Labour calls for $13 minimum wage

Written By: - Date published: 1:51 pm, February 9th, 2009 - 34 comments
Categories: labour, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

Phil Goff has come out strongly in anticipation of today’s minimum wage announcement from the Government with a call for an immediate increase to $13 an hour, rising to $15 over three years.

As he points out, if National only increases the minimum wage from $12 to $12.50 an hour as the DoL suggests, that represents an increase of just 9 cents an hour – or $3.60 a week – after inflation is taken into account.

“$3.60 a week doesn’t even buy a small block of cheese that John Key used to be so fond of talking about.

‘In difficult times, the burden too often falls on those already finding it hardest to survive,’ Phil Goff said.

‘Our lowest paid people in shops, offices and factories struggle to make ends meet. Every hard working New Zealander is entitled to a wage they can live on.

What’s more, the $3.60 will be eaten away further when National’s April 1 tax increases on low-middle income families are taken into account.

‘The lower paid, particularly families, were also the ones to lose rather than benefit from the tax changes legislated by National before Christmas,’ Phil Goff said.

‘As the Minister of Finance admitted, nearly three quarters of a billion dollars was stripped from the pockets of low and middle income families compared to the tax changes Labour legislated for.

“By contrast those in the top income brackets benefited by hundreds of dollars a week.

“It’s time for some fairness,” Phil Goff said.

Indeed.

34 comments on “Labour calls for $13 minimum wage”

  1. gingercrush 1

    Nice. Can we have $15.00 an hour, a huge cut to business tax and more personal tax cuts because that is what I would dearly love to see.

    I really have no respect for Goff, because had he been in government he wouldn’t have raised the minimum wage by a dollar. Unless of course the Greens wanted that much influence. Had the Greens come out today and said this, I’d respect it. Because they’ve actually been calling for this stuff. But Labour have said they’ll keep the minimum wage in line with inflation and what the average wage is. There certainly wasn’t no mention of an increase to 15 dollars over three years during the campaign. So pardon me if I don’t get behind Goff and say how wonderful his statement today is.

  2. Tane 2

    gc, Labour was pushing for a $15 minimum wage. Their policy was for it to rise with the average wage (which was projected to make it around $14.80 by 2011) but the plan was to have that formalised at $15 during coalition negotiations with the Greens (and NZ First if they got in), following the precedent of 2005.

    Of course, I would have liked to see them make their policy more explicit in their election manifesto and campaign on it, but they always were afraid of scaring the horses while in government.

  3. gingercrush 3

    Surely in a financial crisis indeed a recession, wages don’t go up as much as they do when times are good. So those projections surely would be out of date. I actually have no problem with the actual proposal. Personally, I want to see aggressive minimum wage increases. Though in my case in turn I want to see substantial business tax cuts and eventually personal tax cuts.

    My real problem, is I have a hard time seeing Labour actually doing this had they been in power.

  4. Pat 4

    An earlier post said any increase by National would be “a cynical public relations exercise”.

    Certainly this describes Goff’s statement today. The timing is nothing more than pure politics to take the gloss off the anticipated increase from National.

  5. Tane 5

    Pat, it’s not a cynical public relations exercise (although obviously any media release is a public relations exercise of some sort) because Labour has a track record of lifting the minimum wage aggressively and consistently over its nine years in office. National’s record is stagnation and decline of wages, the minimum wage especially.

  6. IrishBill 6

    No Pat, I suggested it might be. This might also be. Or it might not. I’m not too fussed as long as the minimum wage keeps going up. And it is. How do you like them apples, Pat?

  7. BLiP 7

    Another Green Party policy subsumed into the Labour Party’s sideline barracking.

  8. Daveski 8

    If National provides for only the minimal increase recommended by the Department of Labour from $12 to $12.50 an hour, after inflation that equates to only a 9 cents an hour rise in real wages.

    So Labour’s claims or was that SP’s that National would cut wages was:
    a. irresponsible
    b. a deliberate lie
    c. a mistake
    d. Winston’s fault

    I can’t see how you can go from claiming in one week that those Nasty Nats are going to cut your wages to it’s only a 9c increase in real terms.

    Goff is looking lost at present.

  9. Julie 9

    If the announcement is coming today, what time would it be likely? Cos today is starting to run out…

  10. Tane 10

    Daveski, the split in the cabinet that has caused the delay in the minimum wage announcement shows us that part of National wants to freeze it and part wants to do whatever it takes to remain popular. And they know very well that freezing the minimum wage would not only be unpopular, but would give Labour political momentum.

    When you look at National’s usual ideological bedfellows, Business NZ and the Treasury, they want to keep the min wage frozen. But then, they’re free to say what they want. National aren’t. And John Key and his advisers understand better than most that in politics it’s all about the long game.

  11. Tane 11

    Julie, you’re right, I’m starting to wonder myself. I imagine the stories in today’s papers were leaked from the Nats in anticipation of an announcement, which makes you wonder what the hold up could be.

  12. Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 12

    Tane – split in cabinet, nah, that is shit, it is called divided opinion, this is healthy in a democracy. Not like when HC was in charge, Helen was always right when we had arguements was a comment that Mark Burton once said.

    How is business meant to pay for this in a recession? Lay off staff to pay the rest.

    Goff is a total fool – no idea of how business is run, 8% wage inflation in the current climate is not good for business survival, let alone growth.

  13. Daveski 13

    Funnily enough Tane, I was about to post the same. I have no doubt that there is a split in cabinet and your analysis is spot on.

    In particular, I think your last comment is most apt. Key does appear to be playing the long game and shows some of HC’s skills as an operator albeit in completely different ways.

    Interesting to say the least.

  14. Julie 15

    It was on Scoop at 4.12pm and it’s $12.50.

  15. Julie 16

    Snap Mr Brown! 🙂

  16. gingercrush 17

    Its so blah really isn’t it. Fair but not stellar. And had they released this message last week they wouldn’t have had Labour out-PR them.

  17. Tigger 18

    Is Key playing the long game or is he just trying to keep everyone happy?

    Not the same thing…

  18. Tane 19

    Tigger, I’d say he’s trying to do both. It’s not sustainable, but it seems to describe his MO.

  19. Daveski 20

    I win the office sweep. I’ll accept an admittance from SP that he was wrong 🙂

    Not interested in rationales for this strategy but SP and some others here got it wrong and now have to put up with my gloating.

  20. Pat 21

    The silence is deafening. Congrats Daveski.

  21. they were going to go for no change, we put the heat of media questioning on them, they delayed the decision, then buckled for pr reasons – good result, not a great result, that would have been 13. but pressure from the left forced an at least neutral outcome for workers rather than the backstep the nats and their supporters wanted

  22. Scribe 23

    they were going to go for no change, we put the heat of media questioning on them, they delayed the decision, then buckled for pr reasons

    And you wonder why people have come to consider the “left” to be arrogant….

  23. Mr Magoo 24

    This is just ridiculous. 50c or $1 is not going to solve the elephant in the room: losing jobs.

    The reality is raising min wage on cash strapped companies increases wages budget (including those with pay rates tied to min. wage via contract) will cause harsher redundancies to occur in many cmopanies. A $1 increase is an 8.3% raise and that means a workforce of 12 needs to lose a member to remain static – which is a position ( or worse) many companies are in.

    What is needed is ways to create jobs for the swag of mostly min wage (or close to it) that are about to lose their job.

    And for those that are saying this is not the case the company I am currently contracting to went through exactly this sort of equation, just not not in response to the min. wage increasing. These scenarios are playing out all over the place in various forms and this will continue.

    Yes, 20 or so dollars a week will make “a difference” to a min wage worker, but losing their job will make a much bigger difference. I am annoyed that the column lengths are taken up with this as if this was the big decision to be made as opposed to National’s complete lack of ideas on more pressing concerns.

    And no I am not National bashing. I truly wish they would start to release ideas that will actually help get our most vunerable through this. This is not one of those ideas. Neither is Labour’s response.

    And for the record I think raising it to $15/hr at the moment would be economic suicide.

  24. lukas 25

    SP- “they were going to go for no change” proof? Or is it just “the word on the street”?

  25. mike 26

    “we put the heat of media questioning on them”

    Ha! This distorted self importance is priceless SP. As if the Govt give a flying feck what you lot think.

  26. IrishBill 27

    Mike, I think you’ll find the government (or more specifically National’s research/media team) read the standard very closely. They’ve even been known to crib from us.

  27. mike 28

    There are probably loads of nats read this blog for some light entertainment like myself IB – but to claim they change policy as a result is pure lunacy.

  28. IrishBill 29

    You’d think so.

  29. Santi 30

    Goff can call for the sky or any other thing he wants to. Nobody is listening to the poor guy, so he should shut up and prepare to be opposition for a long, long time.

    By the way, Labour needs a new leader. Phil does not cut the mustard.

  30. Pushing up wages just means pushing up prices for goods and services. Obviously many business have to put up their prices to pay higher wages. The low paid worker soon has to face increased prices so what’s the gain for him? Or if his employer can’t put up his prices he may be squeezed enough to lay off staff. Isn’t this all pretty obvious?

  31. Tane 32

    The low paid worker soon has to face increased prices so what’s the gain for him?

    Because even if we assume your premises are correct and the difference will come from higher prices rather than reduced profits, if you lift the minimum wage higher than inflation then by definition a minimum wage worker will be better off than he or she was before.

    Minimum wage workers are objectively better off financially after nine years of substantial minimum wage increases under the last government than they were in the 1990s when National let it fall behind inflation. Given we know this, how can you possibly argue that low paid workers would be better off without any minimum wage protections at all?

    The low paid worker soon has to face increased prices so what’s the gain for him?

    The rhetoric about the minimum wage leading to unemployment is baseless. Sure, if we raised it to $50 tomorrow there’d be layoffs. But we’re not talking about doing that, we’re talking about raising it by a small and affordable amount, gradually and over time, to an amount still well short of 2/3 of the average wage. The record of the last nine years shows as the minimum wage rose unemployment went down – to record levels, in fact.

    Clearly it’s not all as simple as Ayn Rand’s fantasy novels make out.

  32. sweeetdisorder 33

    “The rhetoric about the minimum wage leading to unemployment is baseless.”

    No it isn’t. Countless economic reports show the consequences of raising the min wage on the low skilled. But you believe what you want to believe and close your mind to the rest.

    “The record of the last nine years shows as the minimum wage rose unemployment went down – to record levels, in fact.”

    There is no evidence that one caused the other.

  33. IrishBill 34

    sd, over the last ten years the minimum wage has steadily risen and unemployment has been incredibly low. You are arguing causation. Tane isn’t. Your argument is that raising the minimum wage causes unemployment to rise. Tane has provided you with empirical evidence that the causation you argue is false.

Leave a Comment

Show Tags

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Nats’ housing policy fails to keep pace with population growth
    Auckland got less than half the new houses it needed in the past year to keep up with record population growth, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 days ago
  • Urgent action needed on dirty rivers
    The Our Fresh Water Environment 2017 report re-confirms that we need urgent action to clean up our rivers. Meanwhile, National is standing by as our rivers get even more polluted, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker. “This report is yet ...
    3 days ago
  • Where there’s smoke and mirrors, there’s Steven Joyce
    Steven Joyce’s much vaunted pre-Budget speech is simply an underwhelming response to the infrastructure deficit National has created, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Steven Joyce has belatedly come to the realisation that everyone else has a long time ago, ...
    3 days ago
  • Time to stamp out cold, mouldy rentals
    New figures show a small number of landlords are letting down the sector by renting cold, mouldy rentals. These houses need to be brought up to a decent standard for people to live in by Andrew Little’s Healthy Homes Bill, ...
    4 days ago
  • Time for fresh approach on immigration
    Latest figures showing another record year for immigration underlines the need for an urgent rethink on how this country can continue to absorb so many people, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “New Zealand needs immigrants and is all the better ...
    4 days ago
  • Bring back the Mental Health Commission
    The People’s Mental Health Review is a much needed wake up call for the Government on mental health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I applaud their proposal to restore a Mental Health Commission and their call for ...
    6 days ago
  • And the band played on…
    Making Amy Adams the Housing Minister five months out from the election is just the orchestra playing on as National’s Titanic housing crisis slips below the waves – along with the hopes and dreams of countless Kiwi families, says Labour’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Hotel no place for children in care
    ...
    1 week ago
  • Maybe not, Minister? Nick Smith’s housing measure suppressed
    Sir Humphrey: Minister, remember the Housing Affordability Measure work you asked us to prepare back in 2012? Well, it’s ready now.Minister Smith: Oh goodie, what does it say?Sir Humphrey: Nothing.Minister Smith: Nothing?Sir Humphrey: Well, sir, you asked us to prepare ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation data shows many New Zealanders are worse off under National
    The latest inflation data from Statistics New Zealand shows that too many New Zealanders are now worse off under the National Government, said Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson “Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) is now running at 2.2 per cent, and ...
    1 week ago
  • Another emergency housing grant blow out
      Emergency housing grants data released today show another blow out in spending on putting homeless people up in motels, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.   ...
    1 week ago
  • Families struggle as hardship grants increase
    The considerable increase in hardship grants shows that more and more Kiwi families are struggling to put food on the table and pay for basic schooling, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • More tinkering, no leadership from Nats on immigration
    National’s latest tinkering with the immigration system is another attempt to create the appearance of action without actually doing anything meaningful, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Suicide figures make for grim reading
    The 506 suspected suicides of Kiwis who have been in the care of mental health services in the last four years show that these services are under severe stress, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “If you do the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pay equity deal a victory for determination and unions
    The pay equity settlement revealed today for around 55,000 low-paid workers was hard-won by a determined Kristine Bartlett backed by her union, up against sheer Government resistance to paying Kiwis their fair share, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour welcomes ...
    2 weeks ago
  • DHB’s forced to make tough choices
    The Minister of Health today admitted that the country’s District Health Boards were having to spend more than their ring fenced expenditure on Mental Health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “The situation is serious with Capital and Coast ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats break emergency housing pledge – deliver just five more places
    Despite National’s promises of 2,200 emergency housing beds, just 737 were provided in the March Quarter, an increase of only five from six months earlier, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Research underlines need for KiwiBuild
    New research showing the social and fiscal benefits of homeownership underlines the need for a massive government-backed building programme like KiwiBuild, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Social data security review too little, too late
    The independent review into the Ministry of Social Development’s individual client level data IT system is too little, too late, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The Minister of Social Development has finally seen some sense and called for ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More questions raised on CERA conflicts
    With the admission that three more former CERA staff members are under suspicion of not appropriately managing conflicts of interest related to the Canterbury rebuild, it’s imperative that CERA’s successor organisation Ōtākaro fronts up to Parliamentary questions, says Labour’s Canterbury ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour to tackle Hutt housing crisis
    Labour will build a mix of 400 state houses and affordable KiwiBuild homes in the Hutt Valley in its first term in government to tackle the housing crisis there, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Housing in the Hutt ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Farewell to John Clarke
    This wonderfully talented man has been claimed by Australia, but how I remember John Clarke is as a young Wellington actor who performed satirical pieces in a show called “Knickers” at Downstage Theatre. The show featured other future luminaries like ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 weeks ago
  • Valedictory Speech
    Te papa pounamu Aotearoa NZ Karanga karanga karanga; Nga tupuna Haere haere haere; Te kahui ora te korowai o tenei whare; E tu e tu ... tutahi tonu Ki a koutou oku hoa mahi ki Te Kawanatanga; Noho mai noho ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Buck stops with Gerry Brownlee
    The fact that the State Services Commission has referred the CERA conflict of interest issue to the Serious Fraud Office is a positive move, but one that raises serious questions about the Government’s oversight of the rebuild, says Labour Canterbury ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Teachers deserve a democratic Education Council
    Teachers around New Zealand reeling from the news that their registration fees could more than double will be even angrier that the National Government has removed their ability to have any say about who sits on the Council that sets ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Free trade backers are simply out of touch
    Are the backers of free trade out of touch with public opinion? This was the question asked when the Chartered Accountants launched their Future of Trade study. I was astonished by the answer in a room of free trade enthusiasts ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    3 weeks ago
  • John Clarke aka Fred Dagg will be missed by all Kiwis
    The man who revolutionised comedy on both sides of the Tasman, John Clarke, will be sadly missed by Kiwis and Aussies alike, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I grew up with Fred Dagg and I am ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour’s modern approach to monetary policy
    A commitment to full employment and a more transparent process to provide market certainty are the hallmarks of Labour’s proposals for a new approach to monetary policy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s plan for monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy robert.ashe
    3 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    3 weeks ago