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Who cares if it’s just PR?

Written By: - Date published: 10:09 am, February 9th, 2009 - 34 comments
Categories: national/act government, rumour, wages - Tags: , , , ,

There is a rumour in the Dom Post and the Herald that the minimum wage will be announced today and the Nats are going to increase it to either $12.50 or $12.40 depending on whether it’s Fairfax or APN you’re reading.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true as John Key knows full well that he needs to offer low-income Kiwis something after taking their tax cuts off them and eroding their work rights and the minimum wage issue has traction as an issue. Especially after Kate Wilkinson’s recommendation of a zero increase was leaked by The Standard.

Even if it is just a cynical public relations exercise, I’ll be pleased to see the Nats do this and would fully endorse the move as every extra cent makes a difference for people on minimum wage.

It’s worth noting that under Labour the minimum wage was set to increase by inflation or the increase in the average wage (whichever was largest). By that measure the new minimum wage would be around $12.66.

34 comments on “Who cares if it’s just PR?”

  1. the sprout 1

    “Even if it is just a cynical public relations exercise”

    hehe, no i’m sure it’s a heartfelt gesture 😉

    if they do announce today, expect some other vacuous but shiney policy gimmick to follow on its heels, to wash away any in-depth discussion of the chewing gum wage increase.

  2. expat 2

    Maybe Key just thinks it fair. No spin, no PR – you guys would find that kind of transparency hard to fathom I know.

  3. Totally agree, Irish. If they match or beat inflation, at least that’s something, because its the real-world effect that matters, not the political cause.

  4. Mike 4

    Outrageous. This is not the commitment to irresponsibility NZ chose on Nov 8.

  5. Tane 5

    Mike, I’ve yet to talk to an ordinary voter who opposes increasing the minimum wage. Key is keenly aware of this sentiment, and he’ll be just as aware of the electoral consequences of going against it.

    [you may have slightly misread Mike’s comment. I believe he’s being humourous. SP]

    [Tane: So it would seem.]

  6. Daveski 6

    If that is the case, I’ll win the sweep 🙂

    It’s good to know that you guys are now so comfortable in opposition that you’ll find fault when they do what you want them to do. Impressive.

  7. I wonder if he is going to do an Aunty Helen/Cullen trick???

    You know give the press a lower than expected number, then when you announce the real number, it makes you look great.

    No one was as good as using this manipulative trick as Aunty Helen.

  8. Julie 8

    What’s changed from last week though when Key felt he needed to wait before announcing the increase? $12.40 and $12.50 were natural figures that people have been talking about as low-end possibilities for months, so why the delay?

  9. Tane 9

    Brett, it’s possible but very unlikely it’ll be higher than the numbers given. DoL recommended $12.50 and $12.40 just catches up with inflation.

    The debate in the Government has ranged between $$12.40-$12.50 at the upper end and at the lower end a zero increase as recommended by Key’s Minister of Labour.

    Julie, from what I’ve heard the delay has been due to conflict in cabinet between a faction that wants to pursue traditional National Party policy and a faction that wants to maintain popularity at all costs. Today’s result should tell us which side won, or at least what kind of compromise has been hammered out between the two.

  10. expat 10

    Tane, maybe he thinks its fair. Mike you card.

    After all Key actually grew up in the working classes, an experience most of the Labour party cannot atest to sharing.

  11. I think it might be nearer to 13 bucks, but Im probably wrong.

  12. Pat 12

    “Mike, I’ve yet to talk to an ordinary voter …”

    What the hell is an “ordinary voter”? Aren’t we all? Even worse, what does an extra-ordinary voter look like?

    All this gibberish and left/right nonsense is the preserve of the precious few who studied politics and think they now hold the intellectual higher ground.

    The fact is that John Key has not turned out to be the evil incarnate with a secret agenda that he was made out to be. If he changes his spots, then NZers will get rid of him, just like they did with Helen Clark when she changed hers.

  13. Tane 13

    expat, many in the Labour Party grew up in working class families, they just don’t see the need to advertise it as Key did in order to soften a right-wing policy platform.

  14. Tane 14

    Pat, an ordinary voter is someone who doesn’t have a vested interest… like the permanently aggrieved small business owners who inhabit the blogosphere.

    Key’s just started. Already he’s rammed the fire at will legislation through under urgency and forced the poor to pay more tax so the rich can have a fat tax break. I’m sure there’s more to come. I’ve no doubt he’s a pragmatist and will swallow whatever dead rats it takes to remain popular – this is one of them.

  15. Pat 15

    “Pat, an ordinary voter is someone who doesn’t have a vested interest ”

    Pure gibberish. Every voter has a vested interest.

  16. I guess that blows your “John Key wants to see wages drop” theory right out of the window eh 😉

  17. Tane 17

    Semantics, Pat. I’m referring to the average New Zealander who doesn’t have a direct vested interest in so far as they receive the minimum wage or have to pay it. I’ve talked to plenty of these ordinary voters and they’ve all supported an increase. The only complaints I’ve heard are from the above-mentioned aggrieved small business owners.

  18. Duncan 18

    Inventory2: It’s possible to want wages to drop while at the same time realising that in the short term it’s not politically feasible.

  19. Duncan. Incredibly well put.

  20. vidiot 20

    Oh no, what an outrage – an increase in the Min Wage that keeps track with inflation. It’s a pity that the previous government didn’t keep up with it’s promise that only the top 5% pay top tax. Rather than inflation index our tax brackets, instead they chose to squander the fruit of our efforts. Reality bites.

    [I love seeing one rightie complaining about the wealthiest New Zealanders paying a little more tax and other righties complaining there isn’t enough money from the Government for one thing or another… And never the twain shall meet. SP]

  21. Daveski 21

    Hey – I didn’t break the site!!!!

    Back on topic, (assuming of course this eventuates) the failure to acknowledge the policy change is deafening.

    I’m equally bemused that there is a complete lack of recognition of Key’s intent on developing long term relationships at the expense of short term reactive decisions. Very smart.

    Labour potentially has a massive challenge – the Greens on the left, the Nats now comforatably in the Centre and the Maori Party attacking a traditional Labour strength. Moreover, last century’s leaders dressed up as Lamb with no clear successors.

    My guess is that the responses here are based on this reality rather than acknowledging what Key is doing.

  22. BLiP 22

    Some egg said:

    ” . . . After all Key actually grew up in the working classes, an experience most of the Labour party cannot atest to sharing . . . .”

    Obviously this clown has never been to a Labour Party fund raising function. You just need to take a look at the carpark at such an event to know how completely wrong that statement is.

  23. IrishBill 23

    Daveski, I’m well aware of what Key is doing. To me it’s win/win in that he will either shift the political discourse even further left and split his party or he will set up expectations that cannot be met. Having met Key on several occasions my impression is that he has no politics and so will end up driving a populist (read leftish) agenda. Especially as the left is in good strong shape to affect public opinion on an issue by issue basis. As a rightwinger how do you feel about that?

  24. Tane 24

    Turns out it was Pierson who broke the site by double-bolding his response to someone. Brother, the amount of cleaning up I do after you… you’re lucky you write half the posts or you’d be out of the club.

  25. TightyRighty 26

    IB, your rose tinted veiw of the New Zealand electorate is laughable. the country is not as left as you are obviously willing to fantasise about. Populist is not leftish, it’s popular and will appeal to the majority, not a particular spectrum of the political landscape. The electorate were looking for a stable, practical government, who were willing to listen to them, and so voted one in. strange thought isn’t it IB?

  26. Julie 27

    Don’t feel too bad SP, I managed to strike-through almost the entirety of The Hand Mirror’s front page last night, doh! I wouldn’t have even noticed if a reader (thanks Anita!) hadn’t emailed me this morning.

    We shouldn’t forget that a small increase (or a freeze) in the minimum wage could actually be a wage drop in real terms, see this post at Just Left.

  27. IrishBill 28

    TR, I’m not going to relitigate the election result but if the electorate isn’t left-inclined then why did National spend so much time talking about keeping kiwibank, not selling other assets, keeping working for families, keeping (albeit modifying kiwisaver – and when they did they did so with a PR emphasis on how lower-income Kiwis would be better off) and put up a whole host of other left-oriented policies including support for redundant workers? They’ve also had to suck up the nuclear-free policy, befriend the Maori and queer electorates and turn their back on their support for the Iraq war. On top of that Key took months to admit he was in favour of the tour (and then only just).

    You need to get a grip and realise that the country has been pulled left. Not as left as I would like to see it but left enough. National will need to move it back very slowly if they want to see a second term but there is still a lot of pressure pulling it the other way.

  28. TightyRighty 29

    No you need to get a grip IB and realise that the left don’t hold a monopoly on being queer friendly, Maori-friendly (which is rather debatable anyway) etc etc. I know you believe the right just sit there playing with their fat piles of dosh, scheming how to roger the working person next, but your wrong.

    Keeping Kiwisaver, woooo a compulsory saving scheme, so left-wing. the nuclear free thing, meh the country will come around when we start needing to sell wind-turbines with houses.

    the only left wing thing on your list is WFF, which is abhorrent, and should be scrapped. but populist goverment is populist government, not leftish as you like to assume. and neither is the electorate. a desire for stable government was what brought labour into power in ’99, and the same desire coupled with a disctinct distaste for lies, defending of lies and tiliting the playing field to the incumbents advantage got them booted. not any particular left/right divide

  29. Daveski 30

    IB I suppose if I was a genuine righty I wouldn’t be here 🙂 Having said that, it is quite clear that on most economic issues I am to the right of most here so let’s take that as read.

    NZ politics has always been a battle for the centre. Labour’s strength over the last 9 years is that Clark moved Labour to the Centre (dropping the right and left extremists). It’s ironic that Clark is glorified here for in effect centralising Labour yet Key is being vilified.

    I don’t believe the left is in as good a shape as you make out. At the risk of repeating my pet theme, Labour can only grow from the left by cannibalising the Greens, the Nats have out-manoeuvered Labour with Maori and have got the bulk of the centre. Key is putting a stake in the ground here aware that any rebellion on the right will still have no option but to deal with National.

  30. Felix 31

    Tighty,

    the only left wing thing on your list is WFF, which is abhorrent, and should be scrapped. but populist goverment is populist government, not leftish as you like to assume. and neither is the electorate.

    I’ll type slowly. If to be populist you must adopt left wing policies, then by definition the debate has shifted left in those areas. The left-wing WFF is incredibly popular with the electorate.

    It’s equally true, of course, that in some areas the debate has shifted right.

  31. Daveski 32

    On the related issue, many of the “leftist” policies are simply are reflection of the size of our population and the inability of the economy to provide all required services.

    This has lead to NZ having a strange mix of state provision within a market economy. It’s pragmatism not politics as such.

  32. Felix 33

    Daveski, I tend to agree. WFF isn’t popular because it’s a “lefty” idea, it’s popular because it makes good sense and a lot of people are better off for it.

    It just happens to be a left-wing policy of wealth redistribution, which is why I say the debate has shifted left in that area, evidenced by it’s popularity.

  33. IrishBill 34

    TR, so is raising the minimum wage a right wing idea?

    Daveski, it’s a battle to take and then define the centre. National has finally taken the centre but now need to gently redefine it rightward.

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