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More than words

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 am, February 10th, 2009 - 33 comments
Categories: labour, maori party, national/act government, wages - Tags:

I see the Maori Party has come out saying the increase in the minimum wage to $12.50 an hour isn’t enough, and that they still support both a $15 an hour minimum wage and a tax-free bracket up to $25,000 (about the full-time minimum wage income).

Pity they didn’t do something about it when they had the chance.

Pity they didn’t put anything about the minimum wage in their confidence and supply agreement with the Nats.

Pity they didn’t speak up for their tax-free bracket idea when National was abolishing tax cuts for low and middle-incomes last year.

Pity that, when they had the chance to actually do something that measured up to their fine words by opposing those tax changes, not only did they fail to do so, they voted for tax increases for ordinary Kiwis. Pity they felt it was more important to keep their ministers’ salaries (and all the mana that goes with it) and vote themselves a nice fat tax cut.

No wonder ordinary Maori, including those two who went too far by grappling John Key and Pita Sharples at Waitangi, are already saying the Maori Party has sold out the Maori people by getting into bed with National (yup, that’s what those two guys were protesting about – the Maori Party-Nat agreement).

Fortunately, the real Maori Party isn’t all fine words and no delivery. The real Maori party, the one that most Maori vote for, Labour, actually delivers on education, crime, health, housing, and incomes, for Maori and non-Maori. They know that real leadership, really making a difference for the people, means more than empty words and flags over bridges.

It’s a lesson the Maori party is going to learn the hard way these next three years.

33 comments on “More than words”

  1. TightyRighty 1

    All this pity from the left, who never wanted to work with the Maori party anyway, so wouldn’t have granted the policy concessions in a different situation.

    Why don’t you save your pity for someone who needs it Steve, like Phil Goff.

  2. Tightyrighty. Um. A Maori Party-Greens-Labour coalition, had it had the numbers, certianly would have had provisons for the minimum wage to get to $15 – both MP and Greens wanted it immediately and the Labour policy would have had it nearly there by 2011, so it would have been an obvious part of any agreement.

    The Greens want a smaller (and more practical) tax-free bracket and Labour favours bottom-end cuts to top-rate cuts. Personally, I don’t think there would have been more tax cuts because they obviosuly shouldn’t be a priority in these economic conditions but a LPGM government would not have done what the Maori party jsut voted for and abolished those tax cuts for low paid workers so the wealthist could have massive cuts.

  3. cocamc 3

    Why do you all keep harping on about a $15 minimum wage when the fact are we cannot afford that currently in our economic situation. I would love to see the $15 minimum wage come into effect, and would also like to see my own salary increase but will forgo any increases till the economic situation improves.
    It is all well and good for the Labour and Greens to promote a $15 minimum wage but the reality is they couldn’t do it under the current situation

  4. Tane 4

    cocamc – Labour’s proposal (and that of the major unions) is for the $15 minimum wage to come into effect over a three year period, not immediately.

  5. Jum 5

    The word here is ‘salary’. Not ‘wage’ which implies you are not quite in the $12.50/hr bracket, hmmm.

  6. cocamc 6

    Jum, salary/wage -same thing. Money i receive for doing a job.
    Tane – Tell me how in three years we increase the wealth base to pay for it? Labour had nine years to do that and i’m not convinced NAtional can do it either

  7. Tane 7

    cocamc, we had plenty economic growth over the last nine years. In fact, our economy grew faster than our major trading partners.

    A higher minimum wage will have to be phased in gradually and with an eye on economic conditions as the global recession continues, but there’s a long way to catch up on where our minimum wage used to be after its real value collapsed under National in the 1990s.

    If we’re going to lift wages in this country and incentivise employers to invest in improving productivity rather than simply hiring another warm body then we need to start using of legislative mechanisms to lift wages. The market has failed us.

  8. cocamc 8

    Tane – break down that GDP growth into what Government spending contributed and then what the private sector contributed then we can judge the real growth. It easy to get GDP growth if Government doing all the spending.
    Your second paragraph doesn’t make sense unless i’m missing something. If we had all that growth then why are minimum hourly rates not higher today? the global recession hasn’t been in place for the past nine years?

  9. cocamc. ‘break down that GDP growth into what Government spending contributed and then what the private sector contributed then we can judge the real growth. It easy to get GDP growth if Government doing all the spending.” – makes no sense. You can’t just magic up GDP growth by increasing government spending otherwise we would all do it all the time.

    Now, I know this is probably pushing my luck given the understanding of economics you’ve just exhibited but could you please explain why $15 an hour now or in three years is unaffordable? Some numbers please, not just ‘coz I sez so’

  10. Tane 10

    cocamc – I don’t think you understand how GDP works.

    Under Labour the minimum wage grew by 70% over nine years – that’s a major jump. What you’ve got to realise is they were increasing it from a very low base after its collapse in the 90s. Of course, if you’re arguing that Labour could have been a bit more aggressive in raising it then I’m complete agreement with you.

  11. cocamc 11

    Steve, Tane – There are plenty of reports and studies that discuss virtues and downfalls of increased government spending, the size of government and the impact on economic and GDP growth. So you cannot tell me the size of our Government and the increased spending has not had an impact on GDP growth.
    Tane – I do not have an issue with a higher minimum wage. would love to have it increased. But we can’t at the moment and thats the end of it.

  12. Felix 12

    Coz u sez so?

  13. Graeme 13

    The real Maori party, the one that most Maori vote for…

    I would be surprised if “most Maori” vote for any one party. You sure you haven’t got pluralities and majorities mixed up, or “Maori” and “Maori who are both enrolled to vote and actually vote” mixed up?

  14. Graeme. In the Maori seats Labour took just about bang on 50% of the vote (~71,000 of 140,000). And as the Maori party only got 15,000 party votes outside the Maori seats yet most Maori are not on the Maori roll it is probable that Maori on the general roll voted even more heavily for Labour…. unless you reckon a massive portion of the non-Maori roll Maori voted tory despite Maori-roll Maori giving just 7% of their party vote to the tories.

  15. BLiP 15

    What a lot of bollocks!

    If the Maori Party thinks its squealing about the minimum wage and so on is fooling its constituency, it has another think coming. Maori are canny voters and will see through both the duplicity of the Maori Party as well as the National Party’s patronising blanket-and-bead trading. Recessions hit Maori families and workers harder and faster than the rest of the population. Once this one finally arrives they will bear witness to National’s pityless incompetence and the Maori Party’s impotence.

    I don’t know why I’m so disappointed to see the Maori Party stooping to such common political behaviour – such are the trials and tribulations of a naive idealist, I guess.

  16. Felix. Coz he sez so, coz Phil O’reilly told him so.

    cog. you’re arguing that government spending increases GDP faster than the private sector because you’re saying that if we discount government spending the increase in GDP (or, rather private sector domestic product) would be less impressive… now, that may or may not be true but I doubt it’s what you want to argue.

  17. Graeme 17

    unless you reckon a massive portion of the non-Maori roll Maori voted tory despite Maori-roll Maori giving just 7% of their party vote to the tories.

    I reckon a largish proportion of Maori didn’t vote.

  18. IrishBill 18

    Graeme, are you telling me you’ve gone to the trouble of commenting here simply to clarify a semantic distinction that would have been inferred by the average reader anyway? Do you have too much time on your hands?

  19. deemac 19

    the comment from the Maori Party (forget who, sorry) about govt plans for PPP schemes was worrying – no worries as long as Maori businesses get a share! PPP was always just a way of transferring taxpayers’ money to big business so no progressive person should support them, but at the very moment that PPP schemes in the UK are going belly-up because of the recession this is madness.

  20. Jum 20

    February 10, 2009 at 11:49 am “Jum, salary/wage -same thing.”

    No it’s not.
    Wages – payment in return for work or services, esp that made to workmen on a daily, hourly, weekly or piecework basis.

    Salary – a fixed payment made by an employer, often monthly, for professional or office work.

    That implies that the people on a salary may well get more than those on a week by week basis. My reasoning for mentioning all this is that you could well be earning more than enough to not care whether you get 50c an hour more or not. It does make a difference to those who look at about 4 hours buying them a loaf of bread.

    Get my drift – I’ll ‘labour’ the point. Don’t say it’s okay not to have an increase if you aren’t personally affected by it.

    PS Now if you’re a plumber, the world is still your oyster, wage or no.

  21. burt 21

    Steve P.

    Pity the…
    Pity that…
    Pity how…

    Pity the Labour party couldn’t work with the Maori party when they had a chance…

    Last cab of the rank and all that other control freak power at any price stuff that ruined the fragile claim the Labour party had over being a party rooted in the “labour movement”.

  22. Pascal's bookie 22

    How does ‘last cab off the rank’ square with ‘power at any price’?

  23. Graeme 23

    My point – which I’ll freely admit got lost during the further explanations – was that claiming that any party is “the real Maori party” when so many Maori are so completely disconnected from national politics is a going a little too far. When someone actually gets a fair proportion of Maori out to vote, they may have a claim on being “the real Maori party”; until then, it’s just sophistry.

  24. Felix 24

    Pb it’s ok, he’s going to square it retrospectively.

    Bloody nanny-state pointing out our inconsistent statements…

  25. burt 25


    If I square it retrospectively will you and your fellow lovers of big govt and high inflation all praise me for doing what needed to be done to prove that even though I made a mistake I wasn’t honest enough to admit it and needed to change the rules of the game to prove myself right? Will I gain your vote for being the most self serving person in this thread by changing the rules as I go along to suit what I did rather than take the punishment for deliberately misleading you all? – kisses…

    Pascal’s bookie

    The National party getting into bed with the Maori party when it was not required, in terms of numbers required to govern, highlights the Labour parties unwillingness to share power beyond what was absolutely necessary to get the numbers required to govern.

    It was always amusing to hear supporters of big tax & spend govt claim that Labour and the Green’s were natural coalition partners at a time when Labour were unwilling to have them directly involved in govt and choose the proven liar Winston over the Green’s or the Maori party to get their power at any price retrospectively validated numbers.

    Steve P pointing out the ‘pity that..’ the Maori party didn’t make policy demands for everything that was important to them before forming a coalition is perhaps an insight into why Labour & the Maori party never got their shit together for the best interests of NZ ahead of the best interests of the Labour party.

    However, given the way I worded it in my first post you were right to seek qualification.

  26. Quoth the Raven 26

    burt – It wasn’t required “in terms of numbers” but it was required to form any sort of realistic government as they had to play off Act. And big spend government? I know this has probably been pointed out to you many times before, but Labour spent less as a percentage of GDP than the last National government and this National government is already spending up large (I know, I know financial crisis, but Act’s still criticising big spending National).

  27. Felix 27

    I can’t possibly agree to the questions in your first paragraph burt as they make no sense whatsoever.

    The rest I tend to agree with. One of the main reasons I don’t support the Labour party is because of the way they’ve handled relations with Maori and the Greens, particularly over the foreshore and seabed.

    It remains to be seen if National will shaft Maori as badly as Labour have (or worse) but being friendly is probably a good start.

    Time will tell. They’ve got about 2 years.

  28. burt 28

    Quoth the Raven

    So have I got this correct, Labour forming a coalition with NZ1 was based on the best interests of NZ? It had nothing to do with not wanting to make concessions to the Green’s or the Maori party ? IE: Having the number irrespective of how unlikely or mismatched the coalition parties is all that mattered.

    National forming a coalition with the Maori party was to form a realistic govt because having the numbers isn’t enough – for National?

    What colour is the sky in your world?

  29. r0b 29

    Excellent post SP, it needed saying.

    Plus, always fun to watch the wit and wisdom of Burt at work (G’day Burt).

  30. burt 30


    I was trying to cast you as a lover of Labour – I got that wrong too – sorry.

    I think that rejecting the Maori & Green parties was a massive mistake made by Labour – The Maori Party coalition with the Nat’s (and ACT) is quite possibly unlikely and may also be proven to be unstable over time, however the fact it has happened shows that National are far more willing to share power (or at least be seen to be sharing) than Labour. It’s was a pity that Labour didn’t want to share power with parties that were more closely aligned to their historic ideology.

  31. burt 31


    How are you doing?

  32. Quoth the Raven 32

    burt – I wasn’t commenting on Labour, I was commenting on National. Don’t put words in my mouth – you stupid fuck. It was a numbers game for both of them – it’s politics. If you’re looking for some benevolent mission your looking in the wrong place.

  33. r0b 33

    I’m well Burt, ta, hope you are too.

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