93 thoughts on “Sue Bradford says goodbye

  1. Feel Free to Speak Frog. We New Old Zealanders don’t even know this Gel -and she’s leaving – mayhap I’ll never know what John the Baptist has to do with all this – but I thought she was a rare case of down-to-earth for Politics….Left they say ….Left. Must be the last one hey?

  2. Sue, I loved your speech and found it powerful and exciting, especially this line:

    I will now return to the Parliament of the streets, and leave behind my nine colleagues to carry forward our collective kaupapa as strongly and clearly as I have always endeavoured to do.

    where you have strengthened both your own future and that of the Green Party.
    I am looking foward eagerly to hearing of your successes in the ex-Beehive parliament, just as I’m listening to that of Nandor’s.

  3. Well done, Sue! You have been an inspiration to us all.

    Mind you, I haven’t seen you do the loaves and fishes trick yet. Or is that what you plan to move on to?

  4. Inspiring speech Sue, it’s gotten my arse into gear, and I can’t ask for more than that.

    I was annoyed, but not surprised, that the only sound-bite used by the media was regarding s59. I can only imagine how frustrating that must be for you.

  5. BTW, Sue is speaking at the Unite Union’s Halloween Protest March for a $15 minimum wage tonight: Aotea Square, Auckland City, at 7pm.

    So if you’re in Auckland tonight, try to get along. It’s just so appropriate that Sue’s last ever speech as an MP will be to a union protest for workers rights.

  6. I didn’t know Sue Bradford much at all until I shifted to the North Shore. Sue was our “local” MP and lived in Torbay. She attended almost every branch meeting. I was impressed by her sanity, clarity and good, common sense.

    She is not much liked by people who prefer what they believe to be true to the truth itself. Unfortunately for New Zealand such people seem to be rather common today.

    Sue Bradford will remain a bright light where ever she is. Having got to know her, I can clearly see her critics are the people the people we really need to be worrying about. They tend to ignore the evidence and dump on people who make the effort to be guided by it.

  7. I was impressed by her sanity, clarity and good, common sense.

    She lacks any of those.

    She is not much liked by people who prefer what they believe to be true to the truth itself. Unfortunately for New Zealand such people seem to be rather common today.

    NZ is full of such people, sue herself being a prime example of such ideological blindness.

    Sue Bradford will remain a bright light where ever she is. Having got to know her, I can clearly see her critics are the people the people we really need to be worrying about. They tend to ignore the evidence and dump on people who make the effort to be guided by it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angler_fish

  8. The $15 minimum wage campaign is one of the few real efforts being made to close the income gap with Australia.

    This makes a compulsory Kiwi Saver possible and thus is also the way to a stronger economy (which is probably why NZ First supported the higher minimum wage campaign).

  9. Oh – she- flown above your Monolith Kiwi – Sue if you aren’t. that is. if I may. Are you Married? and do you have strong support?
    I am available (on saturday nights, and even beyond)_
    Anyone that doesn’t imitate the Yanks has gotta be good – don’t go too far away Sue – we may need a PM uncovered by bullshit!
    Sapient – given your arguments – I would point to the waY our people follow the Yankee’s like Lemmings – anyone who has a genuine NZ conscience (gee that’s a tough word on the fly) is predisclosed, is liable – the answer lives in an inclusive society

    We need local Heroes more than ever –
    Arise St Kev, St Russ, St Met
    funny how my computer x’s up right now – no overseas interests are concerned – much – are they ?
    ask St Helen of NY I reck0on

  10. I am s stranger, but it sounds like we are aetting a voice of value into echoes. Defy the cruelty of Nature Kiwi – leave us with her counsel – despite outdated inferences

  11. Mark,
    The alternative to following the yanks like lemmings is not always to act as Bradford has done.
    You know well my dislike of most things American; BJ, and many other expats, excluded.

    I would consider Sue to be admirable in that she has made many personal sacrifices to follow her ideals and has never given up on attempting to bring them about. I would consider incredibly naive, though, the idea that the path she pursues would actually bring about those ideals and allow them to persist.
    She is dedicated but she is dangerous, much as phil, to the very cause which keeps her going. Her ideological blindness hurts the workers, hurts the Greens, hurts New Zealand, and hurts Gaia.
    If she opened her eyes for once she might manage to do some good, but since she refuses to do so she is just prodding in the dark and more often than not does harm rather than good.
    Ideology is a nasty beast.

  12. There is the law of cynicism that says that those trying to help the poor, mean well but do not achieve their goals. Whereas those trying to enrich themselves at the expense of others (say paying low wages, collapsing minimum wage levels and generally undermining conditions for workers, including their ability to collectively organise) are actually the only people really helping the poor, because while they do not mean the poor well they somehow mysteriously do well for the poor (known as the “while income inequality may be growing, the poor have never had it so good” apologetic). This higher awarenesss is called critical thinking and is called the new objectivism, the only true logic in our time.

  13. Well Hi Sapient – too Long a silence my Friend – have given up my Social Work so haven’t been to your town since way back then…
    Well, I get slightly disingenuous on a Friday night as the Girl in my life is Red Wine from Australia – Frog really shouldn’t publish me after about 7pm Fridays – but there you go (it’s not a cry for help).

    But I missed twenty Years of NZ Politics whilst living amongst the Wild Men of Australia – so many characters on the Local scene are strangers to me – and I have to ask a lot of questions if I plan to understand what has happened to my Country!

    So You think that ‘Changing the System’ from within a better Plan?
    I’m impressed that Terrorist Gangs can get Air Tickets outa the Government here…NZ is sorta like Libya now Hey?
    Unfamiliar with what Sue did or did not do – just like her unpretentious style….not too many of those in Parliaments anywhere.
    Yes being obvious has it’s drawbacks – but life is short and a straight line remains the shortest distance between two points.
    Incidentally – you wanna join our Gang? – we gonna get free air travel off Dr Sharples….we’re not violent, just relentless Party Animals in Latex – good Ambassadors for the Great Nation actually…

    Hmmm I understand what you say however – life is more like chess than checkers no?
    When the great Perk-u-Later Rodney Hide’s Partner soaks up $25,000 Taxpayer Dollars, we need some Radical Change – no question about that.
    You really have to Party Hearty to spend that kinda dough – as a sometime International Traveller myself I know we are talking about First Class Travel in this case.
    How can our Lawmakers expect anyone else to stay Honest when they are so obviously stealing Taxes?

  14. “I would consider Sue to be admirable in that she has made many personal sacrifices to follow her ideals and has never given up on attempting to bring them about. I would consider incredibly naive, though, the idea that the path she pursues would actually bring about those ideals and allow them to persist.”

    You could say the same about Brian Tamaki as well, but likewise the ideology just alienates everyone but the faithful to that particular movement.
    You have to respect their energy and devotion to their cause but it doesn’t mean they are more right about these things than others are.
    The sad thing about modern society is the tendency for people to look up to the strong willed as leaders when in fact they are just determined to get their own way!
    Our society has become very shallow in this regard.
    I am not saying Sue B is wrong all of the time, I think she really does care about the underdog, but there has got to be give and take, she seems peeved off that the Greens won’t pursue radicalism, and that attitude is not sustainable long term for a pastry like the Greens.

  15. SPC,
    The actions of the naive may be good willed but they will tend to do less good than those better informed as they will be less able to comprehend the consequences.
    Those trying for a higher minimum wage at present are a perfect example. The minimum wage is already too high, making it higher will increase the marginal cost of each additional employee without increasing the marginal benefit and will thus decrease the availible employment, increasing unemployment, hurting workers. Of course the increased unemployment and smaller tax take will mean that either those receiving benefits will receive less or there will need to be a higher tax take or greater debt; further hurting th poor. There is a point of equilibrium but we are far past it at present. They have the cause and effect in the wrong direction; the higher wages and higher minimum wage are an effect, not a cause.
    Likewise the anti-smacking bill, BJ and myself have demonstrated that a superior bill could easily of been arrived at which would have found agreement with almost all of the populas and would have not cost us or labour anything. But, because sue stuck to her ideological guns, we have ended up with a law that does not really change anything and has cost us and labour majorly; big cost with no benefit as the only benefit to come from the bill, the changing perceptions, would have come just as well, and without opposition, through a bill such as outlined by BJ and I.

    If I was running a charity and needed the money invested so as to maximize the amount availible I would sooner higher the smiling assassin (JK) than the bulldog wearing a green cape (SB), even accepting a massive pay differential; the first may not care that much but would maximise your money and thus potential to benefit your cause while the latter would care too much and invest the money in the causes she likes and ultimately loose it all.

    Mark,
    Yes, well I have been busy with study. Just go out of an exam. Dreadfully boring subject.
    I think that changing the system from within is far more effective, though requires a certain degree of logic. Changing from without requires being able to appeal to naive ideology without worrying about the effects it would actually have; a role well suited to the bulldog.

    Unpretentious? I make an effort to come over pretentious and even I am no match for her. Ive only ever met two people, possibly, more pretentious than her, the first is my father and the second is Russel. Ive stood at many a stall with her and watched her totally out argue anti-smackers. Ive also stood at those same stalls and watched her be totally out argued, watched her constantly change her position, watched her invoke emotive but non-sensical language, watched her claim victory despite being totally outargued and then mock the person after they have left.

    Cant afford to party, I am financially broke unless I get some research scholarships and even then all my time must go to study/research. :P . Good for encouraging the use of latex though; needs to be used more often, as much of a turn-off as it is.

    Sues suggestion that pay rates be set relative to the minimum wage was absolutely stupid. Totally and utterly so. Setting them relative to the mean or median, even lower quartile, wage would be a good idea; but minimum wage no.

    Shunda,
    Indeed.

  16. “..The minimum wage is already too high, making it higher will increase the marginal cost of each additional employee without increasing the marginal benefit and will thus decrease the availible employment, increasing unemployment, hurting workers..”

    so sapient..you are happy with the wage chasm with australia..?

    and would like to see it even wider..?

    (and the penny obviously asn’t dropped for you..

    is that one guarantee is that if you lift the minimum wage/raise social benefits..

    that that money just churns straight back into the economy..

    and as such..is a guarantteed good stimulant..

    for that economy..

    and a resounding ‘bullshit!’ to yr sec 59 whinge..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  17. Phil

    Sapient (Especially !)

    Give Sue some respect and don’t turn this into a slanging match about a dead issue.

    She DID do the best she knew how to do for NZ and for the party. She’s still doing it and I don’t think that this thread is the place.

    I respect her more than that.

    You should.

    respectfully
    BJ

  18. BJ,
    I have said that I admire her dedication. However, it is a particular peeve of mine that, whenever anyone steps down or dies, there is this habit that everyone has of only saying nice, not so veridical, things. I hate it.
    Her dedication should be admired but her unwillingness to open her eyes, and thus her willingness to hurt those she seeks to help, should not be left out.

    Phil,
    I have never been on anything more than the minimum wage, and i have seen coworkers been pushed harder, being encouraged to leave, being warned over increasingly minor infringements, and not being replaced as a result of increasing minimum wage laws.
    I would like to see the wage gap decrease and even reverse, but that will not be achieved by taking the minimum wage approach.
    Increasing the minimum wage does not mean that more money will be circulating within New Zealand. It means more will be circulating in China. Increasing the minimum wage has several primary and secondary effects: the first of which is to make previously affordable jobs unaffordable through movement of the margins; this means that people loose jobs, those jobs that can be moved will be outsourced, and those industries which need a low wage will go bust or have to move elsewhere. The second is that workers on this minimum wage which are able to retain their jobs will earn more than previously; a small fraction of that extra will be spent on more posh foods and thus may recirculate into the NZ economy but the vast majority will go offshore, particuarly to china, for the purchase of novelty goods and wants rather than needs while those unemployed will be taking money from the state, increasing taxes, and no longer spending their wages on food products internally produced but instead the states, with a small amount also going over seas.
    So, when the minimum wage is above the equilibrium point the society is hurt. I would suggest it is also hurt when it is bellow the equilibrium point as excess profits are sent overseas. The minimum wage is far over the equilibrium point at present. Furthermore, the ideal equilibrium point for any given industry will vary, this is why unions are a far more effective tool in finding equilibrium compared to central government.

  19. um..!..b.j..

    she isn’t dead..eh..?

    do get a grip..!..eh..?

    btw..i thought of you the other day..when the great thinker barry humphries observed that ..

    ‘the use of the smiley-face is a clear sign of psychopathology..’

    your thoughts..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  20. The only problem I ever had with SB is that she was a red MP in a green party. Good on her for being red, but not in the Greenz, please.
    She’s gone now (from the front line at least), can we please just get on with Green issues. The minimum wage is, to me, a classic example of a NON-green issue.

  21. Shunda – pastry – d’oh!

    Mark – trialling my latex ‘Brian Tamaki’ suit tonight – massive pockets that stretch and stretch …
    great for packing with boiled sweets from the plane along with bottles of duty-free sake, tequila and absinthe, (depending on the countries we visit)
    … and a polarized gusset in the arse(from whence the sun, apparently, shines).
    For the feet, I’m thinking ‘clay’.

    Down here, lots of hands up for the tour – everyone’s gone ga-ga.
    The entire Garden Party exec. has up-staked and signed on in spades.

    How many seats in an Airbus?

  22. bj – we’re taking it as read that you’re aboard, you’re gaga through and through. Send your measurements to Mark and he’ll whip you up something lurid in latex (with a matching ‘Goldman’ sack for your grog).

  23. sapient

    Your line of arguement is based on a misconception – text book thinking does not always apply.

    We don’t have minimum wage workers in export jobs or import substitution/competition jobs – we have minimum wage workers in service sector jobs.

    Even in 1984 we had few minimum wage jobs in import sustitution (assembly plant workers were on way more than the minimum etc), now we have none at all.

    All the money from raising the minimum wage jobs stays in New Zealand – reduced profits to those foreign owned companies supplying services reduces the amount of profits taken out of the economy. And raising the minimum wage reduces income inequality and increases the incentive to work. It also enables a compulsory Kiwi Saver.

    As for the spending of those on those minimum wages, if their wages were higher they would be looking at buying a house.

  24. And sapient the idea, that if low income workers were paid more they would buy more imported goods “they did not need”, is pejorative nonsense unless this is your arguement against anyone getting a wage increase or tax cut. Because of course, it applies to anyone getting more money than they do now (say by tax cuts) or “salary” increase – if anything, those on these low wages would find that they had “needs” supplied locally to most of society which they could not afford.

    outings with the family – visits to pools/holidays
    pay for their children to join sports clubs
    pay school fees
    more heating for the house
    make it easier (pay per hour) for students to support themselves in periods of successful study
    buying their own house
    join a gym
    watch Sky

    The extra tax off the higher pay is extra income to the government.

    There is no such thing as an equilibrium point for employment managed by the minimum wage level. And even if there were, it would be variable across the economic cycle and vary with each economic cycle.

    Anyhow “Central Bank” policy against inflation now ensures full employment is no longer realised. Thus there is always a pool of unemployed meaning that those without skills have no effective union representation/capacity to organise for higher wages – these service sector industries*** don’t have an “equilibrium” they have a floor, the lowest wage level that is legal will be paid.

    ***Internationalisation has killed off minimum wage jobs in the tradeables sector in the OECD countries – these are now internal service sector jobs and thus the rate of pay does not diminish employment levels much at all- fast food outlets, supermarkets, kithen staff and care workers in the health sector (old age and hospitals), cleaners etc.

  25. SPC,
    Two points first:
    First, I left the textbook long ago.
    Second, It is because we have so few in import substitution jobs that increasing the minimum wage causes more money to leave the country as, since we lack the substitution for luxury goods, those goods are acquired externally.

    The service sector is subject to the same effects due to the marginal costs and benefits associated with each employee. While most are unable to move offshore some, such as call-centres, are easily able to do so.

    Increasing the minimum wage does not decrease income inequality; it increases it by impoverishing those made unemployed, unless they go on a benefit which pays them more than the job they worked, in which case tax needs to go up substantially and then investment in NZ goes down even further. Its a nasty circle and it does not enable compulsary Kiwi Saver.

    The way to reduce profits to external bodies whilst maintaining employment in NZ and allowing for Kiwi Saver is to decrease the minimum wage and allow unions to do their thing.

  26. SPC,

    outings with the family – visits to pools/holidays
    pay for their children to join sports clubs
    pay school fees
    more heating for the house
    make it easier (pay per hour) for students to support themselves in periods of successful study
    buying their own house
    join a gym
    watch Sky

    Your in a bit of a dream land if you believe that.

    The extra tax off the higher pay is extra income to the government.

    There is no such thing as an equilibrium point for employment managed by the minimum wage level. And even if there were, it would be variable across the economic cycle and vary with each economic cycle.

    There is no extra tax as there is no extra income. What you are essentially saying by saying that there is no equlibrium is that if the minimum wage was $200 per hour there would be no adverse effects on employment. Do you seriously believe this?
    Unions will find the equilibrium point in the particular industry at that particular time, government cannot hope to approximate it.

  27. “Your in a bit of a dream land if you believe that.”

    You made the ridiculous claim about those on low wages spending all their increase in incomes on things they don’t need and these being imports from overseas. As if it was bad that such people got any increase in income.

    You don’t believe that people in minimum wage jobs would spend extra money on

    outings with the family – visits to pools/holidays
    pay for their children to join sports clubs
    pay school fees
    more heating for the house
    make it easier (pay per hour) for students to support themselves in periods of successful study
    buying their own house
    join a gym
    watch Sky

    I suppose your opinion of minimum wage workers is similar to the contempt you express for those unemployed.

  28. And sapient, Kiwi Saver would only apply to those working and those working on the minimum wage would need an increase in income to afford being included in any compulsory scheme.

    Can you cite any evidence of call centre workers in New Zealand being paid the minimum wage? The actual restraint on outsourcing is not low wages to workers but service expectations of consumers (and occasionally loyalty ot a locally operated business).

    And your idea that we could have jobs making luxury products here if we had lower minimum wages – FFS making such goods is not unskilled work – these are not minimum wage jobs. Get real.

    Minimum wage jobs are unskilled jobs and (because fighting off full employment is part of RB policy) unions have no capacity to represent these workers effectively. You ignore my point, minimum wage workers are only provided for by the floor set by government regulation.

    And maintaining the minimum wage is the only way to provide a reward for working over benefits and increasing it the only way to reduce income inequality.

  29. When the above trolls accuse Sue of chasing impossible ideals this is an actual contradiction of what has actually been achieved!

    The most obvious issue that comes to mind is saving children from phisical abuse at least in public. A parent will think twice about belting their child about the ears at the shopping mall.

    Second is her campaigning for the $15 per hour. Remember the elimination of the basic wage is literally the road to slavery and there are conglomerates of capitalists who would be overjoyed to bring back the ‘good old days’ of human incarceration and ownership of humans.
    Just like cattle.

    I would like to live in a more enlightened society and I think that Sue shares that vision.

    I hope you will all join us to bring that about.

  30. SPC,
    The equilibrium I have explained previously in this thread; the point at which income, and thus tax take, is maximised. If the minimum wage is too high then income is decreased on the whole due to increased unemployment, if the minimum wage is too low then excessive profits are taken over seas.

    As to contempt, not quite as much and even then only if they bit*h about it. If they are sufficently unskilled that they cannot earn more than the minimum wage, yet they desire to do so but refuse to make it so they may, then they deserve whatever comes at them.

    Cite call-centre staff being paid minimum wage? Several of my associates work for call-centres at minimum wage, as does my sister. My mother owns and operates a large call centre and pays above the minimum wage though not above the $15 mark.

    The absence of low wages here and the presence of low wages elsewhere is the motive, not the restraint. Though you are correct about service expectations. If the service can be maintained whilse outsourcing then outsourcing will take place. If the service cannot be maintained whilst outsourcing then, as with the unmovable service industries, the price for the services will just increase majorly and the number of contracts will decrease, the staff numbers along with them until a point is reached where the industry becomes unviable internally and they either colapse or train foreign monkeys.

    Minimum wage jobs are not unskilled work, they are relatively unskilled work. Some very skilled jobs are at the minimum wage because the profits they turn are minimal. Even sweeping the floor requires some skills, ditto for putting stuff on shelves, etc. A job may have an appropriate wage of $14 and hour. This would make it a minimum wage job at a minimum wage of $15 but not with a minimum wage of $8.

    Maintaining the minimum wage does give some motivation over benefits, but that is not because the minimum wage should be high but rather that the benefits are delivered in such a way that one does not have to work for them. It is a problem with the benefits not the minimum wage. If the benefits required you to work then the benefit would be the effective minimum wage.

    Why are unions unable to represent workers effectively? If a union cannot support a certain minimum wage then the competition for that industry at the given wage is obviously too high and thus the wage is already too high.

  31. The most obvious issue that comes to mind is saving children from phisical abuse at least in public. A parent will think twice about belting their child about the ears at the shopping mall.

    Those whom would hit their child around the head would not normally do so in public anyhow, those that would still do. If you are refering a slap on the hand or butt, they do think twice and then when they do do so they get applauded. The child abuse happens just the same, the bill has done nothing to stop it that would not have been acheived with a less ideological approach which would have not harmed the left or the party.

    Second is her campaigning for the $15 per hour. Remember the elimination of the basic wage is literally the road to slavery and there are conglomerates of capitalists who would be overjoyed to bring back the ‘good old days’ of human incarceration and ownership of humans.
    Just like cattle.

    This does not follow. Not supporting a, insanely high, $15 minimum wage is not akin to wishing it abolished. Nor does it follow that no minimum wage would lead to slavery.

  32. So sapient do you use the term “equilibrium within an industry” in accord with your definition for “equilibrium” (as in maximising total income) and if so do you include profit to business (greater if wages were lower) as part of that taxable income?

  33. So sapient, you are a market determinist first and foremost in economics, quite Darwinian in fact. Those who are, tend to be reactionary against those in need as they fail the poor/people, rather than the economic and political system which allows this poverty.

  34. SPC,
    No, here I am only including the congomerate of workers/proetariate income, not the income of the owners/bourgeiouse.
    What I mean by equilibrium within an industry is that some industries can better afford to pay workers more and thus the point of equilibrium within that industry will be higher than in an industry less able to do so, where paying workers more would mean that staff would have to be cut.

    Ive conducted a very brief survey of the nearest ‘young professionals’.
    Junior doctors at the local hospital earn about 20-24 dollars per hour on average after an immense investment of time, money, and effort to qualify and can take over a decade some times to get past the junior doctor phase.
    My PhD engineer flatmate earns about $20 an hour after massive financial, time, and effort investments. Thats 8 years of study, two books, and several publications. His associates, most with masters, earn similar. My Masters animal science flatmate earns a couple dollars less.

    Sue, and many here, propose a minimum wage of $15. That is bloody close to the aforementioned wages. With a 40 hour work week that is $600 pre-tax. Thats about 490 per week after tax. Insanely high.
    The minimum wage should be sufficent to support ones self assuming a 40-hour work week and only ones self. I presently support myself on $120 per week including the roof over my head, food, transport, broadband, power, etc. but i recognize that is hugely unrealistic for people living in larger cities and with higher lifestyles than my own. So I will say that $250 after tax is more than enough. That is a little under $295 per week pre-tax including ACC levies. That is just under $7.40 per hour assuming a 40-hour work week or $9.83 assuming a 30-hour work week. And personally I think $250 is way too much.

  35. SPC,

    So sapient, you are a market determinist first and foremost in economics, quite Darwinian in fact. Those who are, tend to be reactionary against those in need as they fail the poor/people, rather than the economic and political system which allows this poverty.

    In this country, yes, I judge the poor as the failures not the system. The system could do much better than it does but the poor have no excuse to be poor other than mental retardation. Not with universal education and the student loan. Not with adoption, abortion, contraception, the DPB, and various other benefits. It is their own fault.

  36. A few points

    1. There are many service industries which are cost plus and there is no equilibrium but the regulated minimum wage – food outlets need staff, supermarkets do, cleaning needs to be done etc.

    2. The lower the wage level, the lower the investment in new technology (say NZ Post bringing in sorting machines) – this invesmtent is necessary to improve productivity, free up labour and grow the economy.

    If you think $250 a week more than enough for a full-time worker to live on, you obviously have not thought about buying a house or raising up children (and you do oppose tax credits for children too don’t you). And I suppose you oppose Super being paid at such a high rate as $300 a week for a single adult.

  37. SPC,
    If someone refuses to train up so as to increase their income why should they buy a house? Flatting or renting would be more than enough for them. If they want better they can work more or up-skill.
    I oppose them having children in the first place but, as discussed on the other thread, there are far more effective ways of supporting the children, should they have them, than giving the parents money. That is not impacted by the minimum wage.

    As to super, I am opposed to it being even a third of that. If they have savings sufficent to support them they can live off those plus the super. If they were too stupid to gain savings or train up so they could afford to save then they can get super and work for the rest. If they cant work they can collect the sickness benefit. If they want more money they can turn their bricks and mortar into cash.

    Yes, food outlets need staff, as do supermarkets; if they pay to little they will have no workers, if they pay too much they will not be able to afford enough staff. There is an equilibrium. If you cannot run an entire company with voulenteers and you cannot afford to pay your employees an infinate amount of money there will always be a point of equilibrium. Increase the minimum wage to $1000 an hour and you will see, besides massive inflation, absolutly massive unemployment.

    The greater the investment in technology the greater the productivity per individual which means more individuals are continuously shifted to less productive jobs. There is a point where not all individuals will be able to find employment because everyone is so over productive and the only jobs left are those whom have a productivity less than the minimum wage. The minimum wage makes this point far sooner simply because it eliminates the possibility of working in the many jobs which are only economic bellow that rate.

  38. Ummm sorry Fly; Parties in Rugby Country are obligatory…..no recession ‘cos the ALL Blacks Won! (please don’t kill yourself if you didn’t know)

    Not So Particulate me – anyone with an aversion to Latex is welcome to shine in their own real gear – nothing if not free eh…..?

    Anyway Sapient is a guarantee that everyone can go stir crazy anytime. Not you though Sapp…..humans temper pure logic with emotion – weak really – you’ll see it as static – ko ti pai……eh?

    Regarz Mark

  39. I guess Sapients’s message, in an earlier and similar thread, to SPC regarding paying “First World Wages in a Third World Economy” has fallen on deaf ears.

    New Zealand economically is very similar to Argentina’s in 1999.

    No real growth in GDP and

    state companies which were the source of “much spending “(such as those providing the telephone, energy and water services).

    link to the full article

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentine_economic_crisis_(1999%E2%80%932002)

    The current rate of borrowing to maintain the New Zealand lifestyle will mean certain collapse of the New Zealand economy.

    When that happens the New Zealand economy will be at the behest of the Vulture Fund managers

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vulture_fund

    who will no doubt act as the IMF asked Argentina to do

    increase its primary budget surplus to pay more debt, and impose “structural reforms” to prove to the world financial community that it deserved loans and investment.

    .

    It actually does not matter what magic figure is set for the minimum wage, it is the ability to pay it that needs reform, not the amount.

    To do that we must stop borrowing against our childrens future income and live within our means.

    If that means lower wages and even higher taxation to pay for the first world living standard we desire, so be it. But lets be upfront about it.

    And not borrow it from our children as we are currently doing.

  40. I think Gerrit, that countries that suffer a large extraction of productive capital and regard corruption as a normal way of doing business, will invariably suffer a large increase in inequality as they attempt to claw back some productivity. Most countries that are in trouble, are in trouble on both measures to start with.

    NZ isn’t in THAT much trouble… (yet?) and I think that the Argentine example doesn’t entirely match our own situation. Remember that they tried to LOCK their currency to the US Dollar. Instead of dropping back the NZ dollar has surged upwards because of comparative weakness in the US. In the global fiat currency regime we are in, it is only comparative weakness that counts… and our “economy” is still in APPARENTLY better shape than many others. I think that the foreign investors are idiots personally, but as long as they pump money in, we take it… and use it to keep house prices going up instead of something useful, but we’ve all been down that argument before. Rehashing isn’t really needed.

    So on current form an Argentina style collapse doesn’t appear to me, to be in our near future.

    However, your point is well taken in the broader context, that we are killing our industrial base and playing stupid money games rather than working to get us a reasonable industrial base for our productive employment. As little as I regard “economic growth” as desirable, I find the current parlous state of our productive economy extremely UN-desirable. We can’t expect a business to pay what it doesn’t have.

    That some people have as much as they have in this country and that there is no real incentive to productively employ that money to build anything, is quite hard to swallow. It is however, government policy of both National and Labour apparently, to continue the conditions that lead to this situation.

    I think that the minimum wage issue is only a very small part of this.

    SPC…

    People on minimum wage DO NOT buy houses in any sane economy. Minimum wage is not intended to make people wealthier. It is the bare-bones level of compensation that allows people to live. It should not (as noted in that other thread) prevent them from having children or prevent those children from getting the education and skills to find better jobs. It should however, be very clear that there are better ways to live.

    respectfully
    BJ

  41. BJ,

    You are right in that the method that Argentina got into trouble is “different” to New Zealand.

    The recovery finance comes at a price. The price is a loss of sovereignty not disimilar to what Argentina had to endure.

    We will have to face up to those external drivers.

    I find it disquitening that the Greens spend so little time pushing for a sustainable economy, instead have focussed so much on social programmes.

    Social programmes are good when the economy is good. New Zealand economy is not good so social programmes must take a back seat.

    Including minimum wages.

  42. I think some of the comments above show very clearly why it was so essential that the left did not win the last election. Another term of Labour and friends would have destroyed the economy of our country within a couple of years due to a continuing blind ideological crusade. Sad thing is the lesson will not be learned and when we head too far right the left will simply head straight back down that track when they regain power.
    Its time to realise that this polarisation can not continue, perhaps its time to reinstate the NZ futures commission (or what ever it was called ) to try and deal with some of these issues.

  43. Shunda,

    That is why I would welcome a constitution that forbids the government of the day to borrow money for anything BUT infastructure development that will increase productivity (schools, transport infastructure, etc.).

    Never to pay for a lifestyle we cannot afford.

    We should never borrow to pay welfare, it must always be generated from the tradeable productive sector.

    If there is not enough taxation from the tradeable productive sector, no welfare.

    When we look at the treasure forecasts where in interest alone we are saddling our children with $100 billion per annum of debt without even paying back the principal.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10606188

    No sane individual household would contemplate that sort of borrowing and cut back expenditure to suit.

    Yet collectively we are OK with this????

    Nuts!!!!!

    What will the Green party do to curtail borrowing and live within our means??

  44. bj

    The minimum wage cannot be the bare bones required to live on (thats welfare) AND provide an incentive to work. And if it ever was such for the working adult – there would have to be dole paid to any non working partner and child tax credits add ons would then be the necessity and not just a chosen option.

    And the practicality of a $15 minimum wage is that it allows compulsory Kiwi Saver and Kiwi Saver has a savings component which allows purchase of a home. Home ownership is a vital component of saving for retirement.

    gerrit

    The idea that, when there is a recession and incomes fall, government borrowing to afford current spending should not be made is archaic, its the economics of the depression era.

    The issue is the long term trend.

    And calling our economy Third World to justify Third World wages for some, while paying first world wages to others, is a recipe for growing income inequality and loss of social cohesion, which has recognised economic costs.

  45. The idea that, when there is a recession and incomes fall, government borrowing to afford current spending should not be made is archaic, its the economics of the depression era.

    And borrowing to maintain a lifestyle for today against the potential future income of our children and childrens children is selfish.

    I would rather be archaic and poor then beholding to the bankers that lent the money to maintain todays selfish lifestyle to be repaid by potential earings of future generations.

    We live in different worlds, SPC.

  46. The idea that, when there is a recession and incomes fall, government borrowing to afford current spending should not be made is archaic, its the economics of the depression era.

    Ideally we would save during non-depression periods and then invest those savings during depression periods. The problem is, though, that people thinking like yourself have made it impossible for us to save in the first place and as a result we no-longer have the possibility of using the savings to continue funding welfare, invest in infrastructure, and decrease taxes. So we must choose the thing which gives the greatest ROI, and guess what: building ifrastructure or decreasing taxes has a far greater ROI than giving beneficiaries more or raising the minimum wage and in all truth we cant even afford to do those to any decent degree because of the massive deficit putting us that much closer to the point where the interest turns the ROI negative.

  47. gerrit

    As I noted, the issue is the long term balance of income and spending, not the current year.

    We cut taxes and spent money when we had current year surpluses, yet that level of surplus was not sustainable. So it was a mistake. Now we have a deficit and while it is exaggerated in extent, it appears to be a real one – so does require some focus. But to apply a policy of cutting spending to current year income would be just as silly as the former error.

    The thing is, the greater costs and reduced incomes applying at the time of recession changes with economic recovery.

    Noting where the balance is then, would be more instructive as to longer term policy.

    For now, while you may not like it, borrowing is at cheap rates.

  48. Sapient

    Don’t try and reinvent history. There was a major paying back/reduction of debt and build up of the Cullen Fund and the subsidy for Kiwi Saver.

    The increase in minimum wage coincided with falling unemployment and growing tax revenues to government, so hardly hampered the governments budget position.

    Your own disdain for the poor allows you to champion lower minimum wages, benefit cutbacks, slashing Super payments (I will offer my opinion – Gold Card retained, Super payable only to those retired from full-time work, the 66% rate continued for those in need, otherwise the 65% universal rate – this reducing from 65% to 60% for those with Kiwi Saver for 5 years. From 2030-35 “work test” eligibility for Super rate dole between the ages 65 and 70) while supporting tax cuts for those on higher incomes.

    The problem with increasing income inequality is that it is not advantageous for the economy because of its impact on social cohesion.

  49. And in context, one should note a $15 an hour minimum wage would only be restoring the level back to the rate it was in 1990 (it would have been this level if it had been indexed year by year since then).

    Some say that the cost of our joining a globalised free trade economy is a lower minimum wage for our unskilled workers, whereas I think we can have the minimum wage level restored to its proper level and operate within a free trade world (largely because these workers are in our internal services sector, which should continue to grow if we get the productivity in the rest of the economy).

  50. I was happy enough to invest Money in NZ from Overseas – there is a Flat Tax on Profit of 10% which made it an attractive notion.

  51. SPC,
    I am not reinventing history.
    There was the cullen fund, there was the start of kiwisaver, and there was repayment of debt but at no point did we manage to build ourselves a piggy-bank. Yet, there was increasing amounts spent on social welfare and the public service. That money should have been deposited and used help us sail through this decline. Cut the crests and fill in the troughs. Better for everyone.

    That was when we should be increasing the minimum wage, not now. Now we should be decreasing it if anything. If we had a more stable economy, without the crests and troughs, we would not need to adjust it so much and unions would be far more effective as tools by which working conditions and wages may be made fair to workers.

    The problem with increasing income inequality is that it is detrimental to social cohesion when those down the bottom are unable to reach the top, or even middle, or when those down the bottom feel victimised despite being able to reach the top.
    Here in NZ the bottom can easily reach the top, the problem is those whom encourage a victim mentality, such as yourself.

    And in context, that was then, this is now. I was less than 2 years old for most of 1990 but I seem to remember we were just starting to come out of a massive debt and the threat of the entire country going under as a result of the same policies which saw the minimum wage so high.

    As to tax cuts; I only support them when they ultimately increase the tax take and thus the potential to benefit all in the country, as introducing a more flat tax system would do. Remember that if you tax people 100% there will be bugger all productivity from those able to relocate and vastly decreased productivity from those not able to do so.

    As to Super, I would be happy to discuss that in a couple of days but for now I have exams and thus no time to think seriously about policy.

  52. I think there’s a definitional problem here SPC. I think we need to lay down some definitions about what we mean when we talk about welfare and minimal standards of living and just what rungs actually are on the ladder. I have a fairly clear idea what I MEANT, and you have mixed the dole and the minimum wage unconscionably, and why I got upset with you was pretty clear in the post.

    People on minimum wage have no business buying houses. That isn’t reasonable in ANY economy.

    BJ
    BJ

  53. I have this picture SPC of you sitting in the Unite office looking at all the $15 minimum wage posters and only able to think that will give New Zealand the “social cohesion” you so desire.

    I too question your definitional attitude when we have a platitude called “social cohesion”

    What is that and how do we measure achievement or adherence?

    And to borrow cheaply (at 5.5%!!!!!) now is good, PROVIDED (and it is a big provision) future cashflows from taxation will repay the debt.

    Good to see you have supreme faith in the New Zealand economy, treasury does not share it (did and do you read any of the background information provided by the many links on the subject?).

    I agree the minimum wage should be $15 per hour, in fact I would target $30 per hour.

    However you wont get that by legislation. You need growth in the productive sector and a cutting of government expenditure for that to happen on a sustainable basis.

    Lets discuss that avenue of growth in the New Zealand economy. Simply printing posters calling for a mandatory minimum wage does not make economic sense.

    I asked you before where the ABILITY for employers (and the state is the largest) to pay the minimum wage will come from. Your answer is blind adherence to a dogmatic stance that bears no resembelence to a sustainable outcome.

    Bearing in mind that while the state is the single largest employer, SME are the next largest group who are already taxed and levied to near death.

    Sure target the corporates, but they dont employ the majority of low wage earners.

  54. bj

    Na, you think the minimum wage should be the bare bones for an adult – this makes no allowance for the fact that partners do not qualify for the dole.

    And saying the benefit is the bare bones and the minimum wage should be more than that is simple logic – the confusion appears to be yours.

    A reasonable minimum wage is required for there to be compuslory Kiwi Saver – which can be a vehicle for saving for a house as this is required to save for Super. This is why Australia affords its higher minimum wage (above $15 even in their higher value currency)- it has compulsory super and health insurance.

  55. SPC,
    Why should the minimum wage be sufficent to support a partner? If the partner is able to work then they should find such work and support themselves, if the partner is unable to work then there is the SB or IB, and if the partner is able to work but unable to find such work there is the UB. I don’t know if those have limits based on the partner, but they shouldint; except maybe for accomodation. The reality is that we have changed to a world where both partners generally need to work as wages have changed to to reflect the increased supply of labour since women joined the work force en masse.
    Its a little more questionable what should happen when the partner is not eligable for such benefits due to not being a citizen, but that is another basket of eggs all together.

    I personally think that the minimum wage should be set such that a person working 3/4 of full-time is able to support themselves and, with a few sacrifices, able to partake in some luxeries. With the overly generous $250 per week after tax this is covered by $10 an hour before tax. This way they have the potential to work for more money if they want or need it. In contrast the benefit really should be the bare bones, at least at this time, and should demand those sacrifices. But then again I am a fan of a system where-by entitlements go through stages, the earlier stages paying more, but once you are on there for awhile it decreases to become closer to the bare bones and finally it becomes the bare bones.

    As to KiwiSaver, you are assuming that compulsary KiwiSaver is desirable. While the effects of KiwiSaver are desirable, the changes that we would have to implement to allow for compulsary KiwiSaver would do more harm than they would do good, even considering the benefit to come from KiwiSaver, and as such the shift is undesirable and KiwiSaver does not justify such a shift.

    I would reply in more detail, but I have a buss to catch.

  56. “Partners don’t qualify for the dole” sounds like an error in some OTHER part of the policy mate. I don’t hold with that being the way to run the system and IS that the way the system is run? Though I’ve run into it myself, as my partner is unable to work I reckoned it fair enough because I DO make a decent dollar, but I was unaware that this carried through to the bottom rungs of the society. Sounds like the means-testing is screwed up if it is true. I was under the impression that they qualified if their partner didn’t earn enough.

    The confusion is that I had not defined a difference between the levels and types of support provided via the dole and the minimum wage. What people need is food and shelter and a decent education for their kids. The dole has to include a monetary component. It can’t be a punishment, but it HAS to be a bare minimum of money ,and other forms of support more prominently featured. Vouchers for clothing and food and heat and power. On the minimum WAGE one has to receive the at least money equivalent of all those things (after taxes) and and the freedom to buy things one really needs and determine what to do with the pittance left after. Working for a living buys you freedom from the State as a first step.

    Nor was I considering any “compulsory” contributions to anything. You bring a new expense into the picture and so a new consideration of “how much” is appropriate to pay evolves. Have you quite finished thinking of things to add on? We do NOT have compulsory Kiwisaver do we?

    My point is that if I am on “minimum wage” it will and SHOULD take me a lifetime of foregone pleasures to save up to buy a house. Which may be something that some people may do, but you made it clear what you expected was more generous and I cannot understand how this is appropriate. Minimum is MINIMUM… and if you expect to buy a house using your Kiwisaver largesse on a minimum wage it’s gonna be a damned small house. If you aspire to never earn more than the minimum wage, then enjoy the peace of mind that such an unchallenging approach to life brings, but don’t expect to take trips to Anaheim to visit Disneyland.

    A long term disability gets a different payout than the dole, doesn’t it? The transfer of our disabled to the long-term disability payments is probably about complete, and as long as it is managed, that is fair enough. Some forms of support can be higher than the minimum wage… if the person receiving them is UNABLE to work. One notes that I already applied that to the support for kids.

    Try to understand SPC. I don’t want to stop giving people necessary support. I just don’t want to encourage anyone to WANT that support, and I don’t want it given in easily transferable forms, and I don’t want it wasted. The minimum wage is the bottom rung of the economic ladder. The further down it is, the easier it is to get ON it.

    The conversion from ladder to escalator that one experiences at the upper levels is not right either, but that is a different issue.

    BJ

  57. Hmm, I’m starting to like this thumbs-up/thumbs-down system.
    I dont use it myself, except for those with which I agree or disagree with strongly, but a ratio of one thumbs-up to two thumbs-down tells me im right where I should be. lol.

  58. Out of interest,

    If I have a dynamically assigned IP address, does this mean each time my ISP changes my IP address I can give more thumbs down to the likes of Wat and Big Bro? If so, this might encourage me to switch ISP (my current ISP assigns me a static IP address, which is nice to run servers, but I have stopped doing this because of the electricity costs).

  59. What I’ve noticed is that the first dozen comments get lots of up and down votes, while subsequent comments get pretty much nothing.

    So readership of the first few comments is probably really high, with very few people bothering to read any further.

    It might be that people simply don’t bother reading very far, or maybe going on and on about completely unrelated issues is not interesting to the readers. I’m not sure which. Either way, no one’s reading it.

  60. Samiuela,
    Yup.
    Changing computers will allow you to vote all over again, as will changing your IP. I run different IP’s on fire fox to those I run on Opera, etc. as I use several proxies. I dont bother to vote, but I can.
    I ahve also noticed that depending on the computer I use up here I am sometimes not able to vote on seemingly random posts; I assume this means that someone else is using these same computers to vote. Interesting, I have afew suspicions who/whom it may be.

    As a side note; when do I use who and whom? Ive never really been able to work it out.

  61. sapient/bj

    The current income level for excluding someone from claiming the dole, while they have a working partner, is close to the minimum wage level. This has occured because the minimum wage has increased while the income level determined for their partner has not. This means that current policy determines that the minimum wage is supposed to support someone and their partner. But note the amount is little more than the dole *2.

    This was the point Goff was trying to make some time back but did not get this point across (he chose a poor example).

    And for once I agree with sapient – access to the dole should be for each individual available to work.

  62. The earlier people save and get into the habit of saving the better.
    One weakness of our economy is the lack of local funds for investment (including lending for home mortgages, which results in us borrowing from offshore – which bids up the dollar etc).

    Our economy lacks a strong record of saving (except for a house but now speculation in landlordship is taking this out of the reach of too many), so Kiwi Saver is important in that it allows the use of stored saving as a deposit on a house and also provides local finance for mortgages. While those saving won’t be able to get a mortgage while still on a minimum wage, the savings built up across the years assist them in obtaining their deposit. The lower the workers income of course the more likely the banks will require a 10-20% deposit.

    It is people without a home who will be a larger cost on the state when they retire. The more unable to save to have homes now, the more cost that those retired will be later.

  63. SPC,
    If that is the case then there is a very real problem. However, as BJ has said, that problem should be addressed where that problem finds its cause rather than through a totally different mechanism poorly suited for the purpose. That is, the regulations concerning partner provisions should be altered to deal with this rather than the minimum wage.

    I know you may not see it, but I am very much concerned about the well-being of society. It is, in fact, one of the motivating factors behind my study of psychology, sociology, and economics. That I seem, or rather am, hostile towards the unemployed or those on the minimum wage in discussions like this reflects my belief that their unwillingness to up-skill, whilst they maintain a belief of entitlement to more without any extra input, is strongly detrimental to society. I am just as hostile toward corporates and businessmen whom would cause detriment to society or the environment on which society relies.
    I am just doing my best to try and work out how to improve society for those yet to be born and to those whom are alive presently. My conclusions differ from yours not because of a difference of goal so much as a difference of perception of the worlds workings; my conclusions were similar to yours when I started my journey on this blog almost three years ago now, but the arguement and the learning has shown me things that would of not come to mind otherwise. I enjoy arguing with you, even if you do not accept my points your challenge does make me think, even if the conclusions are little altered.

  64. sapient

    The problem with cutting back a bare bones benefit level even lower after some time is that the UB is set to be sufficient for a short term only, it is not even the bare boens over a longer term. Cutting it back further will place pressure on charity support – food banks and the like. It will also result in people moving onto SB because of health issues.

    PS The reason the SB (slightly) and IB (significantly) are higher is because it is not presumed (especially for IB) that the benefit will be only for a short term period and thus needs to be at a higher bare bones level to cope with peoples needs over a longer time frame (replace things, in the house and also clothing etc).

  65. sapient

    One reason why we disagree on the minimum wage (back about 1999 I was concerned that too much increase in the level might create job barriers, prevent more jobs etc but I was proven wrong by what happened between 1999 and 2008, so I had to understand why) is we have a different profile of the minimum wage job and worker.

    These are unskilled jobs largely in the service sector and someone needs to do them. Much of the work is done by young people (often while in school and training) and by older women (second jobs while raising families or before they retire). The cost of the higher wage is not reflected in less employment, but in higher cost for these services – the cost of the higher minimum wage for others is met by the rest of us in higher costs (supermarkets/cleaning/fast food/labour in hospitals and rest homes).

    I think its good that students get more money from the hours they work while studying (thus they can get greater rewards from their study) and that families get help from a second income.

    Some businesses paying between $12.50 and $20 may be worried that their semi-skilled workers want a premium on the minimum wage and this premium will reduce if the minimum wage keeps rising and they feel the need to hold down wage costs during a recession diminishing their incomeing revenue, but note even National allowed an increase from $12 to $12.50 per hour this year. Why was that, if there really was a threat to jobs?

  66. bj

    I don’t accept your premise that having a low minimum wage creates more jobs. What jobs would be created by a low minimum wage. I can identify whole groups of people who would be harmed by a lower wage than they receive now.

    The service sector provides services, it employs enough people to supply these services. Exactly what other jobs are created by a lower minimum wage – and do not forget the effect of cutting tens of thousands of workers wages on the rest of the economy.

  67. SPC,
    To address the last first, I agree with the SB and IB being higher than the UB.

    I should clarify. As the benefit system is at the moment I support a bare bones UB because not only can we not afford to support individuals on the UB at a higher rate, but we can not afford to not motivate them to find employment.
    I would much rather reform the system such that an individual in the first trimester of unemployment gets a benefit able to support a decent standard of living and cover mortgage payments, etc. so that they do not slip back from what they have worked for. An individual in the second and third trimesters would receive a smaller benefit consisting of two parts. The first part being granted regardless of work and the second part being granted based on the willingness of the individual to work a small number of hours during the week, varing based on the hours worked. The two components adding up such that, depending on the amount of work, the individual would receive between bare bones and potentially the amount of the first trimester. After the end of the first trimester the first component would reduce substantially and the individuals would need to work about a 15-hour week to keep the total at bare bones level, with the option of working up to perhaps 25 hours if they would rather a more comfortable standard.
    This would act to deter bludgers and the work could create some small return able to offset the cost by puting those in this stage to work in government run areas which the minimum wage would otherwise render uneconomic. Those genuinely desiring work would not be hurt by this, only the bludgers and because of the work component the employer perception ‘they just sit on their arse’ barrier to finding employment would be minimised.

  68. gerrit

    I don’t see supermarkets, or fast food outlets, being in trouble if the minimum wage rises, or small to medium sized businesses threatened if their cleaners get a wage increase. The state would have some liability in the area of hospital services – rest home care is a mixed funding system. The income from increased taxes (and reduced WFF liability) from the other minimum wage pay increases might cover the government minimum wage increase liability.

    I guess the government increased the minimum wage to $12.50 having done the numbers.

  69. SPC,
    Yes, it would be nice to earn more (I have never earned more than minimum) but the effects are undesirable. As you say, the increases are reflected in prices, but only in so far as people are willing to pay those increased prices. If people are not willing to then unemployment will result as demand decreases with the cost to profit ratio staying the same. If people are willing to pay more, or have to due to the price of all foods rising, then they will demand more in their wages to compensate and as a result of this inflation will neutralise any gains made while hurting the poor (whom are disproportionately affected by inflation).

    National increased the minimum wage because we live in a democracy and it would have been political suicide not to. People are stupid and the government is ultimately bound by that stupidity. Social credit multple times got a very large portion of the vote; enough said. They may have some good policies now, but their understanding of the nature of money is so flawed as to be from a mentally retarded individual.

  70. sapient

    There are always ideas to reform of the unemployment benefit receiving and maitenance of eligibility process.

    All have advantages and flaws.

    We tried work for the dole and found people got comfortable on it and those not on it got work more quickly.

    We have programmes for volunteer work for the unemployed – the problem with paying extra for those doing it is the cost. You suggest cutting the dole to finance paying them for some work. This means finding enough work for those whose dole is cut, or otherwise it’s real poverty with no way out. If the work is found, is it replacing work that could have been used for paid jobs. And see above, people get comfortable on it and don’t return to paid work.

    What I like, and this works with Nationals decision to keep their promise of increasing of the other income earnt before benefit abatement comes, is the government receiving offers of work from the private sector/public sector for the unemployed – and allocating out this paid work as it comes available on a shared basis (rather than 100 jobs for 100 people – say 500 get a days work etc). This allows the employer to trial more employees before hiring some.

    PS The unemployed would have to receive the minimum wage rate at least for the hours they workerd – ILO pointed this out in the 1990’s prodded by Unite.

  71. sapient

    Yes the costs of higher prices from minimum wage rises are born by others in society – it’s those on the minimum wage who are and remain better off.

    I won’t agree that “people” are stupid, but individually and collectively we get it wrong sometimes and sometimes inertia in the organisational process (or just human nature/politics) gets in the way of focus on the right issues in the right way.

  72. SPC,
    The dole work would not kick-out payed work because the existence of the minimum wage ensures that some industries are simply not cost effective. It is those industries that the government should use to employ these individuals.
    While I don’t agree that they should be paid the minimum wage, even if they were it would still be economic for the government to employ them in areas which would otherwise be uneconomic simply because the money would otherwise be going out anyhow and thus the effective pay rate from the government side is a fraction of that which those on the dole would receive.

    Realistically, those whom find work quickly are the same ones who would not need the adverse incentives provided by the work scheme, this is accounted for by the two periods of no need to work and of little need to work. The working only really comes into play for those whom are almost certainly not looking for work, and if they were, then they stand to benefit more through working than they would under the present scheme because of the possibility of working a lot of hours.

    Maybe we could put them to work making cheap clothes and furnature to be provided free to other beneficiaries. It would displace a small amount of demand on presently economic production (in relation to the furnature) but it would cut government costs by more than it would the tax take and excess could be sold cheaply, displacing production from china not here as we produce higher price, higher quality, clothing.

  73. SPC,

    Yes the costs of higher prices from minimum wage rises are born by others in society – it’s those on the minimum wage who are and remain better off.

    But since the minimum wage rises increase inflation, a rise of a dollar may only give them a raise of 20 cents or so, if that, in real terms if small unemployment takes place. In reality it would be more like 80 cents but that is because massive unemployment would result. The increased taxes and decreased circulation hurting more than that 80 cents is worth.

  74. sapient

    The dole increased from 7 to $12 an hour over 9 years and unemployment fell until Bollard’s OCR policy and the global recession kicked in.

    Yeah sure, a “Green economy” approach to exchanging value – unemployed labour providing things/services to those without and unable to pay for them” is an option.

  75. SPC,
    Those 9 years were also a period of substantial growth globally in which New Zealand also grew substantially, though not to the same degree as many others. The growth accounts for the decrease in unemployment despite the increasing minimum wage and the increase in the minimum wage may be one factor in explaining New Zealand’s sub-par growth during that period.

  76. We increased our minimum wage more than any of the others and our unemployment fell to one of the very lowest levels, despite our growth being less than some of the others (

    (on productivity – ours was low in that period because so many more were employed, extra units of employment are not usually as skilled or productive, especially coming off a period of higher unemployment as we had in the 90’s).

    Whereas the USA which did not incease its minimum wage till after the 2006 election and which had higher growth than us during the 1999-2006 period had higher unemployment … . Despite it still having a low minimum wage its unemployment is 10%.

  77. SPC,
    Helen got in when I was about 10 or 11, so I don’t really remember that much about the situation in the earlier years. I will leave that to Gerrit to discuss as he likely has a greater knowledge than myself regarding the matter and may even tell me that I am straight-out wrong.
    I would, however, suggest that the vast majority of our exports are not value-added and because of this the units employed per unit of currency is more than in countries with higher value goods. Thus, while we experienced a smaller growth that growth could consume the unemployed at a greater rate. If the unemployed became small enough in number they too could act to limit the growth.

  78. Thanks SPC

    I think we can ALL agree that the situation with the partner is broken and in need of repair in that case. One more aspect of my observation that a monetary value set by legislation that is not adjusted for inflation, is an indication of incompetence on the part of the lawmakers.

    respectfully
    BJ

  79. SPC

    I don’t accept your premise that having a low minimum wage creates more jobs. What jobs would be created by a low minimum wage. I can identify whole groups of people who would be harmed by a lower wage than they receive now.

    The low minimum wage doesn’t work alone. In this economy it CANNOT work. The problems we face are not “all one thing” but trying to solve the problems by addressing just one mole at a time simply leads to the hammer flying out of our hands.

    The deal with the ECONOMY is that we have embraced globalization with both hands, abandoned skilled trades and industry with… well… abandon, and created a property market with a productive economy as an afterthought. None of those mistakes have anything to do with the minimum wage.

    All have to be corrected for there to be a investment in productive enterprise, and a range of skills and employment in this country.

    respectfully
    BJ

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