minimum wage

More money for everyone!

The Green Party would like to raise the minimum wage.  As we saw the other day the minimum wage is paid to only 2.4% of the New Zealand workforce, and it is to cover jobs that are, in general, entry level jobs.

Other centrepieces of the Green Party’s workers policy are an immediate increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour by December, and annual increases up to $18 an hour by 2017. It is also committed to paying core public sector workers the living wage of $18.80 an hour.

The changes would eventually give a person an extra $6400 a year, or $125 a week.

The Greens also want a compulsory redundancy payout of four weeks’ wages, and to scrap youth wages, 90-day trials for new workers, and The Hobbit laws that make screen workers contractors — and ineligible for collective bargaining — by default.

The National Party was quick to dismiss these measures as costing thousands of jobs and putting up more roadblocks for businesses.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment estimates that an immediate increase to a minimum wage of $18 an hour could cost up to 16,250 jobs — although economic conditions could be different by 2017.

But Mrs Turei dismissed this: “In the US, there are 13 states that have just raised the minimum wage. It’s good for the economy, it’s good for families. There hasn’t been a significant drop in jobs.

“Companies will need to pay more to their workers, and therefore their profits will go down slightly. In return, they get a more stable workforce, better productivity and greater commitment.

If you are on minimum wage, and you stay on minimum wage and you can’t find any other jobs that  pay better than minimum wage, then you’re a barely functional useless person.   Read more »

Mana economic media release (yes, I know)

Before you carry on reading, I need to warn you:  this is going to hurt your head:

MANA Movement Economic Justice spokesperson John Minto is calling for a radical overhaul of New Zealand’s taxation system with calculations showing that a minimum wage worker pays a ten times higher tax rate than the Prime Minister.

Minimum wage worker 28% tax

Prime Minister 2.8% tax

The minimum wage worker on 40 hours per week earns $29,640 and pays $4,207 in income tax and $4,149.60 in GST giving a total tax of $8,356.60 or 28% of income.

On the other hand the Prime Minister earns $428,000 from his PM’s salary along with this year’s $5,000,000 increase in his wealth (according to NBR’s rich list) which gives him a total income of $5,428,000. On this total income he pays just $132,160 in income tax and approximately $21,400 in GST giving a total tax of $153,560 or 2.8% of income.

This is a national embarrassment. Those least able to pay are under a heavy tax burden while the super-rich pay peanuts.

The National government and its attack bloggers refer to the working poor as scum, bludgers and ferals but it’s clear the real problem is with the top 1% of income earners who get all the benefits of taxpayer funded facilities and services but don’t pull their weight paying for them.

Cleaners, fast-food workers, hospitality workers and security guards are all heavily subsidising the lifestyles of the superrich.

These figures show we need an overhaul of our tax system so the Prime Minister and his rich-list colleagues pay their fair share.

Actually, only one attack blogger refers to the working poor as scum, bludgers and ferals.  I have yet to see the Government use those words.  And no, I’m not “theirs”.  I can assure you, they have no control over me.  Nobody does.   Read more »

Labour relaunches their Hobbit Hater policy

Labour has re-launched their Hobbit Hater policy at the behest of the unions, proving that their investment in purchasing David Cunliffe and the 20% vote for the leadership has provided a cash for policy arrangement that is giving their leaders sticky knickers.

The Labour Party wants to repeal the law changes that were ceded to Warner Bros over The Hobbit films, a move which the Government says would cripple the $3 billion screen industry.

Labour leader David Cunliffe and MP Andrew Little launched the party’s work and wages policy yesterday, which included a boost to the minimum wage, and a commission of inquiry into workplace conditions.

Here’s an idea…why don;t they just declare a wages crisis, and in short order National will fix the problem. Seems to have worked for manufacturing and housing…it’s worth a crack.

So Labour wants to kill off the film industry in NZ, Dotcom’s party just wants to steal it, and the Greens want to destroy the oil and gas industry.

They really are the wrecking ball of the NZ economy.

But wait it gets worse…Labour also wants to kill jobs.  Read more »

Fenton wrong on contract labour

Darien Fenton has gone out to the media attacking modern work practices:

Employers are increasingly using temporary or contract staff in place of permanent positions, according to a new report.

Labour says that’s bad news because the workers have no rights and no defence against arbitrary dismissal.

MP Darien Fenton is citing a report by recruitment agency Hays which says 64 per cent of employers now use temporary or contract staff.

And 18 per cent say they intend increasing their use of those staff.

“Contractors have no employment rights at all, including no minimum wage, no holidays and no rights to protection against unfair dismissal,” Ms Fenton said.

“At its worst, temporary workers are used to replace good, well-paying jobs with agencies who employ workers on minimum wage to do essentially the same work as those they work alongside.”

Ms Fenton says even more disturbing is that some employers admitted using temporary and contract work as a means to assess ongoing employment.

“The 90-day trial period was supposed to provide a way for evaluating suitability of employment, yet employers are continuing to dream up new devices to avoid the obligations of employment law and put the risk back on workers,” she said. Read more »

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 »