Andrew Little has dragged the angry back out of the closet. That may work for him short term, but his own party and activists will turn on him if they read Richard Harman’s piece on Little dragging Labour to the centre.
They will especially be madder than a cut snake when they read this:
But when Little was specifically asked what he would do to solve the growing gap between rich and poor he revealed a scepticism about the effectiveness of raising the minium wage or introducing a living wage or a universal basic income.
He said that one in five households spent more than 50% of their income on housing costs and that the average household, after they had paid their housing costs, last year was only ahead by $365 and that did not include any adjustment for inflation.
“The average household last year went backwards; incomes are not keeping up with the real cost of living.
“The big really difficult gnarly question is lifting incomes.
“It’s not just the bottom 10 per cent; it’s 60 per cent of households.
“We’ll manage the minimum wage, and we’ll do it responsibly but lifting the minimum wage is not lifting wages.
“Then people say well, what about the living wage.
“We’ll work with the living wage campaign and do what we can, and we’ll work with central and local government.
“But that’s not going to lift sixty per cent of people’s wages.
“We have to find a way to put that upward pressure on wages again.”
In other words, he is all mouth and no trousers. The only government to lift the minimum wage in decent chunks was the National government.
In some respects Little is right, lifting the minimum wage won’t help and neither will the living wage. All that happens is that employers find alternatives like automation. Then workers are made redundant. That is where lifting the minimum wage ends up.
The activists, however, will be concerned that it is perceived that Little is heading for the centre. He isn’t really, that’s just the media drinking Koolaid saying it is so.
The day a unionist has a solution to employment is the day the earth ceases to exist.