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Unliveable Rates from Living Wage

Press Release
ISSUED BY: Affordable Auckland
Unliveable Rates from Living Wage
“The news that Auckland Council is actually taking a serious look at paying all employees, and ensuring all contractor employees are paid, a ‘living wage’ should be greatly disturbing to all ratepayers,” says Affordable Auckland Waitemata & Gulf candidate, Stephen  Berry. “According to the lobby group Living Wage Aotearoa, an Auckland living wage is over $24 an hour. For Auckland Council to even give this consideration borders on lunacy.”
“The $17 million it would cost to implement this wage would result in a rates increase of 1.5%. This will be a horrendous burden on those with young families and pensioners on fixed incomes. This increase, which would amount to a pay rise of over 65% for many council staff would come without any gains in labour value or productivity and will be a financial disaster for the council.”
Stephen Berry agrees with his Affordable Wellington colleague Reagan Cutting that wages can only be set by agreement between employee and employer based on the value generated by the position. “When we start paying people according to need instead of value, there can never be a wage budget large enough to satisfy. Apparent needs will continue to push up wage costs while value generated by employment will remain static. Adopting a needs-based living wage will result in huge rates, higher unemployment, reduced homeownership and eventual economic catastrophe.”
Hamilton City Council has agreed to adopt the living wage for their Council, which will be implemented in two years. “If a business gave out double figure pay rises without seeing a corresponding increase in production, they would go bankrupt very quickly. However all a Council has to do is further gouge funds from unwilling ratepayers, and drive them into bankruptcy if they don’t comply.” Nationwide local body umbrella group Affordable City is currently seeking to form an Affordable party in the Waikato region to fight such council largesse.
“The best way for a Council to promote an increase in wages for all workers, not just those connected with the Council, is for Council to reduce its own activities. Reduce the bureaucracy, reduce the rates, reduce the spending and cut the costs of council compliance. The more money council allows business to keep in its own pockets, the more money will be available for wage increase.”
Stephen Berry
Affordable Auckland candidate, Waitemata & Gulf


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