Brian Edwards Media

I devise a failsafe recipe for full employment – lower the Minimum Wage! (with thanks to John Key)

I see that left-wing liberal bleeding-heart, Tapu Misa, doesn’t believe the PM when he says that raising the minimum wage from $12.50 an hour to $15 an hour will put thousands more Kiwis  out of work. 

After quoting a whole lot of economists  (whom none of us have heard of) to support her argument, Ms Misa conveniently ends her column in this morning’s Herald  by admitting that, ‘There isn’t the space here for an exhaustive discussion of the research’. Very convenient!

This doesn’t stop her claiming that, ‘recent evidence is forcing a rethink about what was once accepted economic wisdom.’

Well, I’ve been having a bit of a rethink about this myself and it’s blindingly obvious to me, as it must be to any other reasonable person, that what the PM is saying just has to be right.

It’s just common sense that if an employer has a choice of employing someone on $12.50 an hour and someone else to do the same job for $15 an hour, he’s going to employ the first bloke. And if he can’t afford $12.50 an hour, he’s not going to employ either of them. That’s simple economics. We could call it ‘John’s Law’: The higher the hourly rate, the higher the number of unemployed.

The corollary of John’s Law – let’s call it ‘Bill’s Law’ – must then logically be: The lower the hourly rate, the lower the number of unemployed.  

Now, unlike Ms Misa, I can quote several million ‘experts’ to support Bill’s Law. They’re all in highly productive work, none of them are on the bread line, they rarely complain about their lives or working conditions, their economy is knocking the rest of the world for six and almost every New Zealander benefits financially from their labour. They’re the Chinese of course and we could learn a lot from them.

Here are some of the things we could learn: 

  • If the minimum wage were set at $2 an hour instead of $12.50 an hour, a manufacturer could  take on six (and a quarter) workers instead of just one.
  • In one fell swoop unemployment would be erased.   
  • With his now significantly  increased output the manufacturer  could greatly decrease the cost of his product, thus hugely increasing both his domestic and, more importantly, his export sales.
  • At the same time, the $2 minimum wage would put pressure on all wages, increasing the manufacturer’s  margins and therefore his taxable income.
  • By way of example, the clothing and shoe-making industries, both driven out of New Zealand because of high wages and an inability to compete in the international market, would be revived.  
  • Instead of buying clothes and shoes from China, we would be selling our clothes and shoes to the rest of the world, including China.  
  • And so it would be with everything, from plastic toys to Kiwi-built personal flying machines. 

In summary, if the minimum wage were reduced rather than increased, we would become a mini China. Our $17 billion deficit would be gone by lunchtime.  The Government’s coffers would be full.

While it is certainly true that wages and salaries will fall dramatically under Bill’s Law, several compensatory factors must be borne in mind: 

  • Everyone in New Zealand who wants a job will have a job;
  •  Huge government surpluses will make it possible for governments to offer substantial across-the-board, flat-rate tax cuts every three years as a sort of Christmas bonus;.
  •  Blue jeans, most clothing and flat screen 3-D TVs will be cheap as chips;
  •  Charities, including public hospitals and schools,  can expect to receive much larger donations from the new super-rich;
  • The job-market for gardeners, chauffeurs, nannies, maids, butlers, cooks, kitchen hands, cleaners, chimney sweeps and other ‘downstairs’ staff will  hugely increase;
  • New Zealand’s 100% pure, clean/green environment, cheap labour and inexpensive retail goods will make it a tourist paradise and a Mecca for foreign investment;
  • The trickle-down theory will become the trickle down law.

Ms Misa will of course reject Bill’s (and John’s)  Law. She will say that it will  create even greater divisions between the haves and have-nots in society. Of Labour’s policy of increasing rather than reducing the minimum wage, she writes:

‘There’s no doubt about the good it will do: it will put more money in the hands of the struggling low-paid, and lighten the load on Working for Families.’

To that, in the immortal words of Milton Friedman, I reply, ‘Yeah right!’


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  1. Brian, some ACT supporter has hacked into your website and is blogging right wing filth under your name. And I had always thought that you were a ‘left wing liberal bleeding heart’.

    I find it very hard to argue against your logic. (I have read this again and wonder this is a wind up. Is there a dollop of irony at work here?)

    However Mr Key and his government have done everything they can to help their mates and once again those who work hard on a subsistence wage get nothing. It is repeating the policies of the 1980’s and Douglas and socially we are stil paying the price for those policies as we will pay the price for Key’s policies. As soon as anyone suggests helping those who need help there is the old regrain that they should be glad they have a job even if they are being paid peanuts.

    We have seen today the Whitcoulls staff being shafted as though it were there fault that the previous management was incompetent.

    i have read this a third time and think you are actually serious (although your comparisons with the Chinese stil make me wonder whether I am being had). You should hang your head in shame.

    Where are you Chris Trotter? Surely you can rebut this nonsense more effectively than I.

  2. 2

    Well when I was a kid, slightly after you Brian, that was how it was in NZ
    $20 a week for a married man (plus perks), no unemployment, no TV, no choice and poor sevice

  3. Not sure if you need an economics degree to figure out if something costs more you consume less of it. I fail to see why my 18 year old son who lives at home needs Labours 31k a year minimum wage to keep him off the poverty line. More likely to price him out of an opportunity to get a start somewhere.

  4. 4

    For many, living on the benefit is a way of life.
    Better, to be working for a low minimum wage rather than sitting at home, twiddling your thumbs…………….

    In South Auckland, a fire destroyed a multi-storey block of council flats.

    A Samoan family of six unemployed lived on the first floor, and all six died in the fire.

    A Tongan group of seven sickness beneficiaries (all illegally in the country) lived on the second floor, and they too all perished in the fire.

    Six Cook Islanders lived on the 3rd floor and they all died.

    Two Maori families on the benefit, lived in the 2 flats on the 4th floor, also perished.

    One white couple lived on the top floor. They survived.

    Relatives of the deceased and local do-gooders were furious. They travelled to South Auckland and quickly demanded a meeting with the fire chief.

    Before the TV cameras, they loudly demanded to know why the Samoans,Tongans, Cook Islanders and Maoris — all died in the fire and only the white couple survived.

    The fire chief looked slowly down at his feet and quietly murmured:

    “They were both at work.”

  5. I’m stunned. Can’t make up my mind if you’ve grown capitalist horns overnight, or there’s some satirical intent I’m just not getting? Soon you’ll become a raging catholic!

  6. Great story
    I didn’t know you were looking for a job
    with S motor mouth Joyce?

  7. 7

    Great bit of reductio ad absurdum.

    Love your work.

  8. Darcy Blockhead, I suppose you think you are funny; you’re are just pathetic. I have no idea what you do for a living but probably some white collar job that involves ripping off people, but I could take you to Tongans, Maori, Samoans who would put the capacity of Europeans for hard work to shame and most of them work for a subsistence wage. My office is cleaned nightly and it is done well and those who do the work happen to be Tongans and the reason they do such menial jobs for bugger all money is pride and a desire to ensure heir kids get a decent education. You and people like you make me sick. People like you justify Hone’s epithet of “white motherf****rs”.

  9. Antipodean projector at large. Nice one, Dean Swift.

  10. 10

    Actually $2.00 ph is not unlikely.

    The Rebstock committee, among other things, want to classify all beneficiaries as “looking for work”.

    DPB recipients, sickness beneficiaries, accident victims are goin to be soooooooooo grateful.

    The Rebstock committee want to privatize welfare payments.

    Private welfare providers will profit by placing those “looking for work” into “jobs”.

    At $2.00 ph private providers should find it easy for Chinese capitalists to start “factories” in NZ.

    This government always said it would not upset us too much in their first term.

    This government is actively encouraging Asian wealth into NZ.

    This government will reveal what it really wants in their second term as we are swept into the global village of the “third world”.

    I recall there was some talk of matching OZ wage rates. This then became our lousy wage rates give us an economic advantage over OZ.

    This government appears to think the Australian standard of living is going to match that of India and China. A tiny minority of fabulously wealthy living in a society of unbelievable poverty.

    What else would expect from a Hawaiian PM and a Minister of Finance who does know the difference between Dipton and Wellington.

  11. Brian, care to tell us how you have managed to service a comfortable life style and can today enjoy a latte in comfort. Let’s start with a University lecturer’s terms and conditions… were they freely negotiated as an individual contract or were your conditions of employment negotiated, prior to your arrival, by an Association of which you were to become a member. Just wondering, before you kick the ladder away completely.

  12. Brian, I just read your post about Politicians being economical with the truth and in particular your response to a commenter

    BE: Well yes. A lot of people were taken in by that, including Lange himself and Yours Truly. After a meeting with Lange, Douglas, Prebble, Palmer, Simon Walker and others, I wrote Lange’s opening TV address after Muldoon called the ’84 election. The piece was pure Michael Joseph Savage, cradle-to-the-grave socialism Not exactly what Douglas et al had in mind…. hmmmm – just wondering.

  13. I too am speechless, BE, utterly speechless.

    I JUST CANNOT BELIEVE that anyone – ANYONE !!! – could have taken your post seriously here.

    Call it what you will – satire, irony, reductio ad absurdum – Of course it was a massive wind-up !!!

    No wonder so many people were fooled by Peter Jackson’s mockumentary, Forgotten Silver, back in the 90s.

  14. 14

    Just goes to show — what I’ve always known — that the Lefties are a humourless bunch. Dour and sour. Everything is taken, literally.

  15. No, Blockhead, not humourless; it is just that some of us do not get the same pleasure as the Hooray Henries in laughing at others misfortunes.

  16. 16

    Me, the “Blockhead”?

    The plural of Henry is – Henrys. Because, “Henry” is a proper noun, you don’t replace the ‘y’ with ‘ie’.

    Besides, you’re shifting the goal posts to justify your rant against a bit of my harmless joking.

  17. You give John Key credit but he doesnt deserve any. Sir Roger Douglas does as he has been saying this all along about the stupidity of the minimum wage, among other common sense things.

    A real job earning $300 a week is always preferable to the going nowhere dole on $160. (Unless you are the Labour party who care about people – yeah right, guffaw).

    Key had the chance to use his common sense by supporting the dumping of the minimum wage but chose to support electioneering safety as he has in his other socialist brain explosions.

  18. Excellently ironic piece – what the govt should really do in order to “close the gap” with Australia is to make the minimum wage the same as theirs – A$15 per hr, about NZ$19.50. At the same time, they could legislate so that all doctors, nurses, and other public sector employees get the same as their Australian equivalents. This would stop the loss of these people across the Tasman overnight.

    How would this be paid for – simple, the govt would also dictate to the employers that all wages and salaries must also be the same as in Australia – this would push people into higher tax brackets and increase the govt income, and everyone would benefit.

    Maybe a few dairy farmers would earn a little less, but they can afford it. Business owners might put up a few prices, but as we would all be earning more we could afford it – exporters can simply tell their customers that they can either buy quality NZ goods at higher prices or buy the rubbish that other peple make. Maybe a few will do so, but not enough to make a difference.

    Simple! Why has no-one thought of this before!

  19. Nice one, Brian!

    How about contemplating a maximum wage limit?

  20. Lets start at the top then,minimum wage for politicians,and see the trickledown effect in action.

  21. That would be a brilliant idea. You could top up their wages with what they would otherwise have gotten on the unemployment benefit and the whole country would be better off!

  22. Brian your argument for a lower minimum wage is profoundly flawed, as I suspect you well know.
    Taking your extreme of $2 / hr leading to a brave new world with rivers of cash trickling down to the poor sods below. What about the cost of living? It seems any suggestion of lowering the minimum wage is never accompanied by a lowering of living costs, in fact it’s the reverse right now. Considering the minimum wage does not just impact youth (they can choose to live with their parents) but many adults. What on earth are our low paid citizens going to live on? $12/hr leaves you around $400/wk after tax most of that will be taken up by the rising cost of rent. Low paid people on these rates will have to work longer hours at multiple jobs just to survive, more latch key kids, more stress etc etc.
    Cutting the cost of low paid labour is a dismal and uncreative way to boast economic performance.
    The comparison with China is laughable they have a Infant mortality rate of 20.25 ( deaths per 1000 births) as opposed to NZ’s 4.78. China has a net migration rate of – 0.33 i.e. they are leaving faster than arriving. If it’s such a good deal in China why are they so keen to leave?

  23. OK, Brian, you’ve stirred up your readership, attracted the inevitable racial stereotype ‘joke'; now is the time to confirm that it was all a wind up.

    BE: Ben, I actually missed Darcy’s comment entirely. You’re right, it’s a rather unpleasant racist joke and I don’t like it at all. But it’s always been my view that ugliness is more evident in the light than in the dark. So I’ll leave it there. Commenters can make up their own minds about it. Though I’d prefer their attention was directed to the argument about raising or lowering the minimum wage.

  24. Darcy – re your “bit of my harmless joking.” It’s easy to hide your prejudices behind a joke and its a little bit obvious. Really happy to hear your argument that PI and Maori are overly represented in the unemployed and even the argument they prefer unemployment but would appreciate some evidence.

  25. Crikey. There I was, in love with Tapu Misa, and now my love has gone. Tapu Misa. I believed in you but Brian has opened my eyes.

    The next thing would be to take a cake to the poor and give a starving child half of the cake. The next gets half of the remainder, and the next gets half of the remainder and the next….. And thus we can solve the problem of the starving with a simple cake. Call it Brian’s Let them Eat Cake Miracle.

  26. I think nearly all of the above writers are too dumb to vote, and that racist pricks joke is just not funny.

  27. C’mon…did you not know that Brian actually rode with Genghis Khan back in the day?
    What we really need is a damn good war so all the poor can be conscripted as cannon fodder.Problem sorted. It’s so…cleansing.

  28. I see Ben challenged you very directly Brian “now is the time to confirm that it was all a wind up” and your answer completely sidestepped to comment on the racist post “ugliness is more evident in the light than in the dark”. Is it beneath your dignity to answer Ben’s challenge?

    BE: It has nothing to do with dignity. Nor is this a court of law where I have to answer anyone’s questions, even Ben’s. The position is this: Some people regard my argument as sound. They agree with it. Those people, I assume, find no reason to believe that it is anything other than a straightforward post. Some people think my argument is flawed or even preposterous. Those people, I assume, either think I’ve written a stupid post or that I’m being ironic in order to make a point. A third group simply regard it as an ironic or satirical piece which they seem to think is quite clever.

    The idea that I (or anyone) should have to spoonfeed readers by telling them whether what they’ve read is intended to be taken at face value or is an ironic commentary strikes me as absolutely absurd. Read the piece and make up your own mind.

  29. Okay Jonathan Swift – nice attempt at pulling off a literary cliche.

    Is anyone else getting tired of these self-important ‘modest proposals’?

  30. Well done Brian; I’m sure that you’ll have a response when you return from whatever you’re up to, but this particular fishing expidition has been spectacularly successful. Congratulations on a great wind-up!

  31. Brian, why have a minimum wage at all? If $2 would bring the nation great riches, surely a zero minimum would deliver even more? Or am I just being extremist?

  32. Did you get Merv to write this Brian?

  33. Excellent Brian,

    Even written in jest you dont want to give the right any ideas…….they are just stupid enought to think its a good idea!!

  34. Tom – “why have a minimum wage at all? If $2 would bring the nation great riches, surely a zero minimum would deliver even more? Or am I just being extremist?”

    Excellent idea Tom , technically that’s called slavery but hey even Aristotle defended slavery so if it good enough for the greek its good enough for NZ.
    While we are at it lets introduce public floggings for those ungrateful bastards who complain about not getting enough.

  35. Well done Brian. Good ideas in principle are neither left or right, just commonsense.

  36. No minimum wage can work well dependant on where you stand.Im guessing compulsary euthenasia would be another great policy stance.Do they think we are all that ignorant that taking away our minimum living standard is good for us.Are you sure John Keys birhday wasnt November 18, 1928.The comparison in employment between 1970 and now needs addressing also.

  37. @steve
    if the minium wage went to $15 a hour it wouldnt affect me as a dairy farmer
    Because what you dont know is that dairy staff are highly paid
    my 19 year old junior was on the dole now is being paid by me a package of 40k a year
    that is the starting rate on a 1000 cow dairy farm
    a young guy who works hard can in 5 ears by going though the agito system get a job runing a 1000 cow farm and 100k a year and i know plenty of 27 year old men who didnt go to university earning that

  38. Your answer, Brian, has convinced me thatyouare indeed playing devil’s advocate. The Right of course argue that having no minimum wage will create more jobs and market forces will dictates the level of wages.

    Well that was the way 19th century Britain operated and it is the way many third world countries still operate. This is why so many global companies who are only too happy to spout weael phrases about social responsibilty choose to manufacture in those countries and whu we as consumer still buy products are morally tainted.

    Sadly many of us who advocate a minimum wage are hypocrites (including me) because if the cost goes up because of that minimum wage we will buy the cheaper import or complain loudly about the rising cost of living.

    What sticks in my craw though is that those most in need are denied a living wage, whilst this government has handed out large tax breaks to its supporters.

    Yesterday we saw Whitcoulls workers being ‘punished’ for the sins of their former employers and told they should be grateful for just having jobs while the Norman family increases its net wealth. This is what it comes down to; those most vulnerable are expected to be grateful for the few scraps thrown to them by the rest of us and their is a sense of outrage when our generosity is thrown back in our faces.

    At least the Chinese, unlike us, make no pretense about caring or compassion. you either do as you are told or you become an involuntary organ donor. That way you know where you stand.

  39. The minimum wage is a necessary tool – it protects us from the absurd end of BE’s proposition. However the level at which it is set might also have disatrous consequences were it to hit that tipping point where it became unsustainable the average business in what is increasingly international labour marketplace. the debate is right where it should be – about where the level of MW should be, not whether it should or should not exist.

    There is however one blindingly simple exception and that is youth rates. I cannot for the life of me understand why those left of centre are still arguing in favour of a poilcy which has priced the inexperienced youth out of the market. David’s comment #3 is so true.

  40. Good on you Brian, nice touch.
    This is something we as a society do need to properly discuss and not emotively.

    Is the DPB tied to the Min wage?
    Should it be less than the Min Wage?
    Should there be no min wage as the DPB will become the defacto min wage?

    As for a maximum wage, interesting concept.
    It doesn’t apply if you are the owner of the business obviously but when barriers to entry and study & experience/lead time to get there are taken into account, how can one decry the effort and sacrifice to people make to get there by denying them the ability to profit as their station can dictate?

    There sadly it comes down to socialist ideology as when there only 10-40 of them in the country we will pay what the post dictates or we don’t have them.

    Specialist Doctors as a case in point, their starting salary in OZ is what our top bods get. So we’re stuffed if we don’t look after them and everyone else sets the bar by their level of pay.

  41. Excellent. I’ll be able to employee a pool boy (or girl) at $2 / hour and maybe some people to tend my garden, fold my towels and manicure my feet which need much attention after lounging in the sun all day.
    I’ll conveniently ignore as long as possible the fact that as my businesses revenue plummets to new lows my own income will drop into the $10 / hour range, my interest rates will rise into the twenties and possibly beyond and I will soon need to fire them all again… errrrrr

  42. Your answer, Brian, has convinced me that you are indeed playing devil’s advocate.

    Tbh, I thought that was fairly obvious.

  43. Darcy, were you looking for this web site instead?

    And I read BE’s post above, and it’s clearly satirical. It just has to be put in perspective, like Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” – it was a song poking fun at a bigoted appliance storeman, whom Mark Knopfler actually overheard in NYC.

  44. I’m dyed-in-the-wool leftie and I agree that raising the minimum wage is a fool’s errand. I don’t think it should be scrapped entirely but it is too high as it is right now, and raising it higher will only exacerbate unemployment. I’d be happy to work for 10 bucks an hour if the choice was either that or unemployment.

  45. Clearly you are taking the proverbial. Kindly provide your account details so that I can process the $0.20 payment for this wonderful 10 minute diatribe…(。◠‿◠。) ˙·٠•●♥

  46. and the nz dollar’s at its highest ever- because the chinese are coming in with billions.
    they are colonising us – not with swords or guns – but with money. big wads of money.
    give it a few years and brian’s satire with be sad ire.

  47. Obviously Brian made his contribution in jest but occasionally a true word is said in jest.
    Imagine a minimum wage of $2.00 per hour. There would be no excuse for any able bodied solo parent beneficiary to be on a benefit. This is because of the machinations of the Guaranteed Minimum Family Income procedures within the Working For Families legislation. Basically any solo parent working 20 hours or more per week woould have their weekly income supplemented to the minimum family income as set out in the Income Tax Act 2007. Unfortunately the legislation does not work for people without dependent children. Also, the legislation is so little known that few people know how to exploit it. But that didn’t stop Key’s government bringing in an amendment that included fringe benefits into the calculation of wages paid. I recall a situation twelve years ago where a solo mother was paid $6 per hour for her 20 hour per week job AND got a company car. She needed a salary of $38,200 to beat the scam she was on. Her employer was very happy to have her on the staff. And I know that for a fact. I was the employer!

  48. Brian at least you have a plan. National and their idealogues have nothing concrete and are really leaving the outcome to the “market”. I am amazed at how well the Dairy industry has modernised itself. I well remember working on a Dairy farm as a 15 year old for a summer job in the late 70s for $5 per day.Graham, did Steve pay any tax as a Dairy Farm labourer?

  49. Hello Brian

    I am a first time visitor to this site. I’d just like to thank you for a wonderful time. I have been thoroughly entertained with your post, and the comments that followed. Brilliant. I will be back.

  50. One problem with the $2/hour theory is that employers need to pay an amount that is a margin above what you would get on welfare to make it attractive enough for people to work. And that’s one of the problems for people who are on welfare but manage to get part-time work, as well as people who are at the top end of Working for Families. Sometimes the financial cost of working (or working more hours) is more than the financial benefit.

    @graham re dairy farming. One thing that continues to be an issue for young workers on dairy farms is the number of hours they are putting in for physically exhausting work and a lack of sleep – $40K/year isn’t necessarily going to work out to be a huge amount per hour, particularly when a young fella is missing out on his weekends and evening social life as well. And then there’s the issue of living on the farm and not being able to choose who you live with. I know more than one young man who has tried it out for a couple of years and then decided to go for an apprenticeship or a degree outside of the industry. Working conditions on dairy farms are something that still needs to be improved on to make it an attractive proposition for the kids.

  51. Ah Brian you dry old dawg, a fine piece.

    This brings to mind the South Park episode ‘Goobacks’ in which people from a poverty-stricken future travel back in time to find work, affecting the town’s economy and the employment of the original occupants. “They took our jobs!”

    Sadly our situation cannot be resolved similarly; that is a mass homosexual orgy thereby erasing the time travelling migrant workers of the over populated future… or can it?

  52. The dour seriousness of some of the commentary is entertainment in its own right.

    in danger of joining in

    of course lower minimum wages result in greater employment with lower wages and higher minimum wages will lead to greater unemployment but higher wages. The choice is what is the best compromise. Neither ludicrous minimum wage levels or slave labour salaries are ‘right’, which are what would be the logical conclusions of either side of this debate.

  53. Funny piece, Brian. The problem is that you’re right in part. The minimum wage does have a relationship with employment levels. It’s got to. And, your ironic corollary of reducing wages to drive employment is probably closer to the truth than most liberals would care to admit. I guess the problem should not be about economics but about social outcomes. The key questions ought not to be about employment levels, remuneration levels etc but rather what type of society do we want to live in. I guess that’s kind of the point you were getting at.

  54. “Tbh, I thought that was fairly obvious.”

    Russell, yes you are right but when I first read it I could not make up my mind; stranger things have happened.

  55. to bea
    again the conditions on farms in canterbury are very good
    they work 11 on 3 off
    rostered sleep ins
    varied start times
    because of the two herd system the max time they wilk milk at any one time is two hours
    what the young or towines have problems with is that when it rains or snows we keep working
    but it is a wonderfull industry that rewards hard work and skill

  56. 56

    @ Ben Re “At least the Chinese, unlike us, make no pretense about caring or compassion. you either do as you are told or you become an involuntary organ donor”.

    @bje Re: “..and the nz dollar’s at its highest ever- because the chinese are coming in with billions.
    they are colonising us – not with swords or guns – but with money. big wads of money.”

    And these are not “racist” remarks?

    Excuse me, if I can’t help, thinking, there is some racial stereotyping going on.

  57. Well you must have been bored May 30
    Who was your target audience? as marketing comes to mind.
    John Key’s recent advertisement planking,have you seen it?
    I wonder whether you would be better with a Rugby World Cup theme, and the idea of learning to punt dropped goals? John Key might be interested then.
    A string of questions, for another day, where is China heading? and what will it mean for the rest of us ?

  58. Ain’t it true that people believe whatever they want regardless of what is presented to them?

    The PM on the one hand used his state home support as a means to be one with the people, while taking away the very ladder he climbed up on. Mr Joyce and Ms Bennett likewise.

    So, whatever his “drive” the PM still needed state help to get to where he is today. That must stick in the craw.

    The truth, for those who can handle it, is the number of minimum wage jobs is increasing not decreasing while conversely the number of high paying jobs is dropping. Accordingly all the desire and drive in the world will not enable those currently on the minimum wage to magically land higher paid jobs.

    Thatcher, Reagan, Richardson, Douglas, Brash, Key all lie when they say that if workers will just increase their productivity, and enable the company to make a bigger profit, they will be rewarded with higher wages. So far no one on the Internet has been able to site me any company which employs a decent number of minimum wagers and has made profit, and increasing profit, has voluntarily lifted those workers wages above minimum. McDonald’s never does.

    It’s always fascinating to me that those who berated Mr Cullen and Ms Clark for being “academics” are so keen to rely upon economists in their arguments.

    Nice post Brian, you certainly have a way with cage rattling.

  59. “Unemployment is not a mere accidental in a private-enterprise economy blemish. On the contrary, it is part of the essential mechanism of the system, and has a definite function to fulfil.”
    Sir William H. Beveridge

  60. darcy- to acknowledge cultural difference and respectfully but absolutely decline conscription to it isn’t rascist- is it?

  61. @ Ben, Aline, logie97

    Please ignore my impetuous and – well, let’s face it – just plain smart-arse comment (May 31 06:13). I was obviously still half asleep at the time.

    Ben: Your (May 31 15:02) comment was spot-on.

  62. 62

    bje, no it isn’t. Ben takes offence at my stereotyping, but is quick to offer up his own version. Seems like a case of hypocrisy, to me. A race-based joke is quite different from a racist joke. People telling “Irish jokes”, wouldn’t be classed as racists, would they?

    And as for the comment from Richard Aston (May 31st, 2011 at 11:23) cum ostrich with its head buried deep in the sand, he needs to spend sometime ‘loitering’ outside any WINZ office, to see the type of “customers”, slothfully, traipsing through the doors.

  63. It costs less to pay a person a benefit than give them a fairly paying job.Is the suggestion to bring the minimum wage to less to than that of a benefit and then remove the benefit.This will achieve nearly full employment.Will this increase productivity?Will this improve the social functioning of society?Does this allow John Key and Brian to say I told you so?Perhaps.Is this a good long term stategy?Perhaps not

  64. Darcy, it is a matter of public record that the Chinese STATE has little concern for human rights and that its criminal populations are used for the harvesting of body parts. Unlike you, categorising an entire ethinic group as indigent in the guise of a very poor joke I was not categorising the entire Chinese race. The only fault in my post was that I did not specifically refer to the State of China as opposed to its people but then again I did not realise that there would be some gormless bugger reading it.

  65. Great piece, Brian.

    I own a fish and chip shop. I’ve got 4 staff – two are on minimum wage and the others just a smidgen above that. If a kid comes in after school and asks about part time work, my first question is “how old are you”? If the answer is 16, the response is “sorry – no vacancy”. If the kid’s 15, it’s “when are you going to be 16?” At 14, I’m getting interested and if the applicant’s 13 – straight to the front of the queue.

    The truth of the matter is that not all kids are equal. Some have left school at 16 and are engineering apprentices trying to get a career: if anyone needs government interference in their wage negotiations, it’ll be them. But some 16 year olds are still at home, living 5 Star for nothing, and only want to earn pocket money to go on the school rugby trip to Samoa.

    If you’re running a fish and chip shop taking $300 on a Monday night, $13 an hour is pointless. Employing a teenager is pointless – you might as well get their mothers, because they’ll cost the same and already know how to crack an egg.

    I’m happy to report that I recently took on a 13 year old at $8/hr. After a week that was $8.50 and $10 the week after that. The following week she went up to the minimum wage at 13 – because she worked to the same standard or better than her 16 and 17 year old colleagues. Shortly after that the new girl’s 16 year old friend was shown the door, outshone by the young neighbour she encouraged to join us. Teenager’s skills are vastly different. It would’ve been morally wrong to pay the 13 year old less than the others simply because she was born later, just as it’s morally wrong to pay her less-committed colleagues more, simply because they’re older.

    The minimum wage act seeks to protect young people from unscrupulous employers who would take advantage of them. But more often than not it prevents them from getting a job in the first place, or even gets them sacked. As it is, kids who need 10 hours a week to hone their skills will only get 4 or 5 – because at $13/hr they’re already too expensive to have on site unless they’re REALLY needed.

  66. Once again, Darcy… were you looking for this site instead? Or was it this one?

  67. It’s amusing to see people continuing to misunderstand the satirical nature of the original post. The really ironic thing though is that although BE clearly tried to make a his post appear as ridiculous as possible, in fact he couldn’t help but actually make some good points.

    That’s because classical economics (and simple common sense) does actually have something worthwhile to say on this subject. And it’s not “You can legislate riches for everyone by increasing the minimum wage to match Switzerland”.

    Leftists can harrumph all they want, but there’s no doubt that increasing the minimum wage is a *very* double edged sword.

  68. 68

    Thanks Zinc.

    You have added support to my opine that $2.00 is not unrealistic.

    Look forward to NZ becoming the south west pacific Tibet.

    I am sure JK will enjoy it from his vantage point in Hawaii.

  69. In a free-flowing fish and chip shop (and any other young-people-employing-business), the more you have to pay your staff, the less hours you give them. No point in having an 18 year old doing dishes for $13/hr – I’d rather send him home early and do them myself! Your $2 is fair enough, peterlepaysan. If they don’t want work, they can stay at home. And if they want more, I’ll negotiate a package commensurate with their skills, not with their date of birth.

  70. Perhaps rather than adjusting the minimum wage we should legislate (especially in times of high unemployment)to allow workers to all become independant contractors.

  71. How about some debate on the maximum wage.

  72. You’ve hit the ball out the park! Inrecdlibe!