Affordable City Candidates Stand Against 'Living Wage'

Stephen Berry's picture
Submitted by Stephen Berry on Thu, 2013-06-13 15:14

Reagan Cutting, Affordable Wellington Northern Ward candidate, says Wellington ratepayers have real cause for alarm following Wellington City Council’s vote to appropriate $250,000 toward implementing a living wage. “Ratepayers can be sure that this is only the start of valueless runaway wage inflation spurring increased Council spending and eventually increased rates.”

Mr. Cutting believes the Council is being reckless and irresponsible in its actions. “It’s easy to wave a wand to legislate pay increases when you use other people’s money to fund them. A quarter of a million dollars is just the beginning. If a private business acted to give pay rises of up to 66% without obtaining any productivity gains in return, they would go bankrupt. The Council simply has to increase taxation.”

“The effect this move will have on private sector wages for low skilled workers is going to prove economically ruinous. Demand for low skilled labour will plummet, and those few who can manage to get jobs will find them so much harder to keep.”

Meanwhile, Affordable Auckland Waitemata & Gulf candidate Stephen Berry is commending the Auckland Council Business Advisory Panel for opposing moves to implement the living wage policy in Auckland. “The living wage proposal in these parts borders on sheer lunacy with a demand that all Council employees receive over $24 an hour!”

Mr. Berry says the projected $17 million cost, equating to a rates increase of 1.5%, is far below what expense the policy will really result in. “A cleaner, their supervisor and the supervisor’s manager are not all going to be satisfied with being bumped up to $24 while having widely varying responsibilities. Implementation of the Living Wage proposal will only create a snowballing of unreasonable wage demands, impacting housing affordability through the pillaging of ratepayer pockets.”

“When we pay based on need rather than value and ability, no wage budget will ever be able to keep up.”

Mr. Berry maintains that the best way for local bodies to improve wages is by being less involved in the economy. “Spend less, borrow less and then tax less. Let businesses keep more of their profits so they can in turn afford to pay their staff more. Legislating wealth will destroy it through higher unemployment, higher taxation and higher inflation!”