Monday, 7 February 2011

Great news for the unemployed!!

Q:  What do you do when you have a whole lot of things left on your shelf that you simply can’t sell?

A:  You raise the price.

If that sounds counter-intuitive, or even dumb, that’s because it is.

Yet that’s precisely what New Zealand’s sellers of labour have just gone and done. At a time when unemployment is going up and more and more would-be labourers are being left on the shelf, they’ve gone and raised the price of their labour. Or rather, they’ve had it raised for them.

Because try though they might, their government has once again made it illegal for them to agree to sell their labour at anything less than the govt’s own chosen rate—which minister Kate Wilkinson has just put  up, being raised today by this National-led imbecile of a government to a minimum legal wage of $13/hour in the same week that figures were released showing unemployment continuing to rise.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

It’s not like they raised it by mistake, either. They did this before, right at the very start of this Great Recession, right along with the abolition of Youth Rates—leading to the truly unsurprising result that unemployment among those looking for unskilled work or “starter jobs” has continued to rise, with more than one-in four youngsters aged 15-19 now unable to get started on the employment ladder; more than one-in-six Maori; and more than half of the single parents.

Well done John Boy. Well done Kate Wilkinson. You dumbarses.

Not only do you make it more difficult for low-income job-hunters to get the start, by raising costs to the country’s employers (or, equally, by reducing the number they can employ for the same money) you also make it more difficult to raise productivity. Which is where real wage rises really come from, not from wishful thinking rubber stamped by half-wit politicians.

Now if Hone had any balls, or any brains, instead of several more weeks of grandstanding he’d be hammering this racist imposition on Maori employment for all he’s worth. He’d be pointing out

One of the more insidious effects of minimum wages is that it lowers the cost of racial discrimination; in fact, minimum wage laws are one of the most effective tools in the arsenals of racists everywhere.”

That he won’t be is a measure of where his true interests (and brains) really lie.


  1. They also released statistics showing that during the recession wages have actually risen. Why don't they trust their own statistics?

  2. "People need a living wage." - Annette King.

    Doesn't stop them taking ~16% of it though does it.

  3. Does that mean the Irish government actually did something right for once? The minimum wage has been chopped by 11%, effective Feb 1. However, it's too little too late, methinks.

  4. In the cultural capital of the Moslem world Egypt! 70% of “employed” work for the government. The govt just announced a 15% wage increase for public sector “workers”. Just like that!

    New government bonds are being issued now to put the Egyptian economy into over drive. Egypt’s bonds are yielding 11%. Grab the yield while you can. It is all good. (Learning lots about this fantastic water way country.)

    If such an important winner country like Egypt can do it why cant the NZ government issue bonds to support a $20 minimum wage here?

  5. On the plus side, I doubt the quarter will do much harm relative to holding it constant. Could have been worse.

  6. If that ladder was stable, it doesn't look like it would be very hard to climb it.

  7. Paddy McCoy, an elderly Irish farmer, received a letter from the Department of Labour stating that he was suspected of not paying his employees the statutory minimum wages and that an inspector would be sent to the farm.

    On the appointed day, the inspector turned up. “Tell me about your staff,” he asked of Paddy.

    “Well,” said Paddy, “there is the farmhand. I pay him 240 a week and he has use of a free cottage.”

    “That’s good,” said the inspector.

    “Then there’s the housekeeper. She gets 190 a week, along with free board and lodging.”

    “That sounds fine,” said the inspector.

    Paddy went on. “There’s also the half-wit. He works a 16-hour day, does 90 percent of the work, nets about 25 pounds a week when all is said and done, but takes down a bottle of whiskey and, as a special treat, occasionally gets to sleep with my wife.”

    “That’s disgraceful, Paddy,” said the inspector. “I need to interview the half-wit.”

    “Well,” said Paddy, “you’re looking at him.”


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