web analytics

Key Living Wage: “A matter for them”

Written By: - Date published: 5:49 pm, February 11th, 2013 - 26 comments
Categories: john key, wages - Tags:

John Key, as expected, failed to take any sort of lead – or even fast following – on the Living Wage campaign.

It’s “a matter for them” – businesses and workers – not something for a mere Prime Minister to be interested in.

He thinks it’s nice if businesses pay more as they can afford it, but obviously doesn’t see higher wages as a priority.

To my friends on the Right – “but they shouldn’t pay it if they can’t afford it” – I say: it’s a matter of priorities, and as Living Wage advocates proselytise, it often works out cost neutral.

Is the top management’s pay a priority?  It evidently is as we’ve seen the top tier of earners keep on getting healthy pay rises.

It often works out cost neutral because of reduced turnover and increased productivity driven by the higher morale of valued workers.  Workers who aren’t working a second job to pay the power bill and can be more devoted to you as well as their family.

But no, to John Key, it’s only about if there are any crumbs left over for workers after the cake has been divided.

Overseas local and central governments have taken the lead on the Living Wage.  With the sense of Social Responsibility such organisations are meant to be infused with, they don’t want to send their workers home at the end of the day without enough to eat properly.  So they make sure they pay the Living Wage, and any company they procure to do work must pay the Living Wage.

I’m talking Parliament’s cleaners here – and Bill English’s.

Unfortunately it’s clear from his attitude that the example Key will be leading with won’t be a good one.

26 comments on “Key Living Wage: “A matter for them””

  1. vto 1

    .
    Key paints his own picture of himself.

    hollow

    shallow

    empty

    • Tiresias 1.1

      He’s just being true to right-wing philosophy. Those who can, will, and the Devil take the hindmost.

      He’s only doing what 47.31% of New Zealand voters plus the Maori Party enabled him to do.

  2. indiana 2

    Ben, do you agree that a living wage is very dependent on an individuals circumstances?

    • vto 2.1

      indiana, do you agree that top management wages are very dependent on an individuals circumstances?

    • Te Reo Putake 2.2

      “Ben, do you agree that a living wage is very dependent on an individuals circumstances?”

      No. The basics are pretty much the same for all of us. We all pay international market rates for food, even though its produced here. Our housing is overpriced wherever we live. We all pay rates and taxes at similar levels (except the deserving rich, of course). Petrol, electricity, comms; all the same wherever in NZ you are to within a decimal point or two.

      • bad12 2.2.1

        Pay taxes at similar levels, planet te reo must be interesting, based upon actual income the poorer you are the more you pay in tax,

        Beneficiaries pay at least 30% of their income as tax, depending upon what they buy with their meager dollop of money this could be as much as 40% in taxation,

        Beneficiary dependent children wish to thank Labour for including them in the working for families tax credit scheme,(aw that’s right Labour ignored the poorest kids in NZ in favor of upper middle class kids so no thanks have been earned by Labour on that score either)…

    • Ben Clark 2.3

      Not very dependent, slightly (as TRP says). Except for children – they massively change costs. Which provides a good reason for something like Working for Families to even that out for those going through that expensive part of the life-cycle.

      But I guess that is part of the movement of the Living Wage being a non-compulsory wage. It is a moral wage that will be enough for people to have children, a modest place to live, and no worries about paying for power or food week to week. The Minimum Wage is a backstop to prevent employers really taking the mickey.

  3. AsleepWhileWalking 3

    For anyone else who couldn’t follow that link http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/20130211

  4. tsmithfield 4

    If you are on a low wage with a couple of kids, the effect of WFF is that you probably are already earning a living wage.

    • felixviper 4.1

      You catch on quick.

      Now tell me again why it’s the state’s (i.e. yours and mine) responsibility to pay wages on behalf of the private sector?

      • tsmithfield 4.1.1

        So, is your position that the “living wage” should replace WFF?

        • felixviper 4.1.1.1

          My position is that the lowest wages should be enough to live a decent simple life on.

          And that if that were the case, WfF would never have been needed.

          And further to that, the presence of WfF has allowed those low wage levels to stagnate with employers recognising it as a subsidy to continue paying low wages.

          • The Chairman 4.1.1.1.1

            Indeed.

          • indiana 4.1.1.1.2

            “the presence of WfF has allowed those low wage levels to stagnate”

            Is that an unintended consequence of Labour policy making?

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.2.1

              I don’t believe so. Labour knew that wages were no longer covering the costs of living and so put in place subsidies for private business so that wages could be kept low.

            • felixviper 4.1.1.1.2.2

              “Is that an unintended consequence of Labour policy making?”

              Ultimately, yes.

              However while Labour were in office they continued to increase the min wage anyway, whereas National hasn’t really.

              • indiana

                Why should they have? If WFF helped stagnate employer driven wage increases then sadly that unintended consequence of the policy also stagnates state welfare increases and minimum wage increases by any future government.

                But at least Labour can look like they care.

                • RedLogix

                  Once upon a time employers routinely paid married men more than single men. This was because in the context of the time married men most likely had higher costs than single men. We also had a Universal Child Benefit that was actually of real value to families. These were blunt but appropriate tools for the time.

                  The idea that families are expensive to raise AND that society owed some obligation to assist in that process is not a new one. In fact it’s been around for a very long time in one form or another…. long before capitalism.

                  The advent of workplace equality has necessitated a change in the form this assistance has taken. Whether WFF was the best response is still an open topic for debate. Personally I’ve long advocated that a Universal Basic Income would be a better approach.

                  But arguing over whether this family assistance should be paid directly by employers or indirectly via the tax system is a pretty sterile debate.

  5. Brian 5

    Is it me or is it just strange to find the words Key and Leadership in the same sentence?

  6. RedLogix 6

    Overseas local and central governments have taken the lead on the Living Wage. With the sense of Social Responsibility such organisations are meant to be infused with, they don’t want to send their workers home at the end of the day without enough to eat properly.

    But of course the Local Government Reform Bill 2012 has tidily removed this option from New Zealand Local Authorities:

    1. Refocus the purpose of local government
    The broad purpose of the Local Government Act 2002 covering social, economic, cultural, environment well-being is unrealistic. It creates false expectations about what councils can achieve and confusion over the proper roles with respect to central government and private sector.

    The problem is illustrated by councils setting targets for NCEA pass rates, greenhouse gas emission reductions and reduced child abuse in their communities. These are very real and important issues but are not the responsibility of councils.

    New Zealanders would be better served by government providing a clearer purpose statement on the role of councils. We need to be cautious of the narrow prescriptive approach of the 1974 Act that had councils needing special parliamentary authority to be allowed to provide an illuminated town clock. A balance is needed that provides greater clarity of councils’ role but which recognises the diverse needs of local communities throughout New Zealand.

    This Government supports the retention of local government’s purpose to enable democratic local decision making and the accountability of councils to their local communities. The provisions to be changed throughout the Act are references to the broad role around social, economic, cultural and environmental well-being. This will be replaced by councils’ role being defined as the provision of ‘good quality local infrastructure, public services and regulatory functions at the least possible cost to households and business’.

    The important words in the new purpose statement are ‘local’ to differentiate from services better provided by central government and ‘public’ to clarify that councils should not try to replace services provided by the private sector. The proviso requiring least cost is to emphasize the need for efficiency. The definitions will make it plain that ‘least possible cost’ means costs now and into the future, to ensure decision makers do not take a narrow, short term view of cost effectiveness.

    1. The Local Government Act 2002 will be amended to replace references to the ‘social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities’ (the four well beings) with a new purpose for councils of ‘providing good quality local infrastructure, public services and regulatory functions at the least possible cost to households and business.’

    http://www.dia.govt.nz/Policy-Advice-Areas—Local-Government-Policy—Better-Local-Government-brochure

    Given of course that virtually everything Local Govt does could be done by the private sector this Bill has become a charter for the complete dismantling of Local Govt in this country. Not next week … but within the next decade.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Unless we get a reasonable government in place that repeals it. If we don’t then the sell off of NZ to the highest bidders and the conversion of most NZers into serfs will continue.

  7. swan 7

    Some great posts on tvhe and offsetting behaviour on this. I think we should be very carefull about the (un)intended consequences of this policy.

    http://www.tvhe.co.nz/2013/02/12/a-19hr-living-wage-wtf/

    http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.co.nz/2013/02/living-wages-and-raising-rivals-costs.html

    • RedLogix 7.1

      Here is a question for you swan.

      If your job is protected by the national economy, ie you are a professional or similar whose ‘market rates’ are not especially subject to international competition then you are doing quite alright thank you. I’d estimate this class of people might be the top 20% of earners at most.

      But most other people in New Zealand have jobs that could be done by somebody else in the world for much less. That’s the other 80%. If we were to take your position and argue that if a job could be done by someone else for less, then it should be done for less, then obviously this 80% of New Zealanders will see their incomes stagnate or fall even further.

      While at the same time the top 20% or so will continue to accumulate more wealth and privilege to themselves, increasing even further the gross levels of inequality in this country.

      My question then is, would you argue that wage competition should apply only to the lowest and least empowered in the market … or should it apply to everyone?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • National’s cuts shave $100K off KiwiSaver by retirement
    New analysis shows National’s constant cuts to KiwiSaver will reduce the average worker’s retirement savings by $100,000 over their working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “The former Labour Government launched KiwiSaver nine years ago today to boost ...
    22 hours ago
  • TPK struggles to measure Whānau Ora outcomes
    The Government needs to explain why so many vulnerable whanau are falling through the cracks, Labour’s Whānau Ora spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. The Minister of Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell attended the Māori Affairs Select Committee to highlight “gains” – ...
    1 day ago
  • EY: TPP stamp duties on foreigners may have to apply to Kiwis
    The Government’s claim that a TPP-enabled tax on foreign buyers would amount to a ban has been exposed as folly by tax experts, who say that in most cases a tax would apply to Kiwi buyers too, says Labour’s Trade ...
    2 days ago
  • Project 300 short on facts
    A Minister’s pet scheme to employ 300 disabled people in Christchurch seems to be short on facts, says Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Poto Williams.  “Nicky Wagner cannot provide solid evidence to show that her much vaunted Project 300 has actually ...
    2 days ago
  • Who are they going to call?
    A cry for help from New Zealand’s longest-running crisis line highlights chronic underfunding of the sector by the Government, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Lifeline is THE go-to helpline for people in crisis, taking up to 180,000 calls each ...
    2 days ago
  • Five months too long for homeless to wait
    New figures revealing homeless people registered with Work and Income are waiting an average of 155 days to be housed shows the Government is totally overwhelmed by the housing crisis, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “What’s worse is ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister in cloud cuckoo land
    Hekia Parata needs a very big reality check if she truly believes every parent has the choice of sending their child to a private school, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Questioned in the House today about plans to pump ...
    3 days ago
  • Convention centre failure means years of uncertainty for CBD
    The failure of Gerry Brownlee’s planned convention centre deal leaves Christchurch facing uncertainty about when activity will be restored to the CBD, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “As one of the CBD’s major anchor projects, the convention centre complex ...
    3 days ago
  • PCE proves water quality still deteriorating
    The PCE State of the Environment Report shows that river water quality is continuing to get worse across large parts of New Zealand, says Labour’s Environment and Water spokesperson David Parker. “Water quality has deteriorated in Canterbury, Central Otago, Auckland, ...
    3 days ago
  • Families with new babies victims of today’s veto
    Families with new babies are the victims of an historical “first” for the New Zealand Parliament today. “For the first time ever, a Bill will have a third reading debate and no vote will be taken at the end because ...
    3 days ago
  • Crime on the rise…again!
    The Police Minister’s contention that Police have enough resources to meet the expectations of New Zealand communities is not reflected in the Police’s own statistics, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Yet again, reported burglaries have increased in every region ...
    3 days ago
  • Private schools beneficiaries of extra cash
    Plans to give more taxpayer money to private schools at a time when state schools are struggling to make ends meet says everything about the National Government’s twisted priorities, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Not only did this year’s ...
    4 days ago
  • Inequality getting worse under National
    Inequality is getting worse under National with almost 60 per cent of the wealth in this country concentrated in the hands of the top 10 per cent according to Statistics NZ figures released today, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    4 days ago
  • Government freezes elderly out of insulation subsidy
    Government cuts to the Warm Up New Zealand insulation subsidy means it will now only be available for rental properties and could leave many elderly homeowners cold this winter, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In this year’s Budget the Government ...
    5 days ago
  • Shewan report delivers rebuke to National
    John Shewan’s report into foreign trusts is a rebuke to John Key and the National Party who have protected an industry that has damaged New Zealand’s reputation, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Three years ago the Inland Revenue Department ...
    5 days ago
  • Auckland Airport rail analysis must be made public
    The Government should publicly release its detailed analysis of rail to Auckland Airport before it closes off options, so the public can have an informed debate, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Transport Agency today said it is ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister approved OIO consent despite death and investigations
    Louise Upston must say if she knew Intueri was being prosecuted for the death of a student and under a funding investigation when she approved its overseas investment consent to buy another education provider, says Labour’s Land Information and Associate ...
    6 days ago
  • Brexit vote costs NZ effective EU voice
    Despite being extremely close the result of the referendum in Britain reflects the majority voice, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “While we respect the decision to leave the EU, it goes without saying the move will usher in ...
    1 week ago
  • Pasifika Education Centre doomed
    The Pasifika Education Centre appears doomed to close down this December, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio  “In a written question I asked the Minister whether he would put a bid in for more money. His answer ...
    1 week ago
  • Onetai Station review a shameful whitewash
    A report released today on the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) good character test is a whitewash that does nothing to improve New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “The review of the good character test ...
    1 week ago
  • We need a national strategy to end homelessness now
    Long before I entered Parliament, housing and homelessness were issues dear to my heart. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to find an affordable home in Auckland. In my maiden speech, I talked about how when ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Capital feels a chill economic wind
      Wellington is on the cusp of recession with a sharp fall in economic confidence in the latest Westpac McDermott Miller confidence survey, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark.  “Economic confidence amongst Wellingtonians has dropped 12% in the past ...
    1 week ago
  • Dive school rort took six years to dredge up
    News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s housing crisis hitting renters hard
    National’s ongoing housing crisis is causing massive rental increases, with Auckland renters being hit the hardest, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Government holds Northland back
    New information shows Northland remains the most economically depressed region in New Zealand, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional survey found that more Northlanders believe their local economy will deteriorate this year than ...
    1 week ago
  • Rebstock report into MFAT leaks a disgrace
    An Ombudsman’s report on the Paul Rebstock investigation into MFAT leaks shows the two diplomats at the centre of the case were treated disgracefully, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi.  “The Ombudsman says one of the diplomats Derek Leask ...
    1 week ago
  • More families forced to turn to food banks for meals
    Increasing numbers of families are having to go to food banks just to put a meal on the table, according to a new report that should shame the Government into action, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Aussie reforms signal trouble ahead for school funding plan
    Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The signaled return to bulk funding is ...
    1 week ago
  • Toxic Sites – the down low on the go slow
    In  2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Aucklanders face new motorway tax of up to $2500 a year
    The Government wants to tax Aucklanders thousands of dollars a year just to use the motorway network, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Officials estimate the average city commute is 11.8km. This means for the average Aucklander commuting five ...
    1 week ago
  • 15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
    New information show 15 bank managers in India have been identified by Immigration New Zealand as presenting fraudulent documents on behalf of foreign students studying here, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information ...
    1 week ago
  • National leaves Kiwi savers the most vulnerable in OECD
    News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail. Most Kiwis ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Comprehensive plan for future of work needed
    A Massey University study showing many New Zealanders are unaware of the increasing role of automation in their workplace, highlights the need for a comprehensive plan for the future of work, says Grant Robertson, Chair of Labour’s Future of Work ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials
    On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Iraq mission extension case not made
    The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Melanoma deaths could be avoided by an early access scheme
      The tragic death of Dunedin’s Graeme Dore from advanced Melanoma underlines the cruelty of this Government in promising a treatment but delaying for months, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “Graeme was diagnosed with Melanoma last year. He used ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Assessing the Defence White Paper
    The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities. The Green Party has a longstanding belief that priority must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis’ confidence drops again: Economy needs a boost
    Westpac’s consumer confidence survey has fallen for the seventh time in nine quarters, with middle income households ‘increasingly worried about where the economy is heading over the next few years’, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This survey is a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Relocation grant simply kicks can down the road
    The response by state house tenants and social agencies to the Government’s rushed plan to shift families out of Auckland tells us what we already knew – this is no answer to the chronic housing shortage, Opposition Leader Andrew Little ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Peace hīkoi to Parihaka
    On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Children’s Commissioner right to worry about CYF transition
    The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. “Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill English exaggerates PPL costs to justify veto
    The Finance Minister has used trumped-up costings to justify a financial veto against parents having 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Bill English’s assertion on RNZ yesterday that the measure would cost an extra $280 million ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must refund overcharged motorists
    Labour is calling on the Government to refund motor registration fees to three-quarters of a million Kiwi motorists whose vehicles were wrongly classified under National’s shambolic ACC motor vehicle risk rating system, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says.“Minister Kaye’s ridiculous ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 90-day work trials an unfair failure which must change
    A new Treasury report shows the Government’s 90-day trials haven’t helped businesses and are inherently unfair, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Motu report found that 90-day trial periods had no impact on overall employment and did not ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere