The Living Wage will help the economy

What is it with this government and their complacency about the hundreds of thousands of people who are living in poverty in this country?

Yesterday the Prime Minister John Key ‘slammed’ the concept of introducing a Living Wage and suggested that introducing a better pay rate for low paid workers will be bad for the economy.

His comments came in the wake of contenders for the Labour party leadership promising to introduce a Living Wage.

After considerable research the Living Wage has been set at $18.40 per hour.  This would allow workers to provide for their families and enable them to participate in civil society.

The minimum legal hourly rate is $13.75 but this is not enough to live on and the fact that two out of every five of the 270,000 children who live in poverty have at least one parent in the paid workforce is testament to that.

Typically the government meets any suggestion of increasing the minimum wage rate with the assertion that we will lose jobs as a result.  A couple of years back they said that raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would mean the loss of 6000 jobs – however Treasury documents revealed that this wouldn’t be the case.

The Prime Minister’s assertion the Working for Families tax credit is fixing poverty wages is completely out of touch with what is happening in the work place.  The documentary on inequality Mind the Gap that aired on TV3’s Inside New Zealand programme last week clearly outlined that Working for Families mostly ends up as a subsidy for employers.  It acts as an incentive to keep pay rates low because the tax-payer tops up workers’ wages.

A low wage economy is no way to fuel growth.  The government tends to forget that if wages are higher there is a larger tax take and there is more spending in the local economy.  (Workers don’t tend to put their savings in off-shore tax havens.)   Research from overseas shows that Living Wages are good for the economy and employers reap rewards through increased productivity, a more stable workforce so less training costs and fewer days lost through absenteeism and sickness.  Staff morale is also higher and businesses also gain an enhanced public image and reputation.

This government persists in saying that the cost of introducing a Living Wage is unaffordable.  But when we look at the gains – which includes healthier families, better education outcomes for kids, less reliance on welfare, less crime and a more equal society –  the benefits far out-weigh the costs.

145 thoughts on “The Living Wage will help the economy

  1. You’re misquoting Treasury rather badly there. That was a single analyst’s personal musings in a private email sent in 2011. No official report would say that (see the link below).

    Treasury’s warned against a large increase in the minimum wage every year since the economy slowed in 2008, because it would cost jobs. I imagine jobs in areas like call centers and manufacturing would go overseas even faster than they already are with an $18.40 minimum.

    Treasury on minimum wages: http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/treasury-on-minimum-wages.html

  2. Be nice if employers were asked if they can afford to pay the extra wages being mandated by the politicians.

    Any research to suggest that employers can actually afford the wage increases without a round of price increases?

    By the way, that link to the treasury report goes directly to a 3 News Patrick Gower report, not to any treasury report. A Gareth Hughes moment happening?

    What does treasury say about employer ability to fund the increased wage costs? Any reference to potential price increases nullifying the wage increases?

  3. Does Gerrit realise there are many parents who do not claim ‘working for families’ or other grants, these people fear being asked to pay back money if they earn a few dollars extra, and since they do not have the wherewithal they refrain from taking the grants.

    These same parents discourage their offspring from going to university for fear of the debt which mounts up.

    Rent subsidies end up in the hands of the landlords, the ‘getting young folk into employment grant’ is for money for the employer.

    Does the writer also expect us to feel sorry for the employer and not the employee? Employers are usually in the game to make a profit, but it is obscene that they make this profit on the backs of their employees
    Alas, t’was forever so.

    I sometimes wonder who the true bludgers are.

  4. The whole point about Living Wage campaign is about employers being “asked” about paying it…via “negotiation” with their employees and in some cases employers are doing it in NZ already, as they in the UK, US and elsewhere. Politicians are being asked as “employers” in the public sector, DHB, and territorial local authorities, such the Wellington City Council.
    There are many advantages of the Living Wage, including more income tax from the increased wages, reduced Working For Families payments as this abates as income increase, more spending in the local and/or those with increased wages reducing debt (credit card) or perhaps being able to save for a deposit for their first home.
    No law changes are being asked for.

  5. “A living wage” – which I translate to be an obfuscated version of “raising the minimum wage to $18.40″ will be a good thing for the economy.

    It will be a bad thing for those people who have a job today who wont have one in a post-$18.40 minimum wage economy.

    It will also annoy business owners who have such lousy businesses that they cant afford to pay their employees $18.40 an hour, but it will be good we get rid of these businesses, or they readjust their pricing structure so they can afford to pay decent wages. That, of course, will be the test of whether their business is worth having.

    I would far rather my tax dollar go in benefits to jobseekers (see – new terminology) than into the pocket of a businessperson through subsidising his low value business.

  6. Any research to suggest that employers can actually afford the wage increases without a round of price increases?

    Any research to suggest that employers can’t actually afford the wage increases in the absence of price increases?

  7. Key govt makes sure there are more and more working poors who will resent/hate benefitiaries more and more as the gap between those two keeps shrinking…
    one stone hits two birds, how wonderful!
    Accroding to key’s logic, our wages should go down to standard in China so everyone in NZ will have jobs and we can be as competative as cheap Chinese labours.
    according to Key’s logic, we should never have any election which costs tax payers money to ensure democracy…
    9 millions for KOA referendum, is so much cheaper than billions we will lose in years to come if we keep selling our best profit making SOEs.

    Those millions for holding KOA referendum should be spent so many months ago before any asset sale, instead of being delayed by Key govt.

  8. …of the 270,000 children who live in poverty…

    Yeah, lets not forget that “poverty” is calculated as a realtive number, so even if we had a minimum wage of $500/hr, we would still have the same percentage of children living in poverty.

    As BJ reminded us, The Green Party tells the TRUTH every chance it gets, and Denise’s piece doesn’t actually come out and say that a living wage will have any benefit such as reducing poverty, whilst still mentioning poverty in passing, thus getting the hot button in. Very clever politicking, nicely done Denise.

  9. I think Gerrit, that a round of price increases to fund a better minimum wage is a redundent statement, as I have seen multitudes of price increases in the 3 years i have been with my current employer, but no wage increases! so go figure. And i agree dbuckley that we don’t need businesses that claim they can’t increase the minimum wage as it’s more likely that they can, but have sucked all the money out of the business into their own pockets, like a former employer of mine who claimed he could not afford to fund the tools needed for the job to be done, yet had no problem building a million dollar home and funding his sons $4,000 go-kart (hypocrites eh?). Maybe these nay sayers need to go back to school and learn money management!

  10. “Any research to suggest that employers can actually afford the wage increases without a round of price increases?”

    I suppose that depends on what you mean by ‘afford’. There’s employers out there who will swear blind that they can’t afford to pay a higher wage, but for some reason, always manage to scrape up the cash to go out and buy ciggies and booze, or golf club memberships.

  11. The documentary on inequality Mind the Gap that aired on TV3’s Inside New Zealand programme last week clearly outlined that Working for Families mostly ends up as a subsidy for employers

    No it didn’t. No it fucking didn’t. Massive fail.

    What it did was played the ideology card, and blathered on about subsidies like WFF being money flowing to the rich, with a pretty graphic with upward pointing arrows. It buried this really important detail in a lot of similar blathering.

    Given that New Zealand is a country of SMEs, and most people work for SMEs, the employers benefiting mostly are not “rich”. Ask Average Joe in the street what “rich” means and they’ll think of people with huge wads in flash suits with high powered jobs and very expensive cars. Its the companies with a dozen minimum wage employees doing some low value thing (like a coffee bar) where the owner / manager benefits substantially from the WFF wage topup.

    But all this got disguised, so Joe public who watched that program, Joe who has a moderate job at a big company, he doesn’t associate his local town employers, some of whom he knows, and some of whom will even be friends, as the bad guy in this. He thinks these people are heros, giving the local kids jobs.

    Massive fail.

  12. Gregor W

    Any research to suggest that employers can’t actually afford the wage increases in the absence of price increases?

    I was hoping that the link to the treasury might have contained some information on that score. But alas it is a Gareth Hughes type link to a report in a newspaper and without further reference material to follow up on the statements made.

    I would like to see treasury provide a backgrounder on how many businesses pay less then 25% of gross turnover on their wages bill.

    25% of gross turnover is roughly the most any business can afford.

    Done some research myserlf but it is pretty obscure and hard to define.

    Maybe IRD is better equiped to define how many companies pay less than 25% of Gross turnover in wages.

  13. Yeah, lets not forget that “poverty” is calculated as a realtive number, so even if we had a minimum wage of $500/hr, we would still have the same percentage of children living in poverty.

    dbuckley – this is the worst kind of red herring sophistry. There is an internationally accepted measure for both relative and absolute poverty.

    Relative poverty is generally accepted (OECD/UNDP) @ 60% of median income – in NZ this means about $12.50hr before tax.

    A setting of $18.50 an hour (about 88% of median) is ‘living’ as opposed to ‘poverty’ wages.

    If your hypothetical poverty setting was $500 per week (or hour) applied, it makes no difference as it’s the relative purchasing power rather than the nominal value that is pertinent.

    See Weimar republic Mark, Italian Lira pre Euro etc.

  14. Can I see the evidence that a higher minimum wage will increase productivity, please? I’m not disagreeing. It is just so important an argument I want to understand it.

  15. D Buckley.

    At least around where I live most SME’s pay more than minimum wage.

    I did too when I owned an SME. We can see the value of paying for the best employees.

    And the value of having customers locally who get paid enough to use our business.

    It is the big corporate stores and franchises that pay minimum wage, or not much more.

    This policy, at least from where I sit, will have little effect on most of the SME owners I know, except in increasing the number of customers. They already pay around 20 to 30 dollars an hour.

  16. Denise says ” Research from overseas shows that Living Wages are good for the economy and employers reap rewards through increased productivity…”

    Yes – last time this was discussed a study between two large American mail order houses was trumpeted about how the company paying much higher wages also got significantly more productivity from it’s workers, so could work with 40% LESS STAFF than the other company.

  17. Kerry,

    Am interested to know if you could quantify the percentage you paid in wages versus gross turnover for a construction company.

  18. Treasury doesn’t support large increases in the minimum wage when the economy’s slow, like it is now. That link to “Treasury documents” leads to an article written by Patrick Gower in 2011. He picked up a personal email written by a single Treasury analyst saying that increases didn’t lead to higher unemployment when the economy was strong a few years back. Gower misinterpreted the email as support for large increases in the minimum wage in 2011.

    Treasury’s consistently warned that increases in the minimum wage would lead to higher unemployment since at least 2008.

  19. Kerry says “Getting a bit desperate there to find cons for minimum wage rises, are you? Photo!”

    It depends if you’re the one losing your job, or your business, by enforcing wage rises where costs can’t be passed on.

    Minimum wages are already massively higher than they were one, two and three decades ago.

    Currently in the states, the cost of burger making machines and staff are similar. Put wages up, and the machine is cheaper.

  20. I can, but I don’t know if it would shed much light on the subject.

    It varied so much depending on the number employed, the size and type of of contract and the arrangement for paying for materials. E.G. Labour only, labour plus materials(at cost plus) or full contract.
    I also did at least one labour only job as a subbie, where the head contractor supplied everything, including large power tools.

    Paying $25 to $35 an hour gets you someone who can work unsupervised. Speeds up the job heaps when you have to spend a large part of the day sourcing materials, quoting and chasing bills.

    Paying apprentices fairly, even if it is as tool and food expense money, as many programs do not allow you to pay them wages, and being serious about giving them skills, ensures you get the pick of apprentices also.
    A good keen gofer allows you to get through twice as much work as you can alone, even allowing for time taken to train them.

    My best apprentice and later hammerhand was a reformed burglar.
    Very useful if you forgot where the owner hid the keys.

  21. There has been a massive increase in minimum wage rates over the last three decades while inflation rates have been insubstantial. Quack.

  22. solkta says “There has been a massive increase in minimum wage rates over the last three decades while inflation rates have been insubstantial. Quack.”

    As always – you’re making stuff up that no one has said, anywhere, at any time. Who said inflation rates were insubstantial?

    They have been really high over the last 30 years, but minimum wage have risen over 50% MORE than inflation.

    In 1984 the minimum adult wage was $2.50/hr ($100 before tax for a 40 hr week).

    $100 of goods in 1984 now costs $291.85.

    Minimum wage today is $13.85 ($554 before tax for a 40 hour week).

    So someone on the minimum wage has 53% more spending power today than they did in 1984.

    When you add in lower tax rates today and working for families, they are significantly more than 53% better off.

  23. New Zealand has the 4th highest minimum wage in the world as a percentage of median pay.

    New Zealand has the 8th highest minimum wage in the world – period.

    Adjusted for inflation, the 1984 minimum wage of $2.50 would have today reached $7.30, yet the minimum wage has risen to $13.75.

    Denise’s statements of job loss claims above need to be qualified. Department of Labour said there would be negligible job losses rises at the inflation rate, but 6000 jobs would be lost with a 10% rise.

    So claims that there will or won’t be job losses are meaningless, unless they are qualified with a percentage rise.

    Otherwise we could all just pay ourselves ten times what we get now and next week we’d all start getting rich.

  24. Not only are the minimum wages higher and the cost of living higher but the productivity is higher along with the unemployment, . The equation has more than 2 factors.

    My personal observation is that the only place I have ever seen people work so hard for so little money is Southern California. The people were illegal Mexican immigrants who could not protest no matter what an employer did to them.

    …and I am not the only one to see this. Remember the “mexicans with cellphones” remark from someone on one of the film production crews?

    I imagine there are worse situations in many 3rd world nations, but that isn’t a standard of comparison that Greens accept. It is simply the standard that Key and all the other neo-liberal, global-free-trade, free-market-fundamentalist MORONS unwittingly accept.

  25. Median wage now Photo? All your comparisons in the past have used average wages. Photo-stats.

    The valid comparison for minimum wages between countries is against the cost of living, which in New Zealand is high, compared with wages.

    I can live like a king in Vietnam for $100 a week. Try living on that in New Zealand.

    And we all know that costs of necessities, the things that low wage earners have to buy, have risen much faster than the CPI.

    How much have power prices, baked beans and rice, bus tickets, and rents, risen, again? Photo.

  26. What Photo has also conveniently forgotten is that, in the past, employees only on minimum wage, were rare.

    My school holiday job,in 1973, working for a landscaper, paid a dollar an hour. $40 a week. According to the CPI calculator it would be $557 a week now.
    http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/monetary_policy/inflation_calculator/

    Current Minimum wage is $550 a week.

    Hardly a rise.

    Youth rates, which almost everyone doing that sort of job gets, now, are $440 a week.
    $550 a week now is considerably less real income than $40 a week, then.
    In 1973, Doctors bills, education, health, and many other services were free.
    Grocery bills were proportionately much lower than the CPI changes suggest, My mother used to buy groceries for 2 adults and 5 children for less than $10, Try doing that for $111, now.
    Power, fuel and housing costs were proportionately much lower also. You could live in Auckland on $40 a week and still have money left over for holidays and the luxuries the Photo’s of this world do not think the poor deserve..

    The drop in minimum wages, and median incomes also, are even more marked if we compare it to average wages. Something Photo was careful not to do.

    http://www.unite.org.nz/?q=node/579

    “We need steps to restore the minimum wage to the two-thirds of the average wage which was the level implemented after the 1973 Royal Commission on Social security. This is also the level recommended by the International Labour Organisation. If the minimum wage had stayed at that level it would be worth $16 an hour in today’s dollars. The fact that it was allowed to drop to one third of the average wage under National and has only got back to half the average under Labour is a legacy of the policies that have produced a low wage economy in New Zealand”.

  27. I am confused by the beneficiary bashers wanting to turn the campaign for a LW to employees from employers as part of negotiation into lets support beneficiaries more and oppose a Living Wage. Shock. Lets do both why not!!! And if we need funds, lets tax more of those in the top income brackets.
    Bryan Perry, of MSD fame, has shown in 1984 the ratio of the top 10 percent to bottom ten percent of earners in NZ was 6 to 1, whereas in 2011 it is 9 to 1. The ratios for the middle to top where 2.2 to 1 and 3.3 to 1 respectively. (Source: Inequality edited by max Rashbrooke)
    Just as if we measure facts like the minimum wage now to some point in the past… at what point do we start. That which maximises the merit of an argument.
    The quantum of international evidence shows in workplaces where LW is there is reduced hardship among those workers and their families, better productivity, less staff-turnover…a myriad of positives. And remember fellow ranters… the LW is paid by employers to employees following neogtiation. Wow, following negotiation.

  28. Kerry:

    At least around where I live most SME’s pay more than minimum wage.

    I did too when I owned an SME. We can see the value of paying for the best employees.

    I think you are being selective about your SMEs, and thinking of “quality” SMEs, for example like those found in engineering and trades disciplines. I’m thinking of SMEs that employ “unskilled” labour.

    97.2% of businesses have 20 or less employees. (source: MBI)

  29. And also the MBI note that “For small enterprises, the average salaries and wages paid per employee … and average total income per employee are lower than larger enterprises.”

  30. Dbuckley.

    Considering the large number of multinational corporates, especially retailers, whose front line staff are on minimum wage,or a few cents more, I think their average wage levels are higher than SME’s, because of the half million dollar plus salaries of a few senior staff.

    You may be right that I am considering quality businesses, such as trades.
    I also note, however, that locally owned shops seem to offer more than the minimum, and offer full time hours, while Spotlight, McD’s, Grocery chains and other multinationals pay minimum wage, or only a little more, to front line staff and, worse still, only offer casual contracts.

  31. Denise.. maybe you could suggest to the ‘Key party’ members that they offer to spend a month living on $13.75/hr ($550/wk before tax) & then tell the people they understand..
    More ‘neo-liberal’ politics : cut costs, slash wages, tax-cuts to the wealthy & “KEEP THE WORKERS DOWN-TRODDEN !”

    The $50Mln man wouldn’t know what poverty meant, if the opposition didn’t keep reminding him.. it doesn’t exist on ‘Planet-Key’. The Key party think that the ‘underclass’ don’t deserve a fair go.

    kia-ora

  32. Bevin Fitzsimons: “Can I see the evidence that a higher minimum wage will increase productivity, please?”

    Does it need to?

    I get that simply paying people collectively more without increasing productivity will merely lead to high inflation, but what happens if other people end up being paid less at the same time, to enable those on the lowest wages to get more? eg. Company boss pays his employees a little more by foregoing a little of his own salary, and (possibly) off-setting the buying of his golf club membership.

    Or is the effect of that lessened, due to the company boss being unlikely to change his spending habits because the money he loses is money he probably wouldn’t have spent (immediately) anyway, given he has enough income to have that luxury?

  33. Does it need to?

    Theres actually some good research by Nayaran (2010 I think) across 40 years of data from the G7 which shows (IIRC) that for every 1% wage rise 0.6% productivity is returned, with that factor increasing proportionally for lower wage earners – indicating that strong wage-discretionary effort/motivation corelation factors are present.

    Not great citation I know but I’m dredging the memory banks here…

  34. Kerry notes:

    What Photo has also conveniently forgotten is that, in the past, employees only on minimum wage, were rare.

    I find it odd that employers are willing to pay only minimum wage; if I were an employer I would find that embarrassing. “Hi, here’s a job, but my business is so shit I can only pay you minimum wage”

  35. Kerry – you have your rose tinted glasses on again. Oh, and you got the inflation calculator wrong also.

    $40 of goods in 1973 would now cost $453.
    $40 of wages in 1973 would now be $557. i.e wages have risen faster than goods.

    Here’s some more comparisons, (converted into todays money in brackets)

    1982 $30,000 for a two litre car (1982 $107,000 vs $35,000 in 2013)
    1959 5s3d for a dozen eggs ( 1959 $10.14 vs $3.55 in 2013)

    Similarly basics like flour, sugar and bread were 50% dearer 20 and 30 years ago.

    Kerry says “The drop in minimum wages, and median incomes also, are even more marked if we compare it to average wages. Something Photo was careful not to do.”

    Wrong – even compared to average wages, we are still near the top of the world – in the Department of Labour reported one set of data from 2011 that put us as the highest minimum wage in the world, as a percentage of average wage.

  36. Kerry says “What Photo has also conveniently forgotten is that, in the past, employees only on minimum wage, were rare.”

    Today less than 4% of workers are on the minimum wage.

    From DOL 2012 review – “Currently, amongst the 2,227,000 people employed in New Zealand, 84,800 people are paid the minimum wage”

  37. Who buys new cars? Photo.

    Still comparing countries by average wage against minimum wage? Photo.

    The only valid comparison is minimum wage against cost of living.

    Unlike NZ, in most other OECD countries you can live in some comfort on minimum wage.

    Also no GST in 1973.

  38. Also no GST in 1973.

    Bread and milk were subsidised.

    Our parents lived in State houses or bought with State advances corporation, 3% mortgages.

    The family benefit was a substantial amount of money.

    There was a tax free threshold. Paper boys did not pay tax.

    Union coverage meant few were on minimum wages.

    I don’t recall any children of working parents without enough to eat.

  39. The shift to consumption taxes from Income taxes and Capital Gains is one of the ways in which the wealthy have ensured that the inequality continues to increase. Just another part of the neo-liberal agenda. A bad idea. A VERY bad idea.

  40. I would theorize that productivity gains could be had from the reduction of stress on the workers. With lower paid workers struggling, worrying about their kids and their bills and their future because they can’t afford to prepare for anything, they ARE going to be distracted and stressed.

    They’re going to be willing to take shortcuts that aren’t good for the business.

    They’re going to be UN-willing to put in any extra effort for the business owner.

    Those would be some of the mechanisms, but it’d be hard to test.

    Thing is, this isn’t about improving productivity. We don’t actually NEED to “improve productivity” any more as we have more than enough workers looking for work. Improved productivity is now largely a matter of removing jobs while still producing some product, usually through automation.

  41. comparisons eh? In 1968, a mother of five, I bought 1/4 acre for $300 cash.

    Today that land is valued at $300K. How does that compare? I am sure today if my circumstances were the same I would not be able to afford
    $300K cash for a piece of land.

    Many folk on minimum wages work two jobs in the ‘care industry’ to make ends meet, yet their second job is taxed at secondary rates. Their total pay is still far below what fat cats earn and who probably, legally, pay less tax.

  42. Kerry says “The only valid comparison is minimum wage against cost of living.”

    We’ve got one of the highest outright minimum wages in the world, yet our most expensive city, Auckland, is way down in 56th place in the list of most expensive cities in the world.

    As for your rose tinted glasses of the past – I could live on the dole today with more luxuries than we had as an average income family in the 70s.

    That’s why our standard of living is rated as sixth highest in the world by the UN – much better than our rating in the 1970s.

  43. bj says “The shift to consumption taxes from Income taxes and Capital Gains is one of the ways in which the wealthy have ensured that the inequality continues to increase.”

    When did we shift from capital gains tax?

  44. I could live on the dole today with more luxuries than we had as an average income family in the 70s.

    One of those moments when you just have to ask: Idiot, troll, idiot troll, or computer programme?

  45. Solkta – unless you are blind, you’ll find any number of things in poor houses today that were luxuries for most average homes in the 70s.

    In fact at a recent discussion with public health nurses, the comment was made that they’ve NEVER EVER been into a poor household that didn’t have at least some (and often many) non-essential luxuries like –

    – alcohol
    – cigarettes
    – labeled shoes
    – labeled clothes
    – flat screen colour tv
    – large dogs
    – large inefficient cars
    – drugs
    – ipod
    – playstation
    – smartphone
    – laptop
    – jewelery
    – tattoos
    – computer
    – takeaways
    – fizzy drinks
    – chips
    – chocolate
    – lotto tickets

    In fact many poor households have numerous non-essential items in the list above, then wonder why they can’t afford real essentials.

    What were once luxuries for average families, are now considered (by some) as essentials for poor families.

    It’s not a coincidence that sales of alcohol, cigarettes, takeaways and money spent on gambling is highest in the poorest areas.

    And it’s not a surprise that when the people who can least afford these non-essential items, spend the most on them, they will remain poor.

  46. We didn’t shift FROM a Capital Gains tax, we simply ignored every possible opportunity to implement one. A simpler sentence was my aim. We shifted to a greater reliance on consumption tax and reduced our reliance on income (of any sort) tax.

    Both National AND Labour, as Labour refused in their tenure as well.

    However raising the GST while lowering Income tax was one of the clearest signals of what this government is about. I think Labour would not have done THAT, but both Labour and National have refused to enact or consider shifts BACK towards income based taxes (Capital Gains is an Income).

    National, to their credit, has put a tooth back into some of the IRD enforcement efforts (to say “teeth” might overstate the case). I do give National credit for that though. Labour might or might not have done the same. I have always found Labour as a party to be “easily distracted”. It is as if the party as a whole suffers from ADHD :-)

    NONE of the possible taxes on “income” including additional tax brackets and higher taxes on the wealthiest, land taxes, removal of LAQC based negative gearing and the explicit “Capital Gains” (one could render it as a straight income tax but the ability to spread income over multiple years is conceivably more fairly handled differently) and some cleanup of corporate foreign business arrangements which allow them to play such interesting games with their taxes and income, have been considered or put in place by either party over the past 5 or more administrations. Cullen gave me a variety of excuses. English (or his office) never bothered to respond to correspondence. The problems remain, the GINI continues to go up. People who actually are “more productive” haven’t been paid well, but “owners” have been rewarded handsomely at every turn whether they did a lick of work or not. Some do. Some are VERY productive and their businesses prosper, but ownership reaps all the rewards here, not work.

    I am surprised that you don’t recognize that

    1. Chocolate is a necessity! :-)
    2. Fizzy drinks and chips are cheaper than fruit juice and food.
    3. Drugs are probably present in any lower class dealer’s household, and drugs are always an escape even if they are not also addictive. Most are both. What drugs becomes a question, as some can be home grown.
    4. People do not necessarily sell everything that they ever owned when they find themselves jobless and poor.
    5. A lotto ticket is a cheap dream a hope of escaping the dole. Most don’t know the odds, just the advertisements. Which should be removed!! But then we know that the pokies are positioned in poor neighborhoods as well. Gambling being the third addiction, after cigarettes and liquor.
    6. All Televisions are colour flat screen. Have you tried to buy a TV that isn’t a flat screen colour set lately? Are you saying that poor people shouldn’t HAVE television? You DO want those riots in the street (an alternative form of entertainment).
    7. Computers are required for communication and school work now.

    …of the lot one might argue that the cigarettes and liquor are in fact the worst, and to your credit those consumables are at the top of the list. Having seen the cigarette addiction in action I can well imagine people starving themselves to get them.

    Basically this is just more punishment for the poor for being poor, and in the end that is NOT a useful way to manage the society. It doesn’t work and it has never worked.

  47. “I could live on the dole today with more luxuries than we had as an average income family in the 70s”.

    Photo. You have just conclusively proved you are in LA la land.

    Having experienced both:

    I was part of a low income family in the 70’s.

    And I havn’t been on the dole, but I have been on an invalids benefit and ACC.

    I cannot even begin to understand how Photo believes his own crap.

    As for luxuries. In the late 70’s I was going ski-ing, and owned a 23 foot yacht, on a apprentices wage. Try doing that now on a training wage, if you are even getting paid..

    Rose tinted glasses? Photo, take your fucking welding helmet, off!

  48. And had all the things Photo mentioned except for cigarettes, I don’t smoke, fortunately.
    Had to scrub the efficient new car and get a car I could afford though, which happened to be an big old gas guzzler.
    We survived because we had a lot of equity in our house to start with.

    My heart goes out to people who have to live like that their entire lives. No wonder why they seize on bits of escapism and hope, like gambling, drugs or TV.

    Sometimes I have this overwhelming desire to force smug idiots like Photo, to experience what it is really like to live on a low income.

    In the 70’s, on a low income, our family still managed to have a life, and send all of us to tertiary education and a genuinely brighter future.

    Low income now, is an almost inescapable trap.

  49. Phuts, A hundred years few households had manufactoured household appliances, then along came Henry Ford. Wow, lets hope the process of progress stops before they implant computers in the heads of babes – except of beneficiaries, as d buck says they are not worth the cost.
    That aside, another figure for comparison could be the cost of rent, or house compared to the median wage. Some analysis as to need for two-income households….
    When the Social Security Act was introduced 75 years ago nit sat alongside policies of full employment because the recent experience of global market failure. Now we see market failure all the time and three political approaches occur. Blame the victim, blame the system or to scared to chose. In the first two/three decades after 1938 the Act did not need forms of supplementary assistance. Now – check it out.
    And while 4% of workers may be on the minimum wage…. check out how many are between it and the Living Wage. About 50%! Check my arithamatic: median income in 2011 was $30,800 after tax, about $600 a week….$720 before tax,LW for forty hours! wow.

  50. BJ says “NONE of the possible taxes on “income” including …. removal of LAQC based negative gearing and the explicit “Capital Gains” ….. have been considered or put in place by either party over the past 5 or more administrations. ”

    Wrong.

    The current government passed legislation in 2011 that stopped the ability to attribute losses to LAQCs.
    http://www.ird.govt.nz/changes-2010/qualifying-company/budget-qc-lacq.html

    And they’ve just given the IRD millions of extra dollars to collect tax on capital gains from property speculators.
    http://tvnz.co.nz/business-news/property-speculators-targeted-ird-5550971

  51. Kerry says “Sometimes I have this overwhelming desire to force smug idiots like Photo, to experience what it is really like to live on a low income.”

    I’ve lived on significantly less than the dole in London, and Africa, and NZ.

    Bit hard to believe your story from the 70s – that you went skiing, had a yacht and “had all the things Photo mentioned except for cigarettes.”

    Must have been very advanced in the 70s to have a smart phone, and a laptop, and a computer, and a flat screen tv, and an ipod, and a playstation.

  52. Graham says “Check my arithamatic: median income in 2011 was $30,800 after tax, about $600 a week….$720 before tax,LW for forty hours! wow.”

    You are confusing median income for median wage – two completely different things.

    Median income includes EVERY person over 16 – students, pensioners, unemployed, housewives etc, as well as workers.

    Median WAGE on the other hand, was $806 (from a year old survey) – nearly 50% higher than $560 for median INCOME from the same survey.

  53. I have been reading from many people posting comments that poor people are spending money on luxury items like, cigarettes alcohol, technology items like smartphones/playstations etc….I agree that this is unwise and irresponsible. However it is indicative of a systemic problem in the world today with people are everyday being sublimely brainwashed into a credit/debt cycle….i.e. Borrow money to cover debt (bridging finance), interest free credit deals, loans offered to bad debtors for car financing…etc. Of course no-one is telling them or teaching them to pay off their debt, save money and buy products freehold! Therefore the poor end up wallowing in depression and stress and wind up spending money on luxuries and diversions and hello….catch 22 the cycle continues. This of course is compounded by a growing gap between wages and the cost of living. I should know cos I have been there done that and got a T-shirt. Fortunately..(praise God!)..I have grown wiser with age and eradicated the destructive “diversions” from my life, and have incurred no further credit/debt from loans or hire purchases, and I am now almost debt free. Still only on a modest/low income but find I can manage….and hope for the day when my renumeration reflects my experience and the effort I put in….like $18phr not $15.

  54. Living on a small income, short term while you are young, healthy and have no family, especially when you still have the things your parents bought you, is rather different from having to live on it for years, Photo.

    Yes I did own a 23 ft yacht on an apprentices wages in the 70’s. Bought my first one when I was 14 in fact, then upsized, Lived rather well, compared with an apprentice, or even a low wage earner, today.

    As for your list I thought I made it clear they were in my house while I was on an invalids benefit, in the 00’s, because I owned them beforehand.
    After years of paying the top tax rate.

  55. Solkta makes comment from a position of total and complete ignorance – why change the habit of a lifetime.

    90% of your messages are sniping and abuse (intelligent comments from you about any subject are rare), then you complain about trolls – do you realise how funny that is?

  56. Phutz, I do not have Mr Perry’s source documents, so unsure of his definition. My figures come from Inequality: A new Zealand crisis, and are adapted by Rushbrooke from Perry’s Household Incomes in NZ along with figures in World Top Income Database for new Zealand, 1921-2009 My estimate of 50% getting the LW is not precise… but the numbers below the LW are staggeringly high..and the consequences of the growing inequality clear….ut said said some choose to blame the victim. A further way of viewing incomes is that 50% earn less than $24000 and 70% earn less than $43,000….and yes the beneficiaries are within this catchment.
    The LW is needed. We also need to address the growing inequality as the results are not good for national cohesian, let alone the individuals and dependents

  57. Three questions for photonz1:
    #1 – what is ‘the dole’?
    #2 – how much is ‘significantly less’ than it?
    #3 – how ever did you manage to do what you claim to have done?

  58. The problem we have, is that as technology improves there are fewer and fewer low skilled jobs (less than 4% of jobs are minimum wage).

    But over 50% of companies report trouble finding skilled workers.

    So we have too many unskilled workers fighting for a small number of jobs.

    And not enough skilled workers to do the work.

    So while technology advances, and too many people do nothing to get the qualifications that are required by businesses, the situation will only get worse.

  59. Graham Howell notes:

    Wow, lets hope the process of progress stops before they implant computers in the heads of babes – except of beneficiaries, as d buck says they are not worth the cost.

    As I noted in another thread recently, clocks do not generally run backwards, and genies do not willingly step back into bottles. Progress is what humans do, for better, and worse. If we don’t kill ourselves off with global warming, and we continue to have enough energy, then we must get to the point where we can build computers small enough and useful enough to be worth implanting, and yes, then we’ll do it.

    Your comment that an intellectual upgrade by means of a computer implant into babies would be wasted on babies of the beneficiaries misses the point by enough distance to qualify as irony; these are perhaps the babies who, in a world embroiled in an intellectual revolution, may benefit the most from such an upgrade…

  60. Many do nothing to get qualifications? Yes, because they have to take on debt to go to uni or unitech. Why not train them free and bond them to stay here and work for a number of years. Nurses used to train on the job, now they go to Tech, ditto many other trades. What was wrong with a system where the youngsters learnt their trade from an older more experienced person and attended some lectures free?
    I am beginning to think that people who blog on here enjoy making foul comments about each other. A nation divided is easily taken over by dictators.

  61. Yes, Photonz I was being ironic….in all sorts of ways…
    If technology means some without the required skills are not trained in the areas of current skill shortage then we as a society have to work out humane responses…and we are at present failing.
    And some do think implants will be something for the future… that way we can email and engage in social media by just thinking and do not need fingers and smartfone screens.
    I have suggested before we need pay people to play sport (at all levels of skill, low and not so low). And of course we still the lucky person to feed the dog that acts as security for the bloke in the factory looking after the robots making the fence to keep the rich from invading the homes of the poor… Another area of employment is to pay people to blog on Frog!

  62. greenfly asks “Three questions for photonz1:”

    #1 – what is ‘the dole’? $192-$335 for a single depending on circumstances, plus potential other benefits like sccommodation supplement

    #2 – how much is ‘significantly less’ than it?
    London – zero, Africa – zero, NZ – one part time job (16-20hrs on some weeks, nothing on others) to support two people.

    #3 – how ever did you manage to do what you claim to have done?
    London – lived like a hermit for a few months, rarely stepping outside an overcrowded flat, eating cheap frozen food; Africa – went hungry, to the point of selling my clothes to buy rice, NZ – lived frugally sharing in a tiny one bedroom flat with a one bar heater and on the very rare occasion splurged on a cardboard box of wine.

  63. Kerry says “Living on a small income, short term while you are young, healthy and have no family, especially when you still have the things your parents bought you, is rather different from having to live on it for years, Photo.”

    Short term? For almost all of the 90s I lived on significantly less than the average wage, (i.e. one average wage or less, between two people), and since 2000 lived on an average wage for a family of four.

    What we now earn is often much more than that (but sporadic – I’ve recently went 9 months without taking any wages at all) but what we live on comfortably, is still a single average wage.

    According to the government we shouldn’t be able to do that without Working For Families support. Yet we are very comfortable.

  64. In case you haven’t noticed, Photo. Most people are expected to live on much less than the average wage.

    50% of workers are on the minimum wage or just a little more.

  65. Why not train them free and bond them to stay here and work for a number of years.

    I have mixed feelings about this, because it’s really just another form of debt, which asks people to trade in more of their future freedom. Debt is always bad if you don’t have the available equity to sell and pay it off immediately if you need to escape. We may as well ask people to take out a loan and pay for themselves.

    My wife and I have a Thai friend, who we know through her having completed a PhD at Vic a few years ago at the cost of the Thai government. There’s no way that most people in her situation would’ve been able to afford such a thing without state assistance. Part of the deal meant that she’s now bound to Thailand for roughly 20+ years, and can only leave the country with special permission from the government. It’s basically the more active part of her life, until her education is considered to be paid off (in Thai earnings) unless she pays it back herself… and she won’t pay it back any faster herself if she’s required to work in Thailand.

    Probably a more extreme example, but I’m wary of encouraging more situations where people simply end up being bonded for many of their future years, whilst still being too insolvent to buy their way out if they want or need to do something else.

  66. The lack of skilled workers, Photo, has nothing to do with peoples reluctance to take up training or work at upskilling. You get 100’s of replies whenever you offer a training position.

    It is an own goal scored by New Zealand employers who refuse to pay for training, or pay decent wages towards the costs of employees paying for their own training. Aided and abetted by immigration policy which has allowed employers, until recently, to get away with it by employing already trained immigrants. Now even the immigrants are jibbing at New Zealand employers excessive workloads for low pay.

  67. Kerry starts spouting total nonsense again “50% of workers are on the minimum wage or just a little more.”

    Less than 4% of workers are on the minimum wage ….. (that’s 4%, not 50%).

    From Department of Labour 2012 review – “Currently, amongst the 2,227,000 people employed in New Zealand, 84,800 people are paid the minimum wage”

    You should have a little think before you write nonsense.

    If “50% of workers are on the minimum wage or just a little more.”, then that would mean the median wage was also at that level – which it obviously isn’t.

  68. 50% of workers are below a living wage, Photo.

    Do you think someone who is working should be spending their life sharing a tiny flat, shivering in front of a bar heater, with just enough left over to buy a cask of crappy wine once a month.

    Which is what you seem to be saying.

  69. Actually, if you check out Statistics NZ income records, many in the so-called bottom 10% have negative income due to issues around source data and the costs of so-called self-employed people…. so many, not Photo of course can legitimately claim negative income and be very well off. That is why one needs to be careful with claims made by those with no names.

  70. “If “50% of workers are on the minimum wage or just a little more.”, then that would mean the median wage was also at that level – which it obviously isn’t.”

    Depends on the distribution of wages.

    For example if 50% of the working population were on $15 an hour and 50% on $45 the median wage is $30. If 50% were on $10 and 50% on $50 the median will still be $30. Or, as seems to be the case. 50% are on wages less than $18.40 an hour, some percentage are on wages just over the median and then there are a few on wages much higher than the median.

    A large proportion of our population are on very low wages. (MSD).

    I will be charitable and consider it is just ignorance of how statistics work.

  71. Kerry says “You are assuming a similar distribution either side of the median.”

    Of course I am – that’s what the median is – exactly 50% of workers earn more, and exactly 50% earn less.

    Kerry says “50% of workers are below a living wage, Photo.”

    What utter nonsense. The median wage for workers last year was $806 per week, and $20.86 per hr.

    You obviously have absolutely no idea of what the median is.

    Time for you to go back and learn some primary school maths.

  72. Kerry: “You are assuming a similar distribution either side of the median.”

    photonz1: “Of course I am – that’s what the median is – exactly 50% of workers earn more, and exactly 50% earn less. [...] You obviously have absolutely no idea of what the median is.”

    Not that I’m bothering reading most of this banter, but having 50% on either side of a median certainly does not imply even distribution. 49% of people could be on minimum wage, with the median still sitting at $150,000+/year.

  73. I think you are being a little disingenious, photonz1.

    You know what Kerry means – the distribution of values within the data set below the median (the range indicating statistical dispersion).

    I’ll assume this is because you’re being a curmudgeon for effect rather than serious.

  74. Actually the median is the half-way point. Mode is the most common figure within a series of numbers. Mean is the sum total divided by the number of items in the series. Distribution of the numbers in the series need not be uniform. While I appreciate my figures are not “wages” nevertheless the lesson is important;
    hence based on income distribution data from IRD 2002-11, 50% get to earn less than $24,000. 30% less than $15,000 (9,000 less) yet $9,000 more than the median is not what the 70% percentile earn. That figure is a whopping $43,000, not $33,000. The 10% figure is $10,000 (5,000 less than the 30% sum). What’s the 90% figure? Sure as hell is not 5,000 more than $43,000. Point of fact it is $72,000.
    Lesson learnt. The distribution is not even.
    And the 95% figure by the way is $93,000, and the 99% figure is $170,000.
    The average of the 1% and 99% is $85,500. Wow, ain’t statistics fun.
    My conclusion. The LW by neogtiation between employers and employees has to be a good thing. The government should do it with its workers and contractors, such as the cleaner who cleans JK’s toilet.

  75. Mike says “but having 50% on either side of a median certainly does not imply even distribution.”

    The median wage is $20.85 hr, so obviously 50% of workers get less than this and 50% get more.

    So it’s nothing but made up nonsense for Kerry to claim 50% of workers earn minimum wage ($13.75) or close to it.

    Especially when the Department of Labour ALREADY KNOWS that the number on the minimum wage is –
    – 84,800 people, or 3.8% of workers.

    And that just 221,000 or less than 10% of workers earn between the minimum and $15 hr (of 2,227,000 workers).

    So less than 14% of workers earn less than $15 hr – far cry from Kerry’s nonsense claim of 50% (and these figures came out before the latest rise in minimum wage)

    Info from
    http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/pay/backgroundpapers/2012/Minimum-Wage-Review-Cabinet-Paper-2012.pdf

  76. So less than 14% of workers earn less than $15 hr – far cry from Kerry’s nonsense claim of 50% (and these figures came out before the latest rise in minimum wage)

    Kerry’s claim: “50% of workers are on the minimum wage or just a little more.”

    Quite different.

    To Graham’s point above, IIRC about 30% of people earn less than $18.50\hr as @ June 2012.

    That would indicate that 20% of the population earn between $18.50 and $20.85.

    From my POV as someone who earns a decent wage, I would classify the $5/hr difference between minimum and living wage, and the $2.35 difference between living and median, as “just a little more” when dealing with such modest earnings.

  77. Thanks Gregor for working out approximately 30% of workers will get a pay increase should they and their employers negotiate the LW (18.40 though rather than slightly higher 18.50)…
    And it my guess Kerry was being ironic, sarcastic, even using pathos.
    Meanwhile the Wellington LW campaign are having a fund-raiser tonight at Loaves and Fishes, starting 5pm. Come along folks.

  78. Gregor – Kerry claimed 50% of workers earn $13.75 or just a little bit more.

    The actual median last year was $20.85 – that’s over 50% more than the minimum wage.

    Now you’re trying to tell us that 50% more is “just a little more” than the minimum wage.

  79. I claimed 50% below a living wage.

    Minimum wage or not much more.

    Living wage is $18.40 not $15 or $13.75.

    Go back to the site and include part time workers, Photo.

    As so much of the workforce are now on casual or limited/zero hours contracts and are not included in the full time workforce statistics.

  80. Now you’re trying to tell us that 50% more is “just a little more” than the minimum wage.

    Indeed I am, for the reason given above.

    $1.50 is (shockingly!) 50% more than $1.00
    I wouldn’t call it a wage though either.

  81. Gregor says “Indeed I am, for the reason given above.’

    So if you think the median wage is “just a little more” than the minimum, you obviously think the minimum wage is “just a little less” than the median wage.

    Kerry says “I claimed 50% below a living wage.”

    What Kerry actually said “50% of workers are on the minimum wage or just a little more.”

    Regardless, you’re still wrong.

    Median hourly wage is $20.85. So 50% earn below $20.85.

    Not $13.75.
    Not $15.00
    Not $18.50

  82. Kerry says “Thanks, Photo, for proving my point for me.”

    What – that 50% of workers are on $20.85 or less,
    proves 50% of workers are on $13.75? (“or just a little more”)

    Only on your planet could that prove your point.

    Fact – We have one of the highest minimum wages in the world.

    Fact – we are nowhere near the most expensive place in the world to live (Auckland ranks 56th).

  83. “Fact – We have one of the highest minimum wages in the world”.

    Only as a percentage of wages. because wages are so bloody low as you have just proved. not in absolute terms against living costs.

    And we are one of the most expensive places to live compared to wages.

    Plenty of references for that.

    Whatever you pretend with Photostats.

  84. photonz1 Posted September 3, 2013 at 7:32 PM
    Kerry says “Getting a bit desperate there to find cons for minimum wage rises, are you? Photo!”

    It depends if you’re the one losing your job, or your business, by enforcing wage rises where costs can’t be passed on.

    Minimum wages are already massively higher than they were one, two and three decades ago.

    Currently in the states, the cost of burger making machines and staff are similar. Put wages up, and the machine is cheaper.

    I don’t know Photonz1 where you get the idea that minimum wages are “massively higher” now than 2-3 decades ago. 20 yrs ago as a skilled worker i got about $15phr, now as the same skilled worker I get $15phr….2 decades of increaseing living costs 0% wage increase! Pull your head out the sand please m8!!

    photonz1 Posted September 3, 2013 at 9:32 PM
    solkta says “There has been a massive increase in minimum wage rates over the last three decades while inflation rates have been insubstantial. Quack.”

    As always – you’re making stuff up that no one has said, anywhere, at any time. Who said inflation rates were insubstantial?

    They have been really high over the last 30 years, but minimum wage have risen over 50% MORE than inflation.

    In 1984 the minimum adult wage was $2.50/hr ($100 before tax for a 40 hr week).

    $100 of goods in 1984 now costs $291.85.

    Minimum wage today is $13.85 ($554 before tax for a 40 hour week).

    So someone on the minimum wage has 53% more spending power today than they did in 1984.

    When you add in lower tax rates today and working for families, they are significantly more than 53% better off.

    You quote so many statistics that you’re losing sight of the bigger picture….you say “$100 of goods in 1984 now costs $291.85.” What is this obsession with only the price of goods? Since when did living costs not include Rent/Power/Phone/Insurance and other services as well as costs like doctors/school fees etc? I would say that in alot of cases the actual real cost of living for a family on one income would exceed your quoted $13.85 ($554 before tax for a 40 hour week).

    Open the eyes please and look around……!!

  85. And Auckland is number 56 in the rankings of most expensive places to live, FOR US dollar spending EXPAT’s. Up 65 places in the rankings recently, by the way.

    No relation to the cost of living for New Zealanders.

  86. They took away the LAQC and gave us the LTC. The difference… not much really. The negative gearing remains. The accountants and lawyers got a bit of a boost. Some folks decided not to play the new game. No real effect.

    Mislead us another one now, why don’t you.

  87. Kerry says “And Auckland is number 56 in the rankings of most expensive places to live, FOR US dollar spending EXPAT’s. Up 65 places in the rankings recently, by the way. No relation to the cost of living for New Zealanders.”

    In Kerry’s mind, people get charged different amounts for their petrol and groceries in Auckland depending on their nationality.

  88. bj says “They took away the LAQC and gave us the LTC. The difference… not much really. The negative gearing remains. The accountants and lawyers got a bit of a boost. Some folks decided not to play the new game. No real effect. ”

    BJ – you are so totally blinkered I could teel you facts like the govt has allocated millions more to the IRD to clamp down on capital gains by property speculators, but you could never bring yourself to believe it.

    In your world, if you can’t have a giant whinge about something the govt does, then it can’t really be happening.

    Do you never ever get sick of wasting your life away being negative, angry, whingey, and miserable?

  89. People who are NOT New Zealand residents can and do buy properties in Auckland. “Not much of a problem”. The government is trying to put a tooth or two in the IRD’s handling of houses for Capital Gains, but the problem of putting legal structure behind it remains completely unfinished. The reserve bank has put limits on first home buyers but has done nothing to prevent the “property wealthy” from further leveraging their portfolios. There isn’t a land tax or Capital tax, the land banking continues. http://www.bigkahuna.org.nz/comprehensive-capital-tax.aspx

    Fair to say that Labour did not put any legal structure behind anything IT did either, but neither party is actually supportable on points.

    The problem is not merely the housing.

    The structural defects in the economy have been exacerbated by the past 6 years and more with the asset sales, offshore drilling and a raft of other benefits to investors that come at the expense of workers and citizens. This government has given more thought to the housing problem than Labour did while in office, but THAT is a very low bar… and I doubt that labour will make that mistake again.

  90. By your reasoning Photo, the locals in Dhaka, Tunis, Cairo and Manila, listed as some of the worlds cheapest cities, must have an extremely high standard of living.

  91. Kerry says “By your reasoning Photo, the locals in Dhaka, Tunis, Cairo and Manila, listed as some of the worlds cheapest cities, must have an extremely high standard of living.”

    So you’d have to be incredibly stupid to conclude low cost of living automatically equals high standard of living, if you don’t even bother factoring in how much people earn.

  92. Skilled workers not getting wage rises…

    Immigration imports needed skills from (India, China, SA, anywhere else).

    We try to sell enough moo juice to the rest of the world to be able to import every single OTHER thing we use (destroying the market for those skilled workers and destroying our environment).

    University graduates and trained machinists who get their skills here go to Oz, or the UK or just about ANYWHERE else where they can get higher wages for those skills.

    Businesses complain about the quality and quantity of the skilled workforce, hence the imports, but the one thing that they COULD do that would assuredly get them more skilled workers, raising pay, is NOT done.

    If they aren’t selling milk (or some other primary commodity) they have a choice… head for foreign shores as well or try to continue with the workforce they get here… basically deciding whether to use cheaper labour to offset the lack of support for producing stuff that isn’t grown on a pasture or dug out of it. The workers are screwed. Workers are screwed here repeatedly and viciously and at every opportunity. The only other people I know of who work so hard for so little are the Mexican illegal immigrants in the USA, who have no rights at all. Again, this was observed by others “Mexicans with cellphones” was the phrase.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/columnists/chris-trotter/4197102/Pride-shame-at-heart-of-dispute

    Making movies in New Zealand is a fine balancing act. New Zealanders working on The Lord of the Rings were, according to the Los Angeles
    Times, described by an American co-worker as “Mexicans with cellphones”, an apparent reference to their low pay and their working conditions.

    Minimum wage rises slightly and other wage increases are barely present, but INCOMES are going up… for some. Increasing GINI. Regressive taxes are increased. Progressive taxes are decreased. User pays. Yes… we know who is controlling our country.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10781924

    BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander says the problem is not that food prices are high in this country – but that our incomes were low. “We’re a poorer country, that’s why our ratios look high. Prices are determined significantly by the international market.”

    So keep right on about how high our wages are Photonz, the people here KNOW you are too far right to be right. We know that the discussion of “where does the money go” that blames our “inefficient distribution network” for the high prices of food here… but something still doesn’t even remotely add up.

    http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=New+Zealand

    The question of course is WHY, and the answer has to be some combination of (this list may not be complete):

    1. A subsidized food market in the USA.

    2. A subsidized pay regime in the USA (QE effectively trickles down? It doesn’t but if it did it could explain some things).

    3. A suppressed pay regime in New Zealand.

    4. Profiteering somewhere in the chain from pasture to plate in New Zealand.

    5. Pricing distortions that lead to New Zealanders effectively “subsidizing” exports to other countries where the prices would otherwise be higher.

  93. Problem ALL are skirting around is the chicken and egg situation in regards affordability to pay higher wages.

    How does a business generate immediate higher cash flow to pay higher wages?

    How willing (and more importantly ABLE )is a business owner to take on higher financial risks in regards increased marketing costs, stock procurement plus WIP costs, finished goods inventory costs, etc. required to increase cash flow to pay higher wages?

    The Greens would be well advised to talk to SME (who make up the bulk of employers) to judge the viability of increasing wages without some sort of government support to increase business cash flow (that is required to pay higher wages).

    As for state servants and state contractors, the Greens need to budget the tax flow dollars to pay the increased wages.

    So will we see (in a shadow budget from the wannabee finance minister) were this money will be raised?

  94. Businesses, and Governments, ability to pay higher wages at the lower end, as they found in Australia with Government mandated increases, such as the super payments,and a living minimum wage, sorts itself out as the extra wage earner and Government spending multiplies into investment, increased tax reciepts, and economic activity.

    There is a certain point where this effect becomes negative, of course, but as we have seen, at much higher levels of wage increases than we are proposing.

    No one buys business products unless they have an income.

    New Zealand business, especially agriculture quickly forget how much of their income is dependent on Government help and/or Government purchasing. That help is paid for through taxes.

    It is one of the failures of neo-liberal economic thought is they see wages and taxation simply as a cost,because it suits their ideology, forgetting that tax and wages are the source of business income. Not thin air.

    I, for one, got out of business when National got in. I was not prepared to take the financial risk that Nationals cutting my customers pay entailed. I was right as recent history has shown.
    New Zealands right wing lurches are always bad for business.

  95. Photo. Still exposing your previous comprehension fail that a percentage increase in the “average” price of a basket of goods, does not necessarily mean that all increase at the same rate.

    A CPI increase of 5% for example does not mean that the price of necessities has only gone up 5%. The price of cheese and steak reducing, pulling down the average, does not mean baked beans, rice and potato also dropped.
    The less elastic demand is, the more businesses put up the price.
    Which is why coffee price rises faster than caviar.

    Game. set match, Photo!

  96. An Aussies economist has posited that the reason for their success over the last 30 years is the lack of recessions, due to the lack of NZ style lurches to right wing extremes..

  97. “Gerrit Posted September 8, 2013 at 7:55 AM
    Problem ALL are skirting around is the chicken and egg situation in regards affordability to pay higher wages.

    How does a business generate immediate higher cash flow to pay higher wages?”

    The problem you are referring to of raising higher cashflow to pay higher wages doesn’t actually exist except in peoples attitudes of greed….If business owners actually cut their margins and the salary’s of a few management personnel in the short term, they could afford to pay lower income staff more. Then after an initial birthing period they would benefit from increased productivity and more people able to spend money in the local economy thus increasing their turnover. After that they can review their margins and salary’s again. All it takes is a little sacrifice, a bit like pruning a tree. You just have to be long sighted and not short sighted, or think outside the box!

  98. “bjchip Posted September 8, 2013 at 9:08 AM
    Fair wages mean more equality and a lower GINI. We’d definitely be bucking the trend. Money makes the world go round.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/chrystia_freeland_the_rise_of_the_new_global_super_rich.html

    It is a shame we’re probably going to have to have a revolution to get the banksters and their fellow-travellers out of government.”

    I hear ya m8! It is looking more and more like NZ has too stand up and reject the money materialistic attitudes of the world. But it is a sad fact that the bankers have puppet politicians like Obama in US & Key here and now in Aussie this Abbot dude, hellbent on running up national debt/selling assets & running the country in a deficit, With the express intent that when the debt can’t be paid they can come in and take over. It’s time for a major political change/rebellion!

  99. Problem ALL are skirting around is the chicken and egg situation in regards affordability to pay higher wages.

    I’m not skirting around it all, and never have. Its blindingly simply, and not at all left wing or socialist.

    The reason that society allows businesses to exist is because businesses generate value. Inputs such as materials and labour, usually plus a transformative process, generate something of value. The difference between cost in and value out is profit.

    As a society, we should only allow businesses to exist that are actually generating benefit, and the capitalistic system enforces that; if you don’t make adequate returns, then you run out of money, and the business goes titsup. (exception – businesses deemed by governments as being too big or important to fail).

    Simerlarly, society insists that businesses are not predators on their employers, and in a situation where there is less demand for employees than there is supply, we have a minimum wage arrangement, as when there is not a free labour market (too few buyers) then the normal capaitalistic rules get busted.

    The stupidist thing we in society do is to pay benefits to people who are working, whilst allowing too low a minimum wage. This stupidity breaks the capitalistic system by allowing the rules to be bent.

    So, up the minimum wage a lot. Businesses either find it within their ability to generate adequate value to pay wages not requiring taxpayer support, or the business goes titsup.

    Thus, having a decent minimum wage is in fact capitalism 101, nothing whatsoever to do with the commumnists, or GINI, or any of the other palaver you’ll hear sprouted in here.

  100. Philip Pear

    The problem you are referring to of raising higher cashflow to pay higher wages doesn’t actually exist except in peoples attitudes of greed….

    Holy cow, people actually believe that business (especially SME) run at such great margins?

    Someone is totally out of touch.

  101. Well, heres a question then. If a small business owner has at least $20K a week, every week to fritter away, and actually does so, do you think that frittering it away is acceptable, when their staff are paid at or close to the minimum wage?

  102. “Gerrit Posted September 8, 2013 at 4:08 PM
    Philip Pear

    The problem you are referring to of raising higher cashflow to pay higher wages doesn’t actually exist except in peoples attitudes of greed….

    Holy cow, people actually believe that business (especially SME) run at such great margins?

    Someone is totally out of touch.”

    Oh really Gerrit? Lmao! What do you think I just fell off the banana boat? I have lived long enough to go round the block a couple of times…..And I have actually worked for these people you refer to, and see how they operate. Though you don’t see that my comment is a generalisation and it may be that a minority don’t operate like this. It happens to be the way of the world today that most do. And as I posted earlier about a prior employer of mine, “most” business owners plead small profits, but actually find no problem sucking money out of their business to fund their own luxurious lifestyles.When they should rather be investing some of the profits back into the business to protect it and it’s most valuable asset (the staff) from potential tough times!

  103. dbuckley,

    If a small business owner has at least $20K a week, every week to fritter away, and actually does so, do you think that frittering it away is acceptable, when their staff are paid at or close to the minimum wage?

    Define fritter away.

    Pretty silly question (bit like the “are you still beating your wife”).

    Provided the business has paid their taxes on the profit and abided all the legal requirements in regards running the business who are you to question what the owners does with the $20K.

    As I asked, define fritter away.

    And who is to set the definitions anyway and by what rights do you claim this moral position?

    Are the Greens going to create a new state department to regulate where business owners spend their profits?

    What you interpret as “frittering” may well part of the business owners plan for increasing the business gross turnover, paying greater taxes so that the state can pay bigger WFF.

    Would it not be simpler to reduce business tax to 10% and leave more money in the business AND THAN introduce minimum wage levels, canning WFF (and saving tax payers money to spend on other welfare).

  104. The thing is, Gerrit, if a business cannot pay a living wage, it is not a business, it is a hobby subsidised by other tax payers and it’s employees.

    I agree, however, that rises should be over a period of time, to allow the extra demand to flow through to business, so they can afford to pay more.

    Otherwise, Yes. If an employer pays a fair proportion of the earnings as wages, covers the true costs of his/her resources and pays their taxes, what they do with the rest is entirely their own business.

  105. In the USA Walmart is one glaring example.

    State assistance to the firms underpaid employees, for medicaid alone, cost more than the total taxes contributed from the firm.

  106. Without the corporate bludging, business tax dodging and cross subsidies, to businesses who cannot or will not pay their own way, we may well be able to reduce taxes for “real” productive businesses.

  107. Nice rant, Gerrit, let me put the context in.

    You stated, in a response to Philip Pears:

    Holy cow, people actually believe that business (especially SME) run at such great margins?

    And I’m saying yes, some small companies, with a dozen or two employees, most at or about on the minimum wage, are generating sufficient margins that the owner can take $20K a week out of the business take that cash and “fritter it away”. I cant describe exactly what I know, as that would be breaking several sets of confidences, but the money returns no more value than throwing it on a fire. There’s no cars or boats or houses at the end of it, though these people already have cars, and houses, and often boats as well.

    This is not a moral issue; this is a financial issue. I don’t care what a business owner does with his/her retained profits, good luck to them, be rewarded for your work and risk. These people are the backbone of our economy. What I do care about is that it is my taxes that enable them to, as you put it, to run a business “at such great margins”. That’s an illusion, an illusion generated by my (and your) taxes.

    To reiterate: that is my issue, business owners margin coming out of my taxes.

    If you cant run your business such that it generates sufficient value to meet all of it’s obligations, including paying employees at such a rate that the state does not have to subsidise said employees, then that business should close. To self-quote, “Its blindingly simply”.

    And I am not a Green, nor do I speak for the Green Party, nor am I a left-winger, and I believe that government should be as small as reasonably practicable, and so I certainly wouldn’t support the lunatic concept of the creation of a department of business profit regulation.

  108. Would it not be simpler to reduce business tax to 10% and leave more money in the business AND THAN introduce minimum wage levels, canning WFF (and saving tax payers money to spend on other welfare).

    Yes – In a perfect world with full, gainful employment and no corporate taxation loopholes (i.e. domicile status, lack of tobin tax, cross attributable losses, lack of CGT).

  109. It would be simpler to replace the entire tax system with a transaction tax. Then we can sack two thirds of the IRD.

  110. This is the sort of thing that keeps wages low however, not SME’s.

    “Lyttelton port company claimed they could not give the watersiders a pay rise this year, because of the earthquake! The CEO got a $600k bonus”. MUNZ.

  111. Sorry, Kerry, but that is simply wrong. The watersiders didn’t get a pay rise because the company figured out (probably correctly) that they didn’t need to give the watersiders a pay rise, and so they didn’t. It really is that simple.

    Once again, the balance of desperation applies; the watersiders are more desperate to keep their jobs than the company are to keep the existing fleet of watersiders.

  112. It is also very difficult to raise your margins if your competition is a big firm with, say, a gang of underpaid workers, with one foremen on reasonable rates..

    The SME in this case is subsidising its larger competition through its taxes.

  113. dbuckley,

    So you know of 2 or 3 or 4 SME’s whose owners have a lifestyle (taking more money out of the business to spend on stuff you dont approve off) not conducive to your moral standards.

    Well 92% of ALL business are SME’s in New Zealand.

    http://www.med.govt.nz/business/business-growth-internationalisation/small-and-medium-sized-enterprises

    What fraction are not spending their profits according to your standard?

    You may want to look at this pdf reports contained in the link above

    http://www.med.govt.nz/business/business-growth-internationalisation/pdf-docs-library/small-and-medium-sized-enterprises/Small-business-stats-factsheet.pdf

    Although large enterprises
    generate the majority of our jobs, innovation and exports, smaller businesses make
    a significant contribution. Enterprises with fewer than
    50 employees create nearly half of all jobs (Chart 9)

    And contribute over a third of New Zealand’s Gross
    Domestic Product (Chart 5)

    They are increasingly engaging in innovation activity
    (Chart 6) and exporting (Chart 7)

    However, the majority of small enterprises are not
    engaged or interested in generating overseas income

    Small enterprises are generating employment at a slower
    rate than larger firms and have retained less employees since 2008.
    (Statistics New Zealand Business
    Demography

    This is’ I would suggest’ due to tight margins. Not withstanding those naughty business owners you know personally, that are not morally paying enough to their workers.

    You might find this interesting in the report

    For small enterprises, the average salaries and wages
    paid per employee and average total
    income per employee
    are lower than
    larger enterprises

    my emphasis added.

    Bearing out margins are not as good as larger firms.

  114. Gerrit: I was about to accuse you of being a fucking arsehole, but stopped, realising that (a) that would be playing the player not the ball, and that (b) perhaps I have left some room for you to misinterpret what I’ve said.

    For absolute clarity: I am not making a moral judgement. I’m not even making a judgement at all. I do not disapprove in any way of what these people are spending their money on, in fact if they are going to throw their money away, I’m actually pleased that they are doing it on what they are. So lets put the moral thing to bed, shall we…

    I am familiar with the report you recommend that I read, you’ll in fact note I have already quoted from it earlier in the thread. I in fact quoted one of the exact things you quoted. How’s that for karma.

    Of the SMEs (which are rather more than the 3 or 4 you suggest) that seem to have a lot of money to (again, I’ll use the phrase) “fritter away”, they are all in the B2C space, mostly retail businesses; they are taking money directly off Joe Public, and they all pay their employees badly. SMEs in the B2B space (the sort that Kerry is more familiar with, see, again, above) seem to both have less money to “fritter away”, and generally, pay their staff well better than average wage. Thus I would suggest that there is a distinction between these two classes of SME, and they cant be simply lumped together.

    None of which invalidates my core argument; businesses that cant or wont pay their staff a decent wage (where decent is defined as “without needing everyday taxpayer support”) should either fix their businesses, or close.

  115. Too try and put a little perspective on all this, here’s an example of how morals can lead to ineffective or bad financial/business management i.e (cutting off your nose despite your face/shooting yourself in the foot).

    The prior employer of mine that was too greedy (and greed is a moral) wound up having to close his business. After first I made a stand against his selfish/one eyed attitudes and then left, followed by the factory manager (who was my ex-supervisor from a previous job). Both of us were skilled workers in a specialist industry. Being unable to replace us after treating us unfairly in our opinions, he had no choice but to close his doors (yay justice prevails). While we had no problem finding another employer who needed our skills.

    Also the business owners are not the backbone of this country (everyone in a business including the workers are, like the old example if you remove one cog from the mechanism the whole thing fails to operate effectively), because as demonstrated in this example, without workers you have no business. And there is no shortage of people dying for the opportunity to start their own business if one of these greedy self centered businesses fail. So there’s not even a loss of jobs, merely a transition of workers from one company to another.
    It is therefore wiser to protect your investment by ensuring your staff are well treated and fairly renumerated. If you look at studies done on the cost too businesses of high staff turnover, it becomes abundantly clear that it costs less in the long run to pay your staff better (retain and gain they call it!).

    Also, you see this happening alot. That people wanting to go into business just seem to get eyes that spin with dollar signs in them, their focus is all on how they can exploit tax breaks/loop holes/exspense write offs and people, in order to make big profits. Then they try too claim that they are doing everyone a good turn by providing jobs. In actual fact they are more interested in doing themselves a good turn at everyone else’s exspense.

    And then you get the insulting company’s who moan that this quarter or year they made a 200k loss. But in actual fact they made a 300k profit…..It is truer to say that they didn’t earn as much as their greed would have liked. But anything you make over breakeven (i.e. all overheads including wages have been paid) is in fact a profit. But they think we’re stupid enough to listen to them claim that making 300k instead of 500k is a 200k loss….duh?

    And on a final note here are a couple of universal principles to consider,

    1) What goes around comes around (the more you give the more you get)!
    2) You have to spend money to make money!
    3) Treat others with respect and you will get respect and productivity/efficientcy in return (thus reducing your overheads anyway)!

  116. dbuckley,

    Still not able to answer what “fritter away” means? Call me what you like as it only masks you inability to answer a simple question.

    If the business to consumer activity is so reviled (by owners “frittering away” profits) why do you people shop a these places?

    Why do people (including the IRD) accept the “open till” arrangement at cash businesses? Have started asking for till receipts just to get them riled up to at least record my transaction somewhere. But alas the IRD don’t use my tax deductible expenses records to follow up the “open till” tax evaders.

    But that is another story, not related to minimum wages.

    Philip Pear,

    The biggest head ache problem SME face is staff and many have simply downsized (to actually make more money for less head aches) than employ staff like yourself and your supervisor.

    Have seen many instances with my suppliers and customers where a staffing ceiling of more then 6 to 8 staff is about as much as most SME can adequately handle without the employment of high cost managerial staff.

    Once a business gets to that employee size, the enjoyment level of running an enterprise diminishes and it becomes just another job.

    So seeing staff like yourself go was probably a god send, head ache reducing event to him.

  117. Still not able to answer what “fritter away” means?

    The dictionary says “to waste or squander”, and I think that pretty much sums it up.

    If the business to consumer activity is so reviled (by owners “frittering away” profits) why do you people shop a these places?

    Because the people are unaware of the activity. And even if they were, most people wouldn’t be “reviled”, they would just feel ripped off. The people would rather that the money wasn’t taken off them in the first place (ie a lowering of prices) rather than pay the staff more.

    And the fact that the prices to the consumers are not sufficiently out-of-expectation that shoppers choose to go elsewhere indicates that there is considerable margin in the system.

    Why do people (including the IRD) accept the “open till” arrangement at cash businesses?

    Don’t know. But please don’t think I am suggesting that any of these businesses are doing anything illegal or underhanded whatsoever; I’m not suggesting any “under the counter” cash malarkey. All absolutely legal and above board.

  118. Philip notes:

    Also the business owners are not the backbone of this country … because as demonstrated in this example, without workers you have no business.

    A person on their own in most cases does not contribute to the the countries wealth. If lone individuals did, then all those currently unemployed people would be contributing to the country and not need welfare support.

    It is businesses that provide organisation (and capital) that enables people to generate value rather than consume it. That’s not to say that businesses are the only form of organisation where value add is possible (eg, communes), but once man gave up being the hunter-gatherer, businesses (or business-like structures) have evolved to be the dominant form of value add organisation.

    Thus although workers are an important constituent of businesses, they are not the backbone: Your hands do far more useful stuff than your backbone, but without the backbone providing the bodily structure, your hands would be rather less useful.

    Anyone can start a business, and New Zealand is reportedly the easiest country in the world to do such a thing. But the reality is most people don’t start businesses.

  119. dbuckley,

    Not a single example of the frittering or squadaring?

    I know what frittering means, have simply been asking for examples that you have seen.

    Surely you must have at least one where the “frittered” money could have been better spend on the payroll.

    Judging by the non supply of a or any answer, you dont have even a single example and are relying on rhetoric.

    Poor form.

  120. No, I’m relying on discretion. And in case you are thinking I’m being all prudish, no, its not (or at least – not as far as I know!) working girls (or boys); at least then someone would benefit from the “frittering” :)

  121. Dear Gerrit

    Lmao, you say…

    “The biggest head ache problem SME face is staff and many have simply downsized (to actually make more money for less head aches) than employ staff like yourself and your supervisor.

    Have seen many instances with my suppliers and customers where a staffing ceiling of more then 6 to 8 staff is about as much as most SME can adequately handle without the employment of high cost managerial staff.

    Once a business gets to that employee size, the enjoyment level of running an enterprise diminishes and it becomes just another job.

    So seeing staff like yourself go was probably a god send, head ache reducing event to him.”

    Of course he has no headache now. Cos he has no friggen business in case you were to blind to read, he didn’t downsize……He had to close down! lol your an egg:-)

  122. Philip Pears

    Oh dear, maybe he wanted to close the business and do other, more enjoyable, business enterprises.

    You moved on, so did your previous employer.

    Ever consider that you and your supervisor leaving saved him (and lost you) redundancy payments?

    He had to close down! lol your an egg:-)

    Guessing by that your maturity level is minor?

    Business (especially SME’s) constantly reinvent themselves. Your previous employer probably has another very successful business whilst you are still a PAYE slave.

  123. Lets see, I have this piece of string…..

    Honest answer is, of course, I have no idea. But there definitely seems to be a class of SME, that are consumer facing, that seem to generate good profits, whilst having the lowest paid employees.

    A lot of retail and fast food is franchised, and thus although the brand appears to be huge, at the customer level, they are dealing with an SME.

    An example might be supermarkets and milk prices; Consumers are always whining about dairy prices, the farmers are always whining that they get very little for dairy, whereas supermarkets charge a lot, and that is at the supoermarket where the customer is getting ripped off. Said supermarket may have a huge name, under one of the two big collectives, but it is a franchise, and thus a SME, and thus fits the shape of business I’m discussing…

  124. Here in South Auckland the milk war is still raging. Most dairy’s have 2×2 litres for anwhere between $4.50 to $5.

    Even the supermarkets cant match those prices.

    South Auckland also has a huge number of fruit and vege shops that undercut the supermarkets.

    Most now sell meat as better prices (not to mention cuts and quality) plus a large variety of canned and packaged goods.

    Supermarkets here certainly dont have it their own way.

    One thing about the independent operators is their employment of relatives, kids, etc. You are right that it will be impossible to quantify what wage level they are on.

    Add to that the open till, cash arrangment and who knows what profits are earned and what wages are paid.

  125. Philip Pears says “20 yrs ago as a skilled worker i got about $15phr, now as the same skilled worker I get $15phr….2 decades of increaseing living costs 0% wage increase! Pull your head out the sand please m8!!”

    You claim –
    – to be a skilled worker
    – in a specialized industry
    – with at least 20 years experience
    – with no pay rise for all those 20 years
    – but have no problem finding a new employer
    – yet are being paid no more than a cleaner.

    Who has their head in the sand?

  126. “who has their head in the sand?” Well you know we’re going to tell you it is you Photonz, why ask. The fact is that the “Mexians with Cellphones” comment was EXTREMELY telling. Skilled labour here is not rewarded well, OWNERSHIP is rewarded disproportionately well, but actual skills and actual production? Not so much. Definitely not as well as it is in Oz, the USA or Britain or France or… yet better than in India and China… who supply a good part of the workers in the technology area now.

    BJ

  127. BJ,

    Skilled labour here is not rewarded well,

    I would add a rider to that due to the fact that UPSKILLED labour is rewarded very well.

    Problem as in Philip Pear’s case is that as a skilled worker 20 years ago is now in most trades, occupations, proffesions, etc. no longer a skilled worker today.

    Unless one continuesly upskills (think for example a motor mechanic), the demand for the 20 year skill set is simply not there, hence low wages.

    OWNERSHIP is rewarded disproportionately well

    So why are not many, many more upskilled people working for themselves?

    Why do people remain PAYE slaves?

    but actual skills and actual production?Not so much.

    Can only comment on the marine industry where that is simply not true.

    However huge upskilling has occurred in the last 20 years. For example one skilled at wet layup composite construction 20 years ago, without upskilling, would not have an idea on prepreg or resin infused composite construction today.

    The advent of tools such as autoclaves means that 20 year technology and skillsets are redundant and at best considered unskilled labour.

    Heck, we now use 8 bar pressure, steam heated autoclaves, who had pressure vessels like that 20 years ago.

    20 years time who knows what skill sets will be needed.

  128. BJ – if you were a skilled worker in a specialised industry, with at least 20 years experience, and the ability to easily find work with another employer……..would you work for wages no higher than a cleaner?

    Or go twenty years without a wage increase?

  129. Dear Photonz,
    Learn to read the whole of peoples comments. I left that business back then, and the comment was more about the employer claiming to have no funds in the business for improvements, however was readily able to suck money out to fund his own interests.And secondly I now work in an entirely different industry, but I still had to upskill myself and get the necessary qualifications so I am therefore still a skilled worker. But today compared to then you cannot get a fair wage rate.
    Anyway this country was founded on pioneers that were yay sayers and can do…..not, nay sayers and cannot’s (like yourself). So no matter what you say you won’t convince me it can’t be done!

  130. Check out an article of mine in Victoria Economic Commentries, July 1999, Crusoe meets Friday as a fellow citizen, where I proved, on an island with ample natural produce and an owner-slave society (or at least first inhabitant claiming ownership of all he could see is flawed logic) where both eventually died compared to one where if natural production without any innovation were shared evenly but all gains from innovation went to innovator both survived and in fact propsered.
    Morals are several…cooperation works, private ownership only relates to that produced from personal effort (innovation and labour).
    In terms of the need for a Living Wage, beware of presumptions about the share of the nations wealth between the owners of production and a society’s workers that we currently have.
    If we are not careful our government’s drive for equality in wages with our neighbour will switch target from Australia to Papua New Guinea.
    If we need to attack the growing inequality to achieve Living Wage AND a higher minimum wage and better benefits then so be it….lets attack inequality.

  131. Philip Pears – why did you upskill yourself for a position that only pays $15, when around 90% of jobs (and almost all skilled jobs) pay more than that?

  132. “photonz1 Posted September 13, 2013 at 12:07 PM
    Philip Pears – why did you upskill yourself for a position that only pays $15, when around 90% of jobs (and almost all skilled jobs) pay more than that?”

    Dude! ?? I didn’t upskill myself for this specific job, I had acquired a new skill set already as I am a multi-skilled person. However after the recession I was made redundant from the job I had, when they decided to sell the business. After that the job market was stuffed for a while, and I had to take what I could get. However the pay rates offered are neither competative or rewarding. We are still battling with our current employer to resolve this issue. You need to stop taking everything said out of context and presuming you know anything about my life!

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