John Key’s track record on raising wages – 5. The Minimum Wage
Continued from: John Key’s track record on raising wages – 4. Rest Home Workers
5. The Minimum Wage
From 2004 to 2008, the minimum wage rose from $9 to $12 – an increase of $3 in four years.
From 2009 to 2012, the minimum wage rose from $12 to $13.50 – an increase of $1.50 over three years.
Last year, Labour, the Greens, NZ First, and Mana campaigned to raise the minimum wage to $15 ($16 for Mana).
When a worker at a fast-food outlet asked John Key to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, he rejected the proposal, saying,
“It will go up, but it won’t go up straight away.”
Yet it took only a couple of years to implement two massive taxcuts that gave hundreds, thousands, of dollars a week, to the top income earners.
The real insult is that Key and English both admit that the minimum wage is difficult to live on.
“Look, I think it would be very difficult for anyone to do that.”
“ 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 ENGLISH: 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 ENGLISH: 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. “
The Department of Labour claimed a rise in the minimum wage would cost 6,000 jobs.
But Treasury disagreed, saying,
“This has not been true in the past. The balance of probabilities is that a higher minimum wage does not cost jobs.”
Raising the minimum wage would certainly benefit SMEs (Small-Medium Enterprises), as low-income earners spend their entire wages on goods and services. Any rise in paying wages should be offset by increasing till-takings with customers spending more.
So it appears blatantly obvious that no good reason exists not to raise the minimum wage.
After all, in 2009 and 2010, National gave away far more in tax cuts for the rich.
And precisely how does this raise wages, as per Dear Leader’s promises?
Next chapter: 6. Youth Rates
= fs =
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- Signs of the times…?
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- The slow dismantling of a populist prime minister
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