Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Wage rise lost in translation

Darien Fenton
Labour Spokesperson

8 February 2012

Wage rise lost in translation

The Government’s failure to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour is a lost opportunity to address soaring income inequality in New Zealand and assist low income families that are struggling to makes ends meet, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Darien Fenton says.

“At a time when the government is talking up its concerns on poverty and its impact on families and children, it has failed to take one of the most significant steps in addressing income inequality.

“Of course every little bit helps, but Kate Wilkinson can’t take any credit for being generous here,” Darien Fenton said.

“If you look at the statistics family incomes have dropped in real terms by 4.7 per cent over the last two years. In 2011 the average family was spending 7.4 per cent more on rent alone compared to what they were spending in 2010, while 53 per cent of Kiwi families now say they are either ‘barely able’ or ‘unable’ to meet their basic needs.

“An extra 50c an hour is hardly likely to improve their lot. They will still be treading water.

“It is galling too that despite this latest increase and despite this Government’s grand plan to bring New Zealand into line with our Australian counterparts, the minimum wage across the ditch is still some $6.50 an hour higher than it is here.

“Ms Wilkinson might like to think the increase ‘strikes a balance between protecting low paid workers and ensuring that jobs are not lost’, but if you look beyond the rhetoric the facts are that someone on the minimum wage is only 20 cents better off today than they were in 2009.

“The argument that increasing wages will lead to more people out of work is a red herring as well. Treasury has repeatedly noted that there is no evidence that a higher minimum wage leads to job losses.

“New Zealanders deserve a decent living wage. While $20 a week will be welcome, the basics – like power, food and rent – will undoubtedly continue to climb, meaning our poorest workers will be no better off at all,” Darien Fenton said.

“We can only hope the Government will get in behind my member’s bill that would immediately increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Fair Pay Agreements Should Be Embraced

Are Fair Pay Agreements (FPAs) truly the work of the devil? Given the vehement response to them last week by (a) employer groups and (b) by their parliamentary friends on the extreme right, you could be forgiven for thinking these FPA things will mean curtains for commerce as we’ve known it for the past 30 years. Believe me, they won’t. Less excitable types will regard FPAs as heralding only a mild shift towards a more centralised form of bargaining over wages and conditions, much akin to what other successful economies (eg Germany) have recognised for decades... More>>


Government: Further Action Against Gang Crime

The Government will make it illegal for high risk people to own firearms by introducing Firearms Prohibition Orders (FPOs) that will strengthen action already taken to combat the influence of gangs and organised crime to help keep New Zealanders and their ... More>>


Maori Party: Whakatōhea High Court Decision

“We applaud the Whakatōhea High Court case that has now set a precedent for Māori rights and interest in their foreshore and seabed. It’s an outstanding decision because the Court recognises all reclaimed lands with significant and boating traffic” ... More>>


Judith Collins: Speech To Lower North Island Regional Conference

Good morning, delegates. It’s an absolute privilege to be speaking to you all here today as your leader. I’d like to acknowledge National Party President Peter Goodfellow, my fellow board members, my lower North Island colleagues and all of ... More>>

PM: Statement On The Speaker And Annual Review Debate

“The serious issue of alleged sexual assault and harassment at Parliament was poorly managed and inappropriately politicised last night. The tone of the debate did not reflect well on Parliament as a whole,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. ... More>>

Parliament: Mallard Fails To Give Taxpayers A Straight Answer

Trevor Mallard has confirmed he is unfit to be Parliament’s Speaker by failing to answer several important questions relating to the false rape accusation saga that cost taxpayers more than $330,000, Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop says. ... More>>

Local Government: Independent Review To Explore Future

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says an independent review of local government will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve long into the future. More>>


PM Ardern And PM Morrison: Commencement Of Two-Way Quarantine-Free Travel Between Australia And New Zealand

Joint Statement by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern Commencement of two-way quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand Today, Australia and New Zealand have fulfilled their commitment to establish two-way quarantine free ... More>>




InfoPages News Channels