Well, at least he kept one promise

Written By: - Date published: 8:43 am, February 2nd, 2011 - 31 comments
Categories: john key, Unions, wages - Tags:

December 2007, John Key, speaking to Carolyne Brooks-Quan said: “We would love to see wages drop“. Key tried several conflicting excuses, including that he was talking about Australian wages (which became a mini-meme). But actions speak louder than words. Yesterday, we had more confirmation that wages have dropped under Key, except for union members’.

The Quarterly Employment Survey shows that, after adjusting for inflation, the total pay packet of all the country’s workers is down 1.8% since Key came to power. With the population growing at 1% per year, that’s a smaller cake being shared around more mouths.

But the likes of Key haven’t felt the pain, of course. While NZIER says 60% of households got no net gain from the tax swindle, Key has voted himself $23,600 of tax cuts on his PM salary alone since coming to power (oh, and he got a $7,500 pay rise last year). The top 1% of income earners have had an average tax cut of $16,000 each under Key.

Union members are the only group of workers managing to even hold their ground as wages in general drop. The Labour Cost Index, also out yesterday, lets us work out the size of pay rises for union and non-union workers in the past year.

It’s clear: most non-union workers got no pay adjustment and went backwards after inflation while 62.8% of union workers got an above inflation pay rise. The average was approximately 2.5% for union workers, 1.4% for non-union workers.

31 comments on “Well, at least he kept one promise”

  1. Someone else wants to see wages drop:

    you can also read THE TRUTH ABOUT PRIVATISATION by him to, which is like hearing Gerry Brownlee talk about healthy diets.

  2. happynz 2

    Yeah, put me in the ‘no increase in wages’ category. I’ve been in this category since 2008. Is it National policies or is it that my employer is tight-fisted? Maybe both, I don’t know.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Put my brother, nephew and a few other relatives into the “wages dropped” category. Funny thing is is that some of the will continue to vote National even after I point out what NACT have done to decrees their income and give the wealth to the rich.

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Can’t help people who are into self flagellation, and who in fact say “please sir, more”

  3. higherstandard 3

    Interesting stuff Marty, have you got a link to the survey itself ?

  4. KJT 4

    NACT love to quotes average wages because that has been pushed up by a few very high incomes. Median wages have fallen against the CPI.
    The point is ordinary time wages have all dropped against high inflation in the price of necessities such as food and housing.

    Meanwhile the bludgers: Accountants, Lawyers, Banks, Politicians, corporate chair polishers have all awarded themselves big increases. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1235576/How-bankers-destroy-7-1-create-Hospital-cleaners-valuable-society-say-researchers.html

    Highly skilled workers in NZ have had about 40% pay cuts against the CPI index since the 80’s. The pay rises that the market should have delivered have been prevented by immigration and assaults on the ability to collectively negotiate.That’s why most of us have gone to Australia.
    The CPI rise is fudged by adding in things like $2000 flat screen TV’s and new cars (Who buys a new car) to hide real price inflation. The real drop in wages is much greater.

    We have had a wage freeze for 30 years. Where is the extra money that is supposed to be invested in the productive economy if business costs were reduced. Dropped to 1/3 of what it was in 1979.

  5. big bruv 5

    And yes union numbers are at a near record low.

    I wonder why that is?

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Because people don’t want pay rises?

      You know, if you have an actual point to make, maybe you should make it.

    • Marty G 5.2

      because the government is passing anti-union laws because it doesn’t want workers to get pay increases.

      and union workers are heavily concentrated in industries that have been hardest hit by the recession – eg manufacturing.

    • Colonial Viper 5.3

      Lots of complex reasons, but young people are asking more and more about what it will take to be treated and paid fairly at their jobs. And a lot of them are coming to the same conclusion – join a union and use the power of being collectively represented.

      • luva 5.3.1

        Interesting statement there CV. Do you have some numbers in respect of those coming to the same conclusion

        • Bright Red

          unite almost exclusively targets young, minimum wage workers – it’s gone from nothing to over 5,000 members in a few short years.

      • big bruv 5.3.2

        Nothing complex about it Viper.

        People quite rightly see no value in joining a union.

        • Bright Red

          and, yet, the facts clearly show that joining your union is the path to bigger wages increases.

          captcha: observation

  6. fabregas4 6

    Every Primary School Teacher and Principal for some reason accepted a below inflation wage increase at the end of last year effectively cutting their pay and they were then vilified by all and sundry for being greedy!

  7. HamishM 7

    Not to interrupt the dislike of Key going on here but hasn’t he also kept the promise about no asset sales in the first term?

    • Deadly_NZ 7.1

      Yes he has…. And he has also lined up most of whats valuable, and has his auctioneers hammer ready to go!

    • Bright Red 7.2

      there have been asset sales by stealth already. Like the electricity asset swap which requires Genesis to raise $300million of debt and Meridian to pay the government a $300million special dividend

      captcha: starting

  8. randal 8

    according to the classical theory if the labour market is full then wages will go down.
    unfortunately it doesnt work like this in practice or real life.
    nevertheless the neanderthals in the national party keep trying it on and they like scaring the shit out of ordinary working people just for the hell of it anyway.
    no one else will listen to them.

  9. BLiP 9

    Just back from a wee trip to Oz for work. As usual, the boss over there offered me a job, the only thing different is that this time the offer was in writing. At the moment the only perqs I get are free use of a cellphone plus a car for travel to/from/for work. The Aussies get the cellphone, a car with provision for “reasonable” personal use and the ability to nominate a partner/spouse as secondary driver, free home internet (1 GB per month with option to increase it to 100 GB a month for $35 per month), free, no-excess health insurance (with opt in dental plan for $200 pa), and a 40% (yep, that’s four-zero percent) salary increase!! It exactly the same job, only with about six more staff to manage.

    • clandestino 9.1

      This is why trying “to catch up with Australia” seems to me a futile and pointless proposition.

      Productive Aussie investment could really benefit us, instead they’re just throwing mortgages across the ditch, the financial equivalent of the underarm incident.

    • Deadly_NZ 9.2

      Nice …. When do you leave????

    • higherstandard 9.3

      If it’s outside Sydney take it, if it’s in Sydney it’d be marginal house prices are a fecking outrage.

  10. g_man 10

    I do have to laugh each time I read the “join-the-union-your-wage-rises-depend-on-it” rhetoric here.

    I haven’t belonged to a union for, ooooh, about 12 years.

    I’ve had a wage rise every year for the last five years, and a bonus as well. 6.1% wage rise last year.

    And no, I’m not a manager – I’m an IT technician. Why do I get wage rises? Because I’m good at my job and my manager knows it. He doesn’t want to lose me. Simple.

    • orange whip? 10.1

      That’s nice. I mean it too g_man, good for you.

      Clearly though you’re the exception. The facts are that it doesn’t work like that for most people.

  11. Seti 11

    Although the NZIER believes the 90 day trial law is working

    • KJT 11.1

      Well what do you expect from an economic think tank.
      Meanwhile in the real world a certain burger peddler sacks young people as three months come up so they can replace them with more tax payer funded employees.

  12. Rharn 12

    It’s the last two sentances by C B-Q that are the kicker. She asks ‘There are some calls here for employers to pay more.’ She goes on and asks Key, ‘what’s your take on that?’ This is a question directly related to NZ wages. Key’s response to this is that he would like to see swages fall. For him to suggest that he was talking about Aussie wages is just plain bollicks. He’s been caught with his pants down good and proper.

    • Marty G 12.1

      Unfortunately he was caught with his pants down on this three years ago and the media refused to run the story. They believed key’s spin doctors over their fellow journalist

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