Monday, February 27, 2006

Not the end of the world

When the government agreed that it would raise the minimum wage to $12/hour over the next Parliamentary term, the Auckland business clique said that the sky was falling. And when Sue Bradford put her bill to abolish youth rates before Parliament, they said it would be the end of the world. However, it seems their fellow business-owners in Wellington disagree. 69% of respondents in a recent survey of Wellington businesses agreed with raising the minimum wage to $12/hour, 88% said that next month's increase to $10.25/hour wouldn't hurt them, and 85% said the same about ending youth rates. And these are respondents who are more likely to be small business owners or involved at the lower end of the market, rather than representatives of large multinational corporations who pay subs to the Business Round Table.

It seems that raising the minimum wage and improving working conditions and pay for ordinary New Zealanders won't be the end of the world after all...


Excellent. Then if these small business owners really mean it they don't need a law to force them into it, now do they now?

If 69% of Wellington small businesses really have agreed to paying over the minimum wage of $12/hour; if 88% are truly happy for next month's increase to be up to $10.25/hour; and if 85% really want to end youth rates in their businesses, THEN LET THEM DO SO VOLUNTARILY. Let's see them put their money where their mouths are not being put.

If they really ~do~ mean what they say, then you really don't need a law to force them, and you don't have the right to insist that those small business owners who ~disagree~ with these measures should be forced to adopt them.

Choice is always better than force.

Posted by Peter Cresswell : 2/27/2006 03:25:00 PM

lol. I didn’t realise this was comedy Monday.. yeah, that’d work Peter.. the same way if the IRD made tax payments voluntary then businesses would pay them.. out of the goodness of their hearts..

Posted by Anonymous : 2/27/2006 04:12:00 PM

PC makes a very good point. There's an obvious contradiction between the statement that businesses support the raising of wages, along with the fact they don't if it is not legislated.

No Right Turn has never been particular bright, when it comes to this kind of analysis. So, it shouldn't surprise anyone that he/she would not be able to recognize the contradiction.

Nevertheless, it is still important that No Right Turn is shown the basic mistake in this analysis.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/27/2006 08:39:00 PM

maybe 31% of businesses havelow skilled staff (ie minimum wage) and 15% employ youth labour.
69% want to improve their competitiveness against firms that employ low skilled people and 85% want to be more competitive than firms that use youth labour.

Am I cynical?

Posted by Genius : 2/27/2006 08:58:00 PM

Anon - there's nothing wrong with I/S's analysis. If you're in a minimum wage industry, chances are it's a competitive industry and wages form a significant portion of your costs. If you're an employer, are you going to voluntarily reduce your competitiveness by raising wages, even if you can afford to? No. We hear time and again that the primary obligation of a business s to it's shareholders (read owners in the case of a small business). If the mininum wage is raised legislatively, then competitiveness is not affected. If the industry is forced to raise it's prices marginally to support reasonable living standards for its workers (and here employers seem to be saying it's not even necessary then so what?)

Posted by Anonymous : 2/27/2006 10:10:00 PM