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Archive for 27 December 2012

Why the Remuneration Authority just doesn’t get it

27 December 2012 20 comments

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PUT-THE-POLITICIANS-ON-MINIMUM-WAGE-AND-WATCH-HOW-FAST-THINGS-CHANGE

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When you read media stories like this, you know that Alice has company in Wonderland,

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MPs pay rise less than other workers - authority

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(Or is it La La Land?!)

When Remuneration Authority, chief executive John Errington says,

Since fiscal year 2009 general salaries and wages have increased by 5.6 per cent and the Consumers Price Index has increased by 8 per cent. Parliamentary salaries . . . have increased by only 2.9 per cent. This still leaves members of Parliament receiving lower remuneration increases than the general population.

See: IBID

For the record, the increases mean the following,

$419,300 Prime Minister ($7790 increase)
$297,400 Deputy PM ($5600)
$262,700 Crown ministers, the Speaker, Leader of the Opposition ($4900)
$158,700 Party leader base salary ($3000)
$144,600 Backbench MPs ($2800)
$52,676 average NZ wage

See: Christmas rise gives PM $3900 backpay, $150 more a week

On top of which, the increases,

  •  are back-dated to 1 July 2012
  •  exclude a $2,000 increase in 2011, and a $5,000 increase in 2011, to “compensate MPs for the loss of their international travel perk and a significant drop in their domestic travel bill”
  • exclude a $24,000 a year subsidy toward their rent/accommodation in Wellington
  • exclude $16,100 a year for expenses such as new luggage, flowers, gifts, memberships, and meals.

Nice work if you can get it.

Meanwhile, back in the Real World,

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Resthome spy hails saint-like workers

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When the Prime Minister, our very own Dear Leader, John Key was presented with the situation of rest home workers being paid an apalling figure of around $14.61 an hour, his response was,

“Travel is one of those areas where we are looking at what we can do,” he told TVNZ’s Breakfast programme.

However, the Government could not afford to give DHBs the $140 million required to enable rest homes to pay their staff more.

It’s one of those things we’d love to do if we had the cash. As the country moves back to surplus it’s one of the areas we can look at but I think most people would accept this isn’t the time we have lots of extra cash.

“You could certainly change the proportion of where you spend money in health. We spend about $14.5 billion in the overall health sector.

“What’s going to go to pay the increase in this area? If you said all of the increase is going to go into this area, that would be roughly $600m over the forecast period which is four years… So that would have left us $1bn for other things.

“We put the money into cancer care and nursing and various other things. On balance, we think we got that about right.”

See: PM: No money for aged care workers

Interesting that there is plenty of tax-money for subsidising businesses; rugby world cup tournaments; politician’s salaries and perks – but when it comes to the lowest paid, hardest working, people in our society  – Key’s response is; ” It’s one of those things we’d love to do if we had the cash “.

Yup. It’s La La Land.

Here’s a thought; why not link the minimum wage to that of Members of Parliament?

So when politicians get a pay increase – so do those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

In fact, let’s make it a point that any increase also applies to those earning minimum wages receiving similar perks to politicians; eg; travel and food subsidies, in the form of   weekly vouchers for petrol, food, and electricity.

The lowest paid people in our society might actually start looking forward to salary and perks increases for our MPs and Ministers. And MPs would have a whole new fanclub.

What are the chances?

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Previous related blogposts

Roads, grandma, and John Key

John Key’s track record on raising wages – 4. Rest Home Workers

Aged Care: The Price of Compassion

References

Fairfax media: Resthome spy hails saint-like workers

Fairfax media: PM: No money for aged care workers

Fairfax media: MPs pay rise less than other workers – authority

NZ Herald: Christmas rise gives PM $3900 backpay, $150 more a week

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Why arming our Police is not such a flash idea

27 December 2012 28 comments

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No more anarchy

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When the National Rifle Association’s  Wayne LaPierre suggested that the “solution” to mass shootings in US schools was to arm teachers, the response of  trhose with more common sense was one of  (a) disbelief (b) dismay and (c) disgust. (See previous blogpost: NRA response; more guns. Common sense sez otherwise. )

And rightly so. Escalation of  America’s internal arms race could not be viewed by any sane human being as anything other than compounding the madness that is part and parcel of  their fixation on guns.

New Zealanders generally shook their collective heads at the sheer stupidity of  Wayne LaPierre’s suggestion.

But it seems that we, ourselves, are not above knee-jerk reactions when it comes to crime, drunken mayhem, Police, etc.

As is usual now with the de-regulation of the booze industry and our laws on alcohol (courtesy of the “free market” and the Cult of the Individual), theend-of-year “festive season” now includes a routine plethora of out-of-control parties and public displays of alcohol-fuelled violence.

As if we should be surprised that the easy availability of cheap booze would have any other consequences?

This year was no different, with several instances of Police having to deal with alcohol-fueled fights and other public dis-order.

The intensity of the violence has taken a new turn, with Police themselves coming under direct attack.

One was particularly nasty,

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Attacks on police lead to call for arms

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In one, big, reflexive jerk of the knee, Police Association vice-president, Luke Shadbolt, repeated the call to routinely arm police,

Increasingly, members are calling for general arming. And we know, amongst the staff … more and more are leaning toward general arming as well.”

See: IBID

Thankfully, though, others in the Police force were able to exercise a modicum of common sense. Whangarei area commander Inspector Tracy Phillips stated the blindingly obvious,

I don’t know what would have happened [if he’d been armed] but firearms are easier to use than Tasers.

See: IBID

That’s right, folks; one of the drunk partygoers had taken the constable’s taser and had tried to use it on the unconscious police officer.

The complexity of the weapon defeated the drunk idiot.

Now replace the taser with a handgun.

Instead of two bruised and battered police officers, we would have at least one – probably two – dead police; grieving families; and two more names to add to a sad list at the Police College of fallen policemen and women,

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Police Remembrance Day 2012 v3

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In this case, the lack of guns probably saved two lives.

Meanwhile, as if we needed to emphasise the point, in 2010 seven American  police officers were killed by their own weapons that had been taken from them. (See:  FBI Releases Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in 2010)

We have a problem in this country, but it is not with unarmed Police.

Our problem lies with the ubiquitous availability of dirt-cheap booze; a gutless National “government” that has kowtowed to the liquor industry; and an attitude in this country that alcohol abuse is someone elses’ problem.

Anyone who seriously thinks that giving guns to police will solve this deep malaise in our society has probably had one too many.

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Additional

The Press: New liquor laws ‘dog’s breakfast’ – Dickerson (12 Dec 2012)

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