$15 per hour unaffordable?

Written By: - Date published: 7:06 am, May 24th, 2011 - 295 comments
Categories: minimum wage - Tags:

I just love seeing fat, rich men who have received massive tax cuts paid for with borrowed money like John Key and Phil O’Reilly saying that a $15 an hour minimum wage is unaffordable (Key also says governments can’t raise wages, yet he claims to have done just that). Lets check out one large minimum wage employer’s ability to pay.

Restaurant Brands owns 208 KFC, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks stores, employing 4,500 workers, most of them minimum wage.

For simplicity’s sake and to estimate on the high side, lets say they all do 40 hours a week and all would get the $2 an hour raise. That comes in at $1,900,000 a year. Since wages are tax deductible, the cost to Restaurant Brands would be $1,300,000

Restaurant Brands made $25.1 million after tax profit in the year to March, up from $19.9 million the previous year. So, an extra $1,300,000 would reduce its profits by 5% while boosting its employees’ pay by 15% and having a dramatic impact on their families’ living standards.

This is not a poor country. We have a GDP of $200 billion per year, $50,000 for each man, woman, and child. An extra $500 million for the lowest paid workers who are often in the crappiest jobs is nothing. Except to the elitists who are hogging all the wealth for themselves and don’t want to share.

[update – curse of the late night typo. The gross cost would be $19m, not $1.9m, meaning net cost of $13m. 50% of profits. Still completely affordable. Remember that’s on my high assumption that everyone is full-time on the minimum wage, real cost would be much less]

295 comments on “$15 per hour unaffordable?”

  1. John Galt 1

    Love it. More of the same from all parties, only outdone by MORE of the same! If a minimum wage or a tax is as good a thing as the people believe, then the best party is the one with the biggest numbers!

    Or the lowest numbers. I’m not sure.

    Anyway, it’s much fairer, and more equal. Must be.
    Somebody has to pay for the coal in the nations train, everybody must do their bit. It’s only right. It’s only fair. And if you don’t, we will show you just how benevolent we really are. You’ve been given permission to work the train, and the tracks are being laid down. No man lives or can live for himself. We have a stake in you and you in us. It’s all for the greater good, you know.
    Where do the tracks lead? Why a train? No, we do not want a skyscraper. How quaint. Anyway. We are all equal, and you’ve been given permission.

    You’re so very good at keeping the passenger car clean. So very good.

    No, Galt’s Gulch is not on the list of destinations. Never heard of it.

    • lprent 1.1

      WTF. I read that twice and I still couldn’t figure out what you were talking about. Have you forgotten the meds this morning? If you haven’t then I’d suggest heading to a quack ASAP

      • NickS 1.1.1

        Nah, it’s not mental illness, just early morning-itis + trolling + a heavy does of Randism.

        • Armchair Critic 1.1.1.1

          +1
          I suspect it’s due to an overdose of Rand by the author of the comment. I’m taking a wild stab and guessing the IP address will show the author is from the lower South Island.

          • lprent 1.1.1.1.1

            You have seen this before? I is new to me (and I’d thought I’d seen everything).

            I can neither confirm nor deny the location.

            But we have had this commentator here before under a different name and I will confirm that after looking through the links that Ayn Rand does appear along with the bearded pear. The real question is if that was causative or merely correlative. But that is off topic.

            • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Geo-locating IPs within NZ is probably sketchy at best anyway. I know that my IP appears to be from Auckland for most international sites, and I’m in CHCH.

              • Draco T Bastard

                According to Orcon their IP addresses are attached to specific locales. International sites would just see the national block allocation and check the IP register and report where the company is located from it’s registration.

        • More likely he listened to Alastair Thompson’ blabbing and ranting on Morning Report this morning. I would like someone to ask Thompson and his ilk how they would manage on $13 per hour.

      • I think its more likely he listened to Alastair Thompson’s rantings and ramblings on morning report . Mike Crean beat him hands down ,but I would like someone to ask Thompson if he is willing to live on $13 an hour.

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      is as good a thing as the people believe, then the best party is the one with the biggest numbers!

      yeah the Right Wing believe that the party which is going to deliver the biggest PROFIT numbers to CORPORATIONS is the best political party. That’s the entire basis of the competition between ACT and National.

      So yeah “John” you are quite right.

      Time for the Left to shift those numbers back towards workers and labour.

    • John Galt 1.3

      You are asking “who is John Galt?”

    • Deborah Kean 1.4

      I second what Lyn has said.. What on earth are you on about?
      Vicky

  2. That’s an unrealistic view of how business works.

    So, an extra $1,300,000 would reduce its profits by 5%

    No it wouldn’t if Restaurant Brands can do anything about it – they will try and maintain or improve their profit margin. That will mean increasing costs (possible inflation) and cutting costs (possible unemployment).

    And you can’t legislate to limit profit margins.

    • Eddie 2.1

      so, you’re suggesting that higher wages will encourage restaurant brands to invest in capital and better organisation to get more productivity per worker? And you’re opposed to this?

      You know that’s the literal definition of a luddite, eh? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite

      As you’ve inadvertently pointed out, higher wages drive captial densification, which drives productivity (not the other way round as the Right likes to claim). This is how we advance as a country. This is why countries with higher wages are doing so much better than us, while you are advocating the low wage – low productivity model of the third world.

      • PeteG 2.1.1

        I’m not advocating “the low wage – low productivity model” at all, I see the widening wage gap as a problem. I’m pointing out downsides of artificially forcing up one component of the cost of business.

        And you have to consider combined effects – like if higher minimum wages and earlier ETS payments happen at the same time as taxes are increased. That’s not likely to just result in socialist nirvana.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          That’s not likely to just result in socialist nirvana.

          You are right of course.

          That’s why 50% of every fast food chain franchise should be owned by the workers who work there.

          That’ll get “socialist nirvana” on the way.

          • onsos 2.1.1.1.1

            That’s not my understanding of socialist Nirvana. In the socialist Nirvana, wouldn’t the workers own the restaurants outright?

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Well the path to nirvana occurs in many stages 😀

              You are correct though. In the model of democratic socialism the workers would largely or entirely own the enterprise themselves. They would pick (vote) their supervisors and managers from within their own ranks, and all major business decisions would be voted upon according tot he democratic processes that they had selected. As an intermediate step, worker reps would hold seats and voting rights on all corporate boards, as if they are major shareholders.

              Workers would have the responsibility for running and managing the operation effectively and efficiently, and they would receive all the economic value generated themselves.

              Workers who left the workplace would give up their share of the company and it would go back into a common pool, ready to be given to (or purchased by) the replacement employee.

              • Oleolebiscuitbarrell

                We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.

              • obvious

                Yeah – that will work.

                Of course – lets have our comrades put up their 50% of the money to start the company. Oh and take the $$$$ out of their pockets if the company fails.

                Lets have our comrade borrow against their house (which they can lose if the business goes down hill) – just so they have the same 50% skin in the game.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Why would we want to propagate the failed capitalist model within our socialist nirvana?

              • Draco T Bastard

                Workers who left the workplace would give up their share of the company and it would go back into a common pool, ready to be given to (or purchased by) the replacement employee.

                It really is easier just to make the business self-owned. No capitalist ownership models (which really are the biggest problem) to get in the way then.

                The workers would still have all the democratic say in how the business is run and how the income is distributed. It’s a good model as it gets rid of the dead weight loss of profit.

                • PeteG

                  Sometimes it’s a good model but not always. I was once involved in a three person partnership, it was moderately successful but we wound it up due to differences in opinion on how the business was built. All three of us eventually went back to being employed.

                  Many workers don’t want to be involved in administration, they don’t want to be involved in major decision making, they don’t want to have all their family fortune put on the line, they don’t want the long hours and stress that business ownership and management often entails.

                  Many workers are happy to be workers, employees, that’s why they don’t start their own businesses.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Many workers don’t want to be involved in administration,

                    They don’t have to be but they should have to be involved in the direction that the business is going.

                    they don’t want to have all their family fortune put on the line,

                    We’re talking socialist nirvana here – their fortunes won’t be put on the line.

                    they don’t want the long hours and stress that business ownership and management often entails.

                    If management is causing all that then it’s failing at management. Ever hear of the truism A problem shared is a problem halved? Share the responsibility about and the stress and long hours disappear.

                    • PeteG

                      Are you in business? Ever been in business? If not why don’t you try it and see how easy it is to run a business by committee.

                      Ever wondered why all workers haven’t gone out on their own and set up co-operatives? They could do it if they wanted to, and then capitalist business types would become obsolete.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Are you in business? Ever been in business? If not why don’t you try it and see how easy it is to run a business by committee.

                      Yes and last time I looked all large, successful businesses are run by committee. The members of said committees are called directors.

                      Ever wondered why all workers haven’t gone out on their own and set up co-operatives? They could do it if they wanted to, and then capitalist business types would become obsolete.

                      Again, yes. IMO, there are a number of reasons as to why they don’t. Lack of self-confidence caused by growing up in dysfunctional homes, Lack of self-confidence caused by bullying/teasing at school, Lack of self-confidence due to lack of knowledge about such co-operatives and lack of resources due to them all being controlled by the capitalists. And I’m pretty sure that’s not an extensive list.

                      What we need to do, as a society, is encourage such co-operatives and make resources available for them to prosper.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yes and last time I looked all large, successful businesses are run by committee. The members of said committees are called directors.

                      Oh very nice 🙂

                      You’ve shown yet again what a small fry PeteG is. I’ve been in more private sector board meetings than he has had fast food combos.

                    • PeteG

                      How many workers committees?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Having workers on the committees which run companies should be the norm.

                    Like in economically and technologically successful Germany.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2

          I’m not advocating “the low wage – low productivity model” at all,

          Yes you were. All RWNJs do – that’s why Jonkey said that he wanted to see wages drop and why Blinglish now paints our wages as a competitive advantage.

          • PeteG 2.1.1.2.1

            I didn’t and I don’t advocate the “low wage – low productivity” model.

            The more productive and well paid everyone is the better, but I don’t think enforced artificial levels that affect different ages and areas differently are the best approach.

            • wtl 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Please enlighten us of what you think the best approach is to achieving a high wage and high productivity economy.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.2.1.2

              Yes you did, right:

              I’m pointing out downsides of artificially forcing up one component of the cost of business.

              There.

    • wtl 2.2

      I really don’t get the point of this comment. The argument is being put forward is that an increase in the minimum wage to $15 is easily affordable by Restaurant Brands, as this will result in a drop in profit of only 5% under their current operating conditions. Obviously, this post is not trying to predict the future profit of Restaurant Brands, which you are right, will likely change given that the operators will continually try to improve their profits. But this has nothing to do with the minimum wage – they will be trying to improve their profit margin regardless of whether the minimum wage is $13 or $15 – and arguably be doing similar things, e.g. conducting marketing campaigns to improve sales. What exactly are you trying to say, with reference to the $15 min wage?

      ps. I would actually argue that Restaurant Brands profit would go UP with an increase in min wage to $15, as their customers base is mainly those on low incomes, and an increase in the income of their customers will likely result in higher sales. Of course I have no evidence to back this up.

      • Eddie 2.2.1

        “Of course I have no evidence to back this up.”

        crikey. imagine if PeteG put that after every applicable comment he made

      • RobC 2.2.2

        The point of the comment wtl is to drag the thread away from its primary point into semi-relevant (at best) tangents, to confuse and diffuse.

        Or, as I have said many times prior, pissing in the wind.

        • PeteG 2.2.2.1

          What was the primary point of the thread? Carefully crafted PR? Should that be sacrosanct?
          The message must not be questioned?

          Or maybe one of the aims of the blog is to discuss, debate, challenge. No?

          We don’t all have to piss dissentless into the same bottle.

          • wtl 2.2.2.1.1

            Or maybe one of the aims of the blog is to discuss, debate, challenge. No?

            But you aren’t doing that. You are just rambling on about all sorts of disconnected ideas. Profit margins. Tax takes. Inflation. As soon as someone makes an argument that you can’t easily respond to, you switch to something else and start again.

            • PeteG 2.2.2.1.1.1

              When talking about a substaintial lift in minimum wages do you really think profit margins, tax takes and inflation are “disconnected” ideas?

              I guess they are disconnected from the message that is trying to be spun.

              The simplistic “put wages up, businesses can afford reduced profits” meme is disconnected from reality.

              • Colonial Viper

                Business in NZ is divided into two tiers. SMEs of <20 people. These often struggle in this economic climate. And big multinational corporates. Who make big frak off profits on the scale of tens (or hundreds) of millions a year.

                Frankly, businesses who cannot afford this small pay increase need to change their business model and become more profitable, or go out of business and make way for operations which can generate more value.

                That’s the way the free market works.

              • RobC

                So the “can’t put wages up, it’s unaffordable” meme is also disconnected from reality then.

                • PeteG

                  Yes, that’s even more dopey. Wages go up on an ongoing basis, as they become affordable and/or necessary to retain workers.

                  Arbitrary universal minimum wage levels have benefits, and can have adverse side effects.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Wages go up on an ongoing basis, as they become affordable and/or necessary to retain workers.

                    That’s why dumping workers into an excess labour pool, making jobs less secure, taking away protections for precarious workers, hindering unions and creating long term unemployment is all part of NACT’s wage suppression campaign.

                    To make workers desperate and grateful for a job, any job, at any pay rate.

                    Smart eh. The simplest answer:

                    AUSTRALIA

              • wtl

                No, I mean disconnected in your comments. They can be connected but you are not doing so.

          • Colonial Viper 2.2.2.1.2

            Of course not, just don’t spray and pray on the economy like Bill and John.

          • RobC 2.2.2.1.3

            The primary point of the post was to deconstruct the corporate message that a $15/hr min wage is unaffordable by using an example of a corporate that has many low-paid workers.

            It did a simplistic calculation that compared the increased wage cost to net profit. Your response was “that’s not how business works” and introduced the concept that the corporate would use measures to retain profit margins.

            So fucking what? It is irrelevant to the point being made by the post. It is pissing in the wind.

            • PeteG 2.2.2.1.3.1

              The primary point of the post was to deconstruct the corporate message that a $15/hr min wage is unaffordable by using an example of a corporate that has many low-paid workers.

              So if you find one corporate that you think can afford the additional cost of wages what does that prove?

              It certainly doesn’t prove that all businesses could afford it.
              It doesn’t prove that borderline businesses won’t decide to wind up.
              It doesn’t prove that Christchurch businesses will profit from it.
              It doesn’t prove that Restaurant Brands will simply absorb the extra costs.

              It really proves nothing. It closes with:

              An extra $500 million for the lowest paid workers who are often in the crappiest jobs is nothing. Except to the elitists who are hogging all the wealth for themselves and don’t want to share.

              This proves it’s little more than political bullshit. It’s trying to buy envy votes.

              • RobC

                PeteG, if you said that at 7.36 instead of what you did actually say at 7.36, then this thread wouldn’t have been cluttered up.

                So congratulations, you have completed the tangent full-circle, by responding to a post I made about what is the point of the original article by asking questions about the content of the original article. Well done.

                • PeteG

                  If you had just tried your “smile and mock” trick and left it at that it would have reduced clutter too. 🙂
                  (Is there a mock emoticon?)

              • wtl

                The bottom line from my point of view:

                From an economics viewpoint, $15/hr min wage will ensure that all jobs produce at least $15/hr in value. This will help shift NZ away from being a low wage economy (although we’ll still be a low way off), which is the direction we want to head. You say that you don’t like a “the low wage – low productivity model”, but you are against a policy that will actually make a difference. It has nothing to do with socialism. Instead, it is using market forces to drive the NZ economy in the direction we want it to head.

    • lprent 2.3

      And you can’t legislate to limit profit margins

      What would you call taxes on profits then? Scotch mist? Or another figment of the senility of Don Brash

      • onsos 2.3.1

        Taxes on profit margins reduce profit margins, but they don’t limit them. There is a massive difference. It’s like income taxes; they don’t limit nett pay, but they do reduce it.

        • Colonial Viper 2.3.1.1

          Its practically limits profits however.

          An 89% tax on profits exceeding the wage bill of the company would work well, for instance to practically place a hard limit on profit margins.

    • toad 2.4

      I think this is the first time I agree with anything Pete G has posted – although he seems to think it is a bad thing.. The primary (some on the right will say only) duty of company directors is to maximise the dividend the company pays its shareholders. So profits will not be reduced by 5% (and hence the increased income tax on the increased wages and increased GST take on workers’ spending will be substantially greater than any loss in corporate tax, which is another advantage.

      I would be surprised if profits drop at all. The most likely responses are to improve productivity, which to some extent flows naturally from paying workers better anyway, and to increase prices, which they can easily do because all their competitors will be similarly affected.

      • PeteG 2.4.1

        Toad, don’t forget to factor in a reduced tax take on reduced profits.

        Improving productivity in a labour intensive industry means getting more out of each worker for the same labour costs.

        Pushing up wages, pushing up prices, chasing improved profits, the growth treadmill we are addicted to.

        • Eddie 2.4.1.1

          so you are a luddite? you would rather we were all employed working in the fields for subsistance food than on higher wages driving higher productivity.

          • PeteG 2.4.1.1.1

            No, I think we have to seek a balance between growth and sustainability, and seek the best of social and caplitalist policies.

            And not allow ourselevs to be driven by election cycle desperation.

            • Colonial Viper 2.4.1.1.1.1

              You believe no such thing, you just parrot it.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.4.1.1.1.2

              The only way to get balance between growth and sustainability is to drop capitalism.

        • onsos 2.4.1.2

          Ah. But don’t forget increased taxes paid by workers, and reduced benefits paid by the government through WINZ, WFF, and the health and education systems. Also, increased wages will increase the GST take, through spending by those who actually spend.

    • Colonial Viper 2.5

      And you can’t legislate to limit profit margins.

      Of course you can, that’s what supertax legislation is for, duh.

    • And you can’t legislate to limit profit margins.”

      That limitation, supposedly, is meant to act through the market mechanism. It’s odd that nobody – on the right – complains when the market fails in this regard.

      As I (and Adam Smith) said on another thread.

      Apologies to those who’ve already read it but I think it’s worth remembering that increasing profits have ‘pernicious’ effects on prices and, according to Smith, these are worse than the effects of increasing wages because, unlike wages, they compound through the economy.

      • PeteG 2.6.1

        I agree. The continued drive to greater profits and the neverending quest for economic growth compounds our problems, but we are addicted to it with no easy way to break the habit.

        It’s not just a profit problem. It’s also what some companies push to make a profit, “value added” crap, much of which we don’t need and is not good for us.

        We have been hooked on voluntary over-consumption.

    • Rich 2.7

      In countries where they have higher minimum wages, they tend to have more expensive junk food and greater efficiency in delivering services.

      (So, for instance, you don’t see people by the road with stop signs in most first world countries – they rent a portable traffic light instead).

      Neither of those are a bad thing.

      • PeteG 2.7.1

        What countries are you talking about?

        What are their unemployment rates like?

        • Eddie 2.7.1.1

          Australia – minimum wage is worht $19 an hour here, unemployment rate below ours.

          the truth is that there’s not just a brain drain to Aussie but a flood of low skill workers too.

        • RobC 2.7.1.2

          Australia for one. Minimum wage A$570 per week. Unemployment rate 4.9% (Mar 2011). Hope that helps.

    • Deadly_NZ 2.8

      And it would not really matter if Kentucky fucked Duck, Domiblows, Pizza Slut, Burger Fling or even Mcvomits, put up their prices by a couple or three percent to cover the extra wage bill. As more young people will have extra money in their pockets, so they will spend more, and then because young people have more to spend, then the shops will have to hire MORE staff, so they can serve MORE people, who will spend MORE money. To say nothing of the Tax windfall that would come out of such an increase, GST and PAYE. Yes Pete it will work. BUT you and the other NACTS don’t want that to happen, you are too busy shouting that it will cost jobs. anything to show it wont work. because when it does work. it will show you, and all the other nay sayers out there, will have been proven to be liars, and yes I include the NAT government in that list of Liars.

  3. happynz 3

    ‘That will mean increasing costs (possible inflation) and cutting costs (possible unemployment).’

    Those burgers gonna flip themselves? Those pieces of chicken gonna jump out of the deep fryer on their own?

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      thx – pointing out the essential nature of labour in growing capital wealth. Of course, the big shot shareholders in restaurant brands could come in and learn to operate the chip fryers themselves, what do you reckon?

    • onsos 3.2

      There’s no chance that Restaurant Brands will cut labour in reaction to an increase in minimum wage. The sort of outfits who will are the sort that are marginal, and depend on paying subsistence wages for their existence.
      Perhaps it’s time that we asked whether propping up such marginal employers is in the interests of our model of capitalism, or whether we should encourage the smarter deployment of capital for more productive ends.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        Indeed. If a private enterprise is working a business model which is that marginal in it’s productivity and profitability, it should be allowed to fail and make room for a business which can generate more value for it’s stakeholders.

  4. vto 4

    Put the wages up.

    As a few people have said, the burgers still need flipping, people still need to eat, the rubbish still needs removing, the offices still need cleaning.

    All it means is that the burden of the cost of living life moves a little tiny bit more away from those who are the poorest to those who are the richest.

    It helps remove the bludging off poor people on minimum wage.

    Bloody bludgers

    • PeteG 4.1

      All it means is that the burden of the cost of living life moves a little tiny bit more away from those who are the poorest to those who are the richest.

      Or it means that prices go up on basics which affects the poor more than anyone.

      Who benefits from inflation the most? Those investing for capital gains. That’s not the poor.

      • Eddie 4.1.1

        DoL estimates a $15 minimum wage would cause 0.26% inflation (again, there’s no proof this happens, same with the job losses). In return for a 15% increase in the minimum wage.

        Also, inflation isn’t good for those investing for capital gain. In fact owners of capital are hit hardest by inflation, which is why controlling inflation is at the heart of neoliberal economics.

        • joe bloggs 4.1.1.1

          In 2007, a Labour led review contained the following……

          option 5: $15.00 per hour (or $520 per week):

          1.5.3 if it were to be pursued, there could be a potential constraint on job
          growth of up to 0.6%, the national weekly wage bill could increase by
          3.74%, and it would have a potential inflationary impact of 1.63%;

          • Eddie 4.1.1.1.1

            yeah, that was in 2007, genius.

            Since then, wages and prices have risen so that the inflationary impact of moving from $13 to $15 is a hell of a lot less than moving from $10.50 to $15 would have been in 2007.

      • RobC 4.1.2

        “Prices go up on basics”? Funny, I thought this thread was about Restaurant Brands – KFC, Pizza Hut, …

        • PeteG 4.1.2.1

          For many people, a lot of them in lower demographics, their products are seen as basics.

          Fast food intake, by neighbourhood deprivation
          Children living in areas of high deprivation were much more likely to have eaten fast food three or more times in the previous seven days (13.9%, 11.2–16.6),
          compared to children living in areas of low deprivation (3.4%, 1.9–4.9).

          http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/pagesmh/7601/$File/portrait-of-health-june08.pdf

          Sad but true.

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.2.1.1

            Govt has a role in changing that. I suggest starting by pushing the price of fast food up, and making healthy food cheaper.

            Say by taking GST off fresh fruits and vegetables 😉

            • Jim Nald 4.1.2.1.1.1

              Every little bit would help the working poor.
              Of course, the rich would dismiss that policy because they can more than afford fresh fruit and vegetables.

            • MrSmith 4.1.2.1.1.2

              Agree CV, this company does untold damage to our society, obesity & diabetes being but two of many problems they create, selling their shit.
               
              Here’s an idea to start pushing the price of fast food up “Put the minimum wage up.”

          • RobC 4.1.2.1.2

            From your link:

            ” … and 1 in 14 children, which equates to 53,400 2−14-year-olds, had eaten fast food three or more times in the previous seven days (7.2%, 6.2–8.2).”

            Which debunks your claim that “many people … their products are seen as basics”

            Sad, but true.

            • PeteG 4.1.2.1.2.1

              Try some simple maths rather than selecting one statistic
              – 1 in 14 children, how many children would that be?

              And how many children eat fast food two times a week? And once a week?
              And how many adults?

              • Colonial Viper

                Derailing thread.

              • RobC

                Yeah, it is derailing the thread but it’s fun.

                Especially when PeteG asks: “1 in 14 children, how many children would that be?”

                in response to a post that says: “and 1 in 14 children, which equates to 53,400 2−14-year-olds”

                I mean, that has to be about the dumbest question ever asked on a blog when the answer is right there staring him in the fucking face.

                In reply to the other questions, the answers are in the link you provided and I had assumed you had read … oh hang on …. 😀

          • Deadly_NZ 4.1.2.1.3

            John Keys ideal nation full of poor overweight sickly children slaves.

            Smarmy git

  5. spot 5

    …does anyone have a link, or crunched the numbers on some impact scenarios with WFF, or with accom. supplements, DPB etc? (is it linked?)

    Be interested to see “net gain” picture on some common scenarios…will they lose other support as a result ?

    • toad 5.1

      The modeling for this is pretty complex because Working for Families and accommodation supplement are paid on a family basis, whereas the minimum wage increase applies to individuals. It is further complicated by accommodation supplement having regional caps, so not something anyone can sneak into 5 minutes of work time.

      Although there will be some reduction in WFF and AS expenditure from increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, likely in the $10 million to $20 million range, by far the greatest fiscal impact is in the revenue gained from the increased PAYE and GST take ($150 million +).

  6. morninglory 6

    I hope this isn’t reflective of the total intellectual power of Labour in general. What the article says is that since some people are rich, and because NZ needs cash, it’s ok to rob the rich. At what stage will that thinking revert back to theft is not ok and hardwork is rewarded? Legislation allows the ends to justify the means and for theft to become tax and robbery redistribution. Christ, it’s all relative really, isn’t it? I wonder which band of gangsters (sorry, I mean politicians) will expect us to vote for them on trust? Who would trust deceitful thieves?
    You know what would be easier? Running an advertising campaign that said – if you want lower taxes and healthier families… don’t eat fast food. I mean, where do Labour think Restaurant Brands get their money?

    • Eddie 6.1

      “hardwork is rewarded”

      I agree that hard work should be rewarded. The point of the minimum wage is to insure that it is.

      As for this: “You know what would be easier? Running an advertising campaign that said – if you want lower taxes and healthier families… don’t eat fast food. I mean, where do Labour think Restaurant Brands get their money?”

      get informed: http://thestandard.org.nz/they-just-waste-it-on-booze-smokes/ poor families spend hardly anything on takeaways.

      “legislation allows the ends to justify the means and for theft to become tax and robbery redistribution.”

      are you talking about the law that means that the owner of capital, not the worker, owns the product produced? Capitalism is a creation of the law, and society has the right to temper its unfairness.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      I hope this isn’t reflective of the total intellectual power of Labour in general. What the article says is that since some people are rich, and because NZ needs cash, it’s ok to rob the rich.

      How can it be considered robbing the rich, if it is the workers who do the work in the takeaway outlet that generated that economic value to begin with????

      In fact, it’s been the rich robbing the poor! Where according to Marx, the capitalists take the excess value from workers’ production – and put it into their own pocket, giving the worker the least possible in exchange for the worker’s labour.

      😈

      • morninglory 6.2.1

        There is reality and then there is what you wish life was like if everything was different. What’s your point?

        • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1

          Important to hold on to the utopian dream. It reminds us that this crappy capitalist system thought up and structured by one or two thousand elite in a few dozen board rooms does NOT have to be the way all of NZ society is run.

    • RobC 6.3

      “theft is not ok and hardwork is rewarded”

      Go and do some reading on productivity gains and comparisons with wage growth, then come back and tell me who is thieving who and who gets the benefits from hard work.

      • morninglory 6.3.1

        Go and do some reading on how to debate ideas then you’ll find that implying you are too smart to reply to someone isn’t a debating point.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.4

      …it’s ok to rob the rich.

      Is it theft if they stole it from us in the first place?

      Who would trust deceitful thieves?

      Good question. Why do you trust John Key who is a proven liar?

      • morninglory 6.4.1

        What did they steal? Your personal savings? I’d call the cops if I were you.

        (I wouldn’t cross the road to piss in John Key’s ear if his brain was on fire.)

        • Draco T Bastard 6.4.1.1

          If someone’s labour produces $100 worth of value but that person is only paid $20 then I consider the difference to be theft. Legalised theft to be sure but still theft.

          • g_man 6.4.1.1.1

            This is such over-simplistic crap I don’t know where to begin.

            Okay … firstly, how do you measure the “value” of what someone’s labour has produced? Say Bob is selling fruit in a fruit and vegetable market. Is the “value” that his labour produces the total value of what he sells? Or is it the profit the shop’s owner makes after taking out the wholesale price, Bob’s wages, providing electricity and heating to keep Bob nice and warm, purchasing insurance in case Bob has an accident and sets the place on fire or floods it out, paying his taxes, and on and on and on …

            Say Joe does some contract programming for an accountant. Is the value his hourly rate that the employer agrees to pay? Is it the price the accountant would have to pay to buy similar software on the open market? Is the price the accountant would have to pay for a few years of hard graft to learn how to do the programming himself?

            Have you ever bought goods made in China? If so, you’re a thief. Because we all know that workers in China are paid crap wages, and in buying goods made there you’re supporting the working conditions and helping the stealing to continue.

            By the way, if you have a wife who stays at home and looks after your children, I hope you’re paying her the $77,000 I think (from memory) it was recently estimated she’s worth. If not, you’re a thief and stealing from her.

            I’m not particularly good at making arguments, but I’m surprised nobody here has called you out on this simplistic twaddle. This is a shocker from you.

            • Colonial Viper 6.4.1.1.1.1

              Okay … firstly, how do you measure the “value” of what someone’s labour has produced?

              Wrong starting point.

              The correct starting point is – how much does someone who contributes a full days work to society need to live on.

              Have you ever bought goods made in China? If so, you’re a thief.

              Now you’re blaming the wrong people.

              The people in power moved western manufacturing to China are the ones responsible for this shit situation.

              Those were boards of directors and major shareholders, mostly American, who decided it was OK to put their neighbours out of work so they could make more money for themselves paying the Chinese a pittance.

              • PeteG

                Do you mean just in New Zealand or worldwide? If it is a morally fundamental human right to earn a comfortable living wage then it should be applied the same everywhere.

                • wtl

                  Of course it should be. But we (Kiwis) can only directly control what happens in NZ. We can encourage other countries to do the same, but ultimately it is up to the people in those countries to do so.

                • Colonial Viper

                  If it is a morally fundamental human right to earn a comfortable living wage then it should be applied the same everywhere.

                  Human rights?

                  We are talking about rights of working New Zealanders here. Focus on the subject.

                  Nice try at deflection, loser.

            • Draco T Bastard 6.4.1.1.1.2

              Back when I did a business course I was taught how to calculate what charge out rate was needed to pay someone $10 per hour (At the time, taking into account overheads, taxes and 10% profit for the business owner it was $45). Considering that the labour can be charged out at $100/hour we can assume that the labour is actually worth that much.

              Now, how it becomes theft isn’t how much the worker is paid against how much his labour is charged out by but because the worker doesn’t actually know. He never sees the books so that he can make an informed decision about how much he should be paid (unless he’s in a co-operative).

              Then we can look at profit. Now, if it’s a small business we can assume that the profit is going to the owner and that he’s the guy doing the administration. Now, administration is important and needs to be done. He needs a living wage as much as the workers but should it be a variable wage dependent not upon how much he works but dependent upon how much others work? And don’t talk to me about risk either – the workers he employs are taking just as big a risk if not bigger. Never seem to see the bosses lose their house when they lay off workers (Although I’m sure some of them do – I’ve just never heard of any). And really, shouldn’t the worker have a say in how much the administration is being paid? He was, after all, the one who created the wealth.

              Without that say and without seeing the books so that he’s informed about the decision as to how much he’s paid there can be no other conclusion than that theft is being done. And that theft is condoned by the existing laws which don’t force those books open, which don’t give the worker a say in how much the administration is paid from the wealth that he creates.

        • Deadly_NZ 6.4.1.2

          Brain???? What Brain??

  7. joe bloggs 7

    There’s an air of desperation behind this blatant vote-buying.

    Labour opposed a $14 an hour minimum wage in 2006 when the economy was doing a heck of a lot better than now. And in 2007 Labour ministers concluded that there would be a negative impact on employment and inflation would skyrocket as a result of an increase.

    All of a sudden, when Labour’s ratings are through the floor, a $15 an hour minimum rate is sustainable?

    When the economy is in a heck of a mess and small businesses are on the bones of their arses?

    When youth unemployment is at 27%?

    This is economic sabotage – pure and simple.

    • Eddie 7.1

      Um, prices and wages go up over time. In 2006, the minimum wage was $9.50. An increase to $15 would have been 60%. It wasn’t even an option costed by DoL.

      Today, five years later, the minimum wage is $13 an hour and there has been a lot of inflation.

    • Colonial Viper 7.2

      This is economic sabotage – pure and simple.

      No, selling NZ’s main renewable sources of energy, the hydrodams, to the Chinese is economic sabotage.

      Making sure that the economy helps New Zealanders – that’s loyalty to our own people.

    • Zorr 7.3

      And tax cuts don’t count as vote buying obviously…

      Yeah right

  8. Policy Parrot 8

    “Except to the elitists who are hogging all the wealth for themselves and don’t want to share.”

    You can tell the kind. They don’t send their kids to playcentres or kindergartens, so they wont be forced to learn to share the toys with the other kids, and they object to free/subsidised education that they choose not to use.

    RWNJ/Farraresque “OMG! that’s how Socialism is spreading – in the kindergartens – the NZEI is indoctrinating our preschoolers – we must ACT! before it is too late!”

  9. Jim Nald 9

    Is there a way to generate a movement by consumers for boycotts against a list of businesses who pay nothing more than the minimum wage or who have a great number of minimum wage employees on their payroll?

    And, as part of that, is there a way of publicising how much those businesses are paying their CEOs and top managers, i.e. the extent of their massive or obscene remuneration and annual pay increases? If exact figures are not available, their remuneration in 100k or 10k bands would do.

    Some of us would like to support businesses that pay their employees more than the minimum wage and avoid supporting those that don’t. We just need to know which businesses they are.

    • Policy Parrot 9.1

      Someone should start a (at least FB) group titled “FairPay”, which among other things, lists those who do not have good wage structures. You could add:
      – Abusers of the 90 day law.
      – Those who are considered to avoid tax.
      That way savvy/political consumers could avoid making choices they consider conflict with their views. You only have to see the result of the Progressive boycott in 2006 to see how effective such action can be.

      Am not opposed to the minimum wage being paid per se, there is always a legal minimum, but a huge proportion of workers on it have been making do on it for significant lengths of time, 5, 10 and even 20 years.

      Doesn’t all the experience and expertise gained through experience count for something? Employers are always on the look out for experienced/skilled staff – and since the ECA, there is little way to bargain for a better deal without resorting to confrontation and risking effective dismissal.

    • morninglory 9.2

      Here’s a clue on who to avoid – any retail, hospitality, supermarket or entertainment business. Any Agri/Horticulture business. Yeah, I think that about covers it. Best of luck.

      • Deborah Kean 9.2.1

        Rest homes as well! My daughter in law works at Selwyn Village and despite her many years of experience, gets minimum wage, as did I when I worked briefly at a rest home..

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.2

        Here’s a clue on who to avoid – any retail, hospitality, supermarket or entertainment business.

        Hospitality work in Australia routinely pays A$20/hr or more. Double time on Sundays and stat days is not unusual.

        But since successive Governments have been keen to make NZ the Mexico of the South Pacific, we’re told that we’re not even allowed to dream of being paid well over here.

  10. Oleolebiscuitbarrell 10

    “We have a GDP of $200 billion per year, $50,000 for each man, woman, and child.”

    $15 an hour for a full time employee is $31,000 a year. If we were a bit more ambitious and shot for $24 an hour we could all be equal.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Median wage should rise to $22-$24/hr, you are right. Currently it sits on $19/hr or less. Not good enough. Jobs in the $22+ band need to become the most commonly advertised jobs in the market.

      Plus NZ needs about 100,000 new jobs paying $60K to $70K p.a. That would get a lot of our graduates coming back to these shores instead of using their talent and effort to push Australia ahead.

      Shit, the private sector just sucks at creating decently paying new jobs, time to give the Government free play to intervene and do so. 😈

    • Jim Nald 10.2

      Yup. $15 an hour is still stingy. Live up to higher aspirations. The minimum wage for 2011 should more, much more.

      • oebloggs 10.2.1

        why aspire to earn more?

        Earning more makes people into ‘rich pricks’, then Labour villifies and taxes them. No incentive to earn more there.

        Far better to keep the poor poor so that they are beholding to the benevolence of Nanny State

        • Draco T Bastard 10.2.1.1

          Lets see, dependent upon a democratic state or dependent upon the dictatorial capitalists – which is what we have now. Being dependent upon capitalists just gets the majority of the people shafted so as to enrich the few while a democratic state ensures that everyone has a good living standard.

          I think I’ll go with state dependence.

        • Colonial Viper 10.2.1.2

          You’re an idiot.

          We’re talking about having people earn $35K and $40K p.a. so that they can afford to feed their children and pay the bills.

          And the Nanny State is far preferable to the Corporatist State that you are promoting.

          • morninglory 10.2.1.2.1

            There isn’t a Labour party MP alive that isn’t living the capitalist dream. The richer poor people get, the more Labour taxes them. Ever heard of an ETS? Wages go up, taxes go up, cost of living goes up. Luckily, the man on the street is wise to these rather basic card tricks. No one in their right mind could examine Labour policy and think is was a plan for anything but creating a low tech, subsistence level, population.

            • Colonial Viper 10.2.1.2.1.1

              Well of course you are wrong.

              We live in a capitalist system today, so that’s what we have as a starting point for change.

  11. Wayne91 11

    What about a skinny part Maori man that will probably have to let one (of 2) staff member go to try to keep the business going?

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      His business should be allowed to fail if his business model isn’t good enough to turn a profit without exploiting his workers, this makes room in the market for better business people.

    • morninglory 11.2

      Labour would rather 3 people starved for ideology, than just one for reality. You know what to do, and you’re not alone.

      [lprent: You’re triggering my anti-troll instincts. Next time I see you uttering slogans with no content that are just designed for flames, then you’re off for a ban. Read the policy, and improve your comments to a minimum standard or leave. ]

      • McFlock 11.2.1

        National would rather 9 people struggle for 1 person’s tax cut.

        I love that competition from globalisation means that businesses should work smarter or they don’t deserve to remain in existence, but if a business should work smarter to pay its employees a living wage – well the sky just falls on you fucking head.

  12. Southern 12

    Is not the calculation in the original post somewhat flawed?

    4500 workers x $2/hour x 40 hours/ week x 52 weeks = $18.72million per annum

    • Andrew Scobie 12.1

      Yea, that’s what i get as well.

    • morninglory 12.2

      On planet Commie, answer is what we say it is!

    • Eddie 12.3

      yeah sorry about that. maths isn’t my thing and I didn’t automatically realise the number was too small.

      Nonetheless, even in the most-cost scenario I put forward it would be only 50% of profits in a static case and 4% of turnover.

      In reality, the figures would probably be half that.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Fair go. This has to be one of the most stupid arguments I have seen put forward on “The Standard”.

    By putting forward a single anecdotal example of a firm that can afford the $15 rate, there is the implied argument that because one can afford it, all can. This is about as silly as arguing that because Bill Gates can afford a Ferrari, everyone can.

    Sure some firms can afford $15 per hour. What about the ones that can’t such as the businesses in Christchurch that are struggling to survive at the moment.

    • ianmac 13.1

      So TS. You want to protect the businesses that are performing poorly? What happened to the much lauded Market Forces?

      • Jim Nald 13.1.1

        Can you hear John Key and his free market fundamentalists saying:

        “market forces for me, market farces for you” …

      • tsmithfield 13.1.2

        Duh. If market forces prevailed there wouldn’t be a minimum wage in the first place.

  14. Trowlie 14

    Eddie,

    How did you arrive at the $1,900,000 extra cost to RB pre tax?

    I get:

    40hrs per week x $2 per hour = each worker gets $80 more per week
    $80 x 4,500 workers = Restaurant Brands paying out $360,000 more per week
    $360,000 x 52 weeks = $18,720,000 extra paid out per year!!!

    Not sure what this cost would be after tax.

    Please tell me I’m wrong!!

  15. confused 15

    Do CEO pay rises cause unemployment amongst executives, or is that somehow different?

  16. Lanthanide 16

    Somewhat of a tangent, but all of the KFCs I have ever been to in the last couple of years have had terribly terribly slow service. To the point where, if I’m in the mood for fast food, I usually go to McDonald’s instead because I know I won’t be waiting 15 minutes to place my order and then 3.5 minutes for it to be made.
     
    This changed dramatically a few years ago, when it seemed they cut the number of staff or changed the duties of staff, so now the cash register people take the order (just one), and then spend the next few minutes plucking pieces of chicken out to stick in boxes. Then they laboriously get the fries and shake the “seasoning” directly into each box individually.
     
    Hopefully putting the minimum wage up would encourage KFC to undergo some sort of process change so they can actually be as efficient as McDonalds. Hell, putting some sort of electronic touch-screen ordering system in place so people standing in the (long) queue (that usually goes out the door) can place their order well in advance would help, but frankly I think their human processes behind the counter simply suck.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      Yeah something has gone wrong at a lot of these KFC’s. The BKs are getting dodgy too. Basically I think people are being paid too little to take their jobs seriously – even the supervisors, who are probably on a pathetic $15-$16/hr.

      • joe bloggs 16.1.1

        that’s not a wage level issue- the bigger issue is staffing levels.

        KFC has pared its staffing back to cut costs and simply doesn’t have enough operators to provide effective service levels.

        • Lanthanide 16.1.1.1

          And yet they keep posting bigger and bigger profits.
           
          What do you think is most likely to happen if the minimum wage rises to $15: KFC hire more staff, keep the same number of staff, or reduce staff (even if gradually, through attrition)?

          • joe bloggs 16.1.1.1.1

            reduce staff numbers and put the bite on suppliers to reduce their costs further – according to their CFO

            • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.1.1.1

              Reduce staff numbers lol (who cooks the fries now?) and cut the quality of their chicken even further haha

              All in pursuit of what? Maximising shareholder returns.

              Welcome to capitalism writ large.

  17. PeteG 17

    A reason why it’s not simply a matter of “some businesses can afford it (so all should pay it)”.

    Here is Goff’s mistake on minimum wage: he is thinking in terms of affordability, and not at the margin. If a business is making $1 billion profit a year, it will not choose to hire a worker for $15/hour if that worker will only produce $14 of value for the business. Hiring is done at the margin, and this is true whether the business is making money or losing it.

    Businesses will absorb some costs and will sometimes tolerate some non-productive work but in the end it comes down to each bottom line, not the whole bottom line.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Businesses who have a failing marginal business model are welcome to contract their businesses or go out of business due to this, it will simply leave room in the market for more successful companies and more successful business models.

      This is good for the NZ commercial environment.

  18. wtl 18

    PeteG: As Eddie said earlier:

    so, you’re suggesting that higher wages will encourage restaurant brands to invest in capital and better organisation to get more productivity per worker? And you’re opposed to this?

    • PeteG 18.1

      Do you realise that “invest in capital and better organisation to get more productivity per worker” usually results in less workers being required?

      • Blighty 18.1.2

        are you aware that it was rising labour costs that sparked industralisation of farming practices, which freed up labour for other economic activities leading to the world we now live in? I guess you would have been opposed to that too, you would have wanted to keep farm labour costs down even if it was pointed out that it led to greater productivity and wealth for all.

        I think luddite is the term for you.

        • PeteG 18.1.2.1

          I don’t recall government enforced minimum wages being involved. Do you?

          I’ve never been opposed to wages going up, I’m just questioning the universality, level and timing of the current Labour/Green/Mana policy.

          • McFlock 18.1.2.1.1

            “I don’t recall government enforced minimum wages being involved. Do you?”

            Well, the governmental restriction of slavery and serfdom increased labour costs significantly.

  19. prism 19

    I imagine that I am the only one on this post that doesn’t consider youth rates a no-no. There should be rises with length of service each six months and with age increase. Why should the young untrained person receive the same as an adult from the beginning of work.

    • PeteG 19.1

      You’re not the only one, easing and encouraging youth into work is one the major casualties of the “minimum wage for all” policy. It’s currently a one in four youth unemployed casualty, and bumping up the universal minimum wage at a time like this risks more casualties.

      • Pascal's bookie 19.1.1

        2 candidates for a min wage job.

        First is a 16 yr old who has quit school.
        Second is a 22 yr old who has just been laid off, or just finished uni. Maybe has a kid of their own.

        Why tilt the playing field in favour of the 16 year old?

        • PeteG 19.1.1.1

          Why tilt the field in favour of the 22 year old by having a high universal minimum wage?

          Why not let both of them bargain an appropriate wage based on their ability and experience? Then it wouldn’t be tilted either way.

          • Pascal's bookie 19.1.1.1.1

            So your suggestion is to get rid of the min wage? or reduce it?

            But to answer your question. tilt the field in favour of the older unemployed person because they are mor likely to have commitments, and more likely to have skills.

            the younger person, and remember we are talking about youths here. should be incentivised into training of some form or another.

            Or do you think it makes sense, as a country, to have a policy that incentivises companies to push out older workers onto the dole and hire their children to replace them?

          • Deborah Kean 19.1.1.1.2

            Why not let both of them bargain an appropriate wage based on their ability and experience? Then it wouldn’t be tilted either way.

            You say that as if either of them is in any position to ‘bargain’. Nonsense.

    • Lanthanide 19.2

      prism, there is already a 200 hour requirement before 16 and 17 year olds go onto the adult wage. This was introduced in 2008. Before that, 18 year olds got the adult wage and 16 and 17 year olds didn’t.

  20. Tangled up in blue 20

    I just love seeing fat, rich men who have received massive tax cuts paid for with borrowed money like John Key and Phil O’Reilly saying that a $15 an hour minimum wage is unaffordable

    Unfortunately for Labour it’s these types of people that are getting the most media coverage on the matter.

  21. ianmac 21

    So far I have not seen any evidence produced that by raising it to $15 will cost jobs. You would think that Key would be challenged to prove his argument instead of fiddling around Phil trying to undermine him.

    • Lanthanide 21.1

      The best they have is a labour department paper that guestimates it will slow job growth by between 4000 and 6000 jobs.
       
      I don’t know if “slow job growth” means people lose their job today, of if it just means that over the next 12 months, 4000-6000 people who would have been hired, were not.
       
      I also don’t know if the “giving people on the minimum wage more money to spend will create jobs” is a go-er. Maybe in a household with 2 people on, or near, the minimum wage. But for a solo earner, I think the extra money would be spent largely on food, which would largely be going to the supermarkets, who already create substantial employment and extra money coming in the door will simply bump up their profit margin.

      • Draco T Bastard 21.1.1

        I try to persuade people not to buy from super-markets – most expensive place you can buy food from. Unfortunately, not everyone has a choice because the cheaper places are only open when they’re at work.

        • Lanthanide 21.1.1.1

          For grocery and meat, there are cheaper options – I’ve recently sporadically started going to Funky Pumpkin and have been surprised how much I can save, and I don’t buy a huge amount of vegetables.

          But I don’t know anywhere else that sells packaged goods and personal care items (that make up the majority of the supermarket) cheaper than the supermarkets.

    • Draco T Bastard 21.2

      Nope, everyone will just accept the assertions made from a failed theory.

    • Colonial Viper 21.3

      So far I have not seen any evidence produced that by raising it to $15 will cost jobs.

      its easy to break apart the stupid meme by saying – what number does the minimum wage need to drop to in order to halve youth unemployment?

  22. randal 22

    for simplicitys sake lets say that none do 40 hours a week. they keep them hanging on the end of their cellphones for a call to do some hours so they are kept in a nasty suspense of whether they actually get any work or not let alone the minimum wage.

  23. Tom Gould 23

    Sorry, call it envy if necessary, but there is something not right about a guy who grows richer by $100,000 a week after tax from investments, screwing up his nose at the notion of a fellow Kiwi getting paid the meagre sum of $15 an hour, gross. Must be hard to make those sorts of calls, and then realise you paid a month’s wages for the average schmuck for your shoes?

  24. Andrew Stevenson 24

    Hey, is the maths right?

    To make it easy… 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, $2 extra = $4000 extra per employee. Okay, that sounds right.

    But with about 4000 employees on the minimum wage, that’s $16 million – or over half their profit.

    Where am I going wrong?

    • Lanthanide 24.1

      Yeah, I get the same numbers you do. There are 2080 working hours a year, at 40/week.
       
      For 4000 people the increased wage bill is 4000 x $4160 = $16.64M, or 4500 people is $18.72M.
       
      So how did you get your numbers, Eddie? Are you in fact out by a (rounded) factor of 10? $1.9M instead of $19M?

      I see that #12 and #14 above also came up with the same figures.

    • Tangled up in blue 24.2

      Yeah someone might have to explain that one to me also.

      An extra $80 per-week for 4500 workers is $360000 per week.
      Over 52 weeks this is $18,720,000

      And Restaurant Brands made $25.1 million after tax profit last year?

      • vidiot 24.2.1

        Root cause: NCEA Education ?

        Also, I should point out that RBL does NOT own all of the stores – KFC & Pizza Hut stores can be franchised stores.

      • joe bloggs 24.2.2

        Sorry that calculation doesn’t result in happy numbers for Labour – clearly the maths is wrong.

        To hell with the maths, let’s just make numbers up to support Labour’s policy. That’s how Cunliffe does it. That’s how Goff does it.

        Want to question the made-up numbers?

        Pah! We don’t need the details on that – go ask a Labour researcher

        • Colonial Viper 24.2.2.1

          hey bloggs you betting your life on 4% economic growth and 170,000 new jobs this year?

          English has got it wrong twice in a row now, you reckon its third time lucky bro?

        • McFlock 24.2.2.2

          A decimal error is a whoopsie, but the sum is still less that the current after tax profits.

          • Colonial Viper 24.2.2.2.1

            Hmmmmm not a good whoopsie that one. Being out by an order of magnitude is the stuff which causes major problems. Luckily, relatively few of those employees will be full timers . Unless that number is FTE’s…

            • McFlock 24.2.2.2.1.1

              I tend to look at why whoopsies happened – active attempt to mislead or just a basic cockup.
              The Standard is actually pretty good, as far as I can tell – issues like this are rare. As opposed to say the dang gummint or treasury, who might often be mathematically correct but what they choose to add is frequently questionable.
              I have seen a few things – fortunately caught before finaly publication, because we have pretty robust checking procedures – which in thise case would have not just decreased profits, but would have actually ‘proved’ the reverse of the proposition using best-case data if the error had not been caught.
               

              • wtl

                These errors are far too easy to make. And I like the policy here of authors correcting their posts in a transparent manner, rather than simply making them disappear or covering up errors.

                Is there any checking procedure used here where another author reads posts before they are put up in public? If not, perhaps there should be, on a purely ‘suggestional’ level (i.e. the reviewer simple provides suggestions but the author has the final say). I know it will create more work but it might be worth it to prevent simple mistakes. If the other authors themselves don’t have time, I’m sure there some of those who frequently comment would be happy to help out.

          • Lanthanide 24.2.2.2.2

            Yes, but considerably more than the 5% that Eddie outlined, which completely destroys his argument that it wasn’t much and was easily affordable without significant profit reductions.

            • McFlock 24.2.2.2.2.1

              Well it destroys the simplistic analysis of putting the assumption that all 4.5k employees are minimum wage alongside the assumption that a boost to the minimum wage won’t in turn increase demand for double-downs.

              It does demonstrate that even the worst case scenario won’t drive them broke, though.

  25. Andrew Stevenson 25

    Off topic slightly… (but relates to benefits, wages and budgets)

    I have just got involved with a church-based organisation that helps people (in need) with their finances.

    We do NOT give them any money. None. What we do is work with them to manage what they have, educating them on debt, hire-purchases, budgets and the like.

    I have only just got involved with them so I am only repeating what the others say, but they say that in almost all cases people have enough to live on, they just need (help) to manage it better.

    Interesting.

    • joe bloggs 25.1

      Great approch Andrew. Reduces dependency on welfare hand-outs and teaches people life skills.

      The only problem is that Labour relies on keeping the poor poor, so that we’re beholding to Labour for hand-outs.

      The moment the poor get richer we’re villified as ‘rich pricks’ by Labour and our taxes are doubled.

      • Colonial Viper 25.1.1

        National and ACT rely on keeping the poor poor, to suit their incompetent business mates who don’t know how to make money and have to leverage off cheap labour instead.

        • Blue 25.1.1.1

          Is this any different to the left? If folk become more affluent, why the hell would they vote Labour, they’ve just become “rich pricks”?. A cynical person might think Labour has more interest in keeping people poor (it increases their votes).

          • Campbell Larsen 25.1.1.1.1

            Given that the top 10% have got 90% of the wealth I think there is a long way to go before attempts at fairness and equality have any impact at all.

    • Campbell Larsen 25.2

      Andrew – Having enough to live is just surviving – it isn’t the prosperity that was promised to us all by National as they granted tax cuts to the most privileged and set about cutting jobs and services.

      Where are the jobs?

      Why do CEO’s deserve pay raises if their companies can’t ‘afford’ to give them to workers?

      Where is the focus on education and fair pay for all?

      Disgusting, that is what I think of your attempt to assert that life as one of New Zealanders poor is just fine. Spend some more time with actual people in poverty, or better still you try living on $200 per week then come back and tell me how sweet that is.

      • Andrew Stevenson 25.2.1

        Thanks for replying, Campbell.

        First, may I “out” myself as an active Labour party member? But that doesn’t mean I can’t question and think for myself, yes?

        I am about $5k to $10k per annum better off under National. (Self-employed business owner so hard to judge the exact figure.) The NZ Herald said a year ago that Treasury estimated that the 2010 tax “switch” was very close to tax-neutral.

        So who in society is worse off, and giving me the tax cuts? Frankly, I’d rather have done without the tax cuts and keep those people as they were. But I digress.

        To answer your questions and assertions more directly:

        “Where are the jobs?” I don’t know. The current government has created few (if any).

        “Why do CEO’s deserve pay raises if their companies can’t ‘afford’ to give them to workers?” Prima facie they don’t, though individual cases may vary.

        “Where is the focus on education and fair pay for all?” I can’t see much evidence of it.

        Let me correct a couple of your assertions: I did not say that “life as one of New Zealanders poor is just fine.” I said that others (with more experience than me) said they had “enough to live on.” I do not think this is the same thing.

        “Spend some more time with actual people in poverty…” Yes, I am beginning to do that with the counselling programme I mentioned. I look forward to it.

        “… or better still you try living on $200 per week then come back and tell me how sweet that is.” I did not say it was “sweet”. From the little experience I have, I would concur that it is not a “sweet” life. Again, I did not say it was “sweet”.

        Would you do me the kind favour of responding to what I write and mean, not what you think I wrote and meant? Would that be fair?

        • Campbell Larsen 25.2.1.1

          Fair means a lot of things – depending on who you ask – I responded to you as I did because despite that fact you claim to be a Labour supporter your rhetoric sounded-oh-so-familiar – more of the same ‘poor choices’ bullshit fed to the press by the Nats spin weasels.

          If you are genuinly into helping poor people then I suggest you don’t repeat attack lines like ” in almost all cases people have enough to live on, they just need (help) to manage it better” such sentiments are used by enemies of the poor.

          Since people cant prosper on promises, or the minimum wage how about we use our time as ‘Labour supporters’ (I vote Green) to actually support the left. After all we can always criticise after the election.

          • Andrew Stevenson 25.2.1.1.1

            Thank you for your kind response.

            I have little experience either being poor or working with the poor. Recently I have become acquainted with some people who have given up their (financially successful) businesses or jobs to undertake voluntary work with the poor. Their observations carry some credibility with me, although I will make my own mind up once I have spent some time working with those in financial difficulties.

            (Note that NO-ONE I am referring to – myself included – suggests reducing any WINZ payment.)

            Many people make bad choices in life. For the poor, their bad choices are often more damaging and obvious. (If I lose $100 on the ABs again come World Cup time – *sigh* – then no big deal. For a poor person it would be an event of substantial magnitude.)

            Let me be clear about what I am saying. Many of the poor are poor through no fault of their own. Some of the poor have made bad choices in life. (As indeed I have – it’s just not as apparent.) I think helping the poor to make better choices would benefit both themselves and society as a whole. I am prepared to volunteer for this task, both in terms of time and taxes.

            Also, by “manage” we can mean different things. For example, providing a loan to someone at 5% interest to buy themselves out of a 100% interest loan-shark arrangement. This loan arrangement isn’t a gift (clearly) but helps the person concerned significantly.

            As an aside: I would gladly take a tax hit to reduce taxes for all. (I fully support Mr Goff’s “first $5k income tax free” idea, and was at the launch in New Lynn, Auckland.)

            Anyway… I think I’ve expressed myself badly and as a result you’ve misconstrued what I’m saying. I apologise for that, and I hope you will allow me the benefit of the doubt. I look forward to further postings from you.

  26. Andrew Stevenson 26

    Thanks, Joe. If that is your real name. *wink*

    Yes, I think it is an excellent programme and I look forward to being part of it.

    I am quite comfortable with the Pauline adminition that if you don’t work then you don’t eat. (In his second letter to the church at Thessalonica, I think.)

    I guess we just need to define what work is.

    • joe bloggs 26.1

      I’ll see your 2 Thessalonians 3:10
      For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

      And raise you a Proverbs 13:4
      The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

      Just as an aside to your aside, the whole principle of capitalism revolves around the theme that the only way one person can profit is by doing something that benefits someone else. In other words the generation of profit relies on willing buyers as well as willing sellers. Yet around here it’s the willing sellers who get slugged every time.

      Meantime the Labourites would hand out ever more to the sluggards so they can be more willing buyers.

      • Colonial Viper 26.1.1

        the whole principle of capitalism revolves around the theme that the only way one person can profit is by doing something that benefits someone else. In other words the generation of profit relies on willing buyers as well as willing sellers.

        This is a complete misrepresentation of capitalism. Basically you are full of shit, or you have no idea what capitalism is in the least.

        Capitalism is not based on markets of buyers and sellers trading with each another.

        It is based on those with sums of money (capital) using it to collect more and more money for themselves.

        The capitalist does not need to be anywhere near the market, does not need to be the one doing any buying or selling, never needs to see the goods or touch them, nor needs to do any producing.

        In fact the capitalist can be on the other side of the world sipping martinis while his money grows and grows, even as those who do the actual buying and selling stay poor, barely able to feed themselves.

        the whole principle of capitalism revolves around the theme that the only way one person can profit is by doing something that benefits someone else.

        Horseshit. Capitalism is not about doing something out of love, affection or liking. It is doing it for profit.

        You can profit by ripping off other people, just as the banks are doing in the US through the home foreclosure scandal. Profit in a big way.

        • Andrew Stevenson 26.1.1.1

          *Completely* off topic. If you enjoy BSG, may I suggest you buy the boardgame. It’s fantastic and has given myself and friends many hours of enjoyment.

      • Andrew Stevenson 26.1.2

        Joe, I am truly delighted you know your Pauline epistles!

        Do me the honour of allowing a long-winded argument against the rest of your post.

        I call myself a Socialist-Capitalist. I think both can exist together, and I think NZ and much of the West is pretty close to it already.

        Capitalism is great. It is a good thing. Unrestricted capitalism, rampant capitalism is a bad thing. Humans are quite good at being greedy and the love of money can destroy the best of intentions.

        (Paul’s first pastoral letter to Timothy has an often misquoted line in it that is relevant – “… the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”)

        Socialism is a good thing. Caring for each other is a good thing. But taken to extremes (National Socialism being a poor example) it is a bad thing. (My definition of socialism is MJ Savage’s one of “applied Christianity”. I would find it more difficult to argue in favour of socialism with an atheist.)

        As a “Labourite” [ahem] I do not wish to hand out money to sluggards. I wish that the welfare system was actually stronger than it is today. Not bigger, but stronger. (I believe by making it stronger you would actually make it smaller.)

        * Lost your job in the recession? We’ll help you out, and help you to re-train if you need it.
        * Too sick (right now) to work? We’ll help you out, and help you to get better.
        * Too old to work? We’ll help you out.
        * Caring for young children because your man ran off from his responsibilities? We’ll help you. (And find him and shake him by his ankles until he stops jingling.)
        * Able-bodied, been on the dole for five years? Not so much.

        So, no, for this “Labourite” I am not interested in the slightest in handing “ever more to the sluggards”.

        I look forward to further postings from you.

        • joe bloggs 26.1.2.1

          oh pish taw CV – I’ve never heard of such nonsense as banks who force unwilling customers to borrow more. The home owners who leverage themselves and overextend themselves are willing participants in the contracts they sign with the banks. They’re the willing buyers of big screen TVs, new cars, and all of the other trappings.

          The rich put money to work for themselves. They master their use of money. The poor become servants to money by borrowing when they want to spend more than they actually have.

          ———

          Andrew, thank you, but you’re too kind. I’m a weak and flawed vessel… but I do like the Pauline letters.

          Incidentally I also like and appreciate what Paul went on to say to Timothy:

          “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”

          In other words it’s not the money per se, but the attitude that counts. I like your attitude.

          • Colonial Viper 26.1.2.1.1

            I’ve never heard of such nonsense as banks who force unwilling customers to borrow more

            Maybe you’re memory is failing: banks lent hundreds of billions of dollars to people who never had a chance of paying it back.

            Ordinary people aren’t finance professionals. The banks are. And they took advantage of that, instead of advising customers in their own best interests they advised customers to move into fragile untenable positions.

            The banks offered enticements to people to get further and further and further into debt because that was the way the banks could make bigger and bigger profits.

            And then the banks fucked up playing their capitalist game, sent the world into recession and cost all of us big time.

            Typical for you to blame the innocent non experts for the games the money sharks play.

            • PeteG 26.1.2.1.1.1

              And then the banks fucked up playing their capitalist game, sent the world into recession and cost all of us big time.

              It didn’t cost me big time. In fact since the recession began I’m much better off due to interest rates on my mortgage dropping by 30%. I still pay off my credit card on time so still don’t pay any interest on that.

              Maybe I’m the only one in the world that it didn’t cost big time.

              • Colonial Viper

                Who gives a shit about how you fared in the GFC?

                Underemployment in the US is almost 20%, thousands of Irish families are homeless, and NZ has a youth unemployment rate of over one quarter. Over one third if you are Maori or Pasifika.

                You’re just a self centred prick.

                Oh by the way your KiwiSaver benefits got cut and you’re about to lose your ownership share in Genesis.

                • PeteG

                  I just presumed I might have been included in “all of us” and that you were talking shit again. I was right.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Like I said, who gives a shit about how well your personal circumstances fared in the context of the GFC.

                    I heard Rupert Murdoch did OK as well, so the frak what.

                    NZ spent $2B bailing out finance companies but obviously such a massive loss to the country doesn’t count in your books.

                  • McFlock

                    CV used “us”, the objective case of “we”.
                    You are a self-absorbed arrogant idiot, apparently with an above average income. I’m sure CV does not regard themself as a self-absorbed, arrogant idiot. Therefore it is reasonable to infer that you were not included in the collective pronoun “us”.
                     
                    Your assumption that you were included in said collective pronoun merely adds evidence to the proposition that you are a self-absorbed, arrogant idiot.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Maybe I’m the only one in the world that it didn’t cost big time.

                And maybe you’re just delusional.

                SCF = $1.7b dollar bailout by the government – that cost you some money.
                All the other finance companies that collapsed – they cost you some money as well as those who lost money in them and have the ability will be raking it back in some other ponzi scheme.
                All those trillions that the US government paid out to the big banks there? Yep, that’s costing you to.
                All those people on the UB that were put there by the GFC? Yep, they’re costing you to.

                Lots of costs on everybody due to the banks greed and you don’t think any of it’s falling on you. Gotta be delusional.

    • Deborah Kean 26.2

      I am quite comfortable with the Pauline adminition that if you don’t work then you don’t eat. (In his second letter to the church at Thessalonica, I think.)

      From what you’ve said, you can afford to be ‘comfortable’ with it, it will never apply to you or your family! (Are you related to Helen and the other Stevensons at Eden Chapel?) AFAIK, Paul actually says “if you won’t work” not “don’t” – he’s talking about people who have work available, and are physically and mentally capable of doing it. In other words, the situation he’s talking about bears no resemblance at all, to your situatuion now. The American Right Wing love to take that verse out of context, as you have done – kindly bear in mind that 1st century Thessalonika was not an industrial capitalist society!
      You’re talking complete nonsense, when you say the poor have plenty of money, they just need Lord and Lady Bountiful managing it for them. Through bitter experience, most of the ‘poor’ you deride are much better managers than you will ever be. It’s lovely that you’re $5 to $10K better off under Shonkey, but that does not make you a better person, just a luckier one. But what if you stuck your neck out a tad too far, got a bit carried away and your business fell over? You lost your credit card, Daddy refused to bail you out, and you ended up on UB? You’d be in deep strife. Then maybe one of the lower classes you patronise could give you some advice.
      Meantime, thanks for reminding me why, although I am a Christian, I stay away from church these days, especially Brethren chapels!

      • Andrew Stevenson 26.2.1

        Thanks for your passionate reply, Deborah.

        No, I am not related to the people you mention, as far as I know.

        Yes, I concur with your interpretation of Paul’s words. “Will not” is better than my “don’t”.

        I have never said the poor have plenty of money. I said that people working with some (helping them budget) found they could manage their budgets better and have “enough to live on”. This is not the same as “plenty of money.” I concur with you that it is not plenty of money.

        “Through bitter experience, most of the ‘poor’ you deride are much better managers than you will ever be.” Really? I’m a poor money manager and I’m deriding the poor?

        “It’s lovely that you’re $5K to $10K better off under Shonkey, but that does not make you a better person, just a luckier one.” I agree. Why do you think I think I’m a better person? I am not at all and I don’t pretend otherwise.

        “Meantime, thanks for reminding me why, although I am a Christian, I stay away from church these days, especially Brethren chapels!” Ouch.

  27. Wayne91 27

    Andrew – Totally agree re improving peoples financial literacy. My Mum got into all sorts of financial trouble not understanding how credit card debt and compounding interest works.

    I had to rescue her and now that she has a better understanding she lives quite comfortably on her pension and with a lot less stress.

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      Limit credit cards to 10% p.a. interest and monthly compounding interest.

      • Lanthanide 27.1.1

        I’d be more in favour of regulating advertising so that companies can’t imply that everyone has HRV systems, playstations, 42″ flatscreen TVs in their house and if you don’t you must be a loser.
         
        That’s more difficult, though.

      • Draco T Bastard 27.1.2

        That still won’t work if the people don’t understand compounding interest and how to budget.

      • RobC 27.1.3

        At the beginning of the year, I cut mine up. Best decision of 2011.

    • Andrew Stevenson 27.2

      As I said, I am only just getting involved, but the stories I have heard are amazing. People weeping with relief and joy after their first meeting, realising that they can get out of debt and have more (disposable) money.

      Sure it takes work. Sure it takes diligence. But a lot of people don’t even realise they have a choice, let alone that they are making bad ones.

  28. Tom Gould 28

    Clearly not all of the 4,000 minimum wage workers are full timers. Let’s assume there are, on average, 2,000 full time equivalent workers on the minimum wage, so the wage bill would go up by about the same as the bonuses paid to the board and top brass. Fair enough. Besides, it is about turnover anyway, and to cover the higher wages, they would maybe have to put a ‘super value family meal bucket’ up by 20 cents. Again, fair enough.

  29. Rhema 29

    There is clear evidence from the OECD that raising the minimum wage increases productivity (http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/2/56/40776638.pdf). Moreover, the same OECD report notes that the effect on employment is less clear. Whilst at the micro-level one would say that higher wages lead to lower quantity being traded – this is not necessarily the larger macro effects. Since many low wage workers work for foreign owned companies, increasing wages decreases profits sent abroad, and increases incomes earned by New Zealanders. This increases aggregate demand (these higher paid workers spend more) – and might therefore be expansionary.

    New Zealand’s problem is that it’s labour-capital ratio is far too high (See http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2003/03-06/twp03-06.pdf). The reason is that in a low wage economy, businesses reach for labour rather than capital as the best way to produce output. This traps New Zealand into a low wage economy. We will never get out of the low productivity trap unless we start making unskilled labour expensive and scarce.

    • wtl 29.1

      Well said. This is the point I raised above. Raising the minimum wage will ensure that higher productivity will result as a function of market forces (i.e. as a minimum, jobs will need to produce $15/hr value instead of $13/hr) . This is an excellent way to push NZ towards becoming a high(er) wage economy. But for some reason none of the right wingers here will acknowledge this and instead just act like it is the end of the world. None of them have even suggested alternative ways of achieving the same thing.

  30. Wayne91 30

    Campbell Larson

    If you are genuinly into helping poor people then I suggest you don’t repeat attack lines like ” in almost all cases people have enough to live on, they just need (help) to manage it better” such sentiments are used by enemies of the poor.

    Attack lines?? – How is trying to help someone who does not understand how debt can be so crippling be an attack on the poor?

    It would appear to me that Andrew is very inerested in helping the poor and not just rhetoric

    • Andrew Stevenson 30.1

      You’re too kind.

    • The Voice of Reason 30.2

      It’s not about helping individuals, which is laudable, it is about repeating the lie that the poor just need to budget better. Budgeting advice may well be useful for the individuals that Andrew will be helping, but it is not true of the vast majority of the poor, working or not, who learn to budget because they bloody well have to. Helping is great, maligning people is not.
      Campbell wasn’t dissing the work Andrew claims to be doing, but pointing out that the bourgeoisie love condescending to the proles by saying crap like ‘if they didn’t waste it all on booze, fags and the pokies, they’d be fine.’

      • Andrew Stevenson 30.2.1

        I am a “rich prick” and a bourgeosie (as far as I understand the term). I admit it.

        So…?

        Do the poor need to budget better? Yes, some do. The wealthy do as well, it’s just not as obvious.

        Yes, some people need help to do that. I think the poor would benefit from this advice most, as it would make the most difference. (In terms of relative disposable income.)

        I think the government should provide assistance for this education. They currently provide little. (If any?)

        National requires people asking for their third hardship grant to undertake a budgeting course. I am comfortable with that. What I am not comfortable with is National saying “and we’ll provide no extra funding to WINZ or third-parties for that”.

        Do most of the poor already know how to budget “because they have to”? I don’t know. I have seen no evidence either way. There is a group of the poor who would benefit from budgeting advice. I am interested in helping them.

        “If they didn’t waste it all on booze, fags and the pokies, they’d be fine.” Mmmm… not what I said, nor can I find any comment on here that says that, but I understand where you’re coming from.

        Let me share an analogy. Let’s pretend you loaned your neighbour $10k as their crop had failed. You find out they’ve been spending money on the horses. How would you feel? I would feel aggrieved and be less likely to lend them money in the future. Isn’t that relevant?

        • Draco T Bastard 30.2.1.1

          I think the government should provide assistance for this education.

          How to budget should be a class in primary school. I figure there are just too many people going into the world without a clue about budgeting simply because their parents didn’t tell them about it – possibly because the parents themselves don’t know anything about it.

          • Andrew Stevenson 30.2.1.1.1

            Agreed. Although I would repeat it in every year people have at school. We don’t assume one year of maths will be sufficient, so why financial literacy? I’m a maths graduate, maths lover and ex-maths teacher and yet I know which I’d choose. (If forced to make a choice.)

        • RobC 30.2.1.2

          Andrew, from what I have seen from your posts today, don’t get bogged down by posts in a blog.

          if you are doing what you are saying you are doing, you are better than 99% of the population in helping make the world a better place. Just go for it.

          • Andrew Stevenson 30.2.1.2.1

            Thank you for your advice. It is much appreciated. That said, I like to respond to everyone who does me the honour and takes the time to write to me. *smile*

        • Deborah Kean 30.2.1.3

          Isn’t that relevant?

          No, it’s not at all relevant! Please, don’t be such a patronising git. If I, as one of the poor, was sent to you for budgeting advice, you’d get quite an earful from me. I am reminded of that evil woman Muriel Newman writing her book directed at beneficiaries about how they could ‘live on the smell of an oily rag’. Her advice included such gems as getting shoes for your children by cutting jandals out of car tyres (yeah, the school will accept that instead of uniform – not!) and having Christmas in January so you can buy your kids’ presents in the sales.

          • Andrew Stevenson 30.2.1.3.1

            Deborah Kean. Thanks again for your response.

            My analogy was this: you lend money to your neighbour for them to survive and they spend (lose)it on the horses. I see that as being relevant to further loans. (You know I’m talking about gambling, right?)

            I think there is a difference between that, and spending it on food for their family. I’m surprised you see it as being the same thing.

            I am not espousing Ms Newman’s views nor do I agree with her on most issues (as far as I know).

            Please don’t put words in my mouth.

            I am sorry I have made you so angry. I hope you will be able to regain your peace.

  31. Chris 31

    I am still unsure why the left are anti rich people. Surely we should reward success and hard work. Practising the politics of envy never works.

    • McFlock 31.1

      Meh. Not “anti rich” so much as “anti rewarding utter bastards, and anti people wasting money on SUVs while others eat from rubbish bins”.

      The trouble is that too many rich people got that way by doing stuff that either is currently illegal, or should be. Insider trading springs to mind, as well as recommending privatisation and then becoming CEOs of the former govt department, or using stolen information.

      If wealth was indicative of success and hard work, i’d be a tory. but it isn’t. All too often the manager works less hard than the employee, and the owner is “risking” money they inherited in the first place. And that’s when everyone’s behaving themselves. I’ve got a lot more respect for small business managers – and lots of them are bitter selfish bastards – than I do for most rich people once I hear how they “earned” their wealth.

    • Draco T Bastard 31.2

      Because we can’t afford them.

    • RobC 31.3

      Chris, the fundamental problem is over a long period of time, capital has been rewarded at a far greater rate, and at the expense of, labour.

      It’s not politics of envy. It’s politics of a more even distribution of labour and capital contributing to wealth.

      • KJT 31.3.1

        83% increase in Labour productivity since 1980. 15% real increase in wages. Most of which was to the higher paid who also got extra tax cuts in the same period. Managers and Directors have rewarded themselves with huge increases while many skilled trades have had 40% cuts since 1980. Lower paid workers have had even bigger cuts.
        Management wages up 14% last year. Everyone else. 0 to 2% against 10% or more inflation in basic living costs.

    • Eddie 31.4

      I’m not anti-wealth, I’m anti-poverty.

      I can never understand why the right thinks 20% of the population living in poverty is acceptable.

    • Colonial Viper 31.5

      Surely we should reward success and hard work.

      How does paying people less than it costs to live and get to work and back “reward success and hard work”?

      Why is the hard work day of the Westpac CEO worth 200x the hard day of someone cleaning hospital bed pans?

      Well clearly it’s not, and rewarding people for money making work while devaluing work looking after and caring for others is something which needs to change.

  32. North 32

    Help please…….somehow when I got a new laptop couple of years ago I ended up with Yahoo dot something as my home page. I gotta change that but don’t know how. Granny Herald will do.

    Why ? “Poll” on Yahoo today: “Do you support Goff’s proposed minimum wage rise to $15 ?”

    58% say – “No”

    My God ! Then the snotty, classist little bastards sniff and sneer at the “underclass” the endless expansion of which they piously endorse.

    Get me off Yapoo !

    • Carol 32.1

      On Firefox, you click on “Tools”, then “Options”, then “general”. It will probably something similar on IE.

  33. RobC 33

    Now that Eddie has done the mea culpa, even on his assumption that every employee is on the minimun wage the $2 increase is equivalent to a 5.8% reduction on gross sales.

    Personally, if employees received a 15% increase in wages in exchange for a 5% increase in the cost of a “double down”, I don’t see the problem.

    • PeteG 33.1

      I don’t see a problem either and wouldn’t really care, it could double in price in fast food franchises and not affect me. But the flow on effects and the effects on other sectors and especially small businesses would affect everyone. I could afford to cover a bit of inflation, it would be harder on poorer people who would bear the brunt of a tightening job market and increased costs.

      It’s possible that one change like the minimum wage could work miracles and no one is poor any more but I think it will take a lot more than that to improve the real value of our labour force and the lot of society’s strugglers. As previously suggested compulsory budget, finances and banking courses at school would be a help for most people.

      • Colonial Viper 33.1.1

        Ordinary working people would have a significant boost to their pay packets. With extra spending money going to shops and service providers instead of just to a few major shareholders, everyone is better off.

        PeteG keep running your false lines for your money masters.

  34. Andrew Stevenson 34

    Joe, thank you for replying. And thank you for your compliments, though I do not deserve them.

    Excellent quote, by the way. I’m studying that letter at the moment. Fascinating.

    Here’s the real question: how do we determine the difference between Sione, who lost his job and needs help with the mortgage until he finds a new one, and Janice who is a “sluggard” and disinterested in work?

    I am inclined to help Sione substantially and not Janice. At all.

    • Colonial Viper 34.1

      I am inclined to help Sione substantially and not Janice. At all.

      Would you be inclined to help Janice’s kids?

      What if Janice has undiagnosed clinical depression (like hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders) – would you want to help her then?

      What if Janice has the talent to be an extremely gifted artist or musician, but has simply not had exposure to those fields yet? Would you help her then?

      How are you going to create a test to differentiate between the ‘worthy poor’ who ‘deserve’ help, and the ‘unworthy poor’ who deserve nothing, except to starve on the street?

      • PeteG 34.1.1

        What if Janice has the talent to be an extremely gifted artist or musician, but has simply not had exposure to those fields yet? Would you help her then?

        What if I was an extremely gifted politician but have simply not had exposure to that field yet? Will you help me get elected?

        I realise most politicians turn out to be far less gifted than the voters hoped but mine could be an extra special as yet unknown talent. Don’t I deserve a chance to realise my full potential?

        In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m taking the piss, talent is earned by a lot of application and hard work in the field someone turns out to be “gifted” in. It’s not something the government doles out to hordes waiting to be discovered.

        • RobC 34.1.1.1

          Fuck. Your first two paragraphs nearly had me hopping on the first plane to Dunedin.

        • McFlock 34.1.1.2

          No, but some of that hard work is in education and later business incubation.
           
          The government can help with those, idiot.
           
           

          • wtl 34.1.1.2.1

            But then some of PeteG’s taxes would be going to help someone in need. Can’t have that. She should starve to death.

            • Colonial Viper 34.1.1.2.1.1

              PeteG’s attitude explains why 700,000 NZ born Kiwis have left this country for Australia.

              We don’t give a shit about them and pay them badly and they figured it out.

              Why should they tolerate those circumstances when they can go to another country which also doesn’t give a shit about them – but which actually pays OK.

              700,000 Kiwis living in Australia is the same number as one in six NZ’ers left here today. It’s a national disaster.

              Imagine every sixth house on your street packed up and gone. Well, it’s already happened.

      • Andrew Stevenson 34.1.2

        Thanks for your challenging questions.

        “Would you be inclined to help Janice’s kids?” Yes. All children should be helped.

        “What if Janice has undiagnosed clinical depression… would you want to help her then?’ Yes – this is related to the sentence on illness in another post. I do not see depression (that I have had) as significantly different from a broken bone (that I have not had.) You need professional help and maybe medication and eventually (probably?) you will get better.

        “What if Janice has the talent to be an extremely gifted artist or musician, but has simply not had exposure to those fields yet? Would you help her then?” Unsure. Does she exhibit any evidence of skill?

        “How are you going to create a test to differentiate between the ‘worthy poor’ who ‘deserve’ help, and the ‘unworthy poor’ who deserve nothing, except to starve on the street?” Fantastic question and one that it is hard to answer. A first attempt might be “are they willing to work?”

        • Colonial Viper 34.1.2.1

          A first attempt might be “are they willing to work?”

          And yet another question might be – is there suitable, decently paying work available?

          There are lots of immigrants in NZ who are highly qualified professionals but have a hard time finding employment in their field – what work would we offer them?

          • Andrew Stevenson 34.1.2.1.1

            You trump me, sir, and I concede the hand!

            For my next lead… I am very comfortable placing a time limit on the unemployment benefit, as long as it is suspended for periods of high(er) unemployment, education, (mental) illness or extentuating circumstances.

            (We must, of course, remember that superannuation is over half the social welfare budget. It is to Mr Key’s shame that he offered to resign rather than examine its affordability.)

            • RobC 34.1.2.1.1.1

              We must also remember the percentage of superannuitants is forecast to grow, not lessen. The elephant in the room will get larger, not smaller.

              • Andrew Stevenson

                Yes, RobC – 25% by 2060. Currently 13%. So it changes from about 5ish workers to 1, to 2ish workers to 1. That seems unsustainable.

                Mr Key’s response is that it is best to grow the economy, but my thinking is that as superannuation is legally tied to the average wage, I am not sure how this will help these proportions

                Can someone explain it to me?

                • RobC

                  No-one can explain that to you Andrew. That is why it is an elephant in the room. What I can explain to you is if the current migration levels continue the ratio will be a lot worse than currently predicted.

                  • Andrew Stevenson

                    Rob C: I can’t comment on the effect of migration (I’m only going on NZ Stats population estimates), but that is certainly something to be aware of.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Increasing levels of obesity will also worsen the issue. Many of those who remain of working age will be too fat, too unfit, and too sick to do much of the actual physical work which will be required.

            • Colonial Viper 34.1.2.1.1.2

              I am very comfortable placing a time limit on the unemployment benefit, as long as it is suspended for periods of high(er) unemployment, education, (mental) illness or extentuating circumstances.

              This replicates the US system of unemployment insurance.

              And when the time runs out, say after 6 or 12 months (whatever you are more “comfortable” with), what then?

              State soup kitchens and bunk accommodation? Their kids get taken into state care as their unemployed parents will have no means to feed them?

              I actually am not comfortable with any of that.

              Seriously, we are a rich enough nation that we can carry 1% long term unemployed if we as a society choose to not have them out on the streets.

              • wtl

                Indeed. Paying for those who refuse to help themselves is not ideal. But it is worse for us as a society to put them to the scrapheap.

                • Colonial Viper

                  And more work options would be a good start.

                  Not everyone is fitted to standing behind a counter, flipping burgers or digging up dirt. Interesting, paid, caring work, artistic work, emotional work, community work, would get a lot of people back to being productive members of society.

                  However in today’s capitalist society, the only jobs that are considered economically important and worth paying decent money for are those which create capital growth.

                  Even the heart surgeon gets paid only 1/10th or 1/20th of what the banker gets paid. it’s ludicrous.

            • R 34.1.2.1.1.3

              @ Andrew Stevenson

              You seem earnest and well-meaning, in several fora that I’ve seen, an honest, open kind of person who genuinely wants to make a difference. Ka pai, awesomesauce.

              Is it a church affiliation that leads to your assumption that a worthy debating opponent must be male? No? Haven’t thought about it? Just a turn of phrase? Perhaps those who trump you at cards are exclusively male… Probably white, too. [To-all outward-appearances] Straight, rich, maybe?

              Disclaimer – I don’t know anything about you except what I’ve seen online. I’m just trying to help you there.

              If you’re looking to expand your base, you might be barking up the wrong tree. Just saying…

              • Andrew Stevenson

                R: Thanks. I didn’t realise a reputation preceded me.

                I assumed Colonial Viper was a male due to the mentions of BSG. I have found that generally people who are most interested in science fiction are males. From the half dozen “sci-fi” non-de-plumes I have seen, they have been exlusively male.

                (Also note that in the remake of BSG, “sir” is used to both genders when referring to officers.)

                If I have made a mistake, I apologise.

                “If you’re looking to expand your base, you might be barking up the wrong tree.” I am not entirely sure what you mean. Proselytising? No.

                I received an email from an elected representative expounding the maths that started this article. It contained a link to this site. I ran my eyes over the maths and decided to sign-up and post. (Later I realised several others had beaten me to it.)

                • Carol

                  I have found that generally people who are most interested in science fiction are males

                  LMAO… as the saying goes. I’m a major BSG fan and know many female scifi fans.

                  • Andrew Stevenson

                    Carol: I still think it’s a fair generalisation (based on visits to Armageddon) but if I am wrong in this specific instance then I apologise. I did not mean to offend anyone.

                  • Andrew Stevenson

                    Carol: I apologise again and stand corrected. Thank you for helping me learn.

                    (I couldn’t seem to click “reply” to your latest post. Not sure why.)

                    • R

                      Hi Andrew

                      What Carol and Deborah said 🙂 As a female SF fan and gamer to boot I can tell you that you’re not alone in making that gender assumption, and thanks to Carol and Deborah we can see I’m not alone in my attempts to combat the typical prejudices we encounter (and in my post I freely and deliberately outlined my own prejudice toward you).

                      When I called you on the ‘sir’ thing I was genuinely trying to help, not insult you.

                      I might be wrong but the impression I get of Armageddon is that it’s about pop culture, like movies and games and comics etc., not sci fi per se. I wouldn’t have thought the Armageddon-attending demographic reflects the sci fi fan demographic at all. My Dad would hate Armageddon.

                      Peace all (and apologies for the OT nature of the post)

                      R

                • Deborah Kean

                  I have found that generally people who are most interested in science fiction are males. From the half dozen “sci-fi” non-de-plumes I have seen, they have been exlusively male.
                  (Also note that in the remake of BSG, “sir” is used to both genders when referring to officers.)

                  Yet another fail! Wow, do you have anything at all to say that’s not offensive? I am a science fiction fan, have been all my life, and whereas the upper crust who dabble might all be male, in actual fandom, that’s not the case.
                  The reason why on BSG all officers are called ‘Sir’ is that Ronald D Moore, writer and producer, has issues (whether it’s because he is ormon or not, I don’t know). Serious issues. He imposed the same rule on Star Trek Voyager when he wrote for that, or did you not even notice? Americans don’t generally go a bomb on having women in command, especially over men, hence the ‘let’s make them honorary men’. (I learned that from an American sf fan who is, surprise for you, a woman).

                  • Andrew Stevenson

                    Deborah Kean. I have apologised for this a couple of times to the people concerned. I am a flawed human being and I hope to learn from my mistakes and improve. You can either accept the apology or not.

            • Deborah Kean 34.1.2.1.1.4

              I am very comfortable placing a time limit on the unemployment benefit, as long as it is suspended for periods of high(er) unemployment, education, (mental) illness or extentuating circumstances.

              Sorry, you’re an idiot. I am getting nauseated by the number of things you’re ‘comfortable’ with! With NACT busy denying that we even have high unemployment, and banging on (as you seem to do) about ‘liestyle choices’ (though I know you haven’t used the phrase, you do think it) who gets to judge the ‘extenuating circumstances’? You and people like you?
              First up against the wall, mate, the patrnising Lord Bountifuls who claim to be socialists… 🙁

              • Andrew Stevenson

                I am sorry you find me to be an idiot. I am saddened that you are resorting to personal insults to get your point across.

                • Deborah Kean

                  If you mean me, and I assume you do, sorry, it’s just that you are making me very angry! I am reminded of why I left the Brethren… Very unrealistic people who make assumptions all over the place! I attended Eden Chapel as a solo mother for 15 years, and by them, should have been wearing a scarlet letter, although none of them bothered toenquire as to  how I got that way!

                  • Andrew Stevenson

                    Deborah Kean. I am not attacking solo mothers, and I have never been part of the Brethren Church. I fully support government assistance for solo mothers (as I have said in another part of this blog.)

                    You seem to be making a sustained attack on me and my writings. Would it be best if I went elsewhere?

                    • Deborah Kean

                      . Would it be best if I went elsewhere?

                      Oh no, absolutely not! I am sorry for being so intemperate, and I am sorry it looks as if I am picking on you! It’s just that I was not on line last night, and have only just now seen your posts, so it seems as if I am having a go at you…
                      I apologise to you, because my behaviour has been completely awful. You deserve much better, and I am sorry… 🙂
                      Vicky

  35. RobC 35

    Sorry CV, the evidence I see is we were a rich enough nation and we’re sliding into serfdom to higher powers.

    • Colonial Viper 35.1

      By “higher powers” I guess you are not talking about heavenly angels…

      👿

  36. Andrew Stevenson 36

    Good answer. It is SO nice to debate with someone like you.

    I am not sure it replicates the US system of unemployment insurance. For example, I think NY state law requires you to pay it back…? I am not suggesting that.

    Let’s say 12 months as a starting point. I am saying that an able-bodied person who is unemployed for a year should undertake some work for the state. Maybe a day a week.

    In Androplis [ahem] the state will provide a back-up for work. So, let’s say we might ask you to turn up on a beach or mountain one day a week and help clean up trash. Or visit a rest home two afternoons a week. (I know of one where 90% of residents – I kid you not – get NO visitors.)

    You have a range of options, and we ask you to do one day a week.

    I am NOT suggesting a unilateral cut-off of benefits if you have been unemployed for a year. I am suggesting a community-based work-force of one day a week. And if you fail to attend three times in six months for a legitimate reason, then the state will not support you.

    (I am not talking about superannuation, war pensions, sickness or invalid beneficiaries or war widows.)

    Why should we steal money from people who choose to work to give to thieves? *provocative*

    I’d prefer a higher level of support was available for those who deserved it. As a society we just need to decide who deserves it.

    • Colonial Viper 36.1

      A-ha…now that you’re talking about direct employment by the state, I know that you are serious.

      There is so much work left undone, so many people left uncared for in our society. And, we have a large number of unemployed people who would be interested in that kind of paid work. It might be full time or it might be a day a week.

      But in our current capitalist system – we have capital, we have labour, we have the need, but the capitalist system cannot seem to get those elements together so that we can help build people up and build communities up.

      I’d prefer a higher level of support was available for those who deserved it. As a society we just need to decide who deserves it.

      This harks back to the poor house system of the 19th century. Not sure why that would be necessary when we have an economy in which the top 8%-9% of people are so freakin rich that they have more wealth than everyone else put together.

      Going back there is not really forward progress IMO.

      Society can decide for instance that no worker should earn more than 20x another worker. And any economic surplus above and beyond that can be put back into the common good of the community.

      • Andrew Stevenson 36.1.1

        Just some great ideas… but a warm bed beckons.

        More tomorrow. ‘Night.

      • wtl 36.1.2

        I’d prefer a higher level of support was available for those who deserved it. As a society we just need to decide who deserves it.

        The latter point would be alleviated through direct employment by the state. That is, those who deserved it would be those doing more worthwhile work (as decided by us, not the capitalist system).

  37. evening 37

    Does anyone know where I an find stats on total number of people on the min wage, total hours worked per week, and totals by age, gender, ethnicity? Plus split between public and private sectors?

  38. PeteG 38

    The gross cost would be $19m, not $1.9m, meaning net cost of $13m. 50% of profits. Still completely affordable.

    50% of profits? Still completely affordable? I wonder if Goff thinks that sort of change is affordable.

    You really don’t think there could be major flow on effects from it? It won’t drive international investors away from the country? It won’t drive more small businesses to the wall, struggling after an extended recession, then WHAP, just as things look like they could be improving they are clobbered.

    What about companies who aren’t currently making that sort of profit margin (and many won’t be)?

    50% is still affordable? For some it will 100%. Still affordable?
    When the extra cost is greater than their profit. Still affordable?

    You’ve shown dramatically how poorly thought through this idea is.

    • Tangled up in blue 38.1

      You either haven’t been paying attention or you are just not willing to consider the full picture.
      In 2010, 56% of workers on minimum wage were part-time workers (Minimum Wage Review 2010 p. 17)

      Further, you’re not taking into consideration the fact that the inelasticity of the low wage service industry means that most of the extra cost will likely be spread amongst all consumers.

    • Colonial Viper 38.2

      What about companies who aren’t currently making that sort of profit margin (and many won’t be)?

      Those companies should be allowed to fail and make way for more competitive and more productive enterprises with better business models.

      That’s the way the free market works.

      We’re not here to help keep lame businesses in the black.

  39. I didn’t exactly follow the “math” but the figure of $15 seems about right compared with the cost of living.

  40. Andrew Stevenson 40

    Deborah Kean aka Vicky

    Thank you for your apology.

    Still feeling quite shell-shocked… I think we have started off on the wrong foot.

    I hope in the future I can get my point across with more compassion and we can have some constructive conversations.

    I genuinely believe we are much closer in views than it seems at first glance.

    Pax?

    • lprent 40.1

      Don’t get too worried about it, you will probably see worse… See the policy to get an idea about what the moderators will look at. But robust differences of opinion are not really on our list unless they drop into flamewars.

      We like to get differences aired and people evading in politeness just encourages our resident bastards (like me) to prod until we evince what people really think…

      • Andrew Stevenson 40.1.1

        Thanks. Not sure I *want* to see worse, but hey.

        At least no-one called me a frakking toaster lover. [BSG joke]

        • lprent 40.1.1.1

          I tend to be somewhat more direct than Vicky and after 30 years around the various nets quite abrupt when dealing with fools who I have dealt with several times before.

          Personally I rather like it when people are better than moderation level (where my alter ego sysop deals with them) but manage to annoy me. Painfully twisting the hatpin with a mixture of fact, opinion, and personal barbs frequently winds up as a educational experience – even though the recipient doesn’t like it at the time. It will teach them how to survive the nets over the long term…

        • Colonial Viper 40.1.1.2

          At least no-one called me a frakking toaster lover. [BSG joke]

          Mate, we’re all toasters at one level or another.

          • Andrew Stevenson 40.1.1.2.1

            By your command…

            We never finished that conversation about working for the dole. (Oh, I’m just the Devil, aren’t I?)

            Happy to continue if you are free and have the inclination, otherwise no worries at all.

    • Deborah Kean 40.2

      Pax! (I love my toaster, although don’t make the mistake of cooking those hash brown things in them) .. 🙂

      • Andrew Stevenson 40.2.1

        I am so delighted. Thank you. Hash browns are excellent but the oven is clearly called for.

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