so.
    And this is not possible with $ 13.50 per hr.

  14. 2008 – 9 was the end of the era of growth. We are now living in the reverse of that, and at some stage in the future those left alive are going to be living off what remains of ‘the land’.
    To get from where we are to that point is going to be bloody horrible, this is just the start, even the Greeks haven’t seen the worst of it.
    China got a taste in 1949 ish, when up to (guesstimate) 45 million starved to death, with stories come out like this one – Before a mother dies she tells her daughter that because she is just skin and bone the best part of her is her heart “So eat it” or the commune leader who made a man bury his son alive, because the 10 year old was seen eating when he shouldn’t have had food.
    Believe me I am not looking forward to all of this.
    Low wages is the least of our problems.
    But no one cares, we got Kiwi Saver, and the Green party. happy happy joy joy

  15. Afewknowthetruth 15

    All industrial economies have been heavily subsidised by cheap energy (particularly oil) for many decades, and wages largely reflect the rate at which fossil fuels are extracted from underground. Thus, the US reached the pinnacle of notional wealth when its oil extraction reached a maximum and has been in decline since. Britain peaked in coal extraction in 1913 and in oil extraction around 2000, so it is on the slippery slope down. Places like Spain were able to create short-lived speculative economies based on money creation and the transfer of wealth from other nations via tourism and food exports. New Zealand built an economy based on extraction of phosphate rock from places like Christmas Island and the conversion of oil into waste.

    The old game is now over because global extraction of oil peaked several years ago and coal has become very problematic. Christmas Island has been stripped of phosphate (and most of the oceans have been stripped of fish). There are desperate attempts to prop up the system via fracking, deep=sea drilling etc. The bankster’s Ponzi scheme [of creating money out of thin air and charging interest on it] is unravelling via out-of-control debt and currency wars.

    Over the coming years we will see a substantial fall in notional wealth based on digits in computer systems throughout the entire world. It is inevitable. Needless to say, those at the top will ensure they get more than their share via whatever means they choose -probably overt fascism and/or feudalism, as opposed to the covert fascism and debt-slavery we currently endure.

  16. kiwi_prometheus 16

    “First target is large corporates and infrastructure monopolists ticket clipping and holding up costs while adding very little business value. Small businesses are being screwed in every direction currently.”

    “The left should investigate this, the whole [ logistics ] indusrty is a rort!”

    I think these comments point to the real problems that keep wages low and employment soft.

    NZ has a low productivity rate thanks to lack of capital investment by the management class who prefer to increase profits via undermining employment conditions.

    Regulations allowing monopolies or cartels to drain the nations wealth. The latest rort exposed is the power sector, free to suck the life force out of consumers thanks to no real independent regulator looking out for the little guy.

    An economy geared to low wage industries like Dairy and Tourism while a property bubble is cultivated, soaking up investment capital and increasing the risk of a financial crisis.

    Foreign ownership of banks etc sucking out what anemic wealth the NZ economy does produce.

    Campaigning for a living wage is quixotic while the above remain unaddressed – such a campaign could be useful only for bring attention to the above problems that are keeping wages suppressed.

    Where are the economist on The Standard?

    • RedLogix 16.1

      Plenty of economic material in this vein has been written or referenced over time. Many of us here pretty consistently find Steven Keen a good non-orthordox economist. I first spotted him in 2005, have his book ‘Debunking Economics’ and attended a seminar he did here recently.

      He’s not the only voice …. but he is Australian, occasionally refers to NZ, and is very accessible.

      • kiwi_prometheus 16.1.1

        Yeah I’m familiar with Steve Keen.

        “Many of us here pretty consistently find Steven Keen a good non-orthordox economist.”

        I’ve hardly heard him mentioned on here let alone any in depth discussion of his economic theory.

        Need some economists on here.

        • RedLogix 16.1.1.1

          Well Steven did comment here a couple of times some years ago… but that aside, there really are not a lot of non-orthodox economists in full-time employment in this country. Keith Rankin is the only other name that immediately leaps to mind, not to mention CTU’s Bill Conway.

          Otherwise you’ll just have to put put up with us enthusiastic amateurs.

        • Mike 16.1.1.2

          Why economists? You seem to be suggesting that an an economist is needed to discuss economics. I would have thought we’ve listened to economists for long enough and economic theory as it stands is no longer relevant as it does not include the welfare and stability of society in its’ calculations.

        • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.3

          I’ve hardly heard him mentioned on here let alone any in depth discussion of his economic theory.

          Please describe how your lack of attention is our problem.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.2

      The latest rort exposed is the power sector, free to suck the life force out of consumers thanks to no real independent regulator looking out for the little guy.

      It’s not that we need an independent regulator as that the power sector should never have been de-nationalised and turned in to a profit driven faux competition. It should have remained a government service running at a direct loss with taxes making up the difference rather than being a cash cow for government.

  17. Rogue Trooper 17

    Well, I do not think, sadly, that this minimum wage campaign is going to gain traction. the timing may be out, dwell on it.

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    It was good to hear the news that a mana whenua delegation is heading north, a long way north, to make their views known about the proposed  oil drilling off the Northland coast. The roopu will be representing iwi and hapu… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    8 hours ago
  • Ministers must act on 111 failure
    Lives are being put at risk if the company contracted to manage emergency 111 calls can’t cope with increased numbers, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Saturday’s situation where people calling the emergency services were unable to get through and were… ...
    10 hours ago
  • People trying to save lives don’t deserve abuse
    WorkSafe New Zealand staff trying to save lives on farms shouldn’t be subjected to a tirade of verbal abuse from a Member of Parliament, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Chester Borrows has labelled WorkSafe New Zealand officials… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Action on laws needed in Privacy Week
    The Government must speed up promised law changes to reassure the public their private information is in safe hands as the country marks Privacy Week, Labour’s associate Justice spokesperson Clare Curran said today. “The previous Justice Minister Judith Collins announced… ...
    13 hours ago
  • Māori Caucus call on iwi leaders support
    Labour’s Māori caucus has sent an open letter to iwi leaders around the country seeking their support for meat workers currently in employment negotiations with Talleys.  “We are aware that when Talleys locked out workers for a period of 89… ...
    13 hours ago
  • National still splashing cash on charter school experiment
    New figures confirming that charter schools are still being funded at up to four times the rate of their state school counterparts shows just how desperate the National Government is to make its experiment a success, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris… ...
    2 days ago
  • Regions pay price for inaction on housing
    New figures put the cost of an average Auckland home at $800,000 and show large parts of the country facing stagnant or falling property values, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The QV data released today shows residential property values… ...
    3 days ago
  • Regions pay price for inaction on housing
    New figures put the cost of an average Auckland home at $800,000 and show large parts of the country facing stagnant or falling property values, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The QV data released today shows residential property values… ...
    3 days ago
  • PPP schools not at expense of community groups
    The Government must guarantee community groups will not be the losers out of its signing of a $298 million deal for four more public private partnership (PPP) schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Community groups will find it more… ...
    3 days ago
  • Surplus: The biggest broken promise ever
    Bill English has failed to deliver on his double-election campaign promise of a surplus by this year, instead delivering seven deficits out of seven budgets, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government spent seven years and two election campaigns… ...
    3 days ago
  • McDonald’s serves up some McHappiness
    Unite Union and McDonald’s have given New Zealand a perfect way to celebrate May Day by reaching a settlement that strikes another blow against zero-hour contracts, Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Earlier this week it looked like… ...
    3 days ago
  • Justice delayed and delayed and delayed
    Today we found out that the case of the prominent New Zealander  charged with indecent assault will retain name suppression until the case goes to court in about a year. Putting aside the appropriateness or not of granting name suppression,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • No golden age for books
    The ‘indefinite’ postponement of an initiative designed to encourage people to read Kiwi books will be a major blow to local authors, publishers and booksellers, Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.News that the annual NZ Book Month… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cracks showing in economy of milk and houses
    Fonterra’s latest cut to its forecast farmgate payout confirms that an economic black hole of $7 billion is opening up that will seriously affect the regions, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The cut confirms the long term trend of… ...
    4 days ago
  • Human Rights – An Issue for Everyone
    This week, the issue of human rights has been everywhere in the news. We have seen John Key prioritise a free trade agreement with Saudi Arabia over all else with no guarantee of human rights clauses being included. We have… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • Govt inaction on housing keeping rates high
    The Government’s failure to rein in the housing crisis means the Reserve Bank Governor cannot lower interest rates despite inflation being at 15-year lows, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Inflation is below the target band and the economy has… ...
    5 days ago
  • What do our refugee policies say about us?
    It is my pleasure to share with you a blog from Hester Moore who is currently interning with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees in Cairo, after graduating from the Univeristy of Canterbury. Sometimes, as a nation it is… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    5 days ago
  • Tamaki state housing transfer risky and desperate
    The Government’s transfer of 2800 state houses to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company -- to be announced at 9am today -- shows it's desperation to off-load state houses and show some kind of action against Auckland's out of control housing crisis,… ...
    5 days ago
  • Tamaki state housing transfer risky and desperate
    The Government’s transfer of 2800 state houses to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company -- to be announced at 9am today -- shows it's desperation to off-load state houses and show some kind of action against Auckland's out of control housing crisis,… ...
    5 days ago
  • Woodhouse should close work visa loophole
    The Immigration Minister must revoke the work visas of temporary Chinese engineers working on KiwiRail trains and close the loophole that allows their employers to avoid New Zealand employment laws, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues, Iain Lees-Galloway. “New Zealanders… ...
    5 days ago
  • Job losses show folly of Chorus’ copper cuts
    Chorus and the Government are neglecting the copper broadband network, leading to 145 potential job losses at Transfield Services as well as poor services in the regions, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Steven Joyce and Amy Adams have made… ...
    5 days ago
  • National quietly ditches its surplus promise
    National has quietly dropped its long-promised return to surplus by this year by removing the date it will get the books back in the black from its online campaign material, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s pledge to reach… ...
    5 days ago
  • Even cheap houses now unaffordable
    New housing affordability data show that now even the cheapest houses in Auckland are unaffordable for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “The AMP360 Home Loan Affordability Report reveals Auckland's lower quartile house price has leapt to… ...
    5 days ago
  • Key’s careless chatter tips off Arabic media
    John Key has shown a frightening lack of judgement in disclosing to an Arabic media outlet that Kiwi troops are in the UAE awaiting deployment to Iraq, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “At the same time the Prime… ...
    5 days ago
  • Child poverty will not be solved by vouchers
    New Zealand has debilitating levels of child poverty, entrenched violence against women and children, and the ongoing effects of colonisation on Maori are brutalising communities. When we dwell on the statistics – which mostly we don’t because it all seems… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Simon Bridges spent over $6500 on Northland
    Transport Minister Simon Bridges spent over $6519 on travel and flights to Northland for the by-election – spending around $1000 a week, Labour’s Acting Leader Annette King says. “Simon Bridges’ desperate dashes to Northland got him in political hot water.… ...
    5 days ago
  • Firing squad deaths deplorable
    The execution of eight men by an Indonesian firing squad is deplorable, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “New Zealanders do not support the use of the death penalty under any circumstances. ...
    5 days ago
  • Aged care workers need more than talk
    Yesterday AUT released the New Zealand Aged Care Workforce Survey 2014. The conditions of aged care workers are important for many reasons. We have an ageing population and people are going into care/requiring care later than before, so it’s critically… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Aged care needs urgent attention
    The Government must stop neglecting older New Zealanders and the people who care for them and give urgent attention to a sector that is in dire straits, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The lead author of the New… ...
    5 days ago
  • Passing the buck a disaster in the making
    Moves to overhaul the social services sector are nothing more than privatisation in drag and are a potential disaster in the making, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “A report from the Productivity Commission supports the Government’s push for… ...
    6 days ago
  • Tauranga’s oil spill shows potential for devastation
    When the Rena ran aground off the Bay of Plenty coast, the impact was overwhelming. Some 2000 dead birds were found, and up to 20,000 birds are thought to have been killed. Taxpayers paid nearly  $48 million in the aftermath… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    6 days ago
  • More hype and half-truths from Coleman
    The rising incidence of rheumatic fever has nothing to do with ‘families having a better understanding of the disease’ as the Health Minister wants us to believe but everything to do with his failure to address the root causes of… ...
    6 days ago
  • Regional air routes must be maintained
    The Government must use its majority shareholding to make sure Air New Zealand cooperates with second tier airlines stepping into the regional routes it has abandoned, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Air New Zealand’s cancellation of its Kaitaia, Whakatane,… ...
    6 days ago
  • Action needed on decades old arms promise
    Nuclear weapons states must honour the unequivocal promise they made 45 years ago to disarm, says Labour’s Disarmament Spokesperson Phil Goff. Mr Goff is attending the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations in New York. ...
    6 days ago
  • Worker safety top of mind tomorrow and beyond
    Workers’ Memorial Day, commemorated tomorrow, is both a time to reflect and to encourage a better safety culture in all workplaces, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway.“On Worker’s Memorial Day, working people across New Zealand will remember those… ...
    1 week ago
  • Communities forced to stomach water woes
    Confirmation by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman that he is to wind up a water quality improvement scheme will leave thousands of Kiwis with no alternative but to continue boiling their drinking water, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. The Drinking… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour calls for immediate humanitarian aid for Nepal
    The Government should act immediately to help with earthquake relief efforts in Nepal, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “The Nepalese Government is appealing for international assistance following yesterday’s massive quake. The full impact is only now being realised… ...
    1 week ago
  • New holiday reflects significance of Anzac Day
    Anzac Day now has the full recognition that other public holidays have long enjoyed, reflecting the growing significance it has to our sense of identity and pride as a nation, Labour MP David Clark says.“The importance of the 100th Gallipoli… ...
    1 week ago
  • Housing crisis hurting export growth
    If Steven Joyce wants to revive his failing export growth target he needs to make sure the Government gets to grips with the housing crisis, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Our exporters are struggling to compete… ...
    1 week ago
  • Gallipoli’s lesson: never forget, never repeat
     A special monument to one of our greatest war heroes should be a priority for the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “This will honour the spirit of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who led 760… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister for who? Women, or Team Key?
    Louise Upston yesterday broke her silence on John Key’s repeated unwanted touching of a woman who works at his local café, to jump to the defence of her Boss. Upston repeated Key’s apology but, according to media reports “she refused… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayer bucks backing US billionaire
    Kiwis will be horrified to know they are backing a Team Oracle subsidiary owned by a US billionaire, Labour’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. It has been revealed today that a Warkworth boat building company, which is wholly… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • English’s sins of omission: ‘Nothing left to be done’ on housing
    When Bill English said ‘there is nothing left to be done’ on the Auckland housing crisis he had overlooked a few things – a few things, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.  “He’s right if you ignore: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate change now hurts Kiwis
    Kiwis have twice been given timely and grave warnings on how climate change will hit them in their hip pockets this week, says Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The first is the closure of the Sanford mussel plant and the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean, green and chocolate!
    Like many people I absolutely love chocolate! But until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how it was grown and produced. Fair trade and ethical food production are core Green Party principles, so yesterday Steffan Browning and I were… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • National admits loan shark law not up to it
    National has admitted new laws to crack down on loan sharks, truck shops and dodgy credit merchants aren’t up to the task of protecting vulnerable consumers, Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Paul Goldsmith has acknowledged the laws might just… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Power and the Prime Minister
    I’d like to acknowledge the young woman* who has publically told her story. It was a very brave thing to do. She kept her story very simple and focussed on her experience of what happened. It told of unwanted attention… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Extra holiday offers time to reflect
    The Mondayisation of Anzac Day provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and their communities, Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark says. “This is the first time legislation I introduced, to have Anzac and… ...
    2 weeks ago

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