National bleats about wages, still has no solutions

Written By: - Date published: 1:35 pm, September 5th, 2008 - 17 comments
Categories: national, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

earnings 450 gap 450

The National Party are once again trying to make political capital over the Trans-Tasman wage gap, even though they created it in the first place and have no policy to fix it. Like I’ve pointed out a dozen times before:

1. Yes, we have a wage gap with Australia and it needs to close.

2. The wage gap we have now opened up by 50% under the last National government due to their neoliberal employment relations policies. When you take rights off workers their wages fall, and under National most Kiwis’ incomes did fall.

3. Under Labour’s Employment Relations Act the harsher edges of those policies have been removed and wages have started to rise again. The gap with Australia has remained static. More needs to be done, but those are the facts.

4. National has no policy to lift wages. The only policy it does have on wages is to take rights off workers, which as we saw in the 1990s will only see downward pressure on wages and a further widening of the wage gap with Australia.

5. Cutting taxes will not lift wages, it will only reduce the tax people pay on them. In any case, to close the gap with Australia, National would have to abolish income tax. And that’s not going to happen, even in their wildest dreams.

In short, yet another hollow, discredited attack from a party that has no credibility on wages.

17 comments on “National bleats about wages, still has no solutions”

  1. Mike Collins 1

    Tane bleats about National but thinks Labour/Greens have solutions.

    Seriously guys do you ever get bored of your whining about National?

    IrishBill says: Do you ever get bored of trolling and commenting off-topic? Or is it just that you can’t defend the indefensible record National has on wages? If you don’t have an argument to make don’t bother commenting.

  2. deemac 2

    why are these non-comments even posted? just a waste of space

  3. Matthew Pilott 3

    Tane I think Mike is right – National clearly have all the answers, and Labour and the Greens are just plain wrong. When a point is argued so well, even though I usually agree with you, Tane, I’ve got to be honest here and tell you: Mike has got it in one.

    Mike Collins – why would you bother writing that? Looks like a little white flag to me.

  4. Felix 4

    Waste of space? Waste of electricity.

  5. Dom 5

    We are not Australia. It’s that simple. We are a smaller country, smaller job market, smaller economy and no surprises, that might translate to smaller wages. And yeah, National made sure there’d be an even bigger wage difference with the Employment Contracts Act.

    Anyone looked at food prices in Australian cities recently? And the cost of travel (petrol + big city + tolls). And housing. Friends just moved back because they couldn’t afford to live over there any more…despite the higher wages they were earning they will be better off over here.

  6. gobsmacked 6

    National’s policy on wages is simply to tell people what they want to hear. Never say no (publicly). For example, note this extract from today’s report of John Key talking to a Grey Power meeing in Nelson.

    His charisma charmed those at the meeting who spoke to the Nelson Mail.

    Pat Heaphy said John Key was “really positive and overall has a pretty good grip on where the country’s at and has good vision to where he wants to lead it”.

    Mr Heaphy, who runs Heaphy’s Home Support, said he wanted an urgent emphasis in the election campaign on increasing the wages of home support workers.

    Mr Key, asked what he would do about this, replied that Mr Heaphy “will see more money going into that area” if his party was elected to government.

    So, higher wages for the low paid? Sounds good. Where is the money coming from? When was this policy announced? What are the costs? Where can we find out more?

    Or is it just “you want it, I promise it”?

    (Hey, I almost hope National get in. Once people realize they’ve been conned, the ensuing anger will see them thrown out of power for a generation).

  7. Dom,

    I so agree with you. In Europe my husband and I ran a business and we were working 24/7 just to keep up with the cost of everything while we were both earning more than even in Aussie. After the introduction of the Euro it was even worse. Here we can live on one income and having a veggie garden. Hell, we can even save for the first time.

    I really have never been in a country that had it so good (generally speaking) and were so many people are complaining. Kiwi’s just don’t know how lucky they are.

    Funny thing though even though Maori’s in general earn less than Pakeha they are the ones agreeing with me the most. So it does not seem related to the actual level of wealth but more of jealousy.

  8. outofbed 8

    I know its off topic, but what do you all think about the Greens new billboards ?

  9. Mike Collins 9

    IB – I don’t troll very often. Don’t cast aspersions that can’t be backed up with evidence sunshine or I’ll start calling you Winston.

    When I come here I usually contribute in debate (sometimes) or just observe what people on this side of the fence are saying (more frequent). I am not a supporter of the National party and always chuckle to myself when people assume that I am. Thanks Matt – I needed the laugh.

    The point I was making is that when I come here each day there is invariably more posts about how evil National is. Actually this appears to be the majority of what the contributors post. Everything appears to be considered from a viewpoint of “how can this reflect badly on National?” It gets laughable – all the more so with the feeble attempts of dismissing this as nothing.

    Note I am not trying to suggest that this is the only attack blog in the sphere. Just laughing at you is all.

    [lprent: In this case I think that IB is probably incorrect. But bearing in mind the number of people and messages here, we’re going to get things incorrect sometimes. ]

  10. Matthew Pilott 10

    Mike – you’re generally good to debate a point with, which is why I was surprised by the comment. Glad to have provided a laugh, even if I didn’t say you were a National supporter as such – just reframed your ‘point’ about them.

  11. Tane 11

    Mike. I get bored of National being a pack of lying hypocrites. In fact, if you read my post again, you’ll see I was bored writing it and deliberately wrote it with that tone in mind.

    I just wish they’d start providing some policy to back up their rhetoric. The cheap hit-and-run attacks are wearing very thin.

  12. Mike Collins 12

    Yeah Matthew thanks for that. I did re-read your comment afterward and realised that myself – although it does take a close reading not to reach that conclusion.

    And thanks also Lynn. What happened was I read the post of the article and could resist commenting the way I did. Have a try yourselves – read the post title and then my comment. Might make a bit more sense then ;-).

  13. Tane 13

    Na, you were a rude bastard with nothing to add Mike. It was a typical troll comment, which is a pity, because you’re usually better. Try harder next time.

  14. Mike Collins 14

    Sorry you took it that way Tane – I didn’t mean it with the personal malice you seem to think I did.

  15. randal 15

    amazing how these people can lie with a straight face…anyway National is supposed to be the party of business yet they cant do it. They know how to chisel workers out of their wages but they cant attract high value added industry to new zealand so in the end they are just cheapskate wannabees with a spreadsheet.

  16. Alexandra 16

    The issue is worth bleating. Its serious and some young workers somehow believe the new Nats are different from the old ones. Hardly…same lineup, different leader who has his survival at stake. I clearly recall Key saying that he’d like to see lower wages but cant remember where or when. The above graph shows the effect of the ECA, and it will happen again under a Nat government. Why would anyone believe otherwise, unless your naive!

  17. Bill 17

    Neither Nat nor Labour are going to, willingly, do anything serious about closing the wage gap. Yes, labour increased the min wage and a few bits and bobs. But they are also responsible for the ERA which doesn’t really cut it at all.

    If a comparatively higher standard of living is wanted, then workers and unions are going to have to bring it about.

    But the ‘right to strike’ isn’t really on the CTU agenda and every improvement from the pat few years has been a ‘hand me down’ from government (following lobbying). Which is a problem insofar as it neuters any culture of fighting for rights.

    By contrast, I noticed in the Guardian the following “TUC faces motion on general strike. Unions call for first strike since 1926 in protest at Labour’s refusal to give back picketing rights.”

    Now although it will probably come to nought, at least some are talking about the union movement flexing some muscle.

    Meanwhile, in NZ…….

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