Now there’s a surprise…council screws up their sums

The Hamilton council isn’t known for making good decisions on behalf of their ratepayers. Their folly of the V8s is still costing them plenty plus.

They recently made a decision to extend the living wage to council staff. It appears the business case and sums were seriously under-estimated.

Ambitious plans for Hamilton to lead councils nationally in rolling out an $18.40 per hour minimum “living wage” are in doubt after official estimates of its cost nearly quadrupled.

The council voted in May to introduce a living wage over two years, from this year, on the strength of a February estimate it would cost $168,000 to lift pay rates for 80 permanent council staff now paid between the minimum and living wages.

But management now say the resolution covers 144 staff, and a revised estimate shows the cost will be at least $643,000.

The Hamilton City Council had set itself to become the first city in the country to adopt a living wage policy guaranteeing wages of at least $18.40 per hour.   

Its strategy and policy committee three weeks ago voted 7-6 to introduce a minimum living wage for all staff, over two years, from existing budgets.

The cost this year will be limited, just $66,800, but by next year will reach $612,700, and more than $643,000 with overtime and contributions.

Scheme champion councillor Dave Macpherson said he had been concerned about political support and the revised estimates were “unfair on councillors, and especially staff who thought that they were being valued”.

Managers have also warned that the policy could become a can of worms, with Living Wage campaigners promising to review the wage amount annually.

Scenarios costed for city councillors show that a $1 increase to the living wage rate by July 1 next year would lift the two-year cost to $959,000.

Management have recommended that council give itself the right to refuse further increases to the living wage rate unless it first considers the impact.


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  • Saccharomyces

    Don’t worry bro, it’s OK, just hit those rick pricks that own all the property with more rates!

    Fucking “living wage”, what a joke. $18.40 for cleaning toilets? Give me strength.

    • Plue

      Yep spending other peoples money is easy. When you have to get off your butt and earn it yourself I find I am less keen to give it away for no reason. Councils in this country are out of control and not just Hamilton.

    • mike

      Ah and don’t forget their supervisor who was on $18.40 will now be asking for $20 plus… the trickle on effect of this is insane!

      I pity the poor rate payers.

  • Elitist Tory

    I am against all this ‘living wage’ carry on; it is just another excuse to drain overtaxed, under appreciated employers of their money for no particular purpose.

    And why do these sorts of people need $18-40 per hour anyway? It is not as if they are going to be buying tickets to the Opera.
    Back in the mid 1990s – before MMP when the economy was booming along at 6% economic growth working people got paid $10 or $11 per hour and were perfectly happy.

    • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

      Then they scratch their heads and wonder why everything costs so much. It is time for politicians of the right to make the simple point that nothing’s free and these goodies the throwback peddlers try to use to bribe the middle class just turn into price inflation.
      So do you want cheaper stuff or to feel warm and fuzzy about being a supposed caring society which incentivizes laziness, ignorance and ineptitude? I’m sure it would work well.

  • opusx

    How about just…NO. This is ratepayers money, pretty soon we are gonna see rates at the same cost to contributors as income tax. When is the madness going to stop? Morons.

  • Steve R

    Its not just the wage rise for those currently earning under the living wage amount . If your a supervisor looking after staff on the current min wage and your on 18.50 per hour what will you want to happen when your staff are put onto 18.40 and not have any of the stress you do .
    Its going to be a pay rise all the way up the food chain .

  • richard.b

    What about the non council staff who are contractors?
    e.g. The Roading companies who have a contract to repair Waikato Roads.
    Will they now have to pay the Stop/Go guy the ‘living wage’
    And then go back to council saying they will need a variation to their contract as their costs have gone up?
    But thats OK, just wack it on the rate payer…….

    • baw


      What might happen is this.

      Council looks at the cost of providing a service. Finds that doing it itself costs to much. So it employs more contractors to do the jobs.

  • tarkwin

    Thank god I don’t live in Hamilton. Where do these people get the idea they were employed to do philanthropic things with public money?

  • cows4me

    What these fuckers really need is a living brain, yep the pigs are well and truly in control of the farm yard. Where do they find these entitled bastards. Like a wasp nest they need to be fumigated with some urgency. The people of Hamilton should take their cue from the people of Egypt.

  • Euan Ross-Taylor

    How is this for an idea, “As the people representing the ratepayers of this city, we believe in offering all employees of the city a living wage, but also want to remain responsible representatives of the ratepayers, so therefore we propose that the citys’ wage and salary bill does not increase and we vote to redistribute the various remunerations more evenly amongst all the citiy’s employees”.

    • Hazards001

      Glad I scrolled through all the comments before putting my thoughts into words. Cheers Euan..covered it for me.

      • Euan Ross-Taylor

        You picked up a personal troll there Hazards? I owned one of them for a while.

        • Hazards001

          lol I have a few…down votes upset me a lot less than warm beer does..a lot less!

    • opusx

      Excellent comment, and an idea really worth exploring.

  • Doug

    Another one of Tony’s better decisions.

    The report showed that the total cost to Hamilton was about $40million of which at least $3 million was unauthorized expenditure. The report criticized the city council for being secretive about the massive mismanagement. Then-CEO Tony Marryatt also came in for criticism, despite his defence of the event.[3]

  • Whafe

    Fuck me sideways….. Sheesh, this council got all cock sure, yep we will go with the “living wage”, but who cares we will not see if funds are available, we will spout off… Oh shit, we don’t have the funds available…

    To me, this is as bad as this idiot CCC CEO…… Whom ever made this cock-up, should be fired….

    In any commercial org where by KPI’s were in place, pull a stunt like this and it is FUCK-OFF-SKI