web analytics

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.



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.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


  • A charge on plastic bags – debunking some myths
    The launch of my Members’ Bill last week, which would introduce a 15 cent charge on single-use plastic bags at the check-out, has generated a lot of comment on mainstream and social media. From The Paul Henry Show at the ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 day ago
  • National’s $1trillion property sandcastle
    The National government's failure to fix the housing crisis has seen the ballooning and unsustainable property market touch the $1 trillion mark, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. "Labour wants an economy that creates high wage work that is based ...
    1 day ago
  • Government failure on housing crisis drives Reserve Bank to add tools
    If the Government was delivering a comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis, it is unlikely that the Reserve Bank would be continuing to pursue debt to income limits for lending for housing, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 days ago
  • International embarrassment for NZ likely over National’s failure to protect Maui dolphin
    New Zealanders who care about Maui dolphin should prepare to feel embarrassed: the Government is about to be put to shame on the international stage for its lack of action to protect Maui’s dolphin. The International Whaling Commissions’ 66th Biennial ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    5 days ago
  • Why don’t we spend $1b to keep people out of jail, rather than spending it on keeping them in?
    Earlier this week, Corrections Minister Judith Collins announced the government’s ‘solution’ to our burgeoning prison population. It seems that most, if not all, of Bill English’s hard-won surplus is going to disappear into another round of prison-building.  That must be ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    6 days ago
  • PKE Ship Sent Packing – Not Too Soon
    It is appropriate that the palm kernel expeller (PKE) ship off Tauranga has been sent packing. For weeks I have been saying this ship needed to be sent away, but it seems as if MPI has been trying to find ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    6 days ago
  • Do you #LoveSnow?
    I was a lucky kid. When I was about five or six my mum and auntie took me up to Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu and taught me to ski. As a young kid I thought there was no bigger ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    6 days ago
  • Awa Kairangi/Hutt River – Swimmable?
    On Thursday night I hosted a great swimmable rivers meeting organised by the local Greens in Heretaunga (Hutt Valley). It was great to see about 70 people attend and engage in the topic. We were welcomed by Te Atiawa representative ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    6 days ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    7 days ago
  • Barry Coates on his first weeks in Parliament
    Week one in Parliament has been quite an occasion. I would like to share the experience. I had given up on the prospect of getting into Parliament before the election and had been enjoying the diverse work I was doing ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    7 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    1 week ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    1 week ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    1 week ago
  • Vote Sooty Shearwater/Tītī for Bird of the Year
    Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) are amazing and deserve your vote in Forest and Bird’s Bird of the Year competition.  They make one of the longest known bird migrations, flying an annual round trip of 64,000 kms across the entire Pacific ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    1 week ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    1 week ago
  • Energy use going in the wrong direction
    New data out this week from Statistics NZ paints a concerning picture of energy use across the economy under this National Government. You won’t be surprised to hear that there is some seriously worrying information here about how dirty our ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    1 week ago
  • Junior Doctors go on Strike
    Thousands of junior doctors took strike action for 24 hours this week for better working conditions and safer working hours.  The Green Party supports their cause, and particularly their claims to reduce the number of days worked from up to ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    1 week ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    1 week ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening our relationship with the Rātana movement
    It was a privilege to visit Rātana Pā last week with fellow Greens’ Co-leader James Shaw, our Māori Caucus and senior staff to meet with the leaders of te iwi mōrehu, to strengthen the ties between the Green Party and ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    1 week ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disconnected thinking dirties the water
    Iain Rabbitts’ belief that drinking water quality, charging for water use and the land use that leads to water quality degradation should be treated separately is part of the problem we have right now in this country. The connection is ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Report back from Hands Off Our Tamariki hui
    This week I attended a hui in Otaki organised by Hands Off Our Tamariki about the proposed reforms to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act. Moana Jackson and Paora Moyle spoke.  They expressed deep, profound concern about the proposed ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago