Home > The Body Politic > Fifty cents an hour? I’m under-whelmed by Dear Leader’s Generosity…

Fifty cents an hour? I’m under-whelmed by Dear Leader’s Generosity…



Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson today announced a 50 cents per hour  increase in the minimum wage, from $13 an hour, to $13.50 an hour.

Our Dear Leader says,

Between making sure that people can feed their children and look after their families and themselves and also ensure that they keep their job…

“…We’re on our way to the magical $15 people talk about, but we can’t get there in one step.” – John Key, 8 Feb

Dear Leader is now saying that families  “can feed their children and look after their families” on minimum wage?!

That’s not what Bill English said last year.  When questioned by Q+A’s Guyon Espiner on this issue, 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


In today’s “Dominion Post“,  Kate Wilkinson says that, “Government was advised raising the minimum wage would result in up to 6000 job losses“.

Noticeably,  she does not disclose what advice, or from whom, she is referring to. It can’t be Treasury advice, because as TV3’s Patrick Gower reported on his blog last year,


“…research from the United Kingdom suggests minimum wages may have no effect on employment, or that minimum wage effects may still exist, but they may be too difficult to detect and/or very small.” – Source


NZ  Treasury stated that “…the claim a minimum wage rise may cost jobs has not been true in the past“. – Ibid

In other words, Wilkinson and Key are making it up as they go along. And finding it increasingly difficult to keep their ‘stories’ straight, it would seem.

On the other hand, there is little ambiguity in this story from a couple of years ago,



It beggars belief that New Zealanders – a national once proud of their  egalitarian society – can view this situation with anything but angry disdain.

When did it become socially acceptable that the richest 1% increased their wealth by a massive 20%, as well as gaining the greatest benefit  from the 2009 and 2010 taxcuts, whilst those on the minimum wage increase their income by a measely 50 cents an hour?

50 cents an hour. Or $20 a week.

By contrast, our elected representatives did very well last year from their pay increases.

Do you want to know what MPs, Ministers, and the P.M. are now paid?

Click here

John Key’s words continue to  echo throughout New Zealand,


We will be unrelenting in our quest to lift our economic growth rate and raise wage rates.” – John Key, 29 January 2008


Here’s a thought, Dear Leader; if the top 1% could increase their wealth by 20% – why not increase the Minimum Wage by precisely the same amount?

That would raise the minimum wage to $15.60 an hour.

Still not as high as our Aussie cuzzies enjoy – but getting there.

So what about it, Dear Leader, are you keen to share the wealth around a bit?

Show us how “unrelenting” you really are.




Previous Blog post

Bill English: Minimum Wage Not Sufficient to live on!

Treasury’s verdict on raising the Minimum Wage? – Part II


Minimum wage rising by 50c

Other Blogs

NZ Govt celebrate Charles Dickens’ 200th birthday with 50 cent increase in minimum wage



  1. Deborah Kean
    10 February 2012 at 6:04 pm

    It’s simply hypocrisy! That’s all I can say right now…

    • Alex B.
      10 February 2012 at 7:08 pm

      Damn right it’s hypocrisy Deborah. Keu pockets an extra 11 grand a year and the rest of us serfs get an extra freaking 50 cents. If this is trickle down, then it smells like cats piss to me.

  2. Sally S.
    10 February 2012 at 8:43 pm


  3. Epsomite Dad
    11 February 2012 at 7:00 pm

    I run a business and I pay my staff between $17 and $21 an hour depending on experience and length of service. I even increased the pay to one of my best staff to $26 an hour so she wouldn’t shoot through to Australia. So increasing the minimum wage doesn’t bother me. In fact I see it as increasing the amount that people spend and that’s good for my business.

    So I’m one businessman who says $15 an hour? Bring it on!

  1. 22 August 2012 at 11:14 am

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