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Spark – kudos

Written By: - Date published: 8:05 am, August 15th, 2016 - 30 comments
Categories: economy, minimum wage, wages - Tags: , ,

Remember how so many NZ employers are saying they can’t afford to increase wages (some of them while booking massive profits)? Nice to see that there are some companies taking a more constructive approach to wages:

Spark pays full-time workers $40k minimum

Spark will now pay all permanent staff who aren’t on a commission at least $19.20 an hour.

The company’s new policy – called Spark Pay – means all full-time workers not on a commission are paid a minimum salary of $40,000 a year. …

The living wage is currently set at $19.80 per hour, so “at least $19.20 an hour” is a decent thing to commit to – kudos to Spark for that.

The scheme has benefited 250 Spark workers, who received pay increases over the last two years to bring them up to the $40,000 per annum level, the phone and internet provider said.

$40,000 doesn’t do too badly in the context of what workers actually earn in NZ. But imagine trying to save the deposit for a house on it. Our wages are too low generally, and this is one of the main economic challenges that we face. A few more employers committing to paying a living wage would be a good place to start.

30 comments on “Spark – kudos ”

  1. Gosman 1

    Now you’re stating that even the living wage isn’t enough.

    • It’s not enough. A living wage is the minimum income needed for a worker to meet their basic needs. That’s all.

      Sadly, in NZ, there is rarely a relationship between productivity, profitability and the rewards workers receive.

      • Keith 1.1.1

        Vis a vis there is increasingly little relationship between property prices and conducting business in Auckland AND paying wages. At what point is the need to recover debt from inflated mortgages passed on to a business renting, for example, at an unsustainable level if not already?

    • crashcart 1.2

      Now your making shit up. The article points out you couldn’t save for a house on that. Are you saying that isn’t true?

      • Gosman 1.2.1

        Depends on where you live. Are you stating that all people should earn enough to save to buy a house anywhere they want?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Oh noes! Peasants in Remmers! Have someone make some barricade thingies and call security!

        • People who don’t get paid enough to save for a house should be the exception, not the rule, yes?

          I thought that was reasonably obvious. That said, for people on lower wages like the living wage, it doesn’t exactly have to be a flashy house in a flashy location that’s within their reach. But there ought to be something within the reach of average (read: median) New Zealanders.

        • The Chairman

          It’s clear we require to strike a better balance between income and the price of housing.

          A full time worker should be able to at least afford to buy a cheap house, regardless where they reside.

          • Gosman

            Allow the supply of housing to rise to meet the demand. Then housing will become more affordable. All you would do by raising incomes is increase the demand for houses which would then lead to even more unaffordable houses.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Allow the supply of housing to rise to meet the demand. Then housing will become more affordable.

              That’s already allowed but isn’t happening – as you well know.

              • AB

                “Allow the supply of housing to rise to meet the demand”
                Nope – reduce speculative demand by replacing tax incentives to speculate with tax penalties for speculative behaviour.

              • OneTrack

                Except Auckland City Council are still dragging their feet to free up land and issuing building consents. They want everybody to live in high-rise ghetto apartment blocks. Except them of course. They will stay in their lifestyle blocks on the edge of the city.

            • The Chairman

              No, Gosman.

              Improving the balance will require both – increasing supply and improving incomes.

              With New Zealand’s wealth largely tied to housing, simply increasing housing numbers and lowering the cost of homes comes with great risk.

              Hence, the goal is to slow the growth in house prices while increasing the growth in incomes. Ensuring supply continues to meet demand going forward.

            • plumington

              Increased wages means more disposable income
              CEO of spark acknowledged that without a decent wage we all (except for the 1%ers) suffer ,localised businesses actually benefit from high enough wages with desposable income ,even Henry Ford thought that ,it is only the greedy and short sighted that dont

          • Draco T Bastard

            The big question we have to ask is: Why do they need to buy a house?

            And the answer to that question is landlords.

            • The Chairman

              People need a place to stay and a number prefer the security of owning their own home.

              However, in saying that, some also prefer to rent.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Why aren’t rentals, particularly state rentals, secure?
                What needs to change to make them secure so that people no longer need to buy a house to feel secure?

                • The Chairman

                  Rentals allow people greater flexibility to up and leave when required. However, they are also open to the risk of being sold, requiring tenants to move on.

                  The loss of security is the price of that flexibility. Some prefer it, some don’t. Therefore, can you expand on what you believe needs to change?

                  Additionally, one can always seek a long-term lease.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Rentals allow people greater flexibility to up and leave when required.

                    People who own housing can do that as well.

                    Therefore, can you expand on what you believe needs to change?

                    Better laws regarding leases on rentals.
                    State housing to be available to everyone with a lifetime lease.
                    A ban on selling state assets.

                    Nobody should have to buy a house at all just to get a security that doesn’t really exist. Just ask the people in Avondale that got moved on for the new motorway just how secure ownership was.

                    In fact, people shouldn’t be buying houses at all. The state should be supplying them as part of human rights.

  2. jcuknz 2

    I am sure there is an element of “what kind of house” in all this. There is a pre-occupation with the three bedroom house with all mod-coms when for a family starting out the house that Molly wrote about would be more than adequate and cost a mere fraction of the so called ‘affordable home’

    Housing policy omnishambles rolls on

    • DH 2.1

      It’s just being practical not a preoccupation. Young people who want a 3brm house are largely those who want kids. The last thing you’d want is to move house after starting a family so people look for a suitably sized house beforehand.

      • jcuknz 2.1.1

        But the world doesn’t need more people but rather less … people having children are really selfish from the world’s point of view..

        • The Chairman

          But the reality is people are having families. And while pricing them out of housing might be seen as a deterrent, it doesn’t help us deal with the wider mess it creates.

  3. vto 3


    if a wage is only enough to survive on then there is no difference with slavery is there


    • jcuknz 3.1

      It is the hope of better things in the future which makes life worth living. But nothing more than a basic wage has no future

  4. CC 4

    It would only take a small dent in the top end Spark executive pay packages to bring the 250 lowest paid up to the living wage. It looks a bit more a case of flag waving rather than substance.

    • Brigid 4.1

      I agree with that and don’t believe Spark deserve kudos at all. If they can pay $19.20 an hour, their profit is hardly going to be affected by a .60c an hour rise in pay for those workers.

    • Grant 4.2

      I’m inherently suspicious of any company which uses a stylized representation of an anus as their logo.

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