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The minimum wage is not a living wage

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, March 1st, 2016 - 109 comments
Categories: economy, employment, human rights, uncategorized, wages - Tags: , , , ,

Credit where it’s due, this year’s 50 cent increase to the minimum wage (to $15.25) is better than the 25 cent increases the Nats have frequently applied, and better than nothing. But it’s not going to change anyone’s lives either.

Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand also yesterday announced its annual assessment of a living wage, up 55 cents to $19.80. As The Greens put it:

Gap between minimum wage and Living Wage keeps growing

The growing gap between what families need to earn to live and what the Government sets as the minimum wage, shows the National Government isn’t doing enough to ensure all New Zealanders can get ahead, the Green Party said.

“While the National Government boasts that New Zealand’s economy is growing, it’s made sure that lower income Kiwis get less of the benefit of that than others,” Green Party workplace relations spokesperson Denise Roche said.

“New Zealand’s lowest paid third of workers have only received a one percent increase in their incomes since 2009, but the highest paid third of New Zealanders are now earning eight percent more.*

“Our economy is out of balance when incomes at the top rise so much faster than incomes at the bottom. …


One interesting footnote to this year’s process is the Nats abandoning their usual pretense that any increases to the minimum wage cost jobs:

Minimum wage rise of 50c to $15.25 will cause zero job losses, says Govt

The minimum wage is to rise by 50 cents to $15.25 an hour from 1 April 2016, affecting more than 150,000 workers. But the Government says the rise will not lead to the loss of any jobs …

Good to have that on record.

… though an increase of a further 25c to $15.50 would have cost 2000 jobs.

That’s some micro fine “forecasting” from a government that can’t usually predict anything accurate to the nearest $100 million or so.

109 comments on “The minimum wage is not a living wage”

  1. Paul 1

    ‘That’s some micro fine “forecasting” from a government that can’t usually predict anything accurate to the nearest $100 million or so.’

    And from a government that’s got us $120 billion in debt.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Lefties should not be complaining about government debt until they acknowledge that we have predicated almost our entire supply of NZ dollars on debt.

      If you want to get debt down but not suck up money from NZ households savings and incomes, then you have to go to a system where the government issues NZD, not borrows them.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1


        Of course, the fact that our money is predicated on debt tells us why the government is busy borrowing so much. It boosts GDP and profits without actually doing anything productive or worthwhile.

  2. AmaKiwi 2

    Thanks, Andrew Little, for a strong statement on the inadequacy of this tiny wage increase. It doesn’t begin to cover the rent increases caused by rampant property speculators.

    • grumpystilskin 2.1

      Yep, my rent has just gone up by $50 week and despite offering my labour for free to insulate the place 3 years ago nothing has happened.
      In other words, a landlord happy to raise costs but not invest.. I’m ok and earn a comfortable income, it’s my low wage neighbours kids I worry about in winter.

    • AmaKiwi 2.2

      Property speculators.

      I don’t think many locals realize that on the global scene NZ is now rated one of the best tax avoidance countries worldwide. That began in Key’s earliest days when he brought in non-resident NZ blind trusts that would be untaxed here.

      With dirty money comes the owners of that dirty money: drug lords, arms dealers, dictators, environmental destroyers, and all manner of scumbags.

      • Bob 2.2.1

        “That began in Key’s earliest days when he brought in non-resident NZ blind trusts that would be untaxed here”
        Citation? I may have been living under a rock, but I don’t recall ever hearing about changes meaning non-residents can remain un-taxed via blind trusts, and the only information I can find on the IRD site is:

        Foreign tax credits
        Credits for foreign tax paid on a taxable distribution can only be claimed if
        the tax deducted by the foreign country is similar to New Zealand NRWT

      • saveNZ 2.2.2

        Tell us more AmaKiwi about the blind trusts…

        It is pretty clear many people are money laundering here from sky city to property. Apparently someone tried to buy a million dollar property in cash….

        Apparently you go to Sky City with you dodgy cash, play some roulette table where you can bet that it does not go on one number i.e. huge probability of winning and then you win, and get your casino cheque and if anyone comes knocking – you show them the cheque and say you won the money.

        I did not know about the blind trust rout… what is the dodge – money laundering?

        • Anno1701

          post legalization of prostitution most lower level money laundering is done by registering as a sex worker (or making someone else do so) and then declaring cash as “proceeds of sales” so it can be legitimized/banked

          If you want to see money laundering on a larger scale just got to you local mall,

          ever wonder how all those $2 shops afford those high mall rents and stay in business ? particularly when they all sell pretty much exactly the same tat

          high incidence of cash sales + stock that never perishes

          • Colonial Viper

            For money laundering, SkyCity and the other big casinos have got to be the biggest target.

            • Anno1701

              “For money laundering, SkyCity and the other big casinos have got to be the biggest target.”

              the casino racket is the “blunt instrument” of money laundering , unsophisticated and only mildly effective compared to a properly structured layering process that is required for large cash flows

              hence its prevalent use by low-mid level drug suppliers/criminals

          • Lanthanide

            Are you saying that $2 shops are fronts for money laundering?

        • AmaKiwi

          Do a Google search for New Zealand Tax Haven. Here’s a sample of what you will find.



          “Foreign trusts established in New Zealand are not required to file income tax returns with the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department insofar as they do not have New Zealand sourced income, nor distribution made to a New Zealand resident beneficiary. There are very limited disclosure obligations in relation to the settlor and the beneficiaries. It should be noted that New Zealand does not have a central trust registry, thus offering a considerable degree of privacy and flexibility.”

          Click to access PAPER-5-NZ-TAX-HAVEN.pdf

          “Thanks to the beneficial Foreign Trust Tax Regime there is a substantial Foreign (Offshore) Trust industry in New Zealand. Very briefly, the Foreign Trust Tax
          Regime prevents the assets and foreign sourced income of a Foreign Trust from being subject to income tax in New Zealand.”

          Got the picture? Make millions making illegal drugs or illegally cutting rain forest timber or arms dealing or insider trading. Put the money in a NZ Foreign Offshore Trust. The IRD won’t see it and anyone else will have a hard time finding it because we don’t have a central registry of trusts.

  3. Anno1701 3

    Disappointing (but not surprising ) the media pundits and the PM trotted out the old ” cant raise wages without costing jobs” chestnut this morning ….

  4. Nessalt 4

    Seriously, i don’t know many small businesses that can afford to pay the living wage to all staff. A minimum wage increase, again, on top of benefits increasing is a lot more than what previous governments have done so i’m not sure why now it’s suddenly not enough.

    if $18.90 was the minimum wage i’d be looking for at least two years experience for a lower rung job as an employer

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Firstly, I’m waiting for Labour to formally endorse a minimum wage at a living wage level. At the moment the living wage remains irrelevant because Labour is not putting its full weight behind it.

      Secondly I agree with you in that I think that most small to medium NZ employers are not operating on big margins.

      To help them pay a living wage to their workers I think that GST compliance costs for small businesses need to be eliminated, and I think that the government needs to be spending more money into local communities so that small businesses can pick up that money flow.

      if $18.90 was the minimum wage i’d be looking for at least two years experience for a lower rung job as an employer

      I can understand where you are coming from on this.

      This is where the government needs to step and provide a jobs guarantee for anyone under 25 who wants to work, to enable young people to get real job experience in a real work environment with real performance demands.

      • Schilder 4.1.1

        You must envy the former USSR.


        The govt creates environment for job creation, they don’t force PwC for hire people.

        • McFlock

          I would have thought you’d be right behind the idea.
          After all, government employing workers to create infrastructure simply gave tories more public goods to pocket at fire sale prices when they got into power.

        • Colonial Viper

          The govt creates environment for job creation, they don’t force PwC for hire people.

          Uh, no one talked about forcing PwC to do anything.

          And of course the NZ Government can create hundreds of thousands of jobs, it did that in order to build the nation through the 1940s and 1950s, and it is still doing that now.

          Don’t you know your NZ history?

          Shame on you.

      • DoublePlusGood 4.1.2

        Heck, just get rid of GST fullstop. Saves those compliance costs, and puts money back into businesses by lower income people getting basically a 12.5% effective income increase, which would translate into spending on vital goods and services.

    • saveNZ 4.2

      It’s the cost of living. People are surviving because interest rates are low and petrol is low and consumer goods are low. That is hiding the frightening cost of the basics. Housing, water, power, food and stuff that is supposed to be free but isn’t (at least in Auckland) such as going to hospital (parking), going to A&E, school donations, child doctor visits, free 20 hours childcare for 3 year olds, water etc

      I know someone with 4 kids who has to pay $3000 in school donations. That is $60 p/w and the school want and appear to need the money. There is huge pressure to pay it. I do not blame the school as they are being underfunded. There is a subsidy on everything free in Auckland it seems. I was charged $49 for a ‘free’ child’s visit at the doctor and can’t remember the subsidy I had to pay for the 20 hrs ‘free’ childcare. Even taking the bus two stages with an adult and 2 kids return is something like $16 (can’t remember but it seemed a lot). If you park a car in the city it is more. The constant charges are astonishing. Getting a plumber $85 call out and then $85 p/h and then (the real rout) they charge massive amounts for the parts, must be up to 500% more than cost. Rates are going up, insurance has doubled. Library fines are something like $1 per day per book in our supercity.

      Someone who lived in Whangarei told me everything in Auckland is double in price down to the price of a pie.

      • Nessalt 4.2.1

        So your basically moaning that life costs money. well blow me down with a feather, you’d almost think people work for fun and leisure instead of bills.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Whereas you seem to think that the bills don’t exist and that people can live on nothing.

          • Nessalt

            You seem to think that rising costs of business don’t lead to rising prices. the bills gotta be paid on the 20th month following draco.

            • Colonial Viper

              Cut $2B out of bank excess profits and return that monies to small businesses so they can keep prices to consumers lower and wages to workers higher.

            • Draco T Bastard

              That goes both ways but the workers aren’t getting the needed rises to go with the rising costs.

              Profits for the 1% are going up though.

        • saveNZ

          Im saying that all the ‘free’ stuff the politicians tell us is free, is no longer ‘free’ and costs of basics are escalating. Lucky I don’t earn minimum wages because there is no way you could get by on them in Auckland. I’m also pointing out that if interest rates and petrol and goods were not so low people would not be coping at all. What happens if they start rising?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.3

      This is always the argument for low wages: businesses can’t afford to pay more. Yet increases in the minimum wage increase consumer spending, and the US states with the highest minimum wages have the lowest unemployment rates.

      Obviously the argument is bullshit. I wonder whether those who repeat it ad nauseam have ever once thought to check their facts.

      • The lost sheep 4.3.1


        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Yes, heaps more than this one. You will no doubt be able to find right wing economists who disagree. I note that the Dept. of Labor is a credible source, and right wing economists, aren’t, cf: Alan Greenspan.

          That said, I have no interest in engaging in another of the Lost Sheep’s feeble mendacity-fests. Quite happy to discuss this with anyone else, of course.

          • The lost sheep

            I see you got your qualification in early OAB. It is not simply that I could find plenty of RW Economists to argue the point, I could find plenty of academic debate from all quarters about the effects of raising the minimum wage. It’s one of those subjects that it’s impossible to make one line generalisations about eh?

            My interest mainly stems from my position as an employer of many people who work in jobs that nationally have market rates at or about the minimum wage level, but who I pay somewhat above that rate. I find i do get significant benefits from that, particularly in terms of staff retention.
            But then, I am making products that sell in a specific high end niche that can swallow a little extra top end price. It works for me and my employees.

            On the other hand, my industry has been reduced by about 75% (1000’s of jobs) over the last 20 years due to competition from 3rd World product made by companies that pay far far less than the NZ minimum wage. Many of the remaining companies tell me that any increase in their cost structure would further weaken if not destroy their capacity to provide jobs. So I would be very cautious about applying a generalisation to their situation. Don’t let that stop you though.

            • Draco T Bastard

              On the other hand, my industry has been reduced by about 75% (1000’s of jobs) over the last 20 years due to competition from 3rd World product made by companies that pay far far less than the NZ minimum wage.

              And thus who we shouldn’t be trading with or have tariffs on so that the price in the shop has the same effective wage rate and working conditions.

              • Nessalt

                How are you going to prevent me having a secretary in the phillipines that i skype with for half and hour each day to give instructions to. a secretary that averages about one and a half times as much work in a 6 hour day as my last PA ever managed on her best day, for about 60% of the price?

                Going to take my skype away troglodyte?

                • McFlock

                  Nah, just fine the fuck out of you when you get caught because your accounts don’t audit right.

                  • Nessalt

                    But they do audit right? it’s a disclosed expense on my company ledger. balances with the credit card transactions. so whats the problem? oh you don’t like that people cleverer than you have found a way to do business more efficiently. so they need to legislated against.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      So, you’d admit to breaking the law and expect not to have any consequences from that?

                    • McFlock

                      Nah, it’s not more efficient. It’s the first world outsourcing its exploitation to developing nations.

                      Governments do regulation.
                      Selfish fuckwits invent new and amazingly convoluted schemes to avoid that regulation.
                      Sooner or later that avoidance becomes evasion, or if the loophole is significant enough the regulations are tightened.

                      It’s a time-worn dance.

                      You pay by credit card, so your payments to your secretary are logged. If enough people do it, suspicious payments would be reported by the auditors or credit card companies, mandatorily. So you’ll figure out another dance step.

                      Who cares.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      oh you don’t like that people cleverer than you have found a way to do business more efficiently.

                      Thing is, they’re not doing it any cleverer – they’re just charging less for the same work. In fact, they’re probably doing far less cleverer.

              • The lost sheep

                And thus who we shouldn’t be trading with or have tariffs on so that the price in the shop has the same effective wage rate and working conditions.

                That would involve a significant increase in the price of many goods Draco, and most low paid people in NZ would feel a significant impact from that?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  So, you’re arguing against the market?

                  • The lost sheep

                    No. As always, I’m discussing the line between the market and the controls we apply to it.

                    In this case, you have suggested a market control that may well be counter productive to the people you are trying to benefit.

                    • McFlock

                      And it may well benefit them significantly, and the country as a whole.

                      What we do know is that right now they are suffering. Seems that maybe we should try alleviating that, and see if any negatives come about. Gradual maybe over a couple of years, not an overnight revolution, but we should try.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The point is that a market can’t actually function if different parts of it are under different rules and the pay rate for the same job is markedly different. The controls that I’m suggesting bring those into line and thus make the market function.

                      Hell, the TPPA and all other FTAs are about doing exactly that but they work in the wrong direction pushing conditions and wages down rather than keeping them steady.

                    • The lost sheep

                      I’d be willing to give it a go. Have done so in my own company.
                      But I remain uncertain about the overall outcome if it was imposed on all NZ businesses. It’s one thing to do it in a cutting edge Tech economy like Washington State, and another thing to do it in a primary production / tourism oriented economy like NZ.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Willing to give it a go.

                      Translation: I will vote against any party that proposes any significant lift in wages, and do my best to undermine them if they are elected.

          • The lost sheep

            Quite happy to discuss this with anyone else

            Not happy to debate my points OAB? Excellent. That will significantly increase the rationality of our discussion.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              You have no points. Please choke on it.

              • The lost sheep

                Good example of why the discussion would be more rational without your comment.
                Pavlov’s moth.

        • McFlock

          affordability argument

          Minimum wage across US states: chart here, created apparently by the guy at the top

          Thanks for playing.
          BTW, that lot was pretty easy to google.

          • The lost sheep

            This page here for a lead in to the many sides to the debate.

            For a good example of the complexity of the issue, consider the situation in Washington state after they raised the minimum wage in 1999, and had a higher than the National average increase in unemployment for the 4 years following.
            After that ‘shock’ they starting getting the positive gains….
            How would that work politically within a 3 year electoral cycle?

            • McFlock

              Indeed, many sides to the debate.

              So the consistent response that businesses can’t afford a living wage is, at the very least, debatable in the extreme.

              What is certain is that people earning a minimum wage that is significantly below a living wage are definitely experiencing material hardship. That’s why many of our poor are working poor.

              So basically we should increase the minimum wage to a living wage, rather than stand in startled terror against a negative outcome that might not even exist.

              • The lost sheep

                I agree that at least it is debatable in the extreme.
                Personally I would not like to impose it on a company that was struggling to stay profitable, but I am aware of companies that easily could afford to raise wages to a living wage, and don’t.

                I have advocated in the past that companies could be ‘means tested’….if you made 4 billion in tax declared profit last year, you do not get to leave your office cleaners on the minimum wage?

                • McFlock

                  So people should have a below-living income to subsidise specific unprofitable companies?

                  Maybe the inefficient companies should be weeded out in favour of more responsive managers, because the workers who lose there jobs in the crap companies will likely as not get better paying jobs in the replacement. Because effects on unemployment are unknown, remember?

                  I thought you tories liked the idea of business competition?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    If The Standard is anything to go by, some of them like weakly flapping around on the pointy end of a pin.

                  • The lost sheep

                    Wonderful. The damaging effects of a Govt. intervention becomes a zero sum due to the auto adjustment of the free market. If it works just as you say, what is there not to like McFlock?

                    But, what source do you cite for the assumption that all businesses who pay less than the living wage must be ‘crap’ inefficient companies run by unresponsive managers?
                    Just wondering, because all my experience is that the market is extremely effective at weeding out crap companies without the need for Govt. intervention to kill them off.
                    On the other hand, companies that survive for a sustained period of time under tight competitive conditions normally have been able to do so because they have honed their efficiency to a high degree…

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Meanwhile, on Earth, National Party intervention in the market enriches the National Party’s owners.

                    • McFlock

                      I make no assumption.

                      I just follow your logic that there is no compelling evidence that paying a living wage harms or helps the economy.

                      In that case, those hypothetical companies that you invented which were “struggling to stay profitable”, If they struggle, and there’s no overall effect, then lifting people out of poverty might have an effect on those companies, but the people will be better off as better companies replace them.

                      Thing about a living wage is that it applies to everyone in the country. And we’re already undercut overseas.

                      In the absence of clear benefit or harm, you argue for timidly grasping on the apron strings of the known. This is not the spirit of NZ. We came from explorers, travellers who willingly ventured into the unknown and risked all to enter a reward we now call “god’s own”.

                      Your fear of the unknown would have us still in the dark ages

                • Macro

                  Henry Ford made more money by paying his workers a living wage.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Personally I would not like to impose it on a company that was struggling to stay profitable

                  And here’s me thinking that the whole point of the market was to weed out unprofitable businesses.

      • Nessalt 4.3.2

        No it isn’t. It’s the reality that there is a pay-SCALE, and those at the bottom doing unqualified, unskilled jobs get paid at the BOTTOM of the SCALE due to the fact the work they do is economically unsound, yet the job exists because of necessity.

        you’ve neglected to point out that the flaw in your argument, at some point the cost of capital becomes less than the cost of labour over a period of time so the return on capital is greater than the return on labour. an example at the BOTTOM of the ladder is till workers at supermarkets and fast food store being replaced by automated systems. an example at the MIDDLE of the scale is accountants not doing book keeping work any more. nor do medium sized businesses need an inhouse accounts person necessarily.

        So, inflicting rising costs on business increases their motivation to search for less costly solutions to their needs. another wonderful example is email rather than post. websites rather physical premises.

        you can point out isolated instances where individual businesses and smaller markets have bucked the trend, but the evidence is there on a macro scale. Cue whining from OAB about how it’s heartless and cruel and they shouldn’t be business people if they can’t pay the wages he thinks they should. which any sensible business person will read and automatically know he’s never been in business for himself nor ever even made management. so isn’t qualified to talk about this issue

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Too funny. Doing both right now, you clueless numpty.

          Increasing wages at the bottom end of the market increases consumer consumption. Low waged economies may very well be heartless and cruel – I could make a case for that – after I point out that they’re stupid, because everyone is worse off as a result.

          Especially those for whom bidentaphobia is a self-fulfilling prophecy 😈

    • Draco T Bastard 4.4

      Seriously, i don’t know many small businesses that can afford to pay the living wage to all staff.

      Then, seriously, they shouldn’t be in business.

      A minimum wage increase, again, on top of benefits increasing is a lot more than what previous governments have done so i’m not sure why now it’s suddenly not enough.

      And you drunk the Koolaid.

      The benefits increase was a very tiny amount once all the delimiters were put in place and nothing like the headline value and only went to a few people not all beneficiaries. And the minimum wage isn’t enough to live on which is what it’s supposed to be.

      if $18.90 was the minimum wage i’d be looking for at least two years experience for a lower rung job as an employer

      Yes, well, you’ve already shown that you’re stupid but this proves it. Not paying you employees enough to live on prevents you having employees in the long run and ensures that there’s not enough money in circulation to keep your business running.

      • Nessalt 4.4.1

        Then, seriously, do you even think you are qualified to comment? ever run a business? I worked for minimum wage and lived on it. then i got skilled and better at my job and got a pay rise. if the employee is good, they get paid well, but not when they are an unknown quantity. You rhetoric is based on the fact you think you know what is good for everyone, but the reality is far different.

        Do you think the local dairy could survive paying a student $18.70 an hour, plus the benefits owed to them, just to stack shelves?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Then, seriously, do you even think you are qualified to comment? ever run a business?

          Yes and yes.

          I worked for minimum wage and lived on it.

          When? It makes a difference. If it was in the 1970s when, IIRC, in today’s dollar’s the minimum wage was $32 per hour.

          You rhetoric is based on the fact you think you know what is good for everyone, but the reality is far different.

          Actually, it’s not. It’s based upon the fact that basic necessities cost so much and that to live requires people to have more than that so that they can be creative and engage with society. The minimum wage doesn’t cover these.

          Yours is seemingly based on the idea that what’s good for business is good for everyone. The facts show the opposite – what’s good for business is bad for society.

          Do you think the local dairy could survive paying a student $18.70 an hour, plus the benefits owed to them, just to stack shelves?

          I think that the business should pay enough to live on. Simple really.

          • Nessalt

            “When? It makes a difference. If it was in the 1970s when, IIRC, in today’s dollar’s the minimum wage was $32 per hour.”
            – in the early 2000’s. when it wasn’t anything near like $32 per hour in todays money

            ” Actually, it’s not. It’s based upon the fact that basic necessities cost so much and that to live requires people to have more than that so that they can be creative and engage with society. The minimum wage doesn’t cover these.”
            – it’s minimum wage, it’s not your lifetime salary. people need to learn to do without if they can’t afford it. too many sky dishes on state houses to argue that one.

            “Yours is seemingly based on the idea that what’s good for business is good for everyone. The facts show the opposite – what’s good for business is bad for society.”
            – then who provides employment in your utopia? the state? that will end well

            ” Do you think the local dairy could survive paying a student $18.70 an hour, plus the benefits owed to them, just to stack shelves?

            I think that the business should pay enough to live on. Simple really.”

            – so the local dairy folds because it can’t afford to pay someone an amount of money, arbitarily defined by a priest in lower hutt. so not only is that student out of work, potentially home and no doubt food, but so is the poor dairy owner. unless that poor dairy owner does all the work themselves, taking their hourly wage below the living wage. will you make up the difference? or tell him he’s an idiot because he is living and working below the living wage? or should he put the price of milk and bread up. This is getting into some complicated stuff draco, how the costs of one thing affect the price of another. sure you can handle it?

            • Descendant Of Sssmith

              Most local dairies folded because they didn’t have the buying power of the large corporate and because their bread and butter was being allowed to be open on weekends when the corporates was closed.

              Many dairy owners buy the goods for their shelves from the supermarket when they can because they can get them cheaper from the supermarket than they can from the manufacturer / supplier.

              They used to pay good wages as well but once the corporates started paying chicken feed they really had little choice but to follow.

              Increasingly supermarkets are only employing people based on peak flows to minimise downtime – resulting in more part-time hours and less wages and more government subsidisation of wages.

              If you were really concerned for dairy owners you would shut the supermarkets on weekends (in my personal view from Saturday lunchtime) , make it illegal to give preferential pricing to the big chains and support wage bargaining that went across industries so that all staff doing the same job got the same wage.

              You really however don’t give a shit about small dairy owners any more than you’re concerned about the poor supermarket workers who have just been laid off here from their full-time jobs and given the option of applying for new part-time ones.

              And the automation would happen regardless of profit or wage rates. The companies who do this the most so often make the biggest profits.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              arbitarily [sic] defined

              Perhaps you can shed some light on this: why is it that wingnut reckons are so often founded on witless false beliefs?

              For fucks’ sake, you can’t even spell arbitrarily, and you also think you know the meaning of “defined”.

              • Colonial Viper

                arbitrary spellings of arbitrary? RWNJ par for the course I suspect. Freedom and liberty!

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          The corner dairy did just fine when wages were a higher proportion of gdp.

          The corner dairies in countries whose wages are a higher percentage of gdp right now do just fine.

          Your argument ignores reality. Why is that?

  5. Schilder 5

    Make sure Macca pays their front line employees 19 bucks an hour…

    Oh wait, that job has largely been replaced by touchscreen machines.


    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      …and your point is? Automation has been happening for centuries.

      No, wait…is it that people who argue for low wages and conditions are contradicted by reality so must resort to sneers and malice?

      • Nessalt 5.1.1

        what about accountancy firms OAB? trying to stem the flow of technology? i don’t see you commenting here on a typewriter. or do you fax LP what you want to post and include a diagram so he knows who you want to reply too?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          I’m not trying to stem the march of technology, you silly person. Nor am I attempting to impede its flow.

          I don’t buy the argument that automation leads to less work, either: the unemployment rate responds to other variables than invention. In fact, there’s lots of evidence that invention creates work.

    • BM 5.2

      Every time I’ve been to McDonalds I’ve noticed no one goes to the counter any more, every one uses the touch screens.

      I’m waiting for them to start installing these

      • joe90 5.2.1

        Yet the majority of jobs forecast to disappear pay double or more than the US federal minimum wage.

        By 2024, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 28% decline in postal-service jobs, totaling around 136,000 fewer positions than 2014.

        Mail carriers and processors aren’t the only ones whose jobs are disappearing thanks to robots.

        Automation technologies that conduct physical, intellectual, or customer service tasks are affecting a variety of fields, most notably metal and plastic machine workers.


        • BM

          Yeah, it’s a bit of a concern.
          Couple of days ago you posted a link to this video

          The crowd that makes these robots are Boston Dynamics and guess who they’re owned by


          Robots and driver less vehicles and it becomes fairly obvious Google wants to control the transportation sector.

          So it’s going to be good bye truckies and good bye couriers.

          It will also have a huge flow on effect with bricks and mortar businesses, with such low delivery costs internet purchases will become so cheap shops won’t be able to compete.

          • McFlock

            Well, yes and no.

            It depends how much of the shopping is utilitarian as opposed to being the experience as well as the purchase product.

            • BM

              Margins are fairly tight with most shops so you need customers through the door to make them viable businesses.

              Could retail survive with a say a 30% drop in customers.?

              • McFlock

                Most shops, as they are now, probably not.

                But the ones that adapt will survive.

                And mid/low level retail will be replaced by something else.

                If one thing the industrial revolution has taught us, one industry simply gets replaced by another.

          • Colonial Viper

            BM these things are going to be the human exterminators of the future. “Terminators” you could call them. (Amazing no one thought of this before).

            Also, having a robotic humanoid drive a vehicle originally designed for human control is a waste of time.

            Far simpler and more effective to have fundamentally new designs for automated vehicles.

            • BM

              How do you get a package from the delivery van to the front door or to the reception area of a business.?

              Do you think it’s merely a coincidence that the robot in the video is demonstrating his box picking up and putting down prowess.?

              • Colonial Viper

                Ok fair enough but why would there continue to be reception areas to businesses? And if there are reception areas to businesses why would there be any reception or admin staff there to sign off on a courier delivery?

                • BM

                  Getting a bit hung up on the details there bud.

                  Just saying, without the robot , the driver less vehicles replacing couriers won’t fly.

                  You need to get the parcel to the end user, not just to the delivery address.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Just making the point that this is technology designed to solve a non problem.

                    However, making a conscienceless army capable of following orders to the letter 24/7 without rest, that’s what this technology is really about.

                    Not delivering fed ex.

              • Draco T Bastard

                How do you get a package from the delivery van to the front door or to the reception area of a business.?

                Smart network of conveyor belts under the ground that delivers on demand from the local factory.

                No drivers, no cars, no trucks, and a very much more livable city space.

          • joe90

            So it’s going to be good bye truckies and good bye couriers.

            In the US alone close to 20 million jobs are forecast to disappear down the gurgler.


            View at Medium.com

            • Stuart Munro

              So let me get this straight – companies are going pay the capital cost of a robot to replace low-paid workers – and the IT service people and training costs, plus replacement after wear and tear – instead of a low-paid human?
              This will take a long while to debug, and buggy ones won’t save anyone a cent.

              • Draco T Bastard

                So let me get this straight – companies are going pay the capital cost of a robot to replace low-paid workers – and the IT service people and training costs, plus replacement after wear and tear – instead of a low-paid human?

                Yes because it’s cheaper.

                As an example: The biggest cost of a bus over it’s lifetime (20 years) is the wages to the driver. Take that out and the cost of the bus drops by ~50% (I actually think it may be more than that). And that’s at minimum wage.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Love to see that free maintenance free driving robot

                  • Stuart Munro

                    It will be the simple tasks that are automated first – as checkouts have been. So driving but not loading robots are to be expected first. But there are huge legal issues with robot drivers – wait till they kill someone or cause or contribute to an accident.

                    The combat robot makes some sense – emplaced sentry guns are an obvious move – but walker chassis will eat your whole development budget just learning not to fall over, and one RPG will crisp them. The real automated combat revolution will be the swarms – multiple bots and drones with different profiles and capabilities operating as a unit.

                    Gopro style animal augment packs will seriously outperform any standalone combat robot for the next several decades at a minute fraction of the cost.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Not sharpshooting you, but a few observations.

                      1) Automated checkouts at supermarkets are not automated.
                      2) The Google robot can demonstrably already walk over uneven terrain and resist being off-balanced
                      3) An RPG will crisp them like an RPG can crisp any thin skinned vehicle. Armour will be required.
                      4) Russia (and I presume China) are already developing EMP warheads designed to take out swarms of autonomous weapons.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      pretty speculative here so don’t be annoyed …

                      Automated checkouts at supermarkets are not automated.

                      They seem to be using less staff.

                      2) The Google robot can demonstrably already walk over uneven terrain and resist being off-balanced

                      Not remotely as well as a human though & what’s its range & endurance & logistic tail like? Bet that upright profile is not good for using cover either.

                      3) An RPG will crisp them like an RPG can crisp any thin skinned vehicle. Armour will be required.

                      & Armour will make them even slower and easier to take out – only militias without AT capacity will be daunted – & paint bombs or entanglement weapons may be an option for them.

                      4) Russia (and I presume China) are already developing EMP warheads designed to take out swarms of autonomous weapons.

                      A repurposed magnetron out of a microwave or radar can be adapted to such uses – but most conventional options remain cheaper and faster. A scary combat robot could be adapted from the cheese: http://robotwars.wikia.com/wiki/Wheely_Big_Cheese fast, cheap, proof against many conventional weapons, with a deployable weapons or sensor pack to provide defensive fields of fire… not atv though of course.

                      Walkers are very slow – specialised for rough terrain really. Might make decent mortar pod carriers though – indirect fire reducing loss rates.

    • Colonial Viper 5.3

      Make sure Macca pays their front line employees 19 bucks an hour…

      Oh wait, that job has largely been replaced by touchscreen machines.


      You idiot

      What happens when low waged workers lose their jobs and their wages, and can’t afford to eat at places like McDonalds and shop at places like KMart?

      Oh yeah, their corporate sales plunge and they have to close outlets in dozens of towns and cities!!!

      So who has the last laugh there?

      Fucking idiot.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.3.1

        True but that just means that we have to stop using a work as a means to get money.

    • Colonial Viper 5.4

      McDonalds to close 700 restaurants world wide due to declining sales – Jun 2015


  6. saveNZ 6

    The other thing to think about with the minimum wages is that the state is subsidising the employeer. Ie since no one can live on it, then if you have kids you get working for families topping you up something like 30% and then you get the accommodation supplement (not sure what percentage that is). So the taxpayers are actually paying to top up Mobil oil workers, McDonalds, Countdown, Sky City minimum wage workers etc etc.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      I don’t mind the state subsiding small NZ employers nearly as much as the state subsidising hedge fund shareholders of big corporations in New York, London and Hong Kong.

  7. Keith 7

    Key the magnanimous, the giver of life or so the theory goes.

    It’s fair to say Nationals official labour policies, the drive to get rid of unions and their unofficial cheap migrant labour policy have essentially stalled wage growth as intended. Great short term as Key thinks but bad long term. So were it not for the great leaders annual adjustments to the minimum wage, something akin to Muldoonism and a major spanner in the free market works, National would have to explain why real wage levels were dropping.

    Therefore we get the cheap alternative, up minimum wage rates by 50 cents and to quote the doublespeak man himself “wages are schtrong”.

    But concerningly National is staring down the barrel of deflation right now with frozen wages being a definite contributer and the resultant stagnation and shrinkage is not good. And worryingly for National deflation usually happens after a crisis and apparently in our “Rockstar” economy there’s been no crisis.

    So what else is going on John, why the sudden generosity with the business sectors go to rate?

  8. Incognito 8

    Comparing the minimum wage with a living wage is intrinsically flawed if not taking personal circumstances into account. The living wage is based on a family with two children and one adult working 40 hours and the other 20 hours per week. The minimum wage is a blanket wage set for all full employees aged 16 and over.

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