Bill English: Minimum Wage Not Sufficient to live on!
On TVNZ’s Q+A yesterday (6 November) , National Minister of Finance, Bill English admitted what many of us already knew – that the Minimum Wage of $13 an hour is woefully inadequate for someone to live on.
When questioned by Q+A’s Guyon Espiner on this issue, Bill English responded,
“GUYON: Okay, can we move backwards in people’s working lives from retirement to work and to wages? Mr English, is $13 an hour enough to live on?
BILL: People can live on that for a short time, and that’s why it’s important that they have a sense of opportunity. It’s like being on a benefit.
GUYON: What do you mean for a short time?
BILL: Well, a long time on the minimum wage is pretty damn tough, although our families get Working for Families and guaranteed family income, so families are in a reasonable position.” Source
Whether or not “families are in a reasonable position” is questionable. It is doubtful that a family can live on simply $520 a week – not when rent/mortgage, food, power, etc, are taken out. $13 an hour, in such a situation, is barely survival-level of existence.
A single person would not even be eligible for WFF.
For English to suggest that a $13 an hour wage gives people “a sense of opportunity“ shows a contemptuous attitude toward hard working men and women in this country. “Let them eat cake” would be another phrase that shows National’s attitude toward workers.
Despite John Key’s pre-election pledge in 2008 to raise wages, worker’s pay has not kept pace with rising prices. In fact, the reality is that the 5.3% rise in costs was more than double the 2.4% rise in wages.
And some workers are going backwards, with wage cuts,
But then again, Bill English did state that lower wages were an “economic advantage”, when it came to competing with neighbouring Australia,
National’s determination to keep wages low and competitive with Australia is at stark contrast with the previous government’s success at raising workers’ pay,
“Wage growth at a record high
Annual wage growth in the adjusted LCI (which measures changes in pay rates for a fixed set of jobs and excludes performance related pay increases) remained steady at 3.4% in the March 2008 quarter. This is the equal highest rate recorded since the LCI began in 1992 matching the annual increase for the December 2007 year.
The unadjusted LCI (which includes performance related pay increases) shows annual wage growth of 5.4% in the March 2008 quarter, up from 5.0% at December 2007.“ – Dept of Labour
It seems that voters have yet another clear distinction to consider between the two main parties, when casting their votes: a higher-wage Labour-led coalition, or a status-quo National-led coalition.
The choice, quite literally, is in our hands.
As the wages gap continues to grow with Australia, for many New Zealanders this image becomes more and more ironic,
For a better New Zealand…
~ Cleaner rivers
~ No deep-sea oil drilling
~ Less on Roads - more on Rail
~ A Living wage at $18.40/hr
~ Marriage equality - Yay! Got that one!
~ Strong, effective Unions
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~ Breakfast/lunches in our schools
~ Introducing Civics into our school curriculum
~ Cut back on the liquor industry
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~ Fully funded, free healthcare
~ Ditto for education, including Tertiary
~ Fund Pharmac for Pompe's Disease medication & other 'orphan' drugs
~ No state asset sales!
~ Rebuild public TV broadcasting!
~ Keeping farms in local ownership
~ Reduce poverty, like we reduced the toll for road-fatalities
~ Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
~ Being nice to each other
- Farewell, Nelson Mandela…
- I’ve voted – have you?
- John on John…
- A letter to the editor…
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- Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 2 December 2013
- The ChCh by-election – a letter to the editor…
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- Geoff Robinson – an era ends.
- Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 25 November 2013
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- Random Thoughts on Random Things #5…
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- Another good poll for a LabourGreen government
- Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 30 September 2013
- Endorsing Celia for Mayor
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- Guest Author: Dunedin election – my guide to who’s left and who’s not
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