Trotter: $91k is a bit “above bare subsistence”

Chris Trotter has had a shocker. In his latest post he tries to suggest that stevedores pulling $91,000 per annum is just a little bit above bare subsistence:

Small wonder, then, that capitalists hate unions. By lifting workers’ wages above bare subsistence level (as the Maritime Unions have done on the Auckland wharves) the trade union reduces the size of the shareholders’ dividend. And since maximising the return to shareholders is the prime function of every business, it is hardly surprising that keeping unions out of the workplace ranks high on most boss’s list of priorities.

This is silly stuff from Chris Trotter, I am disappointed in him as I respect his opinions a lot.


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  • Blokeintakapuna

    Really WO? This Trotter guy sounds just like a paid PR social media troll attempting to polish a turd and sell it to the rest of us as gold…

    I’ve heard enough Labour party and union propaganda / mis-information and deliberate lies to know that these vaccuum heads can fool most of the people most of the time – but not outdoors from one of their “conferences”

    Let me just check Labour’s “Fact list” from last election to guage their credibility…

  • Hmmm, so the fact that my entire household income is tens of thousands of dollars below that means were below subsistence level?

    Who knew? We seem to be coping alright. (And during the last six months of last year I was averaging between 50 and 60 hours of work per week…we’re a single income family)

    Methinks Trotter is telling porkies.

  • Chris Trotter

    Fascinating, isn’t it, Cameron, that CEOs can earn upwards of $500,000 p.a. and that’s just the market finding its level. But, let a group of workers secure a healthy annual income for themselves and their families, and all Hell breaks loose.What it shows is that, in the eyes of the bourgeois propagandist (like your good self) workers should never be permitted to earn more than an income just sufficient to prevent them and their families from falling into abject poverty.We may be on different sides, but both of us know exactly what we’re engaged in.

    Class war – pure and simple.

    • Johno1234

      Chris, that CEO can be booted out the door at the will of the board. His decisions one way or another can lead to profits or losses in the millions. It’s easy to see why boards would spend that sort of money to get the right one. They also work somewhat more than 26 hours a week, I assure you.

      Compare to the wharfie who is extremely hard to dislodge. Who makes no decisions but moves boxes as directed by the terminal in the cab of his straddle carrier, and works 26 hours a week.

      Easy peasy.

    • Markm

      Class war Chris ?
      What a dinosaur you are.
      The wars over Chris , time you became a useful productive member of society like the rest of us.
      You lot are the 1%

    • Gazzaw

      ‘Bourgeois propagandist workers’. Didn’t realise that you learnt your trade at the Daily Worker Chris. 

    • Kthxbai

      Actually Chris, the market deals to overpriced and underperforming CEOs in the same way that it is currently dealing to the Auckland port’s union, by dislodging them.

      I agree that the principle of every worker being paid fairly equally regardless of ability is a fair one, but in practice we’ve all found over the last century that to make it work you need to suppress free speech and maintain borders closed by machine-gun towers, which you need to be prepared to use on any citizens attempting to leave.

      The current system is flawed, but there’s no better one out ther.

    • Agent BallSack

      So now its a ‘healthy annual income’ Chris? I thought it was ‘just above subsistence level’? You do realise you’re posting to a whole bunch of right wing voters who are lucky to earn half that by working twice as long, don’t you? The only ‘
      Bourgeois propagandist’ here my dear chap, is you

    • Euan Rt

      Chris,  I appreciate you fronting here. but I struggle with your defining this as class war. How can it be class war when you have plenty of workers who would form a line miles long for the opportunity to work under the unions present conditions for half their pay? So you must be talking about a class within a class. Now that I can agree with. This class might be ‘greedy bastards class’, who think they are owed a living by someone else. As an employee I respected that my employer had options and I needed to prove that I remained his best choice. What I see at POAL, is a group who think they should be able to manipulate their employer. They are quickly becoming ‘not the best choice’ for their employer. So then why shouldn’t the employer have the option to replace them with more efficient employees? It is not class – it is economics.

    • It isn’t class war, what it is is telling the truth…the union claimed they were hard done by…they are the ones that claimed poverty in their wage demands. unfortunately for them the facts don’t fit their lies.

      I am all for people negotiating awesome salary packages. No problem at all with that, but with awesome packages comes the necessary requirement for productivity. 

      There is no classism there. What you have is wharfies getting paid for 8 hours work but barely working 5. What you have is wharfies saying they are poor when the undeniable facts are tehy are getting over $91k per annum.

      I don;t begrudge any wharfie earning $91k but let’s not pretend they are hard done by.

      Put it in perspective, our troops in Afghanistan are paid about a third of what the wharfies are and no one is trying to shoot, kill or maim the wharfies.

      • Agent BallSack

        “Put it in perspective, our troops in Afghanistan are paid about a third of what the wharfies are and no one is trying to shoot, kill or maim the wharfies.”

    • Sarrs

      That’s a pretty inflammatory comment to make. No one is suggesting MUNZ members don’t have the right to earn an above average wage. You are distorting the real issues here which is that the current levels of wages are unsustainable given the conditions under which they work. You are aware that when POAL moves to its new roster system, that wage level and all the associated benefits will still be available?

      You are trying to make this a ‘class war’ and stoke up fires of discontent amongst the people of NZ, all the while ignoring the facts because they don’t suit your argument. That is petty and transparent – no one, anywhere, is trying to prevent people from earning a decent living. The current level of productivity at POAL is unsustainable – anyone can see that from the now indisputable figures published on hours worked vs hours paid. You are the only ones fighting this so called ‘class war’ and you’ll end up destroying yourselves and losing all relevancy by attempting to pit one part of NZ against the other.

    • phronesis

      It is class war of a kind. Not the traditional born with a silver spoon in his mouth versus the great unwashed mind you. In a meritocracy it is those who didn’t pay attention in class at the bottom and those who got a decent education (or indeed educated themselves) at the top. The difference is the potential for class mobility between generations. Ever wondered what happened to the kid who served you at your local fish and chip shop, he’s a doctor now, and probably looking after his grandmother who was a peasant farmer in asia.

    • Arcadian four

      There’s no shortage of muscle. That’s why it should be cheap. They could, but won’t, get an education and compete for the CEO positions. Too hard.

    • Oh well least you made me have a chuckle from reading your comment here – although not as good as the laugh I had in another WO post here about you suggesting Cllr Lee to run for Mayor.

      Oh well Gift the Left keeps on Giving Chris?

    • Vij

      You are such a sad, sad man.  I expected so much more from you.

    • Beenthere

      Class war ?, that is so last century. (and best left there) 

  • PeterS

    I wander what he would say about two income families who don’t make 91K between them?

    •  Am there now…..I’m waiting….

  • Someone in the media needs to cut through the bullshit, the lies and the semantics of this ports dispute.

    The port is no longer willing to pay workers when there is no work to do. They want workers to come to work when there’s a ship in port – not to pay them to sit and wait for one. Why the fuck should they pay for no work?  Nobody else in their right mind would expect to be paid to do nothing.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with union-busting and class war – but it will come to that if the Union wants to keep biting the hand that feeds it. 

    •  Agree – it’s not like the ports are like a supermarket where you never know when or if you’ll get customers each day.

  • Bafacu

    Hey Chris, I’ll go on the “Subsistence” level of $90K – that’s fine with me – OK with you too or am I being exploited?

  • Richard B.

    So, let me get this right, someone from the left is now admitting they get $91k?

    I thought that was a number made up by POA to discredit the poor hard working union member wharfies.

  • Guest

    I think the political pretences should be dropped – this has nothing to do with who you vote for. I grew up in the UK in the ’80s in a socialist family. I believe everyone should have equal opportunities, our taxes should pay for healthcare and free schooling for all – basically I’m no tory, but these guys are taking the piss. They seem to think it is the god given right to earn above average salaries, get excellent benefits, get paid for every hour the are ‘at work’ even if they are sitting watching sky, get to bully others that make a choice not to be in the union and put the jobs of not only their members at risk, but those of the over 100+ ‘corporate’ staff that work at the Port. No one has bothered to mention them or think about the impact this is having on them. And I can say this because until recently I worked there as a Manager and earnt less than the average Stevedore, didn’t get paid overtime or get 5 weeks annual leave and didn’t feel hard done by!!! This isn’t about politics, it’s about Power and Greed by a very small % of men in the union that are trying to holding not only the Port to ransom, but all Aucklanders!

  • Positan

    Chris Trotter has rendered viewpoints so much more reasoned and honestly perceptive than this, so I can only assume he’s attempting to assuage, and be seen to mitigate, the pile of leftist flak that will have been dumped on him (capitalist toady/traitor to his class, etc.etc) as a result of his far more objective reasonings on the subject.

    But, as always in that slime-filled sewer-pipe that is the industrial Left, there comes the moment when, for the “good of the Party,” surrender to the objectives of vehement political ideals can only be attained by prostituting one’s values, standards – indeed, one’s very intellect.

    Reason can be understood and appreciated wherever it is applied – fatuousness is only ever the solvent of the intentionally perverted.

  • i gather all you screaming against workers receiving a living-wage..

    ..disagree with he international rankings that confirm we are a low-wage economy…

    ..or you just want us to have an even lower low-wage economy..?

    ..what level would you like the ‘low-wage’ to be..?

    ..$5 per hr..?..lower..?

    ..and you economic-rationalists are aok with the taxpayer/state having to subsidise either incompetent/unviable businesses..

    ..or greedy/huge-profit making chains..who have low-wage in/as their business-models..

    ..with working for (some) families..?

    ..this/that makes sense to the economic-geniuses in yr midst..?..


    [email protected]

    • Agent BallSack

      You have to get a job first Phil…instead of getting up at 5am to find these ‘cherries’ you speak of, why don’t you get a real job picking real cherries. Then come back and talk shit about wages. 

      • is that big fat super payout treating you..?

        ..claiming the pension as well..?

        .. [email protected]

      • Agent BallSack

        Haha I’m only 43 so no idea. I work bloody hard for every cent I get, run a business and still earn less than my partner…who by the way is in the transport industry, did you know the strike is affecting truckers as well?

      • Agent BallSack

        BTW – by the time I retire, there will be no such thing as super because the coffers are being drained by beneficiaries as we speak.

      • Sarrs

        I honestly think Phil doesn’t believe that anyone works as hard as him, paid or otherwise. 

      • Mully

         Please don’t feed the troll.


        …please.. dont feed the troll..

    • Joes

      What is it exactly that makes this hard to understand?

      They are earning double the average wage for half the work.  If that wasn’t bad enough Trotter claims it’s a bit “above bare subsistence.”

      I have a problem with propaganda.  Would you please learn how to construct a proper sentence and reply exactly to what Cam has discussed in his post?

      No? Too hard? That’s what I thought.

    • Grizz30

      It makes me laugh when a freeloader like yourself talk about wages. However when was $91,000pa not a living wage?

      Besides, if you read comments on this blog, many are small business owners or know small business owners and are only too happy to state the sacrifices they have had to make for their businesses and their workers. At the same time you sit on your freeloading arse, live off the fruits of their blood, sweat, sacrifice and toil and criticise them and being greeding, money hungry and selfish.

      If you cannot praise these people for their sacrifices and paying taxes to support your lifestyle, go to the Standard where you can get the audience you want.

  • joe bloggs

    Totally off track again Phil

    If one comments that the workers are overpaid for underperforming then you and your fellow emetic leftards frame it as a class war…

    If one comments that the workers are wealthy then you and your fellows frame it as paypacket envy…

    Newsflash – $91,000 for 28 hours manual work a week, excellent benefits, and no great responsibilities for raising performance is not a living wage – it’s a rip-off…

    your issue is that you’ve become so embedded in the welfare system that you’re convinced workers should be paid $100k + a year for doing nothing…

    deluded Phool…

    • “ and your fellow emetic leftards frame it as a class war…”

      are you trying to claim we are not in the middle of a class war..?

      ..if this isn’t one..what is..?

      ..we have had a massive increase in the wealth of the richest..

      ..a massive increase in the wealth-gap..

      ..massive increases in poverty/child-poverty..

      ..the return/arrival of third world disease..

      ..massive taxpayer subsidies to low-wage-paying/inefficient/unviable or greedy employers..

      ..and an ongoing transferring of commonly-owned/paid-for assets to the richest/elites..

      ..(in that case they are lurking under the collective-moniker..’mum & dad-investors’

      ..with key as their flag-bearer..)

      ..and a bit of union-smashing on the side..

      ..if it looks like a class war..

      ..talks like a class war..

      ..walks like a class war.. probably is a class war..

      [email protected]

      • Bafacu

        In this discussion you have no class whoar!

  • ballsack said:..”by the time I retire, there will be no such thing as super because the coffers are being drained by beneficiaries as we speak…”

    no..we are being ‘drained’/leeched off by our richest paying the lowest taxes in the oecd..

    ..refusing to pay any capital gains tax on the money they make from their money..(unlike most other countries..)

    and refusing to put a financial transaction tax on the banksters..(which would hurt them not a whit..)

    ..this is what is currently out of whack in our countries..

    ..and you spokespeople for that greedy/grasping elite…

    ..point yr fingers at and demonise/blame beneficiaries..

    ..they aren’t the problem.. lot are..

    ..with those problems sorted..we no longer have a problem..

    ..and can just get on with making the country better and better..

    ..that will happen when you greedy-bastards are forced to pay yr share..

    ..and not before then..

    [email protected]

    • Agent BallSack

      How can you even look at us average hard working Kiwis and call us greedy bastards. Name one person here who you think earns anywhere near the wharfies Phil? Ive looked at your facebook profile I see you’re 62 years old this year, perhaps its time to get that job, Phil. 3 years of hard work then its off to the knackers yard for you. Why do you persist in these risible comments when they’re patently untrue? Thats right, standard left response is play the person not the ball.

    • Sarrs

      Phil – I would hazard a guess that 99% of people on here pay more tax than you, yet you call us greedy bastards who don’t pay their fair share?

      What’s your fair share Phil? What contribution do you make?

    • Groans

      Tax Is Theft

      • Bollocks!!! Tax avoidance is…..

      • In Vino Veritas

        Neil, don’t be absurd. Tax “evasion” is the word you are looking for, and even then, its not the crime of theft. Avoidance is legal, since there are statutory deductions that are available and it is each persons right to claim them to the maximum they are allowed.

        Anyway, I’m not sure thats what Groans was getting at. If Winston and Labour can claim the sell down of state assets is theft, then anyone paying tax can surely claim, quid pro quo, tax is theft as well.

      • Sarrs

        Neil – in the industry we prefer tax ‘minimisation’ 

    • Blokeintakapuna

      Is that “share” of taxes the same share of taxes McCarten and his renta-thug mob haven’t paid also?

    • In Vino Veritas

      Phillip, war is defined as an organized, armed, and often a prolonged conflict that is carried on between states, nations or other parties, typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality.
      Therefore this, by definition is not a war. It is in fact, a minor contractual dispute.

      You and your like are the spokepeople for that pathetic heaving underclass, pointing your fingers at and demonisingblaming those that make something of themselves.

      They aren’t the problem
      Ppeople like you Phillip, are. People who refuse to take responsibility for themselves and their families. People who believe that they are owed a living rather than earning it. People that being supported by others is a right, not a privilege.

      With those problems sorted,we no longer have a problem. We can just get on making the country better and better. That will happen when you parasitic bastards are forced to DO SOMETHING and contribute.

      ..and not before then.

      • ConwayCaptain

        War is an extension of diplomacy by othere means

        Von Clausewitz

        WAR IS HELL

        William Tecumseh Sherman

    • ConwayCaptain


      I Never ever read apart from when I first came on this site.

      They are impossible to read and impossible to understand in the way you write them and set them out.

      Used to reading RT messages which had to be short, cryptic and able to be understood but your posts are the ramblings of a demented mind.

    • SalaciousTCrumb

       “no..we are being ‘drained’/leeched off by our richest paying the lowest taxes in the oecd..”

      No Phil, we are being drained by an generation of NZ’ers who contributed heavily to this country in the mid to latter part of the 20th century and by successive generations of people who feel entitled to not contribute. The inverted triangle of age is hard to overcome, intergenerational welfare dependency is not.

      And stick to topic – 90k for low skilled work of less than 8 hours a day is a fair deal in anyones book. And as for your “greedy elite”, look no further than those who purport to have those workers best interests in mind.

  • “..Thats right, standard left response is play the person not the ball…”

    that is actually quite hilarious..

    ..i come here presenting facts/political-opinions..

    ..and ..with the rare exception..just receive screeds of personal abuse in response..

    ..yr level of denial there is an echo of yr ‘draining-beneficiaries’

    ..and i thought you were much older than 43..

    ..’cos you write like a caricature of a red-faced angry/choleric old man..

    ..  ranting at a spittle-flecked screen.

    ..only 43..?! bad..

    [email protected]

    • Agent BallSack

      Hahaha that was so good it was worth a like. You really have to get out the dictionary and look up the difference between the words ‘facts’ and ‘opinions’. We all know opinions are like assholes, every one has one but facts seem rather light on the ground surrounding the left. As for writing styles….appearances can be deceiving.

    • joe bloggs

      hahahaha – Phool Ure lecturing us on writing styles – well that’s made my fucking day!!!

    • Agent BallSack

      “..point yr fingers at and demonise/blame beneficiaries..
      ..they aren’t the problem.. lot are..
      ..with those problems sorted..we no longer have a problem..
      ..and can just get on with making the country better and better..”
      By sacking the workers and everyone going on a benefit? Good God Phil, you really are a deluded fuckwit. PS I typed that gently, and my computer screen is flecked – with work dust. Have any fucking clue what that’s like Phil?

      • “…By sacking the workers and everyone going on a benefit?..”

        who said that..?..i didn’t..

        how about addressing that fact of unviable/greedy-employers being subsidised by the state.. having their slave-wages topped up by the taxpayer..?

        c’mon..!..tell/show me how that is a ripper of an idea..? me the wise-economic thinking behind that travesty./sick joke…?

        [email protected]

      • Greg M

         Phil, I take umbrage at that comment:
        “how about addressing that fact of unviable/greedy-employers being subsidised by the state.”
        I am employing a lady, and I am struggling my arse off to come up with her money every week. I get no handouts or subsidies from the state or anyone else.

        I haven’t been out on the piss in living memory and have had to seriously cut spending. My sky has gone, cut down on the fags and don’t buy takeaways anymore.

        Beneficiaries seem to have no problem doing all of the above, and who is paying for that?

        I have employed a lady in her late 60’s to help me out for 20 hrs per week for $16 per hour. She is awesome. Gets the work done in about 12-15 hrs and spends the rest of the time giving me a tune up.

        Apparentely my fridge was a bio hazard and the beer has been moved to one shelf so lunch can be put in there.

        I am happy to go without, long term it will come right, and I receive and expect no fucking handouts or hand ups from anyone.

        My drawings (take home pay) $ 140 per week. the dole is $ 206, go figure.

    • In Vino Veritas

      Political opinions often, facts seldom. Get your facts right Philip….

      •  how about one of you trying to engage yr brains..

        ..and actually answer/respond to the facts i presented… personal abuse really al you have..?

        ..are you that shallow/simplistic..?

        ..repeating slogans is about the limit of yr

        [email protected]

      • In Vino Veritas

        Phillip, the point I am making is that you havent bloody well presented any facts! Link something so I can look at it, and I will make comment. An I hardly think my response above is any more or less personal abuse than your response.

  • thor42

    …there was a guy…
    …. called phillip U….
      … whose posts were just…
      … a pile of poo…..
     …each night he sat…
     …and smoked a spliff…
    …and posted stuff…
      …that bored us stiff…
     …his posts were just…
       …a stream of rambles…
      …a real shambles…
     …every time…
        …you see those dots…
       …you know they’re from…
       …a real clot…
    …so for a while…
    …I’ll go elsewhere…
       …and hope that he…
           …is banned from here….   

    • Super_Guest

      thor42, that’s brilliant. Really, you’re the sort of guy the artist’s benefit should be going to.

    • jay cee

      …phill ure gets ……
      …up the noses….
      …of all those…
      ….right wing poseurs…

      ….his point to make…
      ….can be quite sublime…
      ….and in response…
      ….gets likened to….
      ….left wing slime….

      ….. but i’ll keep…
      ……reading his posts…
      ……as he takes the heat….
      ….. that would turn ….
      ….. lesser souls to toast…

      • Euan Rt

        He’s all yours jc, Enjoy! Don’t bother replying phil, I don’t read your posts.

  • Jester

    I certainly hope Mr Trotter sings better than he choose Labour leaders!

    In February 2008, he said that Helen Clark should stand down before the election and be replaced by Phil Goff, who he thought may have been Labour’s only hope of regaining ground with struggling families. He has since recanted, recently arguing that Goff should stand down in his turn before the New Zealand general election, 2011, arguing that David Cunliffe should replace him.[7][8]

  • there was a troll called thor 42..

    ..mindless drivel did he/she spew.. and never did stop..

    ..all he/she had was bile and slop..

    ..every time you saw that name.. knew that it would be the same..

    ..the jumbled thoughts of an erratic mind..

    ..was all that it could show..

    ..but ’twas in it’s personal insults..

    ..that it sank really really low….

    ..yet in the back of its’ mind.. could not help but know..

    ..that soon we will have the troll-i.d-app..

    ..and then it’s vile-bile will really be on show…

    ..friends/associates will be shocked… what from its’ mouth did flow….

    ..from this person they obviously do not know..

    [email protected]

  • starboard

    lazy parasite…back to ya kitchen ya bunsens are burning..

    •  i don’t understand..

      ..what do you mean exactly with yr reference to ‘bunsens burning’..?

      [email protected]

      • starboard

        gee I wonder fill..