How do we help those in risky, low paid jobs in New Zealand?

Guy Standing: How do we help those in risky, low paid jobs in New Zealand?

Geoff SimmonsTax and Welfare6 Comments

Some workers in low paid jobs in New Zealand are eyeing up strike action in response to several years of low wage rises. Employers say they can’t afford to pay higher wages.

Wage increases have been below 2% for the past four years, and recently slowed back to below 1.5%. Economic growth has generally been above that figure, although lately that growth has come largely from population increases, which means per person growth is much lower.

There is no doubt that poverty is a problem, but whose job is it to ensure people have enough – the government or employers? In the face of growing international competition and mechanisation, there are limits to what employers can do.

This isn’t a new problem. The last Labour Government acknowledged that paid work was increasingly not enough to live on when it created Working for Families. Nor is it a problem only faced in New Zealand – it is happening around the world.

Guy Standing is a British professor and economist and founder of BIEN (Basic Income Earth Network), which campaigns for an Unconditional Basic Income (UBI). He was in New Zealand recently for the Labour Party’s Future of Work conference.


Guy Standing: How do we help those in risky, low paid jobs in New Zealand? was last modified: August 15th, 2016 by Geoff Simmons
About the Author

Geoff Simmons

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Geoff Simmons is an economist working for the Morgan Foundation. Geoff has an Honours degree from Auckland University and over ten years experience working for NZ Treasury and as a manager in the UK civil service. Geoff has co-authored three books alongside Gareth.

6 Comments on “Guy Standing: How do we help those in risky, low paid jobs in New Zealand?”

  1. What do you think if in the meantime, we just have unemployment benefit guaranteed and easy to get for anyone who qualifies? If WINZ were to stop forcing people onto the job market with the threat of sanctions, wages would rise. There would be a lot less work for them, they could just concentrate on helping people.

  2. It
    should actually begin at the UN level. A combination of a global crypto
    currency, backed by Special Drawing Rights with the equivalent buying
    power of say $50USD per month for everyone aged 18 and over. Imagine the
    people currently in poverty on $2USD a
    day essentially doubling their income. With a crypto currency
    distribution system, UN agencies would be required to distribute the
    currency for those without the technology to receive it directly. Being
    digitally distributed system, the richer recipients could choose to
    donate their allocation to others less fortunate. Countries admission to
    the UN would be dependent on that country accepting this new currency
    as a means of paying taxes, and no country could be a member of the WTO
    without being part of the system. 6 billion recipients, equivalent of
    $300B USD per month. If Quantitative Easing is acceptable, so should
    this be!! Aunty Helen should use it as part of her election platform

  3. Really it is a matter of government manipulation of the statistics They say the cost of living has not increased,So wages dont increase But you ask anyone who is supporting a family and they will tell you the truth. Everything is increasing in price. If you dont believe me , go grocery shopping
    This government wants to have a banana republic, and pay workers the least they can get away with and promote the income gap increase as policy.That way they can pay the superannuates, and the beneficiary,s, a wage that is just borderline on maintaining a reasonable lifestyle
    The people in the economy that are the worst off are the group that is between the beneficiary level and the income cutoff point say earning just over 50.000 a year for a household. they dont get any benefits, ie cheap rates, insulation subsidy. They are the real poor. Middle income are struggling on one wage Sure they may have a house but struggle to maintain it.
    This group includes the superannuates that is working part time to help themselves

    1. Chris says: “They say the cost of living has not increased”. Absolutely right because treasury has lots of sneaky ways of disguising inflation. One is to say that the price increase is because the product has become more value-added so can’t be compared i.e. treasury say that in reality the price hasn’t increased. I can’t remember the other ways except to say treasury eliminate some categories from being included in the stats to derive the inflation figure.
      The US of A does the same trick and also for unemployment figures they only include people who’ve been looking for work in the previous 4 months so all the disheartened people who have given up hope aren’t included. The actual figure of unemployment in the USA is 23% but the pollies say it is 4%.

  4. Its not government policy to support apprentice training.If it was all the compliance costs involved would be wiped.
    A plumbing apprentice is expected to front up with $2500 for a block course ,before they even get their tools out. And that is only the start.
    And now Joyce is saying there is a shortage of tradies in Auckland Wonder why, I suppose there are thousands overseas with dodgy papers to bring in to do the work

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