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Stormy Living Wage Meeting Expected

Stormy Living Wage Meeting Expected: Goff No Credibility

A stormy meeting is expected at tonight's Auckland Mayoral Living Wage meeting with candidate free-speech being restricted by the organisers says Auckland Mayoral candidate Mark Thomas

Candidates have been banned from distributing information pamphlets with the organisers stating no political material can be distributed at the event.

Mark Thomas said this was a joke as this meeting would be one of the most politically charged of the more than two dozen Auckland mayoral debates there have been.

"The meeting is being held on the pretext of exchanging information about the important issue of how to boost wages for lowly paid people."

But by banning material candidates might use to explain their position and forcing candidates to sign only a 'yes' or 'no' pledge, the organisers reveal they are not genuinely interested in a free speech discussion.

Thomas is strong supporter of wages people can live on but does not accept that $19.80 is the "magic" answer.

"Phil Goff is making the same mistake as Len Brown with his promise to introduce this so called Living Wage if he is elected mayor."

"What do we say to the person working at council earning $20 an hour who has worked at council for a few years and undertaken extra training to be to that level?"

"How motivated will they feel by the $8 million dollars it will cost to bring everyone else up to their level. This money will come from their potential wage increase!"

"Goff's proposal to boost only directly employed staff creates a second-class pay system for some of council's lowest paid contract workers. That's not fair."

"Goff has never worked in the real world. If he had he would know you can't wave a magic wand to boost wages."

"He also has no credibility on the issue. As a senior cabinet minister for nine years, his government resisted the Unite Union's $12 "living wage" claim until election defeat was staring them in the face."

"As Labour leader in 2011, his policy of a $15 minimum wage was derided by Unite has having "defanged" the original demand as they had done in 2008.

"I want people paid fairly but there's 11,500 people at council - it's unfair to benefit just one group when there are many workers struggling with the high costs of living in Auckland."

"I will order a review of the entire wages system at Auckland to ensure we are paying fair public sector wages for the work done, because there is considerable concern also about the 1,800 staff paid over $100,000."

"If the "Living Wage" organisers think the national minimum wage is too low, they should be targeting the Government - but they tell me they aren't because that is too difficult."

In Auckland the real problem issue with wage levels is actually the high costs of things like housing and transport. Auckland has the fourth least affordable house prices in the world."

"As Mayor my plans focus on reducing these costs and in developing a fairer wages system for everyone. Not just a few. "

ends

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