The callous heartlessness of Labour’s new policy

In March of this year Andrew Little said this:

Labour leader Andrew Little said the government was creating a generation of “working poor”.

The minimum wage is still too low for the many workers who are dependent on it.”

Mr Little said the rise of $18 a week in take-home pay would only just cover rent rises.

And the head of the CTU said this:

Council of Trades Unions president Richard Wagstaff said the “miniscule” increases to the minimum wage would leave people treading water.

“We need to do a real jolt so the people on the minimum wage are actually earning enough to actually live properly.”

Lobby group Living Wage Aotearoa estimates $19.80 per hour is needed to maintain a decent standard of living.

Why then is Andrew Little waxing lyrical about their new policy to pay bludgers to pull weeds for DOC?

It has been reported that:

Labour will offer the long term youth unemployed six months paid community and environmental work, Labour leader Andrew Little announced on Sunday.

The policy, costed at $60 million a year, would not be compulsory, but would be offered to those who were work ready and had been on the Jobseekers Allowance for six months.

It would target those aged 18-24 who would be paid at least the minium wage.

So, where is their commitment to the Living Wage. Andrew Little is on record stating that the minimum wage isn’t enough to live on, yet he has launched a policy that relies on the minimum wage. Indeed he has signalled his support for the Living Wage in the past:

Labour MP Andrew Little believes there’s widespread support for the living wage campaign, to bump up wages to at least $18.40 an hour.

The campaign is back on the agenda after Auckland mayor Len Brown endorsed it, even though it would cost ratepayers about $2.5 million.

Mr Little says productivity has gone up 45 per cent since 1992, but wages have only risen 12 per cent.

On TVNZ’s Q&A programme he’s acknowledged there are issues to work through, but says without change things will be bleak 25 years from now.

“We are going to face a major crisis because there is nothing happening now in terms of investment, in terms of new economic activity that is going to be able to sustain the sort of living standards that we enjoy today.”

So, where is his commitment those ideals he espoused in 2013?

This policy announcement just shows how cruel and callous Labour and Little are, using long-term unemployment to grab headlines, with solutions that have wrong figures, no accounting for managing hordes of bludgers descending on already over-worked DOC staff and no actual commitment to improving anyone’s life.

 

-Fairfax, NZ Herald

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