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$18.40 an hour to live, not just exist

Written By: - Date published: 8:01 am, February 14th, 2013 - 89 comments
Categories: class war, human rights, jobs, wages - Tags:

The Living Wage Coalition has released the results of their research, calculating that a wage of $18.40 is needed for workers and their families to have a decent life and participate in society. About 40% of workers currently earn less. The pressure is now on bosses of businesses and public bodies to pay the living wage or explain why they deserve a decent life but their workers don’t.

Businesses and organisation that adopt the living wage will deserve plaudits and our custom. The others won’t. I wonder if consideration has been given to an accreditation system, so that companies paying the living wage can display a badge on their products to let us know.

89 comments on “$18.40 an hour to live, not just exist ”

  1. Phaedrus 1

    Any claims about increased costs to employers are just red herrings. They will pass these on to consumers anyway as they do with tax and other costs. Denying a living wage just means that employees aren’t much better than slaves. The end user (consumer) needs to pay a fair price for the service/product that incorporates all the costs involved. This includes a reasonable profit for the employer which can be controlled by genuine competition. It seems that inefficient employers want to use this a way to keep costs low rather than looking at their business model.

    There is no justification for keeping a significant proportion of employees on the breadline or below. All are entitled to a good standard of living regardless of their employment. We all gain from this.

  2. karol 2

    Excellent that this campaign is gathering steam.

    There’s a symposium today and tomorrow at AUT on Precarious Work and the Living wage.

    This symposium will include in-depth discussions on the employment of vulnerable workers and the current developments around a living wage in New Zealand and around the world. We have a wide range of speakers from the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

    The programme includes official opening by Helen Kelly, lawyers, union people, acadmics (e.g. Bill Rosenberg, Sue Bradford).

    I like the look of this workshop tomorrow afternoon:

    Workshops: Organising for social change (choose one – they will be repeated)
    1. Building community power. Deborah Littman, Metro Vancouver Alliance
    2. Deliberative democracy. Rev Dr Margaret Mayman, St Andrews on the Terrace
    3. Direct action advocacy. Chris Zack, Auckland Action Against Poverty
    4. Industry organising campaigns for change. Kirsty McCully, United Voice Australia

    • Rob 2.1

      “The programme includes official opening by Helen Kelly, lawyers, union people, acadmics (e.g. Bill Rosenberg, Sue Bradford).”

      What about some people that are in business that will be paying this increase, that might help.

    • Tom Gould 2.2

      I see the hard left are already squabbling over this only hours after its launch. Nice way to take a pretty clever campaign and destroy it before it gets off the ground. What is it with these ‘old comms’ and their need to wreck everything, even their own campaigns? Natural born anachists, I guess?

  3. swan 3

    “Any claims about increased costs to employers are just red herrings. They will pass these on to consumers anyway as they do with tax and other costs.”

    Possibly true for entirely domestically focussed businesses that dont face any competition from imports (a small minority of firms). But for exporters that are already struggling wiht high real wages due to the high exchange rate, this will surely send them to the wall, no? They cant just pass on the costs to the international market.

  4. Tom Gould 4

    The reports and research is interesting and informative, but it’s hardly rocket science that if we paid people $18 an hour or more, and built a bunch of good quality houses for them to buy or rent, and praised their efforts to get ahead rather than demonising them, then things would be a lot better. As Key would say, it’s a ‘no-brainer’.

    • King Kong 4.1

      Or these people could try harder in school, lay off the drugs and booze and get a higher paying job under their own steam.

      • TheContrarian 4.1.1

        While I don’t doubt some people may fit into your narrow “try harder in school, lay off the drugs and booze” category to say that in general sense with a straight face is stupid and you should feel stupid.

      • JonL 4.1.2

        Typical stereotypical, generalised bullshit comment by someone who sees himself as a paragon of superior breeding and status!
        It flows like shit from a cow feeding on fresh clover…….

      • henry olongo 4.1.3

        You are really out of touch mr monkey.

  5. karol 5

    The NZ Herald has 3 articles on the Living Wage today (2 by Simon Collins who has a long record of very good coverage of issues for people on low incomes.

    Simon Collins on Auckland and Wellington Councils looking into the Living Wage for Council workers:

    Both the Mayor Browns focus on the problems, but ignore the exorbitant high pay for CCO CEOs etc:

    [Auckland]Council figures show that 1171, or 21 per cent, of its 5598 direct employees, excluding CCOs, currently earn under $18.40 an hour.

    Living Wage Campaign coordinator Annie Newman said the city could fund the living wage by cuts in other areas, such as the $194 million the council spent last year on “consultancy and professional services”.

    “Twenty per cent of the councils in the UK are delivering or working towards a living wage already,” she said.

    “What they are saying is this is an ethically important step, and they are making it clear to ratepayers how they are going to pay that money.

    “One said we are reducing the bonuses of senior managers in this council in order to pay for this. Another said we are reducing the amount put into consultancy.

    Collins also focuses on those on incomes below a living wage:

    The parents of every girl attending Auckland’s Diocesan School for Girls pay roughly one and a half times as much in annual fees as Ana Malolo takes home for helping to clean the school all year.

    Professional Property Cleaning Services pays Mrs Malolo, an Otara mother of two, $13.85 an hour for cleaning the school from 4pm to 8pm on weeknights.

    Soon after she gets home each night, her husband, Tupou Malolo, leaves for an eight-hour shift from 10pm to 6am as a forklift driver at the Lion Nathan brewery, earning $14 an hour.

    Lifting both of them to the proposed living wage of $18.40 an hour would raise their combined gross income by 32 per cent.

    In net terms, allowing for higher tax, reduced family tax credits and higher rent on their state house because of their higher income, their net available income after rent would rise from about $585 to $691 a week – an increase of about $106, or 18 per cent.

    That may not sound much to a parent who shells out $19,880 a year, plus $3600 for a compulsory notebook computer, to send a Year 9 girl to Diocesan.

    Kate Shuttleworth’s article is on London living wage campaigner Deborah Littman , who,

    says paying a living wage will require a leap in thinking to accompany a monetary leap from the $13.50 an hour minimum wage to the proposed $18.40.

    She says the aim is never to have the living wage legislated for, but for it to be a voluntary, grassroots campaign. The mindset shift she is talking about is getting employers around to thinking that paying $18.40 is not a burden because it costs more, but a benefit because it results in improved productivity, reduced staff turnover and absenteeism.

    “Over and over again businesses tell us when they introduce the living wage they find their business does better – their staff turnover goes down and the cost of recruitment is lower.”

    The living wage campaign in Britain has business allies including KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Barclays Bank and HSBC.

    • Hayden 5.1

      Professional Property Cleaning Services pays Mrs Malolo, an Otara mother of two, $13.85 an hour for cleaning the school from 4pm to 8pm on weeknights.

      You can bet she’s charged out at $30/hour or more though.

    • geoff 5.2

      nice work, karol.

    • Wayne 5.3

      So Karol, you are an enthusiast for this campaign (hardly surprising that Simon Collins is the journalist), which is really for a minimum wage of $18.40, as opposed to the current campaign of $15. I know it is said not to be, but it is an unavoidable conclusion – how could the Left justify a statutory minimum wage that is less than a “living wage”.

      After all a campaign that dates back 4 years about a $15 minimum wage might seem a bit dated.

      Do you think Labour is going to go for it. I know the Greens will, but they are always slightly disconnected from economic reality. For the Left, the question is surely what will Labour do?

      • karol 5.3.1

        Wayne, the 3rd article I linked to, featuring the London Living Wage campaigner says this:

        She says the aim is never to have the living wage legislated for, but for it to be a voluntary, grassroots campaign. The mindset shift she is talking about is getting employers around to thinking that paying $18.40 is not a burden because it costs more, but a benefit because it results in improved productivity, reduced staff turnover and absenteeism.

        I understand that NZ Living Wage campaigners have the same approach. So you fail in basic understanding of the campaign by equating it with the statutory minimum wage.

        • Wayne

          I did acknowledge the organizers say it is not about the minimum wage, but it is my view it will soon morph into a campaign on the minimum wage.

          The $15 per hour campaign is after all nearly 5 years old.

  6. just saying 6

    I’d certainly be keen to support businesses that pay a minimum of $18.40 to employees. I hope there is a way that genuine compliance can be advertised. Partly also, to shame employers that are ripping-off their workers and bludging off taxpayers to the greatest degree via various forms of wage supplementation.

    Now we need a commitment from all the opposition parties to implement this, or a greater amount as the minimum wage within a reasonable time-frame, for example, within 18 months of becoming government.

    I notice opponents of the living wage movement bang on about 16 year-olds living at home, allegedly not needing $18.40 per hour to survive. Apparently they are unaware that in poor households wages from children living at home, even from paper delivery, can be essential to the family being able to scrape by. No mention is made of the fact that most earning below this rate are adults who have been earning subsistance wages for years, even decades.

    It is repugnant to hear the well-to-do pontificating about how much the poorest workers are worth, and making judgements about their spending, or (my personal favourite), claiming their part-time uni job as relevant and equivalent life experience to justify consigning others to years or lifetimes of poverty.

    This issue is of particular relevance to women because women are disproportionately likely to be underpaid.

    It’s good that there appears to be a high level of support for this campaign. I don’t think the amount is large enough, but I’ll gladly support it as a positive start.

    • erentz 6.2

      “I’d certainly be keen to support businesses that pay a minimum of $18.40 to employees. I hope there is a way that genuine compliance can be advertised.”

      ++ Would really like to see that too.

    • James 6.3

      You could always start your own business and learn some commercial realities – and then see if you are paying all your staff that.

      • Colonial Viper 6.3.1

        The commercial reality is that this Govt (and others) prefer to spend money outside of NZ than inside. As well as letting foreign corporates pump money out of our economy.

        And you wonder why Kiwi businesses trying to find money in this country are having a hard time with “commercial reality”.

      • Murray Olsen 6.3.2

        I did have a business a long time ago. I paid my employee about 4 times the minimum rate. He deserved it. On the advice of my lawyer, I never made a profit. I didn’t do it for long, for a number of reasons, but I would love to know what commercial realities I needed to learn. Pay wages, pay tax, pay ACC, maintain the equipment, pay your bills on time, do the job well, and listen to your customers. What have I missed? Joining the NActional Party?

    • David H 6.4

      That is there are any jobs for 16 year olds.

  7. bad12 7

    While the ‘living wage’ is easily supported i am more of the opinion that this is focused wrongly in that we as a country have actually cut the cost of living radically for those who are forced to live on a limited income be they low waged workers or beneficiaries,

    I would far prefer a campaign that focused on lowering the cost of accommodation for all households earning below a level of income which is judged as unsuitable to sustain a modern household,

    A situation where everyone who has a household income of $45,000 a year or less pays as a maximum 25% of that income as the cost of accommodation legislated for by the Parliament wold put the onus squarely on the shoulders of that Parliament to provide the means of achieving this rather than have to fight employer by employer for a ‘living wage’ where a large amount of the working poor are bound to miss out on achieving that goal,

    It is as much the ‘fault’ of successive Governments that the level of poverty among both beneficiaries and the low waged workers has been allowed to occur, and as it is Government that has in it’s hands the levers of control of the economy it should be Government that provides the solution to that growing impoverishment among the lower income groups in our society,

    My belief is that such impoverishment cannot into the future be ‘simply’ fixed by an increase in income and that a mechanism for reducing the greatest ‘cost’ to those lower income groups, that of accommodation needs be urgently implemented…

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      You’re right of course. Accomodation and electricity costs for median and low income families need to be heavily reduced.

      • King Kong 7.1.1

        I totally agree with you on energy costs. I got a bill for one month of power in the winter that came to $1200 and must say it made me quite cross.

        As far as I can tell my parents taxes paid for all the power infrastucture years ago so I can’t work out where the cost is that needs to be passed on in such whacking great lumps. Maybe I am missing something.

        • Rich

          You know those little switch things, usually by each door? They let you turn the lights off. As well as not keeping you awake all the time, you’ll get a lower power bill. A win all round.

          • King Kong

            Would you advocate turning the oven off when not using it as well?

          • infused

            Nah. It’s heat pumps. That’s where the cost comes from.

          • NoseViper (The Nose knows)

            You’re not seriously considering that running around flicking light switches off is going to save much? That sort of thing can turn into an obssessive compulsive disorder. It’s heating, the frig and using the washing machine plus running computers that run the cost up. And it’s with those that savings can be made. Sleeveless tops in summer, less air-con, and long sleeved t shirts and leggings in winter help keep blood circulating with warmth and comfort.

            It is possible to get down to a very small amount if saving for something and with much inconvenience. Not very good for a family though. Bearable if the saving is to be applied to a costly desired project. But as a regular way of life, dark, cold, depressing – we have tried to improve conditions in NZ to a higher level than the early white colonials encountered, and which Maori also faced.

        • bad12

          Your a weakling then??? on my limited income my winter power bill hardly exceeds that of my summer one,

          Try as has already been kindly pointed out to you using the available switches to lower your usage,

          Having no heating appliances in the house helps, this will force you to think of other easily achieved mechanisms for creating personal warmth for all those in your household,

          Like??? wearing layers of clothes, in winter i increase the number of tee shirts and track pants i wear layer by layer as winter progresses,

          For perhaps 3-4 weeks i am wearing so many layers that this is slightly uncomfortable, far less uncomfortable tho than a 1200 dollar power account…

          • Colonial Viper

            Indeed. Don’t be American and keep your thermostats above 70oF. (21 deg C)

            16 deg C and a jersey works wonders on your power bill. Also, you don’t have to heat your laundry or the unused spare bedroom that much.

          • karol

            bad, I think that is a good solution for younger people, and depending on the place you are living. I noticed that in my last couple of moves around west Auckland, one place was naturally much warmer than the other. In the colder place, putting on extra clothes wasn’t enough at all. And no extra layers seem to warm my feet and hands on colder days. I need to raise the room temperature to enable me to do anything that requires ungloved hands.

            Also, I notice as I get older my tolerance for cold is less. In my younger days I camped around the Mediterranean for several months in their winter. I slept on the hard ground, and had cold showers quite early in the morning. I noticed in recent years, during power cuts, when I tried a cold shower, even on relatively mild Auckland mornings, it nearly stopped my heart the shock was so great.

            • bad12

              Lolz i don’t recommend cold showers for anyone in Winter Brrrr, summer tho i shower under the hose out in the sun,

              i am 56, as Winter deepens i put on extra layers of tee-shirts,(up to 4),layers of hoodies(up to 3),and layers of track pants,(up to 3), and a lot of the time i am sitting here at home with the door open, no Winter flu for at least 5 years,(i can’t really remember the last Winter flu i had),

              I have major bone problems,(1 hip totally hemo and a large osteophyte growing on my lower spine), which limit me in what i can do, but i always save the heaviest stuff in the range of what i can achieve in my garden with the allotted hour till winter so that i can get the blood pumping and it’s surprising once all the layers go back on just how warm i remain afterwards for quite some time,

              Lolz, each to their own karol, some of us seem to have a greater tolerance to Winter cold than others but with a restricted income as i have got spending 1200 bucks on a power bill is not an option so i have had to think up other’s and while i am happy to do so for myself i find it abhorrent that peoples kids are expected to live in such conditions…

              • karol

                Well, I try to go without heating as much as possible. However, I also think some people have better circulation than others. Even working out most days on the exercise machine, getting up a sweat, does not stop my cold feet and hands problem for the day. Me – early 60s. Though I had the cold feet issue for a decade or more.

                • lprent

                  Ha. I have this tendency to view that as a gender issue. Like my previous partner, Lyn has an amazing ability to wander around with hand and feet in winter (and even summer!) that are frigging blocks of ice. I know this because they tend to warm them in sensitive (and warm) parts of my anatomy.

                  If I want to start overheating, all I have to do is to start wearing shoes and in extreme cases a hat.

                • NoseViper (The Nose knows)

                  There’s something called Raynauds syndrome about circulation problems to the ‘extremities’ when little veins close down in very cold weather. Your hands can go quite white and bloodless and take a wee while to recover. Euh.

                  • karol

                    Yew! NV(TNK), I’m more with Lynn in thinking there’s probably a gender angle to it – also from my limited experience.

          • King Kong

            I think you guys are missing the point. Its not the money that worried me too much just how expensive power is. I refuse to rug up in my own home and I realise this is a luxury I have to pay for but it shouldn’t be to that extent.

            • bad12

              Well why then would you have voted for a Government that created such a market in the first place then,

              While i agree with your premise of power being too expensive, especially now when the Generators are admitting that there is an over-supply, i cannot feel much sympathy for you,

              The cost of electricity to you has steadily increased under the ‘market model’ and as the market model of housing has FAILED so has the market model of electricity generation and supply,

              This FAILURE of the market model will only be exacerbated if the current plans to sell Mighty River Power and the other Generating companies goes ahead,

              Perhaps you should look to changing your voting pattern as a response…

        • geoff

          Maybe I am missing something.

          Hah!One penny has dropped, a thousand more to go! What you’re missing is that a bunch of crooks sold the country down the river (on a cabbage boat).
          Your parents helped pay for much more than just the electricty infrastructure.

          We’ll make a socialist out of you yet.

        • Murray Olsen

          My wife and I pay a maximum of $A150 a month in the Brisbane, for a two bedroom flat where we have the aircon going for an hour or more most days. I doubt if the Queensland power industry is a model of socialism, but it does seem there is something horribly wrong with having much higher bills back home. As I understand it, most of the power comes from installations which require little or no maintenance and the raw material falls from the sky. Presumably the transmission costs and line maintenance would be higher in Queensland.
          Would the parties on the “left” accept the need for an inquiry into electricity prices, or are too many Labour apparatchiks warming seats on boards of directors? Lowering the cost of power is something the poor need and the middle class that Labour targets would also appreciate.

    • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 7.2

      On Radionz recently there was a program on people following the gipsy caravan circuit to fairs and earning a bare living wage doing so. A Spectrum program I think. One woman stated that WINZ had told her to find a cheaper place to live and that had initiated her shifting herself, child, dog etc to this lifestyle.

      WINZ always have the option to make people’s lives miserable as far as housing is concerned even if prices do come down. And it seems that they are encouraged to do this on instructions and bonuses from the top.

      What is needed is a genuine desire to help people and provide needed support to find good, suitable accommodation as required. Further WINZ could go into offering individual planning and life coaching along with expertise on housing maintenance and options like sweat equities for families able to help themselves.

  8. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 8

    “…wage of $18.40 is needed for workers and their families..”

    So how much do they advocate you should get if you don’t have a family?

    • Kiev 8.1

      A) 40 hours @ $13.50 = $540.00 per week (before tax)
      B) 40 hours @ $18.40 = $736.00 per week (before tax)
      Difference $196 per week (before tax)

      Currently worker on A) with 2 kids would also be getting an additional $217.00 (after tax) from
      Family tax credit / In-work tax credit. A) with 1 kids would be an additional $152.00 (after tax).

      WFF breeds poverty – hell take 8 kids live in Invercargill and you will get $678.00 a week (after tax), no wonder you can afford 10L of Coke a day.

      • bad12 8.1.1

        Your example (a) $540 per week (befor tax), is in fact the expected amount for rental accommodation in both Auckland and Christchurch and very close to what is being asked for in Wellington for a 3 bedroom house,

        Working to pay the rent and relying on the Working for Families tax credit to put the food on the table and pay the power bill, (waged slavery is the best descriptive),

        A regulation 25% of income to be paid as rent would leave the people in your first example $405 better off with disposable income able to be spent into the economy…

      • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 8.1.2

        What a wonder you are. You’ve sussed it – are you already working for WINZ or NZ Housing? You should apply – you would suit the present management fine.

        Don’t bother to try to understand the situation facing people under numerous stresses with the major one of the poverty pit and consider how they will reinforce themselves in some way as a coping device, perhaps through drugs, alcohol is common and now we are told that Coke can be deathly. This situation needs more concern and intelligence than you have shown you smug pr..k.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.3

        WFF breeds poverty – hell take 8 kids live in Invercargill and you will get $678.00 a week (after tax), no wonder you can afford 10L of Coke a day.

        You’re a moron if you think that you can raise 8 kids on $678/wk.

        • Kiev

          You are an idiots if you can’t add $540 & $678 together – weekly income is around $1200 and then don’t forget accommodation supplement.

          5 bedrooms – http://www.trademe.co.nz/property/residential-property-to-rent/auction-555132129.htm – $295 per week. Which would still leave around $900 to pay food, power, expenses, etc

          • Colonial Viper

            You should advertise this fact more widely, Shadbolt would love more people raising their kids in Invercargill.

            BTW do you deny that raising 8 children is equivalent to at least 2 full time jobs? $1200pw is not a lot for doing two full time jobs, especially as these ones are 7 days a week.

            • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

              What I don’t get, is are they advocating this wage for everyone, or only those with a spouse and two children?

              And, if the latter, are Youth Wages OK with them now?

          • bad12

            Who has 8 kids these days??? you are obviously a brainless wonder, the average size of the modern family is 1.2 kids,

            So what i said about Auckland, Wellington, and Chistchurch holds true and only a fool would think that families shifting to Invercargill en masse would do anything but force the price of rental accommodation to rise dramatically…

            • Colonial Viper

              I think the threat of young families shifting to Invercargill en masse can be played down for the moment.

              • bad12

                Kiev’s idiocy tho cannot, the fact that ‘it’ cannot think past the end of it’s nose or a knee-jerk reaction would tend to suggest a vast lack of intellect…

          • McFlock

            Why are we adding 40hr@ $13.5/hr income to the 8 kid Invercargill income?

  9. djp 9

    >About 40% of workers currently earn less

    How many of those workers:
    a) dont have a family
    b) have two or more earners in the family
    c) recieive working for families, housing suppliments or other forms of welfare

    If i had to pull a number out of my ass I would say “quite a lot of them”

    • Lightly 9.1

      or, you could read the report, you know, like a non-chump

    • just saying 9.2

      Which is exactly why I object to the right-wing framing about a living wage. Apparently, the (hard-working) poor should only be almost adequately recompensed so they may “raise families”. Because that’s all the poor are to the rest of society – incubators for the future workers that will look after them in their retirement.

      A living wage to live! – to go on holiday, to eat nice food and eat out, to enjoy hobbies, to go to concerts, to buy some good clothes brand-new, to entertain friends, to surf the net and the waves, to get good haircuts…….When did we start seeing a reasonable standard of living as being too good for more than half the population?

      • djp 9.2.2

        >When did we start seeing a reasonable standard of living as being too good for more than half the population?

        When did you start raising strawmen for a crust? Just because some may scoff at magic wand politics does not mean that they want people to be poor.

        Minimum wage increases are made possible by economic development they do not drive it. A minimum wage in a 3rd world country would put half the country out of work and is clearly unfeasible, in a developed country a minimum wage puts a minority at the margins out of work but it is a small enough number that can be (stupidly) ignored, of course the higher you set it the greater (as in more negative) an effect it will have.

        The same drivers that would help the poor in Bangladesh (education, investment, womens rights…) are the same drivers that will help the poor here, minimum/living wage is not a silver bullet its is a sideshow

        • just saying

          Tell me more.

          How exactly will “education, investment and women’s rights” increase the pay of cleaners, labourers, caregivers for the elderly and disabled, retail workers etc.? In concrete terms?

          NZ is richer than it has ever been before. However, the proportion of wealth going to workers compared with that going to management, rentiers and shareholders, has changed drastically in my lifetime. The list above (surfing aside) is of just some of the things I took for granted on top of being able to pay the rent and other living expenses from my entry level job when I was 20.

          Nothing magic about it.

          edit: everything on your list has increased in the last 25 years and yet wages, in real terms have continued to decline

          • djp

            >The list above (surfing aside) is of just some of the things I took for granted on top of being able to pay the rent and other living expenses from my entry level job when I was 20

            Anecdotes are easily countered. It seems to me for example that purchasing power for the middle and lower socio-economic classes has never been higher (families have more cars, tvs, toys etc then ever). You pick a few things that interest you (holidays, haircuts and clothes) but perhaps many others prioritize different goods.

            • Colonial Viper

              Jobs paying less than $35K pa aren’t worth doing.

              • djp

                Tell that to a teenager living with his/her parents

                • Colonial Viper

                  Sure but that teenager gets fed and housed for fuck all. What about the other 96% of the work force not having their laundry done by mum and dad?

            • just saying

              They don’t particularly “interest” me. I simply took them and many other things for granted.

              The “puchasing power” for the poor has never been lower because the poor have never been poorer. They can’t afford essentials like good food, housing, power and health costs.

              You still haven’t explained how wages for the worst paying jobs will improve with “education, investment, and women’s rights” – because those jobs will still have to be done, and not everyone is able to be a “professional”.

        • Murray Olsen

          Brazil has had a minimum wage for quite a while. Ever since Lula became President, it has been going up. Brazil is a third world country. Its statistics for poverty, homelessness, hunger, illiteracy are all improving. djp has a third rate mind. I cannot see this improving.

  10. Afewknowthetruth 10

    Peak Oil is in the process of demolishing the economy and all the delusions that go with it.

    Offering high interest to foreigners to loan us money to prop up present living standards has helped keep the delusion going, but even with the dollar at 84 cents US petrol is over $2.20 a litre. Just think what fuel would cost if the Kiwi dollar were at the 2000 exchange rate ….. around $4.00 a litre. And we wouldn’t be buying anything like as much Chinese-made consumer goods.

    The ‘death by a thousand cuts’ will continue. Indeed, the collapse of industrial living will accelerate, due to declining EROEI, environmental collapse and unravelling of fiat currencies.

    Best not to think about reality: fantasy is so much more appealing.

  11. Food prices and accommodation prices well exceed the minimum wage, under the National economy they will keep rising and even a $20 hr wage rise would not be able to keep pace. But the decent jobs aren’t here and multinational corporations won’t create jobs, nor will decent jobs ever be here till subsidies and benefits are introduced to get exporters up and running again.

    National refuses to intervene in the economy, continues to cannibalize the military (sacked servicemen leave to Australia), and won’t provide any incentives beyond turning NZ into a third world country; things will keep getting worse.Time for a change of government, and no more broken promises from neo-liberal, austerity vultures that prey on the worst off.

  12. Richard Down South 12

    Im looking for work, as well as working part time (2-4am starts)… my work employ’s people part time so theyre not reliant on skilled workers… if someone leaves or the likes, they’re replaceable… I’m paid minimum wage… and thus get topped up by WINZ… Luckily for me I am single and live in Invercargill (which sucks but financially its a little easier some ways, but some ways its not). Im pretty much living week to week. I have been applying for alot of jobs, but the market is indeed insane… so many people applying for jobs. A friend in Dunedin has a degree in IT, and got turned down by McDonalds. I desperately want full time work, or a second part time job…

    This sort of thing is important… employers must realise that if youre not paying someone enough to cover a reasonable standard of living, when can your employee’s help the economy by buying things

  13. Tiger Mountain 13

    ShonKey and the 1%ers are not running a country adequately in any way, but they are certainly running it into the dirt. Richard Down South describes what my 22 year old graduate son and most of his graduate mates are going through.

  14. tsmithfield 14

    The “living wage” won’t be a “living wage” for very long. If employers pass the costs on, then the end cost to consumers (including those on the “living wage”) will go up.

    It will be great for my company which deals in aspects of automation. We will have more companies approaching us to find ways to automate unskilled jobs that the “living wage” is likely to target.

    So, it seems to me that the consequence will be that the “living wage” will be inflationary and result in higher unemployment.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      It’ll be a great thing to see Kiwi companies investing in new technology and capital equipment for a change. Usually they are too lazy and cheap, relying on slave wage labour.

      The “living wage” won’t be a “living wage” for very long. If employers pass the costs on, then the end cost to consumers (including those on the “living wage”) will go up.

      Inflation suppression tactics should therefore be used.
      – Ensure investment goes into productive competition, not asset price speculation
      – Drive down accomodation prices (the biggest portion of household expenses)
      – Drive down power prices.

      Employers can still make good money through increased volumes not price hikes. Retailers who choose the price hike route can be priced out of the market. That’s what competition is all about.

      • Afewknowthetruth 14.1.1

        Drive down power prices? You must be mad! Lowering energy prices leads to greater inefficiency and more squandering, thereby increasing the environmental predicament we are in.

    • Tiger Mountain 14.2

      The philosophical question TS is why bother running nation states if not to benefit all the citizens? “Red in tooth and claw” District 9s or some other futurist scenarios are the alternative and NZ is heading there rapidly.

      • Afewknowthetruth 14.2.1

        There are no nation states (well perhaps Cuba, Iran, North Korea etc.) Most nation states are just client states of the global money-lender empire. It suits the elites to keep up the pretence of nation states because that allows them to cash in on patriotism and make money out of internationalised sport etc.

        What is interesting is that, as everything turns to custard, nation are falling apart. In Spain the various regions no longer want to be associated with or controlled by Madrid. In the US there is an increasing movement for states to leave the union. In Greece people leave the cities to search the forests for food and firewood.

        Coming to a ‘nation’ like yours.

  15. Afewknowthetruth 15

    According to the latest report (in the Guardian) the Eurozone has lurched deeper into recession, along with Japan and numerous other nations. Energy demand is falling rapidly in most of the developed world, with China and India using what other nations are not to get themselves into the same mess as everyone else.

    As I have been saying for a long time, we have almost reached the end of the line for the globalised industrial economy. We just haven’t hit the buffers yet.

    Anyone who thinks living standards (as measured by digits in computer systems) are going to rise is living in a dream world.

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