minimum wage

Chickens coming home to roost for Kim Dotcom, MPAA and former staff suing

Last night Kim Dotcom tweeted about his former employee suing him for unpaid wages.

What Kim Dotcom doesn’t state is that he worked that staff member 90 hours per week at below the minimum wage. If he had paid his staff at or above the minimum wage while he continued to live a life of opulence then the staff member might have been able to save for himself rather than going cap in hand to Dotcom.

This is how Dotcom operates, he makes people dependent upon him, then hands out “gifts” instead of paying outstanding wages, and then when the staff decided to pursue him for the wages he slams them in public on twitter when there is a court process underway. The true mark of a sociopath treating people as play things, manipulating them emotionally and financially to keep them under control.

Then to heap misery on top of that lawsuit the MPAA has filed a massive lawsuit against him as well.  Read more »

[REVEALED] Kim Dotcom: The workers and their slave wages

“…full wrath of my legal capabilities … I’m going to destroy anybody…”

Kim Dotcom is looming large in the New Zealand political scene and is set to launch his political party soon.

No one knows what policies his party will have but it will be interesting to see what his and the party stance is on the minimum wage.

This is a story of slave wages, bullying, intimidation and the sheer effrontery of a man spending literally millions on himself but short-changing his most loyal staff.

Before the raid on the Dotcom mansion there was a staff of approximately 8 security guards working 40 hour weeks in shifts. These guards were in addition to the personal protection staff that included Wayne Tempero and Regan Stewart.

They were on the normal pay rates for static security guards, just a few dollars above the minimum wage but at least with some sort of regularity and job security.

After the raid on the mansion and the subsequent court orders limiting the finances of Dotcom, the security contingent was reduced to just 4 staff. The job still needed to be done and the remaining 4 workers worked in excess of 90 hours per week. But with a catch. Their pay was never increased.

Essentially these important and loyal staff were now working more than twice the hours they worked before but for the same amount that they worked for 40 hours.

They went from just above the minimum wage to well under. Sources have told WOBH that they were effectively working for $8-00 per hour.

After the raid, their existing contracts were essentially ripped up and new contracts put in place with Mona Dotcom. There was an understanding with these loyal and hard working staff, who had stuck by Kim Dotcom in the aftermath of the raid that the overtime would be treated as back pay and that they would be paid just as soon as money started to flow from Mega.

And the money did start to flow. Kim Dotcom, through his wife, has reportedly pulled in nearly $10 million from share sell downs, and have pretty much spent the lot on frivolities and personal vanity projects like his album, like Rhythm & Vines where he allegedly spent more than $500,000 in order to secure access to the main event and essentially hijack it. On top of that reports suggest that more than $2 million was spent on the album and there are confirmed reports of a not inconsequential amount being spent on another vanity project that is supposedly an “independent” documentary about the fabulous life of Kim Dotcom. In addition sources tell me that more than $1 million a month has been spent on forming the Internet party. These expenses and projects will become the subject of further stories in coming weeks.   Read more »

Minimum wages don’t work in alleviating poverty

Hat tip Lindsay Mitchell

A new study shows that the minimum wage as a means to alleviating poverty is a fallacy.

Minimum wages are poorly targeted to those actually in need, says Joseph Sabia, an associate professor of economics at San Diego State University.

  • Sabia’s own research has found no evidence that increasing the minimum wage reduces poverty, even among less-educated single mothers, who are specifically targeted by these policies.
  • Research by David Neumark and William Wascher found that while some poor workers that kept their jobs after the wage increase were lifted from poverty, others lost their jobs and fell into poverty. The Neumark and Wascher findings indicate that wage increases only redistribute income between poor and near-poor households.
  • Some in favor of wage increases have said that the poor record of wage increases on alleviating poverty is simply because poverty is an imperfect way of measuring the economic well-being of low-income households. As such, Sabia and Robert Nielson of the University of Georgia studied whether wages were effective in reducing alternate measures of well-being, finding no evidence that higher minimum wages helped people pay rent, pay utility bills on time, avoid financial or health insecurity, or make ends meet in other ways.  Read more »

Wellington Council faces living wage blowout

The stupid politicians in Wellington who handed over their wage negotiations to Rev Charles Waldegrave are now facing the prospect of a massive blowout in the wages bill after the Rev. Charles Waldegrave decided to unilaterally increase his Living Wage assessment.

Wellington City Council is facing a budget blowout on its living wage policy, just two months after becoming the first council to adopt it.

Councillors voted 9-5 in December to adopt the living wage for its staff at a rate of $18.40 an hour. But Living Wage Aotearoa, the group that sets the rate, has now raised it to $18.80.

Andy Foster, who voted against the living wage in December, said the increase would lift the wage bill for the 400 staff directly employed by the council by $332,000 a year.

But he warned that figure could blow out to as much as $5 million if it was extended to people working for council-controlled organisations and on council contracts, and if relativity adjustments were made for other staff.

“These are big numbers,” he said.

The latest rise highlighted his philosophical concern that the council had effectively handed control of staff pay-setting to an outside organisation.  Read more »

Cunliffe announces abandonment of policies already abandoned twice before

David Cunliffe’s year hasn’t started well. Early today he crapped all over his base by announcing that he and the party will be promoting an increase in the minimum wage to $15 but not the so-called ‘Living Wage’.

Now he has re-announced that Labour is abandoning some policies that were announced by the former leader as having been dropped. Keeping Stock noted this is the third time they have been dumped.

The Herald notes that these have been dropped before:

Labour has officially dropped its policies of having the first $5000 of earnings tax free and of removing GST from fresh fruit and vegetables Leader David Cunliffe said this morning.

The policies were adopted in the run up to the 2011 election under then-Leader Phil Goff but Mr Cunliffe’s immediate predecessor David Shearer in his first major speech as leader almost two years ago indicated that the policies would be dumped.  Read more »

The Living Wage kills jobs

The left wing are pushing hard for what they call the Living Wage, which is really just a number decided arbitrarily by the Rev. Charles Waldegrave.

There is no evidence generally to support the contention that it works or even helps. But evidence is starting to mount that the so-called Living Wage is death to jobs and ineffective in alleviating poverty, which is the main driver behind it.

A new report from the Fraser Institute argues that municipal laws intended to boost the wages of poorer workers threaten job prospects for the very people most likely to face poverty.

In its survey of scholarly studies, released Tuesday, the market-oriented think-tank concludes laws mandating what are called “living wages” — generally defined as the minimum earnings that allow full-time workers to meet the basic needs of their families and reach past low-income-tax thresholds — do little to help the most vulnerable workers.

“Both economic theory and the evidence suggest that living wages, like minimum wages, create distortions in the labour market that have a negative impact on employment,” wrote author Charles Lammam.

Faced with having to pay higher wages, employers push back by reducing overall employment, favouring more highly skilled workers and cutting back on hours and training, the report found. It cited U.S. research that showed a 100% increase in living wages, to $20 an hour from $10 an hour, reduced employment among low-skilled workers by between 12 and 17%.

“Indeed, there is a trade-off between the workers who benefit from a higher wage and those who endure the costs due to fewer employment opportunities,” Mr. Lammam wrote.  Read more »

Living Wage myths busted in new report

A number of people have blogged the details of Brian Scott’s report into the stupidity and flawed logic behind the living wage calculations and campaign. I have blogged previously about the inconsistencies between the living wage proposals in NZ and the UK.

David Farrar summarised it as follows:

Brian Scott has published a critique of the so called Living Wage, and it should be compulsory reading for any politician that has treated the calculations done by Rev Waldegrave as a fit basis for public policy decisions. It is quite legitimate to have a view that wages should be higher, but to insist that the correct level is that calculated by Rev Waldegrave is a surrender to symbolism over substance.

The key findings by Scott are:

  1. Only 12% of low income households are two adults and two dependents, which the Waldegrave calculation is based on
  2. They assume you need 10 hours of childcare a week, even if the children are aged over 14
  3. They calculation of level of “basic necessities” is not based on any empirical measurement of the lowest cost of necessities, but merely a proportion of the average expenditure in deciles 1 to 5 (this one is key – it is a calculation based on the Browns should be spending as much as the Jones, and is not a caculation on how much income the Browns need)
  4. The calculation doesn’t account for some sources of household income such as trade-ins, sales, teenagers income (yet does include their costs) and school donation tax refunds
  5. The calculation double counts some expenditure such as childcare costs
  6. The calculation includes as a basic necessity costs such as Sky TV, pets, international travel and video games
  7. The calculation includes insurance for dwellings and mortgages, despite assuming they are renting   Read more »

Mark Peck voted for Living Wage, but won’t be paying it to his own staff

Wellington Council hypocrite, Mark Peck voted to implement the ‘Living Wage’ at an extra cost to ratepayers of $750,000, but when asked to extend it to his own staff h point blank refused.

It wasn’t within the rules, but new councillor Nicola Young attempted to make a point about the living wage with an amendment yesterday.

Before voting against the living wage plan, Ms Young tried to move “that all councillors who support implementation of the living wage assure us that they will pay the living wage to their employees – including cleaners, baby-sitters, gardeners – with the same implementation date as Wellington City Council”.

The move followed fellow fresh councillor Mark Peck – who supported the living wage – admitting that he did not pay all his hospitality staff $18.40 – “and I won’t”.  Read more »

Lenny the Louche is going force the Living Wage on us

As predicted months ago on this blog in a series of posts Len Brown is now having to pay back the left-wing for their support and assistance by imposing the “living wage” on Auckland ratepayers. He is treating Auckland ratepayers like his women, forcing himself through weasel words, sweet nothings and promises of a better future…that never arrives or pulls out at the last-minute.

Ben Irwin reports at The NZ Herald:

Auckland Mayor Len Brown will propose a “living wage” of $18.40 for all Auckland Council staff at a council meeting today.

The policy, which will cost $3.75 million a year, will be paid for through savings in other parts of the council and phased in over three years, starting in 2014.

The mayor also wants the council to look at a living wage for staff of contracted organisations.

The new pay-rate would apply to both council and council-controlled organisation staff, and was based on data by the Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit.

Mr Brown said Auckland relied on low-paid workers, many of whom found it difficult to survive on the minimum wage in the city.

“It’s only fair that these people are able to enjoy a decent standard of living,” he said. “While I would prefer this was an issue addressed by central Government through adjustments to the minimum wage, I am supportive of moves to pay our frontline staff a reasonable wage, provided it doesn’t impact on ratepayers.”   Read more »

It appears to be more expensive to live here than in the UK

The left-wing are all enthralled to promote the so-called “living wage”. A magical number pulled from an Anglican minister’s arse that is supposedly the required amount needed for a worker with a family of two kids to “survive”.

In New Zealand it has been set at $18.40.

Now compare that with the UK. The Guardian reports:

More than 30,000 low-paid workers are set for a pay rise of up to £400 a year after an increase in the living wage.

The voluntary rate will increase by 20p an hour to £7.65 outside London. It is higher than the legal minimum wage, which stands at £6.31 an hour for over-21s. The London living wage rate is increasing from £8.55 an hour to £8.80.     Read more »