Mood of the workforce shows urgent need for change

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, January 8th, 2019 - 81 comments
Categories: business, class war, Economy, health and safety, jobs, tax, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

The CTU has released the results of its recent cost of living and income survey and the results are crystal clear.

The results are in for the CTU Together 2019 cost of living and income survey and it is clear that urgent change is needed with more than 70% of respondents reporting their incomes are not keeping up with the cost of living despite more than 55% reporting their workload has got worse.

The survey, run by the CTU’s online arm, Together, was completed by 1195 respondents over the period of January 2-5 and focused on their incomes, cost of living, and conditions of work.

CTU President Richard Wagstaff says the results are an eye-opener. “We’ve known for a long time that work in New Zealand and our employment law aren’t up to scratch but on every single metric we surveyed on we’ve found that many more people think it’s getting worse than better.

“While Kiwis’ low incomes and their high cost of living are standout issues, people are also reporting concerning levels of workload increase, loss of work/life balance and low job satisfaction.

“Our work is one of the biggest parts of our lives, it’s an indictment on us as a nation that for too many people, it has become so unfulfilling. It’s hard to see how people or the economy can do well when working people’s mood is so low.

“Last year’s employment law changes will have made a small difference to working people, but we need much larger systemic change to fix this problem. This needs to be a top priority for Government in 2019.”

Together is New Zealand’s largest online community focused on employment and rights at work.

The full survey results are available here

And some of the individual responses are very sobering.  Comments such as these:

  • “I have been in my current job 10+ yrs I have had to do 2 merit steps to be paid $22.60 pr hr. This is the same pay I was on when I left Australia 12 yrs ago. My position can be stressful & holds a lot of responsibility. I feel undervalued & underpaid.”
  • “I worry for families it’s getting so hard and I see children coming to school hungry and the pressure on parents is so hard”
  • “My rate of pay has not changed in years but the cost of living continues to rise- this is the case for many New Zealanders. I am fortunate that my husband has a reasonable income. I would simply not be able to survive on my income alone- and my situation isn’t unique.”
  • “90% of my pay weekly is for renting and food, cost of living is very expensive, my Wage is not enough to cover the rest.”
  • “We have to budget carefully as we’re trying to save for our upcoming retirement but are learning that experiences are more valuable than things. I don’t know how families manage – there are so many extra demands and pressures.”
  • “Wages don’t rise with the cost of living. You just have to try and make the money you get go further. Also, my workload has increased but my hours are the same.”
  • “The gap is widening at an alarming rate. We can’t afford to live well in our own city. My children have to move from Auckland.”
  • “The cost of food housing petrol have gone up and wages have stayed the same. It’s harder to make ends meet and each week is a struggle and paying power bills is getting harder each month.”
  • “I worry for the future of my kids and grandkids.”

And a couple of stories from overseas highlight the absurdity of the current situation.

In the United Kingdom Fat Cat Friday was recently celebrated.  This is the day that the average UK chief executive earns the annual average salary and this year it took four days, yes four days, for this to occur.

From Owen Jones in the Guardian:

Please raise a glass – if you’re not doing Dry January, of course – to our nation’s exceptionally talented CEOs and their superhuman work ethic and skills. For the average executive to have earned the equivalent of a worker’s average annual salary by 4 January is surely testament to an unimaginable amount of hard work and graft. They must truly deserve the 11% hike in their salaries since last year, unlike millions of good-for-nothing slackers like nurses and teachers who have endured years of stagnating pay.

It is worth taking a moment to absorb how great the gap now is between the worker and the boss. Top executives now earn 133 times more than the average worker; in 1998, the ratio was 47. The salary of the average FTSE chief executive is the same as that of 386 Britons on minimum wage combined. This in a country where workers have suffered the worst squeeze in wages for generations, where most Britons languishing in poverty are actually in work, where child poverty has increased at its fastest rate for three decades, and where one in every 200 people are classed as homeless or in inadequate homes. It is not a trend restricted to Britain, of course: US top bosses earn 312 times the average worker’s wage.

We are indoctrinated to believe that the booming paypackets of the boss class are down to their get-up-and-go, their innovation, their phenomenal hard work. This is used to justify and rationalise the explosion of inequality, not as evidence of an utterly broken social and economic model, but as just desserts. It is a pernicious myth. This is the wealth collectively produced by the hard effort of millions of people, who labour by hand or by brain. All of these CEOs depend on lavish state largesse: whether it be an education system (and its teachers) who train their workers, the nation’s expensive infrastructure, a law and order system to protect their property, research and development whose products they can commodify, a social security system to top up their workers’ low wages – I could go on. That is why we should snap out of thinking that they somehow deserve these vast sums: they don’t. And that forms the basis for arguing that far more of that money should end up in the paypackets of their workforce, reinvested in their companies and invested in the nation’s public services and infrastructure.

The arrogance, the hubris of Britain’s booming boss class – living it up in a seemingly never-ending party as millions struggle – is so flagrant, so obscene, it is worth asking – are they inviting a peaceful social revolution? They must realise that this is not sustainable.

And in America Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has announced her arrival at the House of Representatives by calling for a top marginal tax rate of 70c in the dollar on annual income over $10 million.

Jon Queally at Common Dreams has some of the details:

As many historians, economists, and informed citizens were forced to point out in the wake of the freak-out over a proposal by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to raise the current tax rate on the very wealthiest Americans to 70 percent, such a rate is not at all unprecedented and higher rates were the norm for a large portion of last century.

And one of the reasons that much higher rates were once very popular was because they were able to generate lots of revenue that was then put to good use. And, since most people are not extremely rich, there was popular support for such progressive taxation.

What Ocasio-Cortez is actually suggesting, said economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, is “what top public finance economists have been saying for some time” and “not at all outlandish.”

So while the newly-seat New York Democrat embraced the idea that “radical” ideas might be needed to help pay for essential policies like the Green New Deal or Medicare for All, many of her allies pointed out that there’s nothing necessarily radical about much higher tax rates on the rich and powerful.

Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal has caused much incoherent anguish as well as showing that very few right wing commentators know what a marginal tax rate is.

The proposal is not that radical.  It would not even affect all of the top 1%.

And the Republicans and their mates are struggling to work out how to respond to her.

She has started a public discussion that should have occurred years ago.

The bottom line is that wages and salaries are too low and the flow of resources to the wealthy is a major cause. Addressing top tax rates and top salaries is a start. The least the wealthy could do is pay their fair share of tax.

Something for this Government to consider this year.

81 comments on “Mood of the workforce shows urgent need for change”

  1. Craig H 1

    Once upon a time, the key to this was increased education, but as new generations enter the workforce, they are more educated than the generation before them, so that’s clearly not the answer by itself.

    Increased productivity plus increased union membership and activity (which might be the usual collective bargaining, or awards/fair pay agreements) are the real key to improved wages, which means embracing automation and machines, not fighting them. The key use for education in this model is upskilling people as industries change.

    • cathy 1.1

      “Increased productivity plus increased union membership ….. are the real key to improved wages,”

      increased union membership i can wear. this whole thing was dealt a death blow by the removal of compulsory union membership. that’s another story.

      but i keep hearing about the need for increased productivity.

      how is that? what does it mean?

      does that mean the majority of our workforce are slacking at the workbench? are people going to work and goofing off?

      does it really mean that corporations want to get more output from the same workers for the same outlay in wages? would they indeed increase wages if they managed to squeeze a bit more blood out of the stone? i doubt it.

      does it perhaps mean that people working three jobs to make ends meet are so exhausted they don’t function well?

      perhaps productivity is another buzzword used to defend the indefensible status quo.

      • Craig H 1.1.1

        People generally don’t slack around, it’s just that the easiest way to increase wages from the same pot of money (i.e. without increasing the size of the pot by increasing prices) is to replace someone with a machine and spread the rest of the wages between the remaining workers.

        For example, replacing a worker with a dishwasher or self-service checkout or ordering system and spreading the wages saved to the other workers is an increase in productivity leading to higher wages. However, the only way the owner will pass any of the savings on as higher wages is if the workplace is unionised and forces their hand, hence why I say unions are absolutely essential in this.

        It’s no coincidence that the (relatively) highest-wage period for the most people in NZ was when manufacturing was a major industry – take raw products and use machines and people to make items which sell for much more than the raw products, and pay the people much more than just producing and selling the raw products.

    • The Chairman 1.2

      While further education may help an individual to move forward and secure more, it doesn’t improve the wages of the unqualified position. Which is the problem – unqualified positions not paying a living wage. Of which there are many.

      Increasing the minimum wage to the living wage would help address that.

      Unfortunately, although the Government has set out increases in the minimum wage (over time coming close to today’s living wage) they are unwilling to lift the minimum wage to the living wage right now. As is required.

      The Government seems to be bending over backwards for businesses, who are opposed and are pressuring the Government not to.

      Therefore, its up to workers and their representatives to increase public pressure on the Government to act.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1

        While further education may help an individual to move forward and secure more, it doesn’t improve the wages of the unqualified position. Which is the problem – unqualified positions not paying a living wage. Of which there are many.

        And the number is increasing. The fact is that they have to increase else there wouldn’t be any work at all and there’d be bloody revolution instead.

        The Government seems to be bending over backwards for businesses, who are opposed and are pressuring the Government not to.

        Government has always done that. Even the First Labour Government did that. The governments have always been capitalist and so have supported the capitalists despite the evidence (The Long Recession, The Great Depression, The GFC and, of course, lowering wages while the rich get richer) that capitalism doesn’t work.

        Therefore, its up to workers and their representatives to increase public pressure on the Government to act.

        And how can that happen when the majority of people only get to vote once every three years for the people who will then tell them what to do and that what’s needed can’t be done because the capitalists won’t like it?

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      Once upon a time, the key to this was increased education, but as new generations enter the workforce, they are more educated than the generation before them, so that’s clearly not the answer by itself.

      Increased education does nothing when all the power is concentrated in the hands of the rich many of whom actually have a poor education.

      Increased productivity plus increased union membership and activity (which might be the usual collective bargaining, or awards/fair pay agreements) are the real key to improved wages, which means embracing automation and machines, not fighting them.

      Increased productivity will always decrease wages in an industry. It lowers demand after all. The only time this won’t happen is if the market can be expanded (More people to sell to) at the same time that productivity increases.

      This truth is why the government keeps looking for free trade deals but that, too, is only a stop gap measure and can’t be sustained. Eventually there will be so many people available to do whatever work is required that the going rate for any type of labour will be near zero.

      This is the problem with capitalism and the market.

  2. gsays 2

    in hospitality, the industry my heart decicded it wanted to be in, you are often working along side the controller of the purse strings.
    you are often young/inexperienced/re-training/temporary all of which disinclines you to bargain/demand fair pay let alone join a union or organise.

    the last increase in wages I recieved, despite a glowing review, was because the minimum wage had increased.
    thank-you to the government for having the courage to raise the minimum to the living wage. it is one of the only upward forces impacting on wages.

  3. Morrissey 3

    Good to see you writing on something you know about, Micky!

    Keep it up!

    [lprent: I’m sure that he doesn’t need the applause from a mindless parrot. Please desist until you can learn to think for yourself.. ]

  4. Ad 4

    Really shows how far this government would have to go in recommendations from its Tax Working Group to tilt the field back in favour of workers. Initial findings were underwhelming to say the least.

    We are a low wage economy.

    We generate too many season low-paid jobs.
    And we remain slow to mechanise packing and processing.

    Our economy is not altering fast enough towards higher paying jobs.

    So there is clear market failure in takehome pay and income.

    We need meaningful government intervention about take home pay.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      And we remain slow to mechanise packing and processing.

      Our economy is not altering fast enough towards higher paying jobs.

      So there is clear market failure in takehome pay and income.

      This is one of the reasons why we used to have penal rates. If there was enough work for two people then the business would employ two people or mechanise as it was cheaper than hiring one person on a 60 hour week. This would free up labour to do other work.

      This freeing up of labour to do other work is what is called developing the economy.

      But we even got that wrong at the time as instead of doing other work we made more fucken farms.

      We need meaningful government intervention about take home pay.

      We need meaningful government intervention to take us away from being a one-trick pony. We need meaningful government intervention to develop our economy.

      That’s going to mean huge R&D budgets especially in 3D printing.
      Building factories especially those in the high tech sector.
      And developing an ongoing education system so that those displaced out of an industry can easily retrain for another. Part of this will be harvesting people’s ideas so that they can be developed.

      I’m really not joking when I say that, as a small nation, at least 25% of our working age population should be in R&D and that should increase as time goes on. And that those who we normally throw on the scrap-heap as ‘retired’ should be part of that R&D – experience counts.

      • Ad 4.1.1

        There are a few local innovations like this one that will decrease our reliance on offshore seasonal workers, so long as the fruit company has the capital and will to invest in such robotic packing capacity:

        http://www.roboticsplus.co.nz/robotic-apple-

        It would be great to see Scott Technology of Dunedin also turn their attention to this area, although they are now devoted with their majority Brazilian owner to meat robotics.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1

          There are a few local innovations like this one that will decrease our reliance on offshore seasonal workers, so long as the fruit company has the capital and will to invest in such robotic packing capacity:

          That’s what penal rates were for – encouragement to invest in such machines.

          Then the government dropped penal rates and opened up the borders for seasonal workers and thus removing local conditions from the market ensuring a low wage economy.

          I’d say that if they can’t invest in such machines then they should be going under.

          Of course, when such machines do become readily available we’re going to see even more problems with even higher unemployment – unless we change enough and actually develop our economy.

    • Nic the NZer 4.2

      I think you are labouring under a missapprehension about technilogical unemployment. This doesn’t cause rising unemployment and the rising technology levels without rising unemployment rates demonstrate this categorically.

      So the question is what determines unemployment. I suggest it is a lack of a built in machanism in the economy to suppliment insufficient demand (what is purchased and therefore income) and the government abandoning its role in doing this supplimentary spending since at least Labour 1984 (prior to that election the Labour parties stated policy was to target full employment).

      • Ad 4.2.1

        At 3.8% headline unemployment, unemployment is not an issue for us. You might want to have a re-read of the report that Robertson brought out prior to the election on this issue.

        Productivity that generates higher wages is the necessary focus. Part of that is higher capital investment that takes the drudgery of work out.

        • Nic the NZer 4.2.1.1

          Unemployment rates in NZ (long term series by stats NZ)

          1939, 2.2%
          1945, 2%
          1951, 1.9%
          1956, 1.3%
          1961, 1.1%
          1966, 1.2%
          1971, 1.8%
          1976, 2.7%
          1981, 5.4%

          Exactly one of these was higher than your ‘goal achieved’ rate and this was due to a major export restructuring the economy was going through.

          And no your idea about productivity is BS too. NZs work force already works very hard and has one on the highest technical skill levels. Productivity by any reasonable measure means earning more for less work, e.g simply getting a higher wage.

          • Ad 4.2.1.1.1

            I have not set out out a theory of productivity in one sentence and you are making a ridiculous over-reading in trying to do so.

            The Productivity Commission are working on this technology-productivity-wage relationship and findings will come out this year.

            https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12053396

            Hopefully you are also aware of the report that the Productivity Commission completed on the relationship between productivity and wage growth in New Zealand.

            They also address the different models for defining the labour income share, both as definitions, and over the last four decades.

            https://www.productivity.govt.nz/news/productivity-improvements-needed-for-higher-wages

            As Huon Fraser, the report’s author, said: “To spread the gains, the education system needs to provide workers with the skills necessary to make the most of new technology. Investing in the complementary skills necessary to win the “race between education and technology” is critical to helping people benefit from new technology while minimising any harmful effects.”

            • Nic the NZer 4.2.1.1.1.1

              You did notice that the entire case presented by Huon Fraser is his opinion backed up by none of the research presented?

              He literally wrote a paragraph explaining that there is no evidence presented as to the causes of the decline in labour income share (or what a sensible one would be), and that they are complex but not likely due simply to productivity.

              The quoted representation of this as a thoroughly researched conclusion seems missleading…

  5. Philj 5

    Nothing surprising at all. What is the government going to do about it? Tax foreign owned Banks more than Kiwibank? That’s probably illegal lol!

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Foreign owned banks need to be got rid of.

      Best way to do that is to have Kiwibank provide mortgages and business loans with 0% interest. The money would be created at the time the loan is extended as per normal but it would actually be Reserve Currency and not Bank Money. The expenses would, of course, be covered by taxes.

      I don’t think any private bank could compete.

    • Chris 5.2

      That’s right. Sure, it’s great the CTU’s pointing this out, but as you say there’s nothing new here. Nothing wrong with the CTU saying this, but if this is all they’ve got I wonder how Richard Wagstaff’s leadership is going. He’s never been one to set the place alight. I’d even go so far as a dangerously conservative defender of the status quo. Where did he come from? The PS-fucking-A?

  6. cathy 6

    those figures on the wage gap in the UK and US are obscene.

    do we have a similar survey for new zealand CEOs?

  7. Darien Fenton 7

    I see Apple Picker bosses moaning there’s not enough workers. We need some intelligent discussions about equalising the labour market, so there is no longer unfair competition and jobs are worth having. Labour’s Fair Pay Agreements are an opportunity, but watch the backlash from the very same bosses.

    • OnceWasTim 7.1

      It’d be amusing Darien, if it weren’t so serious.
      And I know that you do realise there are parallels further north in the Kiwifruit industry, AND elsewhere in other sectors.
      Reform can’t happen fast enough – one of the problems however is going to be between a Minister bent on reform versus an ‘official’ bent on maintaining a status quo

    • Gabby 7.2

      They want some of those nice cheap foreigners who don’t mind sleeping in their cars.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1

        You mean the nice, cheap foreigners who they can charge for living in a hovel and make a profit from?

    • The Chairman 7.3

      Labour’s Fair Pay Agreements

      Unfortunately, once again the hype fails to meet reality.

      Industrial action will not be permitted in negotiations for Fair Pay Agreements. Thus, reducing unions bargaining power.

      Furthermore, Jacinda has sought to further ease business concerns over the new type of collective bargaining, saying there will be “no more than one or two” fair pay agreements in the current electoral term.

      So as usual, when it comes to doing what is required for workers, Labour falls short again.

      • Not so, Chairman. The Fair Pay Agreements are modelled on the Aussie system, where industry standard rates are set in a tripartite forum in an evidence based discussion, and then unions bargain on top of the established minimums. The ‘union power’ needed for FPA’s is actually research and advocacy, rather than militancy. However, in the second phase, bargaining for site or company agreements, strikes (and lockouts) are available tools.

        Fair Pay Agreements are designed to help the powerless, rather than those in unions.

        • The Chairman 7.3.1.1

          “The Fair Pay Agreements are modelled on the Aussie system, where industry standard rates are set in a tripartite forum in an evidence based discussion, and then unions bargain on top of the established minimums.”

          Nevertheless, Unions will be bargaining to establish those set minimums.

          And the the powerless don’t have unions to later bargain on their behalf for site or company agreements. So what minimum is set is likely to be all they get till the next round of agreements .

          • te reo putake 7.3.1.1.1

            This is all correct (though the tripartite FPA meetings are more of a review or investigation than a bargaining).

            Those not in unions will indeed have to live with the rates set by the FPA. But that’s still likely to be an improvement on the current set up, where the rates are set by the boss, often just at the legal minimum.

            And the FPA rates are supposed to reflect industry standards. That means paying the going rate in the industry, not just the Adult Minimum Rate. That going rate will be something of an average, but it will skew higher because unions already have established higher rates.

            So, in the Aussie experience, every worker in, say, retail knows that when they start work at the local supermarket or appliance store, they’ll get better than the bare minimum. They’ll get the going rate in retail. If they work for a bigger joint, say Woollies or Coles, they’ll also be eligible to join the union and be part of the even higher collective rates.

            It’s a win/win for workers and has benefits for bosses too, in that a level playing field gets established. Darien Fenton knows way more about this stuff than me, but I do know that in the NZ meat industry, the Talley’s group have a competitive advantage in procurement (buying stock from the farm), because they have lower wage costs and can pass that on to the farmer. The other meat companies, who by and large pay well, are at a disadvantage commercially by doing the right thing by their workers.

            • WILD KATIPO 7.3.1.1.1.1

              Good on yer…. keep on keeping on but cut the Donald and Assange some slack l0l !

              Seriously,… its time for some major changes, – if its to be incremental , so be it… so long as its FAST TRACKED INCREMENTALISM.

              That’ll fix it !

              Lets see these pollies squirm.

              We’ve had enough.

    • patricia bremner 7.4

      This is a fact Darien, Employers with an attitude of
      “Government find me cheap overseas workers for my seasonal crop.”
      then..
      “Government don’t push up our wage costs and employment rules”

      Just as some farmers called Jacinda Ardern “A pretty little communist”
      They then put out their hand for tax dollars to help with mycoplasma bovis.
      So, they don’t follow rules about animal tracking, which increases the spread, yet they expect that “Pretty little communist” to find public money to cover their losses.
      When the Government said their Association had to cover approximately one third of the costs, some bellicose characters had the temerity to complain.

      It is that sense of entitlement we have to shift.

      CEOs probably do believe they earn their money. Perhaps if they had to do one of the low paid jobs for a week, living and eating as these people do, they then may develop some empathy.

      However, there is a growing agreement that the wages are too low and costs are too high. Many improvements are underway, but impatience with the grind of change will see this expressed in strikes, meetings articles and blogs.
      Like a surfer, the Government needs to catch the wave, not be swamped by it.

      • SPC 7.4.1

        I don’t mind migrants in for seasonal work – though I do think we need to improve the local supply chain. Whether summer student workers, or the younger unemployed worker living at home with parents (those who can go to jobs and then back home seemlessly), and locals who need help with transport. The migrants become the highly productive (experienced) backbone of the seasonal workforce.

      • Chris 7.4.2

        Precisely. The apple packing industry in Hawke’s Bay is dominated by big players. The same outfits run picking arrangements as well. The pack house work pays the minimum wage. Often it’s 10 hours a day, sometimes more, including weekends. Work often involves standing in one place the whole time watching apples on a conveyer belt. Half hour for lunch, two 10 minute breaks. It’s mind-numbing work, yet these outfits regard paying the minimum wage as a given, then complain when they want to increase production and can’t find the workers. The unemployed are then blamed for refusing to agree to work in such conditions – conditions a lot of people would physically not be able to handle. Then the wealthy corporate operators cry to government to ease restrictions on migrant labour, while the unemployed are sanctioned for being lazy. Fuck me.

    • Chris 7.5

      Pay toilet cleaners 50 bucks an hour.

      • Chris 7.5.1

        That’s what needs to happen to make cleaning toilets and other shit jobs meaningful. The nature of the work means there’s no other way.

    • Nic the NZer 7.6

      A nation wide job guarantee program would kill of a whole swathe of poor employment practices. Even in the absense of a minimum wage it would be in effect a wage flaw on the labour market, but additionally one with guaranteed minimum working hours.

  8. The Chairman 8

    Can anybody tell me why the Greens aren’t publicly utilizing this survey to help increase pressure on the Government to act?

    There is nothing on their website about it

    Have they given up on the cause?

    They should be running with this, helping the cause to snowball, building up public pressure. Once again, they are MIA.

  9. Ah yes…

    ———————————————-
    ” the mood of the workforce shows urgent need for change ”…
    ———————————————-

    And so indeed it should.

    There was , … once , … a popular question directed at snobs , Johnny – come – lately’s and social climbers in egalitarian NZ by members two generation’s above me and those whose youth included the 1950’s , and a childhood of world war two… and THAT question was…

    ” Who do you think you ARE? , – King ( bloody ) Farouk ? ” …

    The origins of this phrase are fading into history and yet encapsulate entirely those of the elitist class who felt ‘ entitled’ to privilege , exclusiveness and wanton excess.

    Here is the mans photograph …

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/20/Kingfarouk1948.jpg

    And here is who ‘ King Farouk’ really was…

    Farouk of Egypt – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farouk_of_Egypt

    Read and see, …and recognize , … the absolute correlations between Farouk and the self entitled , born to rule attitudes of the Roger Douglas / Ruth Richardson camp and the 3 decades old camp followers in that tradition that this country has been subjected to.

    You may laugh at the David Icke ‘reptilian’ metaphor ,… but reptilians they certainly are. And there are many of them. Filling our Parliament’s , waging wars and using the working man as their tools and cannon fodder , enriching and engorging themselves on you and your family’s wealth , creating media fabrications to brainwash and herd us all along like cattle , filling our brains with notions of secularism and ‘religiosity’ at the same time , denying morality and values , the existence of a higher calling for humanity … like viruses,… lying latent in the very tissues of our society waiting for opportunity’s…

    Yes, … viruses and reptilians they very much are indeed.

    King ( bloody ) Farouk was just a more ostentatious example of them and easy to spot.

    Most of them , like sewer rats ,… prefer to remain in the shadows…

  10. Pat 10

    If you look behind the scenes the Gov. do indeed appear to be moving on this, although I suspect not as quickly or as apparently as many would wish. They are I suspect incrementalist by necessity.

    There have been a number of key decisions that clearly indicate a rebalancing although whether the desired outcome occurs (and in the desired manner) is largely open to disruption from uncontrolled (offshore) factors.

    How committed they are will be revealed in the next year as the TWG , CC Commision , and new GDP measures are fleshed out.

  11. RedLogix 11

    On the nail mickey. This is what the left is about for me.

  12. infused 12

    Why are much of these responses people who are staying in the same job for over a decade without much of a pay increase?

    Change jobs…

    • You do realise the jobs continue to exist even if a particular individual gets a different one, right? Only, I’m wondering, because if you did understand that your comment would make no sense.

    • gsays 12.2

      It would seem infused, you are not part of he precariat.

      • Tricledrown 12.2.1

        Confused needs a new job he doesn’t understand loyalty should be rewarded his loyalty lies with the party that pushes wages down.

        • Infused 12.2.1.1

          Theres no such thing in low paid jobs.npeople are replaceable.

          • WILD KATIPO 12.2.1.1.1

            Like bosses. And a fair few of them need replacing in this country.

          • Chris 12.2.1.1.2

            That’s the sad thing about it. Low paid workers are often very loyal. Take factory workers, for example. Often loyal to supervisors, or middle management. “There’s an extra load of apples that need to be packed. Have to work Saturday. Can’t let them down.” That’s how humans are.

    • patricia bremner 12.3

      Infused, go and have a cup of tea and think….
      What stopped wage growth in the last ten years?
      Who are these employers who are paying so little?
      Why have workers not fought for increases?
      What stops people from easily changing jobs?
      When that has truly been considered, come back with your solutions.
      Please stop victim blaming.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.4

      Who said that they weren’t trying to?

  13. Siobhan 13

    Interesting you mention Ocasio-Cortez. I notice she was one of three standing strongly against the Democrats Paygo nonsense. The Democrats version of the Labour-Green ‘Budget Responsibility Rules’.

    I look forward to many more pieces from you advocating the views of Ocasio-Cortez. It should be interesting.

    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/01/06/self-inflicted-pay-go-rule-democratic-victory-2020-just-got-harder

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      Capitalists – fucking things up as per normal.

      Hopefully the incoming Left will see that and start to reverse the damage done by capitalism.

      • Tricledrown 13.1.1

        Communists are equally bad at fucking things up.

        • KJT 13.1.1.1

          That’s why the “capitalists” depend on them to keep their economy going.

          Because they have been so, “unsuccessful”?

          The best thing ever, for the Chinese economy, was putting a, temporary, stop to inter-generational wealth.
          Though I don;t entirely approve of their method.

          The USA’s 90% tax rates, worked even better.

    • mickysavage 13.2

      Happy to state for the record that I am opposed to the Budget Responnsibility Rules and I have said so in the past.

      • McFlock 13.2.1

        I don’t like the BRR, but given that the government only narrowly achieved an unexpected victory I don’t feel confident saying they should never have been taken on – they probably headed off a lot of “tax and spend/show me the money” nonsense. It could have been even worse, and who knows, we might have been under PM blinglish.

  14. Tricledrown 14

    Shortages of Labour will force employers hands.

  15. SPC 15

    One of the problems we now have is employers are able to require workers to agree to seven day variable hours shift work before they are employed.

    This impacts as much on working conditions as immigration does on pay levels.

    Back in the day there were standard work hours covered and the rest was provided for by either over-time or part-timers (often second jobs). This left people with a better quality of life and or more money.

  16. Pat 16

    “The bottom line is that wages and salaries are too low and the flow of resources to the wealthy is a major cause. Addressing top tax rates and top salaries is a start. The least the wealthy could do is pay their fair share of tax.”

    I posted this the other day and there is a story in the numbers….and questions which lead to more questions.

    Inflation figures Q1 2008 -Q1 2018

    CPI 18.7%

    Food 20.7%

    Clothing -0.5%

    Transport 7.6%

    Housing 64.5%

    Wages 31.0%

    • KJT 16.1

      There is evidence, that the real inflation rates for low income earners, were much higher.

      • Pat 16.1.1

        that is one of the questions…..why is the CPI so out of kilter…a fortuitous weighting?

        remembering the RBNZ is obliged to target the ‘inflation’ rate

        • Craig H 16.1.1.1

          CPI uses a list of goods that is meant to be representative of median households, but Stats NZ do have other indices which are more accurate for high and low-income earners – there is a list of them on their website here:

          https://www.stats.govt.nz/insights?filters=Household%20living-costs%20price%20indexes%2CInformation%20releases

          • Pat 16.1.1.1.1

            Yes…I know what its supposed to represent and submit the following statement for your consideration….
            .
            “Our decision to create the HLPIs was a response to the 2013 CPI Advisory Committee recommendations (Statistics NZ, 2013) and associated submissions from public consultation in 2014 (Statistics NZ, 2014a). The committee, a customer group set up to advise on the consumers price index (CPI), reconfirmed the CPI’s principal use is to inform monetary policy-setting. It also acknowledged the CPI’s design is a compromise between this principal use and other uses, such as adjusting a range of public and private payments.

            The committee recommended we provide extra indexes to reflect changes in the purchasing power of incomes for different demographic groups.

            The CPI measures the change in prices of goods and services acquired by New Zealand-resident private households. It is an aggregate measure that represents the price change experienced on average by households. This makes it well suited for use as a national barometer of inflation.

            The methods are aligned with the CPI’s principal use as a macroeconomic indicator for monetary policy purposes. Yet, hidden behind all averages is a distribution. The distribution of inflation means the CPI does not necessarily align well with inflation experienced by different demographic groups.”

            http://datainfoplus.stats.govt.nz/Item/nz.govt.stats/a46a6353-947a-4062-89e7-c6faef4fece1/?&_ga=2.243535109.1227754416.1546944451-1245091629.1546112669#/nz.govt.stats/a46a6353-947a-4062-89e7-c6faef4fece1/25

            How often have you heard the CPI rate as the basis for all manner of actions, including wage increases? The reality is the rate of inflation varies massively by quintile (or any other ‘ile’ you care to use) and is therefore a misrepresentation of reality….and this misrepresentation informs policy.

            • Craig H 16.1.1.1.1.1

              Having been on bargaining teams before, I’m certainly aware that CPI is not a great measure for lower-paid staff and have flown that flag hard.

        • Nic the NZer 16.1.1.2

          The reserve bank is not obliged to target the inflation rate. They are instructed (anually I think) on what the specific targets will be by the minister of finance.
          The minister could already today instruct them to target primarily the unemployment rate (though nobody expects that to happen).

          Also for about the last 7 years their goal has been to increase inflation into the target band (an ongoing failure to deliver).

          • Pat 16.1.1.2.1

            “The Reserve Bank Act requires that price stability be defined in a specific and public contract, negotiated between the government and the Reserve Bank. This is called the Policy Targets Agreement (PTA). The current PTA, signed in March 2018, defines price stability as annual increases in the Consumers Price Index (CPI) of between 1 and 3 percent on average over the medium term, with a focus on keeping future average inflation near the 2 percent target midpoint.”

            https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/monetary-policy/policy-targets-agreements

            “Providing the Bank with one objective, rather than a list of objectives – production, trade, full employment and price stability – as had been the case previously, made it more credible that the Bank could actually achieve its mandate. The Act states “The primary function of the Bank is to formulate and implement monetary policy directed to the economic objective of achieving and maintaining stability in the general level of prices”. It acknowledged that price stability was the greatest contribution monetary policy could make to New Zealand’s economic wellbeing. It recognised the limitations of monetary policy over the medium term, and provided the Bank, financial markets and wider public with a clear objective for policy. Moreover, the initial PTA clearly defined price stability with a numerical target band of 0 to 2 percent. This clear numerical target provided a nominal anchor against which the Governor’s performance could be assessed and around which inflation expectations could converge.”

            https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/research-and-publications/speeches/2018/speech2018-04-12

            • Nic the NZer 16.1.1.2.1.1

              I believe that confirms what i said.

              • Pat

                “The reserve bank is not obliged to target the inflation rate.”

                oblige
                /əˈblʌɪdʒ/Submit
                verb
                past tense: obliged; past participle: obliged
                make (someone) legally or morally bound to do something.

  17. Bazza64 17

    Never been a union fan as in the past I think they have overplayed their hand and people have turned against them, but agree absolutely with this post.

    Wage increases probably the best option if some large companies can give up their ruthless pursuit of growth in profit year after year & look to reward loyal hardworking employees.

    Biggest cost is housing which is difficult to solve & I don’t think Labour will make a dent in the market – sadly their efforts will be like a small drop in a large bucket.

    Remember years ago when they said computers would mean we would all only be working, 3 or 4 days a week. Seems that as computers got more complex, society has become more complex to adapt with it + now I have to work a bit extra each year to pay Microsoft & Apple, and we are all on the upgrade mill now….

    Mind you technology is great, 1970’s was shite – one black & white Tv with cricket on all summer (a great cure for insomnia)

    • Craig H 17.1

      In the 1940s, Keynes predicted 15 hour work weeks – before computers even.

      • Pat 17.1.1

        Keynes vision was to use the productivity gains to allow more time, not more crap…and if we’d gone that route we probably have considerably fewer problems

  18. TheBlackKitten 18

    The real issue here is the cost of living for essentials. Disposal income now seems to be a thing of the past. But why do we pay the prices we do for food, housing and power. Have a look at the industries that supply these services/items and there you will find wealthy corporates with executives on insane packages.
    Have a look at how supermarkets operate. It’s not only the consumer that they have in a hole. It’s also their workers and suppliers. If you want your item in their shops then there are a lot of unfair rules you have to abide by. It’s about time a third party came and and made it fair for all and took away the power they currently have.
    It’s the power of dulopy corporates that supply Items/services that people need that needs to be looked at hard. How can we take away the power they currently have over consumers, suppliers and their employees? They are so big that no one else can compete to make it fairer yet I fail to see any of our politicians dealing with this issue.

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