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Cunliffe stands strong for fair pay and your work rights

Written By: - Date published: 6:29 am, October 10th, 2013 - 139 comments
Categories: jobs, minimum wage, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

David Cunliffe showed that he wasn’t just pandering for votes in the leadership race by reaffirming and strengthening his commitment to work rights at the CTU conference yesterday. When David is PM the minimum wage will rise to $15 an hour, the public service will set an example by paying the living wage, and the Nats’ attacks on rights will be reversed – no more Fire at Will, no more youth rates.

Higher wages and more secure pay helps to fight poverty, lifts household savings, gives people dignity, increases demand in the economy creating jobs, and fuels improvements in productivity. If we want those things, we need higher wages to drive them. Undermining wages, which is National’s core agenda, undermines all those things in return for short-term gains for the rich.

Meanwhile, the middle-aged rich men of the Right can only whine that young people, women, and minorities don’t deserve decent pay. David Farrar sneers that young people starting in public service don’t deserve $18.40 an hour. Tau Henare spits on the Pasifika women who clean his toilets. John ‘corporate handout’ Key says that we can’t afford to pay people fairly. We’ve tried the neoliberal way for 25 years and its brought us only low wages, rising poverty, and a massive exodus to Australia.

Those losers’ day has passed. It’s time for a true red Labour that delivers a fair deal for working Kiwis, and David Cunliffe is offering it.

139 comments on “Cunliffe stands strong for fair pay and your work rights”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Yep. Cunliffe is on to a winner. This is a true red Labour Party that I can recognise, not a light blue one. I would also suggest strengthening the role of unions and worker councils in the NZ economy, as well as implementing a policy of full employment.

    In other words, the minimum wage not only has to be a living wage, it also has to be a true minimum wage, meaning that anyone willing and capable of working, can get work. No more wasting people on the scrap heap of unemployment.

    • Chooky 1.1

      +100…work especially for all who want it ….and especially youth being able to get work and training…there should be no school leavers unemployed or youth left on the scrap heap without jobs and/or training.

    • poem 1.2

      +1 Colonial Viper.

  2. vto 2

    New Zealand as a country is more than amply rich enough to pay everyone an income to live on. Our GDP is something like $US30,000 per person per year.

    The problem is the redistribution of the country’s wealth. The existing redistribution needs changing to spread it around more fairly, instead of leaving some with less than it costs to live after working a full and decent day, and leaving others to earn absolute mountains of gold and pay no tax on it whatsoever (capital driven farmers and property owners, I’m looking straight at you – pay your way, bludgers).

    The system of distribution of the nations wealth must be changed.

    • Crunchtime 2.1

      +1 vto.

      In the last US Presidential election I remember much howling that Obama wanting to “redistribute the wealth” (from rich to poor) was “Socialism!” or even “Communisim!”

      The trouble is that wealth redistribution has been happening steadily for years in the other direction, from hard low-paid workers to ever-richer bosses and investors. It continues to go in that direction under Obama. It slowed considerably or nearly halted in NZ when Helen Clarke’s Labour govt was in power. As we all know it’s continued sliding away from the poor towards the rich under Key’s National Govt, as it always does under a National Govt (or has done since Muldoon).

      It’s time for the redistribution to go the other way. It’s not socialism (well – not just socialism), it’s fairness. It’s nationwide wellbeing, morale and health. It’s preventing Democracy from being undermined.

  3. Ad 3

    Odd that the Greens are on the attack on this one, wanting it for all workers and saying public servants getting it will make the rest of the underpaid envious.

    Presumably the Greens are hearing a sucking sound coming from their polling. Good on them for their high standards, but I’d kind of expected the criticism to come from other parties and organisations first.

    Hate to see the Greens marginalised to permanent adolescence perpetually complaining that they want more and their friends have already got one so they have just got to have one, now!

    • karol 3.1

      That’s a very cynical analysis, ad. i’m a Green voter and see Cunliffe’s stance as a win-win for Labour and the Greens. We still don’t know whether Cunliffe will reform social security. the Greens and Mana are there to keep Labour left.

      • poem 3.1.1

        Yes, agree with that, Karol.

        • Bill Drees 3.1.1.1

          David Cunliffe’s duty is to the people of NZ via the Labour Party. It is his role to attract the voters to supporting Labour values.

          That is what he is doing in a single minded mannner, successfully.

          Cunliffe has no obligation to leave a space for Greens: that would be second guessing what the public wants and he has no right to do that.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            Cunliffe has no obligation to leave a space for Greens: that would be second guessing what the public wants and he has no right to do that.

            That may be so from a tactical viewpoint (although still arguable); but from a longer term strategic and MMP viewpoint it is absolutely necessary for the Left to have multiple voices, institutions and parties which represent a wider movement.

            As a real life example, just look at the predicament that National is in now that all its natural support parties are screwed.

    • bad12 3.2

      Don’t take this as an attack on David Cunliffe, but, i see Meteria Turei’s point to be a fair analysis of what Cunliffe and Labour have so far said about ‘the living wage’,

      Those working directly for the Parliament, Parliamentary Services, or ‘the Government’ will get ‘the living wage’ from a Labour lead Government,

      The Parliaments cleaners tho, employed by contractor Spotless will not, your claim that it is adolescent of the Green Party to point this out and the related comment leaves you looking well, for want of a better term, adolescent…

      • finbar 3.2.1

        Bad 12.He has said, that they will give preference to those who contract services to the Government,who will pay the living wage.

        • bad12 3.2.1.1

          Fair point finbar, but when talking of immediacy the Government can only raise the hourly rate of those it ‘directly’ employs,

          Contractors to the Government will i assume come under scrutiny as to the pay levels of their employees at the time such contracts are set for renewal, i do not know for instance how long the Spotless Services contract for cleaning at the Parliament is due to run for…

    • tinfoilhat 3.3

      Nothing odd at all.

      The Green position is pretty obvious and ethical.

      My position is still that if there is to be any real change in NZ it will be led by the Greens and Mana, all we’ll get from Labour is more of the same that we’ve had for the last 30 years.

  4. Fiddlesticks 4

    The “mass exodus” to Australia is interesting given :
    – Australia has youth rates
    – Australia has a lower union coverage
    – Unfair dismissal can’t be claimed in the first 6 to 12mths of employment depending on size of employer (as I understand it)
    – Supposedly a higher (or similar) rate of precarious employment
    – NZers are unable to access welfare support.

    Yet for all of that Australia has higher wages and NZers supposedly flock there to take advantage of those rates, although the tide appears to be turning. Hmmm.

    • Rogue Trooper 4.1

      Hmmm, indeed.

    • George D 4.2

      Australian wages are considerably higher, in real and nominal terms.

      I know that I enjoyed earning $33.50 AUD (~$40NZD) as a university tutor, with holiday pay and a 0% tax bracket up to $15,000, while my NZ friends doing exactly the same were on $16.50 and paying 10% on the first $14,000 and 17.5% thereafter.

    • Crunchtime 4.3

      This article you are commenting on is about a Living Wage.

      Australia has a minimum wage that is about as high as the Living Wage proposed by Cunliffe.

      The other stuff you mentioned is important for sure, but the higher minimum wage in Australia is exactly the action that Cunliffe is indending to take when (not if) he becomes Prime Minister of the next government.

  5. chris73 5

    “When David is PM the minimum wage will rise to $15 an hour, the public service will set an example by paying the living wage, and the Nats’ attacks on rights will be reversed – no more Fire at Will, no more youth rates.”

    – He might do some, for example most working for the public service are probably on over “the living wage” (which sounds better than a figure plucked out of thin air I guess) already so that won’t take much but for the rest of his promises hes already made his excuse:

    “Subject to the provisions of fiscal responsibility”

    Whats the betting this line will get trotted out quite a bit IF Cunliffe wins power

    • lprent 5.1

      The costs aren’t particularly high. In fact they are so low, you’d have to ask why National hasn’t already done them.

      • Wayne 5.1.1

        And don’t be surprised if the Nats do this next year. By this I mean the minimum wage being $15.

        • tinfoilhat 5.1.1.1

          Yes the usual election year lolly scramble.

        • bad12 5.1.1.2

          Slippery the PM would rather suck upon the nether regions of a dead rat than raise the minimum wage by more than 25 cents an hour,

          It of course would be a great move for the low paid to have National raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour next year, that would simply provoke the Labour/Green Government to raise it to 16 dollars an hour in 2015,

          Sounds good to me…

        • lprent 5.1.1.3

          Yeah it is an obvious political move for National to do it blaming it on Labour. Besides which, the income imbalances inside the economy are an obvious thing for both major parties to address especially when it looks like we are finally going to get some growth. Otherwise neither will like the downstream political effects.

          • finbar 5.1.1.3.1

            It has started already.This morning they had the rat Prebble,on the radio this morning rubbishing the raising of the minimum wage to $15 hour, not mentioning the living wage of $18.He like all of the right was hammering the same old line, that productivity produces wage rises, forgetting to mention the latest world figuers that we are among if not the most, productive work force within the O.E.C.D.with longer productive working hours than most.And still we the producers, are still on the bones of our arses.

            The Nats,the employers association and their mates are all going to be crying foul crying that it will lead to higher unemployment,businesses going bankrupt and all sorts of horrors.All bullshit of course,just means that they will not be banking as much profit as they are used too.

      • Ed 5.1.2

        Subject to the provisions of fiscal responsibility is at this stage quite a reasonable provision. For the core public sector, changes can be made very quickly. As lprent points out the costs for the core public sector aren’t particularly high (National’s “always looking for an opportunity for private profit” attitude has increased ‘contracting out’), but there are some flow on effects to some employees above the minimum wage. Changing terms for contractors is not as simple, as there needs to be care that additional costs claimed do not simply result in higher profits and lower than expected impact on wages, but clearly that would need urgent political and operational attention.

        Fiscal responsibility is needed – particularly as the scale of National’s plundering for it’s corporate ‘friends’ appears to be picking up in pace – the Sky deal is abhorrent, there is also a deal for Chorus (I’m not sure where that is at), and the fire-sale of Meridian is now under way – who knows the extent to which National will increase borrowing to give crony handouts and other corporate ‘assistance’ between now and the election?

        There are legitimate discussions about the scale and order in which necessary reversal of National’s poor decisions should take place; what is clear is that _when_ (not if) we have a Labour/Green government significant change will happen for the better

  6. ak 6

    Simply marvellous, chaps, keep it up. The grisly ghost of Sir Rogering Douglas and his filthy self-serving toadies on the back foot for the first time in thirty years. But they won’t like it up em old boy – forge ahead because they’ll use every sneaky, slimy ruse at their massive disposal to hamstring you. Keep the troops close: and arise,Sir John Campbell.

  7. Wayne 7

    If David Cunliffe wants to reverse every single thing the Nats have done since 2008, Labour will cop the same thing when they loose power. There will simply be no incentive to govern for the centre, (except if the main support party has come from the centre).

    Which is not the traditional way of doing politics in NZ. Typically parties work out what the previous govt did that was broadly acceptable, and then keep those things, or only mildly modify them. For instance since 2008, the Nats accepted the bulk of the ERA of 2000, did not seek to privatise ACC, or abolish Health Boards. And Labour did the same in 1999.

    But why would the Nats do this for the future, why not just reintroduce ECA, since it all gets reversed anyway when the cycle turns. At least the Nats supporters would get the benefit of the ECA, while they are in power.

    Of course partisans will say that nothing the previous govt did is acceptable, but the caucus is normally more considered than party activists.

    I appreciate that so far David Cunliffe has only taken this approach in employment law, but if he also does this in education, RMA, mining, welfare, etc then the Nats will make their own conclusions for the next cycle when they are in power.

    At least he won’t reverse TPP if it becomes law next year!

    Of course this is all dependent on the support party being more to the left or to the right of the major party, but such an approach tends to galvanize the left or the right, since they know they will get major gains.

    The big downside for the nation is that it will lead to more extreme politics, as we now see in the US. Each side of politics governs solely for their own supporters, and accepts when they loose, it all gets rolled back. And of course the whole tone of politics becomes more nasty.

    • vto 7.1

      Jeez Wayne, it’s “lose” not “loose”.

      As for complete overhauls each and every electoral cycle, are you seriously trying to suggest that the proposed changes to the RMA are somehow middle of the road?

      You come across as a pretty average punter on most subjects you post on, yet here you are part of the government making very serious decisions about peoples lives and the country itself.

      Sheesh. No wonder we end up with less than average decisions (from most all governments). It is time the power was taken away from you lot and given back to the people.

      Vote Them Out I say.

      • Wayne 7.1.1

        Fair point about spelling, never my strong point.

        The RMA is a good illustration. There are clearly things that the Nats have done or will do to the RMA that Labour would wish to reverse. But that is quite different to reversing the entirety of all the changes to the RMA since 2008.

        To Miravox, yes it is possible that the centre could shift left, but equally it might just lead to a US situation.

        It really depends where the main support party sits. Certainly for the moment there is not a strong party to the right of National, but there has been, before ACT blew up. And if Labour swings sharply left, you could expect to see the revival of a right wing party.

        The whole debate sets up an interesting contest for 2014. Labour swinging left may open ground for NZF. And a left Labour/Green package will incentivise NZF to go with the Nats.

        • vto 7.1.1.1

          “The RMA is a good illustration. There are clearly things that the Nats have done or will do to the RMA that Labour would wish to reverse. But that is quite different to reversing the entirety of all the changes to the RMA since 2008.”

          That is a mash-up designed to distort the point. And the point is that the guts of the RMA is being gutted and amended to a heavily partisan position, which is the point you raised initially, namely that centre-ish bipartisan changes are effectively ok but heavily partisan changes are not. The proposed RMA changes are heavily partisan.

          You blame others for doing what you do yourself and that is called hypocrisy.

        • bad12 7.1.1.2

          100 days Wayne, all of it, the youth rates, the 90 day fire at will provisions, all of it gone 100 days after the 2014 election,

          Take a deep one Wayne and enjoy the ride, i am sure you will find lots of reasons after November 2014 to squeal about the sky falling in…

          • Wayne 7.1.1.2.1

            In that case wait for 2020.

            • bad12 7.1.1.2.1.1

              Wayne, don’t you mean wait until 2023 where there will be a slim chance of the next National Government,

              The problem is, and i see it from here, is where will National find a coalition partner even then,

              The far right burned all it’s political capital in the guise of ACT which National then mounted a successful hostile corporate raid upon,

              NZFirst with Winston Peters long gone into retirement will be just a memory so National will have no friends,

              100 days Wayne, after November 2014, all of it, the sum total of National’s anti-worker Legislation will be gone, up in smoke where it belongs…

            • vto 7.1.1.2.1.2

              Wait for 2020? I think you are missing a change swinging through the populace, evidenced throughout mankind. There is a push back to the “left” or rather, a swing away from the policies of the right. This is a long term pendulum swing.

              It is evidence by, for example, the three term Clark government and by the pending two term Key government. Recently that would have been the other way around, but not now. The norm is becoming governments of the leftish. Think about it.

              National wont be around in its existing or recent past form in 2020, it will bend and mould to the change moving through…. best get on board Wayne lest you get left behind.

        • McFlock 7.1.1.3

          NZ would shift to the left in the same way it shifted to the right after lab4/ACT1.

          And we couldn’t have a US impasse-situation in NZ, because the government would lose confidence and we’d have a snap election.

          The real question is (should labour win in 2014) how badly national do in 2017. We might well end up seeing an act-style party on 10%, but if national plummet to the low twenties or teens than they’ll need more friends than that to recover for 2020. Anyone they can break bread with would demand some significant moves to the left to even get a cup of tea.

          • Matthew Whitehead 7.1.1.3.1

            There’s also the possibility they’ll have to square the circle of a centrist party on their left flank and the completely wingnut conservative party on their right flank.

            God I look forward to seeing these suckers in opposition, if we get a strong show from the next left-wing government, it’s going to be priceless.

        • Anne 7.1.1.4

          And if Labour swings sharply left, you could expect to see the revival of a right wing party.

          You mean ACT? Can’t see that going very far given their past performances. The only time they were worth taking seriously was in their first term in parliament when they actually had a few decent MPs. Not surprisingly they soon deserted the ship!

    • miravox 7.2

      ” There will simply be no incentive to govern for the centre, “

      The centre will shift left*, just as it shifted to the right with the neo-liberal turn in the ’80s.

      *economic beliefs, that is. I think politic positioning is a little more complex these days.

    • bad12 7.3

      Wayne, its so good to see you also along with a number of other ‘wing-nuts’ addressing the fact that the next Government of New Zealand will be a Labour/Green one,

      Your current elongated babble tho gives off the reek of fear,panic and loathing, take a deep breath Wayne i would like to tell you that your worst fears are not about to be realized, but as i hope they will be and there’s a 50/50 chance of the Labour/Green Government after 2014 election being the ‘devil beast incarnate Slippery your PM describes, i cannot, from around the laughter at you, do so…

      • Wayne 7.3.1

        You should look at my comment on NZF.

        In my view this is potentially shaping up as a Nat/NZF and a Lab/Green fight in 2014. It won’t of course be quite as transparent as that, since NZF won’t commit to the Nats in the way the Greens have with Labour.

        But the more left Labour goes, the easier it will be for voters to work this out. And in that case I reckon it will be a Nat/NZF Govt in 2014, (which will inevitably lose in 2017).

        In fact it is the sort of deal that Helen did in 2005. So history may repeat itself, just as 2011 mirrored 2002 to some extent.

        • bad12 7.3.1.1

          Lolz Wayne, to be blunt, the left have left NZFirst, bolting back to support a David Cunliffe lead resurgent Labour Party,

          Befor you tie your tongue in knots over the prospect of a National/NZFirst coalition you have to consider the liklihood of NZFirst not even being in the next Parliament, right now i put the odds of them not being there after election 2014 at 60/40,

          National on the Slide, Slippery the PM losing a large chunk of His popularity, National with only 39% of the vote at 2014, anyone saying that during the first term, 2008-2011, would have been laughed outta the room, now such a result for National is a distinct possibility, in such a case an act of God would be needed for National to get a third term,

          Suck it up Wayne, all the indicators say your riding the loser in the next race…

          • Wayne 7.3.1.1.1

            Well, as you say, it probably all rests on whether NZF gets into Parliament. And in my view the more left Labour goes the stronger Winston will be.

            Even in 2008, after his Owen Glenn debacle, he still got over 4%. Given that he tends to do well during elections, the fact that he is now polling around 4% would indicate he is good for 6% or so at the election.

            Incidentally as soon as NZF got re-elected on 2011, I thought they would be the obvious coalition party for National.

            • lprent 7.3.1.1.1.1

              I thought they would be the obvious coalition party for National.

              They would be in theory because many of their pollies lean that way and so do many of the policies. But in practice their supporters are not because they run extensively on this concept of “fairness” – mostly to themselves. But also more generally to family members and friends. While they’re mostly “a plague on all their houses” style voters, their supporters and even their members really really don’t like National’s general policy directions. That is because in a large degree over recent decades those tend to wind up as being about advantaging crony companies and investors and the trickle down is dominated more by rhetoric than reality.

              It makes NZF internally highly unstable when they coalesce with National because their politicians then have to spend much of their time trying to placate supporters. They have much less of a problem when they coalesce with Labour because while they get a lot of grumbling, they can argue the “keeping them honest” meme much more easily from the right of Labour. They also have more allies inside the Labour caucus/party because the populist/morality right-wing there find a lot of common ground with them (think Josie Pagani and our member for westland for instance).

              Winston appears to be quite aware of this issue..

            • bad12 7.3.1.1.1.2

              Nope it all depends wee Wayne on ‘the trend’, if the current one, trend that is, continues for National,(down), and Slippery the Prime Minister,(also down),then i expect National at the 2014 election is probably a large Opposition with 41-39% of the vote,

              Given that a goodly handful of National supporters are likely to decamp that party to try and bolster NZFirst it wouldn’t matter either way should NZFirst be in or out of the next Parliament…

            • Matthew Whitehead 7.3.1.1.1.3

              You’d think after National’s last disasterous attempt at a coalition with NZF that John Key’s up-front ruling out of them was actually a good idea, to be honest. If you’re pinning your hopes on that, you’re really desperate.

          • lprent 7.3.1.1.2

            ..you have to consider the liklihood of NZFirst not even being in the next Parliament, right now i put the odds of them not being there after election 2014 at 60/40,

            You’d be wrong. After the 2008 election I said that they’d be back despite National’s silly smear campaign.

            NZFirst’s voters actually vote – in every election. They don’t trust any of the main parties, which is why National eventually stopped trying to entice them and tried to destroy the party instead. Labour would probably like them, but unfortunately the type of people who vote NZF tend to be notable for their long memories and ability to hold grudges. Finally it is a replenishing constituency. People start hitting ~50 and really getting to distrust politicians.

            The natural constituency for a NZF type party is easily large enough to routinely be in the 6-7% range at election time. We’ve had those voters in the NZ political scene since at least the 70’s. They used to be masked by the FPP.

            • Rogue Trooper 7.3.1.1.2.1

              people start hitting there teens and really getting to distrust politicians.

              • David H

                Hell my sons 2 and a bit, and he will know not to trust the shysters in Blue, before he’s 5.

            • Lanthanide 7.3.1.1.2.2

              I don’t agree. I think their 2011 result was buoyed by the teacup tapes and by left voters knowing that NZFirst was the only chance of Labour forming a government (which they nearly managed). Just go back to the 2011 election posts and see how many commentators here said they were holding their nose and voting for NZFirst over Labour or Greens.

              Without either of those factors in the 2014 vote, I think a vote somewhere between 5-6% is more likely for NZFirst, and they could even slip under 5% all together if they don’t have a good campaign.

            • bad12 7.3.1.1.2.3

              ”You’d be wrong”, that will only be a statement of fact either way after the 2014 election, i also think that NZFirst has a more ‘broad’ constituency in terms of the ‘type’ of people who vote for that particular party than you give credit to…

    • geoff 7.4

      The big downside for the nation is that it will lead to more extreme politics, as we now see in the US. Each side of politics governs solely for their own supporters, and accepts when they loose, it all gets rolled back. And of course the whole tone of politics becomes more nasty.

      Wayne you say this like it has all occurred in a vacuum, as though history doesn’t exist.

      Politics is going to get nasty when inequality is at record highs, when the very very very rich hold all the wealth and then refuse to change the system when it is clearly shown to be faulty (GFC).

      But you don’t want to talk about that do you. Just like John Key never wants to talk about mass-surveillance from the USA. Too inconvenient for wealthy old white men who have spent their lives obsequiously climbing the ladder.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.4.1

        +1

        No person of the political-right seems to be able to admit that their policies are what are causing the problems.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.5

      Which just tells us that representative democracy is failing and that we need to go to participatory democracy. Have it so that the policies are the will of the people rather than the MPs who seem to do more for the corporations than the people.

  8. Tracey 8

    A lolly scramble in election year wayne?

    I think they wld seriously under estimate how cynical this would be seen by the electorate.

    • tinfoilhat 8.1

      Sadly I think that a large part of the electorate don’t care what is or isn’t cynical anymore, they just expect everything to be cynical and just vote according to their own back pocket, otherwise we’d see more green representation and sensible policies.

  9. Tracey 9

    Bad12

    id like to see cunliffe reiterate his suggestion during the leadership race to favour govt contractors paying a living wage. It is a back door subsidy but one that I for one support.

    • bad12 9.1

      Oh i am sure that in a future Governed by a Labour/Green Government any ‘contractor’ who does not pay the ‘living wage’ to their employees will not be awarded any Government contracts,

      As a suggestion to both Labour and the Green Party’s i would like to see when the expressions of interest in any Government contracts are called for an express provision that ‘living wage’ employers will be in the front of the line to pick up Government contracts,(with a BROAD hint that those who have been ‘living wage’ employers the longest have the best chances at the best contracts)…

      • Lanthanide 9.1.1

        “Oh i am sure that in a future Governed by a Labour/Green Government any ‘contractor’ who does not pay the ‘living wage’ to their employees will not be awarded any Government contracts,”

        Thus making the government contracts more expensive, thus this policy costing the government money.

        The only reason they’re doing this “living wage for government employees” shtick is because it’s a piddling $30m.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.1

          Thus making the government contracts more expensive, thus this policy costing the government money.

          That’s actually good as it means that the government will have to bring the services in house thus saving money and getting better services.

          • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1.1

            Plus since when is spending money on workers considered bad?

            Yes it’s a “cost” to the government, but that cost is known as “income” to local communities.

        • bad12 9.1.1.2

          Which is where David Cunlifffe’s ‘being fiscally prudent’ comes in, i would like nothing better than to hear David Cunliffe chart a course to where the minimum wage is morphed into the ‘living wage’,

          i also realize that National will hand to an incoming Labour/Green Government not a set of ‘books’ that are ‘balanced’,

          Instead a magicians piece of trickery, an illusion of balanced books, propped up like a house of cards on the over-borrowing by National in years 2011-12 which National plan on touting to a financially illiterate populace as balanced books heading for the 2014 election…

        • bad12 9.1.1.3

          Yes, the reason i would like to see all Government contracts become part of the public record, Spotless services are being paid how much to clean the 180 toilets every week when they grind out of 2 workers the sum total of labour required while paying them a few cents above the minimum wage,

          What are Spotless paid for this work by the Government, 5 grand a week???, Ten maybe, we will never know just how fair the workload and the pay rates are for those employed to clean those toilets unless the contracts become part of the public record…

  10. mickysavage 10

    Nooo …

    Radio NZ is interviewing Richard Prebble and Bryce Edwards to comment on Cunliffe’s speech. Prebble’s qualification is that he is a former Labour MP. His transformation into an ultra right sell out must have escaped RNZ’s researchers.

    Bryce Edwards is correct in saying that Cunliffe is not trying to target the centre but mobilise the base. He also says that Labour is now “not looking so boring” which is a bit of an understatement.

    Prebble says that you become Government “when you tell unpalatable truths”. Funny, I don’t remember Prebble and Douglas saying they were going to smash up the state before they were elected. He is also pulling figures out of his arse in attempting to denigrate the Living Wage. As usual he is concentrating solely on the costs and not seeing the potential economic and social benefits of improving people’s lives.

    Edwards thinks the speech could be a game changer. Well said.

    • Tim 10.1

      @ Mickey. These days, such is the nature of RNZ during weekdays. Broke but still able to afford certain presenters their degree of comfort; inoffensive; bland; increasingly mainstream all delivered with the best in elocution.

    • vto 10.2

      “He is also pulling figures out of his arse in attempting to denigrate the Living Wage. As usual he is concentrating solely on the costs and not seeing the potential economic and social benefits of improving people’s lives.”

      How can there be any cost to the country? The money stays within the borders. In fact it would stay even more within the borders, being paid to low paid hard workers who spend all within the community.

      There is no net cost.

    • Lanthanide 10.3

      Prebble was electioneering in his answer, I think, by saying the real cost of the policy is probably $300m if we’re lucky and $1b if we’re unlucky. That’s the type of crap that John Key says, not what a political commentator should be saying.

      • Steve Wrathall 10.3.1

        Please explain why someone on $18 already won’t then demand $25. And the person on $25 won’t then demand $35. And with all this extra money around, and increased costs of labour why won’t prices go up? Why not just print extra zeros on the currency? Makes as much sense.

        • vto 10.3.1.1

          I’m sure it does make sense when you think along the lines you just outlined. Problem is, those lines are just silly.

          • King Kong 10.3.1.1.1

            Not silly at all.

            I am the apprentice on $14 an hour, the labourer gets $18 an hour, the carpenter gets $30 an hour and the foreman gets $40 an hour.

            there is a differential in these pay rates for a very good reason. Tinker with the one at the bottom and you have to tinker with the lot.

            • wtl 10.3.1.1.1.1

              All this talk about effects of on other people’s wages or the cost of labour is just a distraction.

              The bottom line is that all workers should be paid a wage that allows them to provide themselves and their families with the basic necessities of life. That is what the living wage is and I believe most New Zealanders would see that as simple common sense.

              • richard

                +1 wtl

                That is the argument for a living wage. Something the RWNJ “intellectual heavyweights” choose to deliberately overlook.

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                +1 wtl

                The other thing that is not being appreciated by the naysayers to the living wage is that people on the minimum wage are getting supplemented by the government and charity organisations to make ends meet.

                When employers start paying wages that allows employees to meet their costs, the less will be spent keeping people afloat and this money can go into creating prosperity. In this way the entire country becomes more prosperous, rather than indulging in this poverty mentality of chasing the lowest common denominator all the time.

                Really, it needs to be a requirement that wages cover living costs. It defeats one of the main points of working when this is not the case.

            • Steve Wrathall 10.3.1.1.1.2

              But that’s the real world, not the magical fantasy world in which Labour policies are dreamed up.

              • King Kong

                The real world, where arbitrarily raising wages across the board creates inflation.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  When the majority of people can’t be paid enough to live on for fear of inflation just proves that the monetary system doesn’t actually work.

                  Of course, I worked that one out a while ago which is why I think we need to go to a democratic economy with the purpose of supplying all the people of NZ with what they need and want within sustainable limits and get away from the unsustainable drive of profit.

                  • King Kong

                    You do realise that what you are suggesting has been tried in quite a few places before and has always ended in abject failure.

                    Of course your plan will work with the addition of some magic socialist fairy dust which all the others forgot.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Ahhh BS mate. You’re just scared of real policies for the real economy, especially since it’s been so long since we’ve seen anything substantial like that from National.

                    • King Kong

                      What I am scared of is people who are so obviously deranged being so close to the levers of power.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      It’s not deranged to have a focus on the real economy instead of the financial economy; it’s sensible.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      You do realise that what you are suggesting has been tried in quite a few places before and has always ended in abject failure.

                      [citation needed]

                      Really, can’t think of any economy that existed within ecological limits while also providing their people with what they needed collapsing. All the evidence points to societies collapsing because they followed capitalist policies:- Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, Ancient Sumer, modern Greece, etc, etc.

                    • Crunchtime

                      Actually, it’s in practice in Australia and has been for a number of years. Their minimum wage is $15-$18 per hour depending on the state. Very successfully – their wages are better than ours, their economy is stronger than ours.

                • Colonial Viper

                  The real world, where arbitrarily raising wages across the board creates inflation.

                  You correct for that by reducing the money in circulation by increasing taxation and increasing savings.

                  • King Kong

                    But isn’t one man’s savings another man’s borrowed capital or are we pulling the levers on that now as well.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      you were concerned about inflation, and I’m simply saying that there are mechanisms to reduce the levels of hot money flowing into the economy if that is found to be necessary later on.

                      Anyhows, our economy has massive slack in it at the moment in terms of under utilised people and productive capacity, so any inflationary worries are a very long way off.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Considering that the banks create money when they make a “loan” – no.

              • geoff

                Well you go demand a big pay rise now and see how you go, Steve.

                The real world indeed, piss off ya ignorant thicko.

              • wtl

                In the real world, people on the minimum wage in New Zealand are not paid enough to afford the basic necessities of life for them and their families. A living wage is simply correcting this real world problem.

                • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                  Yes, and in the real world an employer wouldn’t take on staff when they can’t afford to pay them sufficiently; in the real world they wouldn’t depend on the government to make up the shortfall.

                  Is it appropriate that the government subsidise the real-world costs of employers? Or do employers need to get real and start paying wages that people can live on?

            • Crunchtime 10.3.1.1.1.3

              “Not silly at all.

              I am the apprentice on $14 an hour, the labourer gets $18 an hour, the carpenter gets $30 an hour and the foreman gets $40 an hour.

              there is a differential in these pay rates for a very good reason. Tinker with the one at the bottom and you have to tinker with the lot.”

              This is an EXCELLENT argument for raising the minimum wage by 20%, thank you.

              You’ve just illustrated beautifully the cause and effect relationship between

              – Australia’s minimum wage (20% higher than ours)

              and

              – Australia’s average worker’s pay (20% higher than ours)

              In other words, for us all to have higher wages comparative to Australia, we MUST raise the minimum wage forthwith.

              Thank you King Kong. You are a scholar and a gentleman. Not nearly the great hairy ape that was shot to death at the top of the Empire State building of your namesake.

              I wish to shake your hand.

              🙂

        • Colonial Viper 10.3.1.2

          Please explain why someone on $18 already won’t then demand $25. And the person on $25 won’t then demand $35.

          Please explain why a CEO on $450,000 won’t demand a pay increase to $550,000.

          Oh they do that already, and get it. LOL

        • McFlock 10.3.1.3

          Two reasons:

          The first is the lag caused by elasticity. If the cleaner’s rate goes up to $18, your chain of demands doesn’t happen immediately, or even universally. For example, I take whatever rise they want to give me, because conditions are excellent, the work is rewarding and my remuneration is already sufficient for my needs. Your chain of demands depends on greed caused by status anxiety – it exists, but not everybody is a grasping tory.

          The second is that lower-wage people spend almost immediately. For most businesses, this means more income, either directly or indirectly. The increased volume of transactions creates a buffer that allows businesses to absorb costs while maintaining profits.

          Does all this equate to zero effect? Probably not. But the dampening effects mean that increases to a living wage are exceptionally unlikely to create hyperinflation and Mad Max collapse.

          • Rogue Trooper 10.3.1.3.1

            status anxiety . Cool 😀

          • Bob 10.3.1.3.2

            “The second is that lower-wage people spend almost immediately”, yip, then they will come back cap in hand asking for more money because that worked for them last time. That is what the left don’t take into consideration when looking at these issues, human nature.
            If you had a child that packed a tantrum every time you didn’t give them what they wanted, would you just start giving them whatever they wanted, or would you reward good behaviour and set them on the right track?
            Something HAS to be done, because it is blatantly obvious that living standards are dropping at the bottom end of the scale, if nothing is done we start heading down the South Africa track of gated communities.
            Why don’t we scrap WFF and instead introduce a tax free threshold set at 2/3 of the minimum wage, then link the minimum wage to the CPI? This way you still need to take personal responsibilty for your family, having additional children doesn’t equal ‘more money from the government’ (it does happen, only in isolated cases, but these isolated cases are still bringing children into the world that they can’t afford just because they can see $$$, remove this unintended incentive to have children and we would have less children being deliberately brought into poverty, also situations like a very well paid friend of mine whose wife wants a third child just so she doesn’t feel pressured to go back to work, and they would ‘start recieving WFF so they will have more money’ (her words) this is a tax drain to someone that doesn’t need it), and the lowest paid would stop falling further behind the curve in terms of income.

            • McFlock 10.3.1.3.2.1

              Oh, I’m sorry, your tory paternalism got in the way of reading what I actually wrote.

              The working poor spend almost immediately because they do not have enough to save or stick in the bank. They live hand to mouth.

              Rich people can save, stick it in the bank, build up a buffer for a rainy day. This is good for banks, not so much for local businesses.

              The same reason that the GST rise hit poor people disproportionately.

              PS, and your friend’s wife is an indictment of the education system for not being able to do the math properly and generally being an idiot.

              • Colonial Viper

                Seems like Bob’s main problem is that he chooses losers for friends. He really should take some personal responsibility and hang out with a better class of person.

                • Bob

                  You might be right there CV, she is one of my few left wing friends……surprise, surprise. I should have know better.

        • Lanthanide 10.3.1.4

          So they ‘demand’ it. Boss says no. What happens next?

          Don’t forget, the people we’re talking about are in the public sector, and they know the Labour government campaigned on this particular point. They’ll see it for exactly what it is – a small amount of extra money being paid to a small number of people on the bottom of the heap. The people on the next rung up are not likely to “demand” more money, and even if they did, it’s not likely to ripple up very far at all.

          Now a wider minimum wage change across the whole economy, if we were saying going from $12 to $15, yes, I’d expect wider ripples. But the now prospective $14 – > $15 when Labour gets in power probably won’t make too many ripples at all. If it was $14 -> $18.40 for the minimum wage then I would expect larger ripples again.

    • Rogue Trooper 10.4

      😀

    • Anne 10.5

      His transformation into an ultra right sell out must have escaped RNZ’s researchers.

      Of course. Most of the current crop of media types were still in nappies in the 1980s. They probably haven’t caught up with the fact Prebble was a Labour MP for about 20 years before he was booted out of his Auck. Central seat in 1993.

      • Anne 10.5.1

        In the 1993 elections, Sandra Lee successfully contested the Auckland Central electorate as an Alliance candidate, defeating the incumbent Richard Prebble.

        from Wikipedia.

        That was probably the start of his pathological hatred of the Labour Party and the Left in general…

  11. Steve Bradley 11

    In response to David Cunliffe’s message from Labour to the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions biennial Conference, basically, “Hang on, help is on its way”, Steven Joyce said for the TV camera, “You can’t raise wages by fiat”.

    Steven Joyce? Have you ever seen him close up in the flesh? He actually looks a lot seedier and cheesier that the vast majority of the hard-working used car salesmen camped alongside Great North Road, New Lynn.

    Let’s look at how this government has stood by while wages haven’t risen by any other means.

    John Key made a personal promise to the electors that National would work to ensure that NZ wages rose to narrow the gap with Australian wages. That hasn’t happened. National has overseen a very weak economy with high levels of unemployment and short hours and there is no indication that the ‘invisible hand’ will lift market wages any time soon.

    Bill English’s tax cuts benefited most the top tiers of capitalists and some high earners but the increase in GST reduced effective aggregate demand by sucking out the working class dollar. This has made costs higher for workers but also reduced their appetite for goods and service supplied in neighbourhoods – hair dressers, wet-fish sellers, dairies, have all been just surviving for several years now. Great swathes of retail and commerce just get by praying for their creditors to pay on time.

    Critical unionised sectors of the essential industrial base of New Zealand have been allowed to close, or are skating on the edge with a succession of mass redundancies. That hasn’t encouraged highly skilled workers to try to extract more value from multi-national profit streams.

    National has overseen critical weakening of labour legislation. Not just the 90-day day fire at will provisions, youth rates, and removal of continuity for vulnerable workers, combined with a hardening of attitude toward workplace accident assistance and benefit supports; but in addition, removal of the right to strike in favour of a multi-employer agreement on wages and conditions for whole industries. So National has made it harder for workers to negotiate wage increases.

    So just how is Steve Joyce proposing to help workers increase their wages: perhaps by subsidising their emigration to somewhere else across the sea?

    Of course you can increase wages by fiat; just as you can underwrite banks by fiat.

    Fiat is government power. The Crown-in-Parliament can raise taxes, including excise, can issue credit, can build houses and rent them to citizens, can support earthquake victims, can employ health professionals, and can make war and peace, just for now, this side of the TPPA.

    That’s why we have a government: – to do stuff, which helps our fellow countrymen and women survive and thrive.

    Don’t let Steven Joyce and the rest of them use the ‘big lie technique’ to worm their way back into office in 2014. Labour, and all other popular social organisations striving to help people, need to say now that good labour law will help all workers — in a union or not. And will help all those small proprietors in the industries serving worker’s needs. We need to say it now; we need to say it loud; and we need to keep on saying it to Election Day and beyond – good wages and full employment are good for everybody. We know it’s true so make it a mantra.

    • bad12 11.1

      Well said, totally agree with you…

    • Colonial Viper 11.2

      Joyce is acting the fool. notice that his own pay was increased “by fiat” via the Remuneration Authority within the last 12 months.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 11.3

      +1 Yes, very well said Steve Bradley.

      I hope those out there with a voice will follow your advice and send out the message of your last paragraph loud and clear. It needs to be heard ad infinitum, so the ‘big lie technique’ gets no hold.

    • Rogue Trooper 11.4

      I thought the by fiat utterance was very problematic (weak) 😉

    • Draco T Bastard 11.5

      John Key made a personal promise to the electors that National would work to ensure that NZ wages rose to narrow the gap with Australian wages.

      He speaks with forked tongue. At the same time that he was saying that National would raise wages he was making promises to the business community to lower wages. It is, of course, the latter promise that he kept.

    • Saarbo 11.6

      Perfect Steve!

    • xtasy 11.7

      Who cares what “Steven Joyless Goebbels” has to say, most of what he says is the usual propaganda spin and undermining, discrediting attacks, not delivering any facts, and not delivering any convincing results for his own government and himself.

      What he hates is, that a new government led by Labour, supported by Greens, and perhaps another party, will bring in fairer wages, fairer conditions for workers, better treatment of students, that will invest in the future and HUMAN capital, and that will at the same time have better ideas about running an economy, that does not simply rely on more of the same old drivel ideology of selling rights to corporates, to gamble, to deal out cards and chips in casinos, to drill for oil in high risk deep sea areas, to mine in environmentally sensitive areas, to put even more cows on the same paddocks, to have them piss into water, rivers, lakes and pollute, so the stupid taxpayer has to pay for cleaning all that up.

      “Joyless Goebbels” wants more tourists coming on airplanes to sell them more Chinese made souvenirs, wants more immigration to “grow” an otherwise stagnant economy lacking ideas and incentives, and wants to rely on a more dumbed down workforce to work endlessly more hours for next to nothing, to prop up failed economic plans that have led to the ruin of many other countries in the whole world.

      NO ideas, no plan, no money, no standards, no values, just sell, sell and sell, and let others ruin the place, so that he and the few “selected” can do well and buy their retirement homes overseas.

      Fuck that for this country, I am sure even the least educated here know better and throw this crap crowd out next year.

  12. He stands for the unions and not the people, and have moved the labour party further to
    the left.

  13. newsense 14

    Bryce Edwards becoming a little less reliable than in the past: talking point bingo number one:

    1) It’s an evocative and highly symbolic declaration that speaks strongly to the core base of unionists and radicals

    IE those annoyed with Shearer’s leadership and supporting Cunliffe are radicals and unionists. An attempt to portray actual real Labour values being spoken by a Labour candidate for PM as somehow (which Dann mentioned in a vid blog) a sign of a take over by some shadowy rump of a radical left party. Or to put it another way- the core base of Labour is not a bunch of hard working lower class families, but a bunch of feral radicals.

    Ehh…

  14. finbar 15

    I can recall back in the Bolger days of Government,when they where promising to reform the Welfare State,and promising to reduce welfare to benefit bludgers and they did, they savaged welfare entitlements, and cut most benefit entitlements.They bolted in, especially with the provincial vote.Within six months of their savage welfare cuts, the provincial shop owners in my town who!s large amount of profits, came from welfare bludger!s, for like then, and now, my town has very high unemployment, were all cribbing that they could not survive.Now the welfare cuts that the Government brought in, and that they, the business owners, gladly voted for, took out of circulation $54 million per year.

    Is not capitalism just swings and roundabout!s.Most based on short term profit and greed without concern of its long term effect.

  15. Sable 16

    Sorry to sound negative but lets not forget that Labour and National are both responsible for the mess we are in. I have little faith in the two older parties and from what I have seen that cynicism is well founded.

    I’l believe Mr Cunliffe when and if he gets into office and actually implements policies that reverse some of the damage done in the last 30 or so years.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      Labour is here to get the job done for the people of this nation.

      And to be clear, the job is not “reversing the damage done in the last 30 years” because unless someone has access to a genie in a lamp, neither NZ, nor the world, nor the voters, are interested (or able) to walk backwards in time.

  16. Tracey 17

    last night wayne said ftas were good for nz because they bring prosperity. on that basis he supports tppa. however he hasnt defined prosperity or explained why since our first with singapore through to today, many employers stick to the minimumwage in times of hardship and so called prosperity.

    dont rail about if we give them 18 they will want 25, like “they” are naughty children rather than people contributing to tge so xalked prosperity as much, collectively as any ceo with their bonuses and pay rises outstripping their workers.

    the work force is an asset, part of productivity and integral to profitability. just why some folk find th
    at unpalatable i dont know.

  17. xtasy 18

    Good on for David Cunliffe to stand up for principles when addressing the CTU! No wonder though, that the MSM slander and subversive attack is gearing momentum now, with John Armstrong and Claire Travett detecting supposed “double speak” so to say in what David said, and claiming he said one thing in his speech, and spoke more reservedly to “media”. Bryce Edwards jumped on the bandwagon with his political roundup commentary, and of course Matthew “Hooter Brains” had to attack Cunliffe with his subversive comments also.

    What these “short circuited”, manipulated, and in part spiteful “brains” of the MSM and lobbyists for the government do NOT get is, that the new direction by Labour is not something that they have become accustomed to under nearly three decades of neo-liberal, laissez-faire style capitalist, market knows all and does best kind of economics.

    Even David Shearer heralded the new direction, although he was not convincing, and was just hopeless to get a message across, but the fact is, that Labour, even I have to admit, will steer away from the shit that was done for too long, and will apply “hands on” policies.

    There will not just be “redistribution” as the MSM love to claim and criticise, no there will be a new political direction, a new direction in more managed economics, more balanced social policies, more interventionist housing policy and a new deal kind of economic development approach, that will with partly foreign and local investment, with also local finacial stimulus and so forth, see to more value added production, more science and development, more sustainable energy generation and use, and certainly a more active LOCAL and INTERNAL economy.

    Even the US has much more activity within, than it trades in exports and imports, and an over-dependence on exports may be dared to be reduced by a new Labour led government, that is my “suspicion”.

    We are heading into totally NEW territory, not just this “right” and “left”, “top to bottom” or “bottom to top” redistribution approach, no, I grant Cunliffe to have the brains, skill and determination to lead New Zealand onto totally new territory, and to bring about changes that not even the most fanciful right-wing nutters would dare to dream.

    Dare to live, dare to risk, dare to win, and dare a new direction, that is what is happening, not the more old same and same. Thank you!

  18. RedLogix 19

    The fundamental problem with all FTA’s is that effectively they combine the two domestic economies of both countries into one bigger one.

    All very well, but unless both countries have the same employment, environmental, investment and fiscal policies this always results in the domestic economy of one partner to the FTA being placed at a structural disadvantage to the other.

    There is no nett benefit to the two economies combined, merely the short-term ebb flow of advantage from one place to the other. Looked at from this perspective FTA’s are almost indistinguishable from Empire.

    • xtasy 19.1

      RedLogix: Welcome back, even if just temporarily!

      Yes, you are absolutely right, that is why New Zealand must work closely together with other more progressive countries and economies, to enforce wider, global working and environmental standards, that apply to all.

      This FTA business is just too hollow BS and only works to some people’s advantage, as it leaves too many under the bridge and without securities, so to say.

      Workers must have basic minimum wages internationally, same as standards and conditions, and the same applies to the environment (this can be set on a rate based on individual national income levels and the likes). If that cannot be achieved, nothing will be solved, we only will have certain middle and upper classes in “privileged” countries end up exploiting more poor and disadvantaged in other places.

      Sadly this is happening already on a very wide scale, as the many products we consume here are mostly made by cheap labour overseas, and they can only dream of a 40 hour week.

      Fair trade rather than fictitious “free trade”, that is the very basic bottom line, and that is not even going as far as asking for social and other equal levels, which Marx and others once demanded.

  19. George D 20

    Will a Cunliffe government put the 40 hour (ideally 36 hour) working week into law as a basic work right, enshrined in law and inalienable from any worker, no matter their unionisation, employment status, or workplace?

    If the answer is yes, I agree with the author of this post.

  20. Bruce 21

    While I am happy with Cunliffe supporting $15 an hour, this is an outdated figure. $15 has been a headline for at least the last 5 years surely.

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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