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Minimum wage: what will it be?

Written By: - Date published: 9:56 am, January 27th, 2010 - 93 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags:

The Government is set to announce its decision on the annual adjustment to the minimum wage today. So what’s it going to be?

The three main positions out there are:

  • Business lobby: Hold increase down to 50c an hour ($13 an hour).
  • Unions: Step-change of $2.50 an hour ($15 an hour).
  • Labour: $1.25 increase this year ($13.75), followed by another $1.25 next year to take it to $15 an hour.

A poll conducted by the NZ Herald showed 61% of New Zealanders support the union position of an immediate increase to $15.

Which position do you think John Key will back?

93 comments on “Minimum wage: what will it be? ”

  1. Lew 1

    $0.75 — a compromise position, which isn’t really.


  2. Chess Player 2

    I would hope he backs the full $15 and then later reduces the top income tax rate.

    Both of which are well overdue.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Sorry, but the top rate is fine – Oz has a top rate of 45%, ours is only 38%.

      The problem is fiscal drag and bracket creep. The top rate threshold should be pushed out to 150k or so, to stop penalising high-paid-but-not-rich workers (those on <$100k) and giving them incentives to move overseas.

    • toad 2.2

      Key ruled out $15 last week.

  3. roger nome 3

    What would you do to fill the govt revenue gap then CP? BTW, my pwn’s got you in check.

    • Chess Player 3.1

      Reduce as much of WFF as possible

      • roger nome 3.1.1

        Oh – so you would increase hardship for working families, so that the rich can play a little harder in Fiji. Gotcha. Look at the board, i think you’ll see that was mate in two moves.

        Perhaps we should play again some time?

        • Chess Player

          No, obviously WFF would be reduced from the top end, not the bottom end of the entitlement catchment, thus delivering the full $15 to the lowest paid.

          Also, re the chess move references, if you know of a forced checkmate in two moves that involves a check using a pawn, I’d love to know that….or are you just being an idiot?

      • IrishBill 3.1.2

        I agree with abolishing working for families but only if it goes hand in hand with legislation guaranteeing better wages (such as an award system).

        The last government had an unfortunate habit of picking up the tab for business rather than forcing it to pay its own way. The wage subsidy that is working for families is a classic example of this.

        • roger nome

          I’m sure that i’ve typed an almost identical post at one time or another.

        • TightyRighty

          here here lprent. i see roger trying claim some common sense, but you’re the one seeing wood lprent.

  4. Monty 4

    it is stupid and opportunistic to increase the minimum wage above what the market can stand. No person should be paid more than their economic contribution. To do anything else reduces the opportunity for job creation.

    Labour do not seriously back such increases – except they want to be seen to helping “ordinary people”. National should raise it (if they have to raise it) what ever the inflation rate is – (2% ?) that would be about $0.30 per hour. Sounds too much to me even at that in this time of high unemployment.

    • Labour do not seriously back such increases

      You have to be joking. It was raised from $7 poer hour to $12 per hour during Labour’s reign. There were increases every year. The comparison to the average wage also increased but more slowly only because the average wage went up so quickly.

      • mcflock 4.1.1

        Labour only increased it because of the requirements of their coalition partners.

        Personally, I reckon it should be $17p/h, cut gst and put in another top-level tax bracket at 50%.

        Anybody who emigrates (although that’s been threatened for years) improves NZ with their departure.

        • crapulent

          Like Helen ?

        • mickysavage

          Labour only increased it because of the requirements of their coalition partners.


          Prove it.

          Bloody leftie historical revisionists.

          • Tigger

            Peter Dunne wanted the minimum wage increased?

          • mcflock

            I’m no psychotherapist or expert on others motivations, but a quick google shows one or two press releases that have Labour minimum wage increases consistently being less than their coalition partners’ wishes, but my favourite one is :

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/182308 Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009

            “The movement fulfils, ahead of schedule, a deal struck with support parties after the last election. ”

            “Bloody leftie historical revisionists.” Yeah, sorry “mickeysavage”, I forgot Labour is no longer left wing…

    • Roger 4.2

      “No person should be paid more than their economic contribution”. What is the economic contribution of a currency trader? Is it the same as people like supermarket workers who look after the $250-800k worth of product in their stores that people spend over a million a month buying. Is $13.59per hour not below their economic contribution?

    • roger nome 4.3


      You’re letting puritanical, mono-dimensional ideology get in the way of a very complex question. Most people don’t think of their communities as simply being businesses. Come down to the real world and join the rest of us why don’t you?

      ya know – imortal words of J.L – “better recognise your brother, join the human race” ….

  5. fizzleplug 5

    You need to remember that the mentioned poll wasn’t exactly wide-ranging in it’s choices. Statements like the one made can be very misleading, especially as a basis to attack the Government when it doesn’t raise the minimum wage to the level indicated.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      It also wasn’t 61% of New Zealanders. It was 61% of New Zealanders that answered the poll.

      Sloppy, Eddie.

      • snoozer 5.1.1

        by that logic National doesn’t have the backing of 52% of Kiwis, just 520 of the 1,000 people Roy Morgan rang.

        sloppy, lan…

    • felix 5.2


      “We asked people if they’d like more money. Results after the break”

      Skepticism is definitely in order.

      Equally skepticism is warranted when asking the EMA and the BRT what they think is an appropriate rise.

      “We asked people if they’d like more bills” etc.

  6. ipredict says 94% chance the increase is at least 25 cents and about a 36% chance it’s over 75 cents. Think the odds are wrong? Free money for you! Go trading!

  7. IrishBill 7

    It’ll be 50c.

  8. toad 8

    I’m picking a 50 cent increase. It is being announced by Wilkinson rather than Key so it is certain to be disappointing..

  9. Which position do you think John Key will back?

    Whichever position he backs he will be relaxed about it …

  10. PT 10

    fifty cents is more than enough, the country can’t afford anymore since we’re just coming out of a recession, any higher will stop new jobs being created which is bad for the poor

    • DeeDub 10.1

      HOW will it stop new jobs from being created? Please don’t just trot out the old Tory line of how it’s just ‘self-evident’ or ‘common sense’… it isn’t.

      PROVE it. Got any definitive studies which prove a link between a decent, livable minimum wage and less job creation?

      Didn’t think so.

      • PT 10.1.1

        unemployments still rising, means business cant afford to keep people, push up minimum wage and it will be harder for business to pay for more people, what part of that dont you understand

        • DeeDub

          PT no-one has EVER been able to provide proof of any link between higher minimum wages and reduced job creation.

          You may very well have a belief that is based on things as you understand and experience them, but that belief is not backed by anything but your own myopic view and limited experience.

          Show me the proof?

          • PT

            so why not increase the minimum wage to a hundy an hour, good idea then everyone will be rich, hey presto and nobody will lose their job

            stupid analysis from a stupid leftie

            • fraser

              so no proof then? hell, not even a debatable study?

              • PT

                as soon as you lefties say pushing up minimum wage doesnt affect jobs, I say why not push it to a hundy then and then you stop arguing it doesnt affect jobs

                you lefties are so stupid

              • BLiP

                Until you right wing nuts stop repeating meaningless mantras you will forever be doomed to a bleak ignorance.

              • TightyRighty

                BLeak Ignorant Person – BLiP

              • BLiP

                Hehehe . . not bad. Tightywhitey, worriesome and trying at the best of times.

              • felix

                I never knew TR had a funny bone.

              • TightyRighty

                weak BLiP, use what you’ve got before you make shit up

                Anti-spam: contribute

              • BLiP

                Are you able, please, to provide a single example of where I have just made stuff up? I think you might have me confused with Petey.

            • felix

              so why not increase the minimum wage to a hundy an hour

              If bananas are so tasty and nutritious, I should eat a hundred of them every day.

              If that cold beer was so refreshing, I bet a hundred would be really refreshing.

              Reductio ad absurdum, dummy.

              • The Baron

                Not quite felix… I don’t agree with PT necessarily but your analogies don’t match.

                People wouldn’t eat or drink that much because it is either physically impossible to do so, OR would make themselves sick, or would cost them too much.

                What are the negative barriers to overconsumption of wages?

                But PT does make a good point before he goes all mental – if there isn’t a consequence then why are you limiting the request to $100? How unambitious! Who is selling the working poor out now?!

                Lets try the much hated common sense again (and no, I can’t be f*cked trawling for a study), it seems pretty simple to me – any increase in wages has to be funded somehow. The majority of the left wing voices here assume that that can be afforded by trimming profits – and maybe they can, but i doubt that for every business.

                For the others, they will need to pass the cost of labour increase onto their customers in the form of higher prices. So, all other things being equal, costs go up, and dollars go less further – meaning cost of living gets a lil bit worse for all in the medium term.

                And for some others again, who cannot raise prices or cut profits – well one assumes they will keep their total wage bill the same by cutting back on the number of positions they have, and hoping for a productivity increase OR accepting crappier performance.

                Have I missed something? Does none of that make sense without some high-falutin paper?

              • BLiP

                Red wine is healthy – so why not drink a bottle every hour.

              • felix

                Point taken Mr Baron, those were lazy analogies which don’t line up exactly, but I think they do point out the futility of substituting one number for another and expecting the equation to yield the same answer.

                “if there isn’t a consequence then why are you limiting the request to $100?”

                Here you make the same mistake as PT. It’s not a question of there being no consequences.

                The question is whether the balance of consequences is positive or negative – if there are negative consequences are they outweighed by positive ones?

                PT assumes that the answer to this question will be the same no matter what numbers you use. That strikes me as, well, a but dumb.

              • PT

                no stupid, if there are consequences putting minimum wage up to a hundy an hour, then there are consequences putting minimum wage up to fifteen an hour especially when jobs are being lost. i argue there are consequences putting minimum wage up, its lefties here who say there are no consequence. killed yourself with your own stupid argument stupid

              • felix

                Read it again dummy. I never made any such argument.

        • toad

          There is actually research that refutes the neo-liberal assertion that increasing the minimum wage stops new jobs from being created. Like this one.

          The research compared the impact of changes in the US Federal minimum wage in New Jersey with changes in the neighbouring state of Pennsylvania where state minimum wages were already above the Federal minimum and remained unchanged. Thus Pennsylvania played the role of a ‘control’ in the study. On balance, the increase in the minimum wage raised employment, rather than lowered it.

  11. vidiot 11

    75 cents – slight increase over rate of inflation.

  12. Pat 12

    “It was raised from $7 poer hour to $12 per hour during Labour’s reign.”

    $5.00 / 9 years = $0.55c average per year. On that basis, calling for a $2.50 increase looks like a pipe-dream.

    • PT 12.1

      and what was economic growth and inflation over those nine years. putting up the minimum wage in recession is soooo stupid

      • snoozer 12.1.1

        in the last two years of labour it went up $1.75%. remember, PT as numbers rise the increase has to rise too if the percentage increase is to remain the same.

      • mickysavage 12.1.2

        Economic growth was pretty good actually and the funny thing is that the more that ordinary people have to spend the more they spend on local services and goods and the more local businesses thrive thereby allowing them to pay higher wages.

        Not understanding the relationship ot the link is “sooo stupid”.

  13. Probably they put it up to around 13.25 or something?

  14. PT:

    Can you please put up some facts to back your assertions. Just writing ‘bs’ or asking others to provide the facts (‘and what was economic growth and inflation over those nine years’) is lazy. You are coming across as a teenage tory lightweight, all zits, ego and angst. The level of debate here is generally pretty good and views from the right are fine, but please try and engage your critical faculties before you write.

    In regard to your comment at 1.05, lifting the AMW is exactly what is needed to help lift us out of the recession. Most of the rest of the western world has primed the economic pump by putting more money in circulation, either directly to business or via methods such as tax credits. Any more money given to the working poor will be spent immediately here in NZ, therefore helping Kiwi businesses survive, grow and prosper.

    Wages don’t kill businesses, PT. Lack of sales certainly does, though.

    • PT 14.1

      why stop at 15, why not push it to a hundred? because business cant afford it and jobs would be lost, duh. you dont get out of a recession by killing busines.

      • felix 14.1.1

        Why stop at 5 fruit & veg a day? If they’re really so bloody healthy then why not eat a thousand a day?


  15. TV3 is reporting it will be $25c increase.

    Skinfliunts …

  16. “The government throwing 25 cents to minimum wage workers is a cheap shot” said Campaign for a Living Wage organiser Joe Carolan.

    This is barely 2% of nothing, and will be well below real inflation when his government raises GST in the budget.”

    “Low paid workers are sick of being insulted by millionaires like John Key. We’ll be initiating for action on the back of this slap on the face, and there’ll be a loud and angry protest this afternoon at 5pm at Auckland’s Chamber of Commerce on Mayoral Drive”.

    “What workers need is a living wage- we’ve been pushing for $15 an hour now, and for the minimum wage to be set at 66% of the median wage. Tens of thousands of people have signed our petition for a Citizens Initiated Referendum, but John Key has infuriated the half million workers earning less than 600 bucks with this derisory pittance”.


    Joe Carolan 029 44 55 702
    0800 2 UNITE
    [email protected]

    • PT 17.1

      thats about right, nil increase would have been better when we have unemployment rising to encourage employers to hire cheap staff but at inflation is about right good decision from government

      • mickysavage 17.1.1

        I know why don’t we cut everyones wages by half?

        That way there will be twice as many jobs, won’t there?

        I am being facetious PT.

        There is a good example of what happens where wages are reduced by the effects of inflation.

        It is Zimbabwe.

        Is this the sort of economic model you support?

        • PT

          no i don’t support zimbabwe model because they printed and spent money they didnt have, very inflationary. a bit like the last laboru government spending money we didnt have on government waste which is why we now have so much debt in the next ten years savage. but if we cut the minimum wage yes it would create more jobs for poor people good idea!

          • mickysavage

            Why am I treating the views of someone who does not use capital letters as worthy of debate?

            • PT

              why am i treating somebody who puts up stupid arguments and is as stupid as you who thinks putting up the minimum wage doesnt affect jobs as worthy of debate. forget about grammar savage, you are too stupid to debate substance.

              • Hey PT you did not answer Toad’s comment above. He said:

                Did you bother to read the research I linked to before typing “bs’ PT?

                And if you think the research is flawed, please enlighten us all as to how?

                How about an answer?

    • BLiP 17.2

      Woopdee fucking doodle dee doo. What a bunch of heartless fucks, they really are.

      Thanks National Ltd® – I’m lovin’ it.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.3

      Yep, less than the rate of inflation. So, JK doing his utmost to keep his and NACTs promise to lower wages.

  17. Heck thats a bit low, 25cents an hour extra anit much.

    • felix 18.1

      It’s not any extra in real terms.

      • jagilby 18.1.1

        If it were extra in real terms then you don’t think you’d hit relative pay issues. i.e. people earning slightly more than minimum wage wanting slightly more…or do you think increasing amounts of people will be happy being reduced to the lowest common denominator?

        I’ll tell you what happens in the real world. An increase above inflation will result in those above minimum wage demanding a pay increase. Then what happens… Oh yes, inflation.

        Then what? Oh we’re pretty much back to square one – no increase in real terms.

        It’s simple stuff people.

        • A Nonny Moose

          Oh those damn poor people, always wanting more. What ingrates.

          • jagilby

            ^^^ Clearly lacks an understanding of the implications of inflationary pressures.

            I’ll make it simple for you:
            Minimum wage increase > CPI inflation
            Increase in inflation
            Increase in price of household goods
            Poor people no better off.

            Actually poor people worse off because:
            Increase in inflation
            Increase in interest rates
            Increase in mortgage rates on investment property
            Increase in rents

            I’m sure it makes a nice sound bite for you to say otherwise though and I’m sure you must sleep easy at night with all those votes you may gain by misrepresenting the situation to all those poor people on low incomes.

            • felix

              Can you explain how the rises in the minimum wage over the last decade managed to stay ahead of inflation?

              Perhaps your theory only applies under National governments?

              • PT

                because it was a tight labour market f, minimum wage increases werent higher than wage inflation generally. what labour wants is minimum wage artificially held up much higher than general wage inflation when labour market weakening. you lefties are so stupid not to see it

              • felix

                But jagilby says lifting the minimum wage causes general wage inflation.

                You really need to learn to read, dummy.

                Also, change your name again. You’ve made such a dick of yourself with this one in just two days, no-one is ever going to take you seriously.

              • BLiP

                Hmmmm – okay, I give up, who was Petey?

              • BLiP

                Ahhhh . . . now I get it.

            • mickysavage

              But increases in wages do not require an equivalen increase in the cost of a good or service. There is no linear relationship.

              How about this, it is just as simplistic.

              Increase in company profit > CPI inflation
              Increase in inflation
              Increase in price of household goods
              Poor people worse off.

              • PT

                no direct link between increase in company profits and inflation stupid. direct link between increasing minimum wage and labour costs duh. increasing labour costs in recession depresses job market stupid.

              • PT, is that you Kate Wilkinson?

              • Sonny Blount

                Actually its more like this:

                Increase in company profit > CPI inflation
                Increase in wealth > Increase in inflation
                Increase in wealth > Increase in price of household goods
                Everybody better off.

              • Zorr

                Sonny… only if that wealth is shared… and truly rich people don’t get that way by sharing their pie

  18. Sonny Blount 19

    By that logic (bigotry), minimum wage workers don’t earn their money, poor people are criminals, and people on the dole are bludgers.

    Are you suggesting that an increase in compnay profit does not help the economy?

    If that is the case, why are the wages of barristas so different to those of IT technicians? as I thought it was due to the amount the company was able to charge for the product they produce (ie profitabiliity of the venture).

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