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The moral case for a decent minimum wage

Written By: - Date published: 2:10 pm, January 19th, 2010 - 68 comments
Categories: minimum wage - Tags:

There was quite an interesting discussion on the minimum wage yesterday after a poll showed 61% of Kiwis back a $15 an hour minimum wage, and I thought it would be good to lay out my thoughts.

First, increasing the minimum wage changes the division of wealth between labour and capital. It gives more wealth to the poorest workers by taking a little from what are, by and large, big wealthy foreign-owned companies (the supermarkets, the fast food brands, the retail chains).

Now, I know you righties are all modern-day marvels. Born in a log cabin, you have pulled yourself up with no help from anyone except a public school system, public health system, the minimum wage, and all those other trappings of socialism. If you can do it, why can’t everyone else?

Well, leaving all that rightwing myth-making aside, let’s think about this. In our economy we can’t all be lawyers, managers, techs and the like. People in those jobs can only function thanks to people doing the often unpleasant, oftern dangerous, less-rewarded jobs – cleaners, factory workers, labourers, and so on. The work needs doing and the people need to work.

Now, the question is: what is the minimum decent amount a person should have to work for? What is the minimum fair amount for a human being to give over their labour? Unless you support slavery, you must agree the amount is greater than zero. So, we’re in agreement that a minimum wage is just, now we only need determine what level it should be.

The poverty level is generally recognised as 66% of the average income. It seems unjust that any person working full-time should be below the poverty line. So, a minimum wage of at least 66% of the average wage seems like a good target to me*. Hence why Labour initially set the minimum wage at 83% of the average wage (and, to the neoliberal economists’ eternal confusion, unemployment didn’t skyrocket and the economy didn’t collapse) and has sought – ever more gradually, unfortunately – to restore the minimum wage to a level above the poverty line.

Ok, last point. The more sophisticated righties like to pretend their objection to the minimum wage is not because they want labour to be cheap and capital to get the lion’s share of wealth but because they are concerned for the poor. Apparently, raising the minimum wage by a 20% would see thousands of jobs disappear. ‘You have to be underpaid. It’s for your own good’ they say while clamouring for tax cuts for themselves.

The problem is, no-one can present any serious evidence of this, only a few neoliberal papers that inevitably have a piece of mathematical circular logic hidden in their depths that mean the conclusions always magically match the economists’ pre-concieved beliefs (economics really is nothing more than politics in the disguise of maths). The reality, as we know from looking at the way labour is underutilised and employers don’t bother to invest in tools and training in places like India compared to places like Sweden, is that higher wages encourage employers to get more out of their workers leading to a more productive and more prosperous society.

Every time the minimum wage has gone up in the past we have failed to see the rise in unemployment routinely predicted by representatives of the Right like the Business Roundtable. Instead, we have seen thousands of Kiwi workers and their families lifted out of poverty and their children given a better shot at life, and no evidence of job losses.

So, a minimum wage of at least 66% of the average wage is just, we have had it in the past without problems, and it would hugely improve thousands of Kiwi families’ lives. Seems like the right thing to do to me.

*(I know, the average wage and the average income are different things but I think it works as a rule of thumb)

68 comments on “The moral case for a decent minimum wage”

  1. Gosman 1

    “Now, the question is: what is the minimum decent amount a person should have to work for? What is the minimum fair amount for a human being to give over their labour? Unless you support slavery, you must agree the amount is greater than zero. ”

    Ummmmm….. I think you will find that most people who support the free market believe that it up to individuals involved in the labour market to freely decide that level and not the Government.

    This means the rest of your point about everyone agreeing it must be greater than zero is actually just you taking an ideologically driven position.

    People might freely give their labour for free if they so desire. Who are you to stop them doing so?

    • roger nome 1.1

      “I think you will find that most people who support the free market believe that it up to individuals”

      oh – so if someone’s facing financial ruin, they’re “free” to agree to work for penuts? Come off it, that’s fallacious bullshit.

      This is the real world. We live in a democracy – now see how many NZers support that argument, you might get the Act supporters, but that would be about it. Certainly it wouldn’t be any more than 10%. So Take that shit to Somalia Gos. Go on. I bet no one would miss you.

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        Interesting you are advising me to go live in Somalia. Taking the same approach I could suggest you go live in Zimbabwe. The Zanu-PF regime there had a similar view about prices of goods that you and other left wing people have over the price of labour. They thought that there was some ‘fair and reasonable’ value which the Government could just dictate and everybody would be happy. Do you know what happened when they tried to do that?

        • roger nome 1.1.1.1

          Gos – don’t think Mugabe is a social democrat. However, there is no minimum wage in Somalia.

          • Gosman 1.1.1.1.1

            Mugabe is a Socialist who professes to believe in democracy and even holds elections. Obviously it is his kind of democracy and his kind of elections but if you are using Somalia as an example of free market thinking then Zimbabwe is an example of Democratic Socialism.

            So, do you know what happened in Zimbabwe when they attempted to impose a ‘fair and just’ value for goods in the country?

  2. toad 2

    This literature review on minimum wages (PDF 460kB) should be a must read for the neo-libs – or at least for those who are open to a debate about the evidence, rather than just spouting ideology.

    It pretty much debunks the “increasing the minimum wage will cause massive job losses” argument.

    • From the quick look at that paper its main focus seems to be on income inequality and the effects of the minimum wage on that. As far as the effects on unemployment of the relative groups goes they summarise their position as

      “Econometric studies on the impact of changes in minimum wages have yielded ambiguous results. The work of Card and Krueger, and subsequent studies using similar methods suggests that, in some cases, increases in minimum wages may have no effect, or even a positive effect, on unemployment.”

      But they also have to admit “The results of Card and Krueger were, not surprisingly, controversial. and strenuous efforts were made to reproduce or refute them. Critics have included Burkhauser, Couch and Wittenburg (2000), Neumark (2001), Neumark and Wascher (1995, 2000), Partridge and Partridge (1999a,b) and Williams and Mills (2001). Most of these critics endorse the view of Ehrenberg (1995) that, in the context of the simple partial equilibrium model above, ‘the finding of a positive employment response to increases in minimum wages amounts to a denial of the “law of demand”.” And they are right in that a denial of the law of demand is controversial and that reproducing those results has proved difficult. Also a number of the critics have argued there are faults in the Card and Krueger paper. See Minimum Wages’ by David Neumark and William L. Wascher, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008 for a discussion of the Card and Krueger paper.

      “It pretty much debunks the “increasing the minimum wage will cause massive job losses’ argument.”

      It does not debunk that argument because no one makes such an argument. The argument made is that is that there will be a reduction in employment opportunities for the low-skilled and directly affected workers. The overall unemployment rate will not be affected in any serious way. So you will not see “massive job losses” due to an increase in the minimum wages because those affected by the minimum wage are a small subset of the total labour market.

      • roger nome 2.1.1

        “The argument made is that is that there will be a reduction in employment opportunities for the low-skilled and directly affected workers”

        The studies i’ve read purport that a significant increase in the minimum wage simply results in increases in the prices of goods and services involving workers who are affected by minimum wage jobs, coupled with a reduction in operating surplus – not a decease in job opportunities.

        So Paul, can you produce just one empirical study that shows a significant increase in unemployment due to an incerase in the minimum wage? I bet you can’t.

        • Paul Walker 2.1.1.1

          “The studies i’ve read purport that a significant increase in the minimum wage simply results in increases in the prices of goods and services involving workers who are affected by minimum wage jobs, coupled with a reduction in operating surplus not a decease in job opportunities.”

          Interesting. Can you give the cite for this?

          “So Paul, can you produce just one empirical study that shows a significant increase in unemployment due to an incerase in the minimum wage?”

          Well no because we would never expect there to be an increase in unemployment due to an increase in the minimum wage. The claim made is that there will be a reduction in employment opportunities for the low-skilled and directly affected workers. The overall unemployment rate will not be affected in any serious way since those affected by the minimum wage are a small section of the overall labour market. On the evidence of the effects of the minimum wage see Minimum Wages’ by David Neumark and William L. Wascher, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008.

    • I also found this comment in the paper interesting:

      “We present evidence confirming previous findings that countries with regulated labour markets have been able to resist the global trend towards rising inequality without suffering either higher unemployment or lower employment than countries with deregulated labour markets.”

      I think that has to be true, almost by definition. To see this take an extreme example, assume it is illegal to ever fire anyone. That is an extremely regulated labour market and then it would not be at all surprising that inequality would not increase or that you won’t see an increase in unemployment. The point being that if you regulated the market enough then of course you would not see changes in inequality or unemployment.

      • roger nome 2.2.1

        So Paul – you’re fine with the fact that there’s been no real wage growth for people who are working in the minimum wage industries over the last 20 years? i wonder how happy other NZers are with that?

        http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_t8KNMT03MmI/SIaccCQtcoI/AAAAAAAAAD4/dqFNJsKsEEU/s1600-h/Wages.jpg

        • Paul Walker 2.2.1.1

          Is this relevant to my posting?

          • roger nome 2.2.1.1.1

            Good point Paul – what the hell are you arguning for anyhow. Clarify your position? or do you not have one, because you don’t know what the hell you’re going on about?

        • Pascal's bookie 2.2.1.2

          @ roger

          So has there been no productvity improvement in that sector over that time, (hard to believe), or does it suggest that the link between the two isn’t magical but dependent on labour laws, union freedom, political action and other such variables?

          • roger nome 2.2.1.2.1

            PB – when economies were by and large national productivity and wages were linked, but this is no longer the case. See this for instance:

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/5303590.stm

            to answer your other question, there have been small productivity increases wach year in the fast-food industry, that have probably amounted to about 20% over the last 20 years (read some papers a couple of years ago, so the memory’s a bit foggy.), but no concurrent increase in wages has resulted.

  3. vidiot 3

    “61% of Kiwis back a $15 an hour minimum wage”

    Actually, 61% of Kiwis back a raise to $15 an hour minimum wage when they were only given the options of reduce the minimum wage, leave it $12.50 or raise it to $15.00

    Am sure results would have been different if a 4th option of say $13.25 (6% increase) was also tossed in to the mix.

    • “Every time the minimum wage has gone up in the past we have failed to see the rise in unemployment routinely predicted by representatives of the Right like the Business Roundtable. Instead, we have seen thousands of Kiwi workers and their families lifted out of poverty and their children given a better shot at life, and no evidence of job losses.”

      But no one actually makes this claim, so why are you saying they do?

      The claim made, with evidence to back it up, see Minimum Wages” by David Neumark and William L. Wascher, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008 for a recent survey of the economics literature on the minimum wage, is that there will be a reduction in employment opportunities for the low-skilled and directly affected workers. The overall unemployment rate will not be affected in any serious way.

    • Bright Red 3.2

      “Actually, 61% of Kiwis back a raise to $15 an hour minimum wage when they were only given the options of reduce the minimum wage, leave it $12.50 or raise it to $15.00”

      If people thought $15 was too much, they could have chosen the option to leave it at $12.50.

      You’re right that support for any increase may be higher than support for specifically $15 an hour but $15 an hour is the option on the petition, so that’s why they asked.

      • vidiot 3.2.1

        Ah but 94% of people would agree that increasing it and the tax brackets at a rate higher than inflation is also fair. It’s just a pity that it took 9 years for the tax brackets to change.

  4. “The problem is, no-one can present any serious evidence of this, only a few neoliberal papers that inevitably have a piece of mathematical circular logic hidden in their depths that mean the conclusions always magically match the economists’ pre-concieved beliefs”

    Out of morbid fascination, would you care to cite such an article that makes the stated claim (that jobs disappear on a large scale, not merely that potential jobs for marginal workers eventuate at a lower rate) & offer an explanation of where the logic is circular?

    I mean, that’s quite an assertion you’ve made, and it would be very interesting if true.

  5. Bill 5

    Since the wage system exists to provide material advantages to owners and controllers of capital, it would seem to run counter to the logic of the whole system to award workers guaranteed minimum wage levels that diminished the aforementioned advantage.

    Just saying.

    Historically, such a thing was probably only established and accepted as a compromise in the face of the real possibility of communism being a draw card for workers. Those days are long gone.

    Even the Labour Parties of the west have disavowed at best, all but the softest of soft expressions of socialism. That’s probably being far too generous, but no matter.

    Why compromise with workers now? Is there a realistic and immediate threat to the status quo coming from workers? Is there any reason to not continue holding down and where possible, rolling back gains made by labour from the 30s through to the very early 70s?

    Anyone or anything to stop us getting back to playing this thing just exactly the way we want it played?

    Didn’t think so.

  6. “The problem is, no-one can present any serious evidence of this, only a few neoliberal papers that inevitably have a piece of mathematical circular logic hidden in their depths that mean the conclusions always magically match the economists’ pre-concieved beliefs (economics really is nothing more than politics in the disguise of maths).”

    Can you give an example? Which papers have “a piece of mathematical circular logic hidden in their depths” and can you show this particular piece of maths?

    “higher wages encourage employers to get more out of their workers leading to a more productive and more prosperous society.”

    You’re right there is an relationship between wages and productivity.Unfortunately it runs the other way. Even the likes of Paul Krugman have noted this. He writes,

    “As it happens, the past 40 years offer considerable evidence on what happens to the wages of a country whose productivity gains on that of higher-wage nations. Four decades ago, productivity in Europe was well below U.S. levels in most industries, and Japan lagged even further; since then, productivity levels in the advanced world have converged, although most measures still suggest that the United States retains some edge. More recently, a group of “newly industrializing economies” in Asia has achieved spectacular productivity increases starting from a very low base. Given these dramatic changes in relative productivity, what has happened to relative wages?

    The answer is that wages have risen in each country, more or less in line with productivity. Table 2-3 shows data on long-run increases in productivity and real wages in several representative countries. Bearing in mind that there are some slippages in the data (for example, there are a number of technical problems in the way that both productivity and real wages are calculated), the basic picture is one in which converging productivity has produced a convergence in wages, just as the theoretical analysis would predict.

    Notice that we do not have good data on South Korean wages over the full sample. However, the United States government has been collecting hourly compensation (wages plus benefits) data for the industrial sector of several newly industrializing countries since the mid 1970s. According to these data, South Korean compensation rose from only 5 percent of the U.S. level in 1975 to 46 percent in 1996. An index of compensation in several newly industrializing Asian economies rose from 8 percent of the U.S. level in 1975 to 32 percent by 1996. In short, the experience to date is that wages always do move more or less in line with productivity. (Paul Krugman and Maurice Obstfeld, “International Economics: Theory and Policy”, Prentice Hall.)”

    and in a similar vein he says,

    “Economic history offers no example of a country that experienced long-term productivity growth without a roughly equal rise in real wages. In the 1950s, when European productivity was typically less than half of U.S. productivity, so were European wages; today average compensation measured in dollars is about the same. As Japan climbed the productivity ladder over the past 30 years, its wages also rose, from 10% to 110% of the U.S. level. South Korea’s wages have also risen dramatically over time. (“Does Third World growth hurt First World Prosperity?” Harvard Business Review 72 n4, July-August 1994: 113-21.)”

    So over time if you make people more productive, wages will increase. Can you cite a paper which show the argument of how increasing wages will increase productivity for an economy?

    • fraser 6.1

      going by the quotes above, one would expect that NZers wages would also have experienced a roughly equal rise in line with productivity – yes?

      have they? – i dont think so

      • Paul Walker 6.1.1

        I don’t know but note that New Zealand’s productivity growth over the last 30-40 has been great.

        • fraser 6.1.1.1

          yes. Thats kind of what i was getting at.

          productivity has increased out of step with wage increases.

          Just another example among many that illustrates that market solutions are great for some things and really crap for other things

          plus it kind of pokes a huge hole in your assertion above. Or at least renders it useless for a NZ perspective.

          • Paul Walker 6.1.1.1.1

            “I don’t know but note that New Zealand’s productivity growth over the last 30-40 has been great.”

            Actually what I wrote was wrong. What I should have written was

            “I don’t know but note that New Zealand’s productivity growth over the last 30-40 HASN’T been great.” Sorry about that.

            • Bright Red 6.1.1.1.1.1

              productivity is only a factor of GDP. It’s pretty pointless to look at it alone, ignoring other variables like employment and hours worked.

              • “productivity is only a factor of GDP”

                Actually, no its not. Roughly, economists use two measures of productivity: labour productivity, often GDP per worker, and total factor productivity which measures the joint effectiveness of of all inputs combined in producing output.

            • Descendant Of Smith 6.1.1.1.1.2

              Man we must have some pretty crap managers out there then.

              Isn’t the problem with the lack of productivity growth the fact that we have relied on low wages to be competitive rather than investing in research, training and system improvement.

    • roger nome 6.2

      that was written in 1994 – and is now outdated paul. See this study:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/5303590.stm

      You really know fuck all don’t you?

      • Paul Walker 6.2.1

        Clearly I know a lot more than you. The Krugman comments are not outdated. The first Krugman quote comes from 2003 I think. The study noted in your BBC article covers the period 2000 to 2005, the Krugman quotes are about time periods of around 30-50 years. That productivity and average wages do not match over a short period of 5 years will not surprise anyone much, I wouldn’t think.

        • roger nome 6.2.1.1

          paul – you’re going on about a period when profits were predicated on domestic demand, which was dependent on domestic wage levels. Now we have a much more globalised economy, where profitability isn’t so dependent on wage levels. as a result, profit margins have expanded, and wage growth has not kept pace with productivity growth in the countries that have deregulated labour markets (ours and the US). The Economic Policy Institute study illustrates this.

          • Paul Walker 6.2.1.1.1

            This has nothing to do with my point. My point was that the Krugman quotes are correct since they are referring to longer term, 30-50 years, time periods. The Economic Policy Institute study covers 5 years, and thus its results tell us nothing about the point Krugman was making.

            • roger nome 6.2.1.1.1.1

              oh, i see – your debating technique is just to deny that anything which contridicts your point is relevant.

              The world has changed Paul. The relation between productivity and wages has changed as a result. get it? nah, doubt it.

  7. tc 7

    An intelligent and rational post which I’m sure will be challenged by the folk in nice houses, expensive cars, beach houses and other property/trust holdings as simply unaffordable to the country as it may give them less coinage to holiday in fiji.

  8. Lanthanide 8

    “Unless you support slavery, you must agree the amount is greater than zero.”

    Slavery is not the same as working for $0/hr. Many people volunteer to organisations and get paid $0/hr, but they are not slaves. Slavery is when you are owned by someone else and do not have the right to do as you choose; you are controlled by your master. That is not the same as being paid $0/hr, as you are trying to construe it. I understand what you’re trying to say, but you’ve conflated it with slavery to try and strengthen your argument, when it really it’s a completely separate issue.

    “Every time the minimum wage has gone up in the past we have failed to see the rise in unemployment routinely predicted by representatives of the Right like the Business Roundtable.”

    That might be true, but you’ve made the converse point in other postings: we can’t tell what the unemployment rate would have been had the minimum wage not been raised. It’s quite possible that if the minimum wage wasn’t raised at a point in time, 2 years later the unemployment rate could be 5%, but because it was raised at that point in time, 2 years later the rate is instead 5.8%. Of course there’s no way to measure this, only speculate on it, but to not acknowledge this outcome is negligent.

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    So if the argument against raising the min wage isn’t that unemployment will increase*, but rather that there will be some (unknown) small number of people that would not get jobs that might have been available if not for the increase, then it seems there are better ways of dealing with that problem. Like education for the unemployed or something.

    It doesn’t seem like a knockout argument chaps.

    *someone needs to let Key know that he’s talking shit, and saying stuff that no one says…

    “The Government has always tried to be fair. We recognise there are about 100,000 people who earn the minimum wage, I think it’s important they are able to make ends meet as best possible, but also there’s got to be a recognition that where there are increases in wages that they have to be paid for – we don’t want to be threatening people’s jobs so there’s a balancing act here and that’s what the Cabinet will consider,”

    Oh, I get it, he’s talking about counterfactual jobs from the future being threatened, or Australia, or something.

    • “So if the argument against raising the min wage isn’t that unemployment will increase*, but rather that there will be some (unknown) small number of people that would not get jobs that might have been available if not for the increase,”

      The group is not unknown. It is the group whose wages are at or close to the minimum wage. The claim made is that there will be a reduction in employment opportunities for the low-skilled and directly affected workers, that is, those at or around the minimum wage.

      • Pascal's bookie 9.1.1

        “some (unknown) small number”

        It’s the number that’s unknown Paul.

        Or do you have a number for me, of people that will not get jobs, for the proposed increase to $15/hr?

        • Paul Walker 9.1.1.1

          Sorry, misunderstood your point. No. As far as I know no one has looked at the New Zealand situation in enough detail to make any estimates of the actual number of job loses.

          • Pascal's bookie 9.1.1.1.1

            It’s irrelevant anyway.

            Fact is, it’s probably a small number, not enough to effect the unemployment rate. The effect you are so worried about, could be mitigated by other polices to assist the unemployed into employment.

  10. vto 10

    Quite clearly the fairest thing for the politicians to do is to put minimum wage up by the same amount that politicians have put their own wages up.

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha… exposes politicians for what they most of the time are…

  11. Herodotus 11

    “The poverty level is generally recognised as 66% of the average income. It seems unjust that any person working full-time should be below the poverty line”
    Just a wee point I have with this so 2 full time earners within a household if they each earned 60%, total income 20% above poverty line. Should not the poverty line be based on household income, and instead of gross be based on after tax as we have a progressive tax system, so (60% income) I would imagine increase by some (not much) of a percentage and approach 66%.
    Also as a caring community do we not then use Soc Welfare, housing allowances etc to compensate for the low wage. I.e. Govt subsidise the employer ?

  12. todd 12

    Rogernome If your argument that raising the wage to $15 will not effect jobs ect why not introduce a $30 minimum wage,or at what point does your argument cease to exist that making a higher minimum wage will effect jobs.

    • Descendant Of Smith 12.1

      The definition used in 1907 in Australia seems a good start.

      It established a ‘living wage’ for a man, his wife and two children to “live in frugal comfort”.

      I wonder how much this would equate to today?

    • roger nome 12.2

      Good question todd. I think the minimum wage should be set at such a level as enables a full time worker to buy a modest house, and participate fully in society. In other words, it should offer financial security.

      Now, i don’t think you need to be on $30 and hour for that, but i’d say it would be at least $15 an hour.

      in 1987 the minimum wage was set at about 65% of the average wage, and it did cause economic catastrophe. We’re currently sitting at about 50%, so i think there’s room to bump it up substantially.

      Sure it’s difficult to know just where it should be set however, and that’s an area where there needs to be a good amount of work done to find the right balance.

      What are your thoughts?

  13. todd 13

    Or as my bank covenants are being broken now,by making me pay all my cleaners $15 or more,tell me how much more you will pay for my services that I will have to increase.Now dont get me wrong it would be great to pay them more,they do deserve it.But I would HAVE to increase prices and hopefully all my compettion will too.
    Which means it might work,but if not there is going to be alot of people hurting.

    • roger nome 13.1

      todd -all your competitors would have to increase their prices, and you would just have to charge more for the service you offer. it’s that simple.

      so there would be a bit of inflation, but not nearly enough to off-set the gains made by increasing the minimum wage. it’s just a mechanism for democratic wealth transfer. nothing more, nothing less. it’s my opinion that rewarding people for hard work is the best means of wealth transfer.

  14. tsmithfield 14

    Jumping in here late in the piece, I would simply note that we are losing a helluva a lot of industry to the likes of China, Mexico etc. I don’t think anyone would dispute that. Look at recent cases of Firestone etc. There would be lots of jobs in these types of industries that would probably attract the minimum wage. Now they are being shipped overseas to countries that have even lower effective minimum wages.

  15. rogergenome 15

    [deleted]

    [lprent: You’re still banned. Adding another month for having to clean up the pending. Next time I’ll drop you into auto-spam. ]

  16. quenchino 16

    I would simply note that we are losing a helluva a lot of industry to the likes of China, Mexico etc.

    Which is of course another sort of issue. I guess if China goes on adding 10m new workers to their industrial base, every year for the next 80 yrs without running out of rural peasants to recruit at slave wage pay rates.. and at the same time put every job in the developed world out of existence… what will be the result?

    I realise this seems so absurd it looks and feels like a strawman argument; but I’m not sure where else the logic takes us.

  17. tsmithfield 17

    Marty, there will still be a lot of cheap labour in China for a long time yet. And when that runs out, there’s India with nearly the same population size, and so it goes on.

    The trend of industry leaving NZ is something that worries me, because my business services the industrial sector, so I acutely notice the amount of businesses leaving our shores. As this trend, and the trend towards automation continues there are going to be less and less industrial type jobs available for those on the minimum wage. It is a bit of a worry, as I fear there are going to be more and more people for whom jobs simply aren’t available.

    The problem is, that whatever efforts are made to fix a minimum wage here, it doesn’t have any effect on wage standards overseas that are attractive to industry. And before you blame the greedy companies, just remember it is consumers such as ourselves who demand cheaper and cheaper products.

  18. Matthew 18

    One area where there has been a significant jump in minimum wage is the youth wage, which was abolished. This jump is from $8.20 in 2006 to $12.50 now, or a jump of some 52% in the last 3-4 years. This jump has been so significant that its effects will not easily be drowned out by the many other factors that effect unemployment.

    If you look at the youth unemployment rate (I am talking about 15-19 year olds to be as consistent as possible with the youth wage change), it has for the last 20 years always been significantly higher than the general unemployment rate. However the % difference between these two rates has held reasonably constant over the last 20 years (stats NZ data. The difference was briefly at 14% (youth umemployment rate minus general unemployment rate) around 1994, but apart from that has been in a reasonably range of approximately 8%-12%. That is until the last couple of years (post minimum wage jump), where the gap has blown out to be almost 19%.

    There may be other reasons for this, but it will be interesting to see where the number goes in the next few years. Of course not so much interesting as disheartening for those 16 year olds who would probably happily work for $9 an hour rather than be unemployed.
    [This is Farrar’s line and we’ve already shown it’s bullocks. http://www.thestandard.org.nz/farrar-vs-the-facts/%5D

  19. Matthew 19

    Nice try Ed, but I went back to 1990 too.

    But youth unemployment relative to general unemployment is now unprecedented.

    “Check out what happened during the recession induced by the neoliberal revolution in the early 90s”

    Yes youth unemployment was nearly as high back in the early nineties as it is now (although currently it is the highest at any point in the last 20 years). But back then general unemployment was way higher than it is now.

    When youth unemployment got close to 25% in the early nineties the general unemployment rate was over 10%, as opposed to 6.3% currently. Thats a very big difference.

    In other words 15-19 year olds are taking a much bigger hit this time around relative to the general population.

    So why is that bullocks?

    • lprent 19.1

      Employers are increasingly after skills and less into training themselves.

      15-19 year olds usually don’t have many skills and typically don’t have a work history either.

      Employers are cost sensitive, but of all their costs.

      Wages are less expensive than the costs of training someone how to work.

      Given a choice between someone applying for a job with a decent work history and someone with none, employers will take the work history.

      Given a choice between someone with minimum training and one with more training outside of school, employers will take the one with more training.

      15-19 year olds really need to carry on schooling.

      Pretty simple really.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 hours ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    9 hours ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    11 hours ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    11 hours ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    12 hours ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    16 hours ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    17 hours ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    18 hours ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    18 hours ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    18 hours ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    21 hours ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    22 hours ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    1 day ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    2 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    2 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    3 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    3 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    4 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    4 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    4 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    6 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    6 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    7 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago

  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
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    2 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
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    3 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
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    3 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
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    3 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
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    3 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
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    3 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
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    4 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
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    6 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
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    6 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
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    7 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
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    7 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
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    7 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
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    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
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    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
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    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
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    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
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    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
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    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
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    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
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    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
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    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
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    2 weeks ago