Fiscal sanity wins at Hamilton

July 7th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Plans to lift the minimum wage for staff have failed.

An ambitious proposal to introduce a “” of $18.40 per hour over two years was today voted down 6-5 as councillors baulked at its costs.

The council voted in May to introduce a living wage over two years, from this year, on the strength of a February estimate it would cost $168,000 to lift pay rates for 80 permanent council staff now paid between the minimum and living wages. 

But management now say the resolution covered 144 staff, and their revised estimates showed the cost would be at least $643,000.

Mayor Julie Hardaker said once the council’s “toe was in the water” on a living wage policy it would be very difficult to review it, or roll the changes back.

The weird thing with the original decision is they were outsourcing their wages policy to a couple of people in the Hutt Valley. Whatever they said was a living wage, would be automatically implemented by the Council!

 

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17 Responses to “Fiscal sanity wins at Hamilton”

  1. MD (62 comments) says:

    How did they vote on the policy at a cost of $168,000, then find the real cost was $643,000? Who is going down the road for that original advice? This isn’t some project where it is difficult to calculate. They have the wage records, there is absolutely no excuse for the initial cost figure not to be perfect. I can only assume it was someone’s pet idea and they deliberately put up low costs in order to get it approved. This should be a sackable offence. It is difficult to cost projects, and sometimes unforseen things occur, but this is the most basic and straightforward of projects to cost. If they can’t get the numbers right first time on this, there is no way they are competent to run or approve any project.

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  2. thedavincimode (6,512 comments) says:

    Congratulations to the Boganton Council for realising that increasing wages increases costs.

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  3. Pete George (22,713 comments) says:

    MD – I wonder if the escalation in cost is due to the flow on effect of raising minimum wages – it could substantially push up wages above the new rate as well.

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  4. freedom101 (459 comments) says:

    Pity the Hutt Valley. Not only do they host the ‘living wage consultants” but also Mary Byrne and Mark Atkin of Fluoride Action Network. It’s a miracle that the Hutt City Council has managed to hold debt and rates (the lowest rates rises in NZ over the last 10 years) and keep the water fluoridated. Hats off to them.

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  5. jcuk (576 comments) says:

    The more money you pump into the ecconomy through raising the wages of those at the bottom of the scale the more consumption you promote and in a small way, becuase there are not many council workers, it is a step forward stopped by the petty mindedness of people who can only think of the immediate short term.

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  6. Manolo (13,297 comments) says:

    The more money you pump into the economy through raising the wages of those at the bottom of the scale…

    Give comrade jcuk the Nobel Prize of Stupidity. He wins it hands down.

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  7. JC (904 comments) says:

    It hardly “fiscal sanity” when after all the adverse national publicity and massive errors in costing nearly half the Councillors still voted for the LW..

    JC

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  8. jcuk (576 comments) says:

    Even if it cost the Hamilton Council half a million that divided between all the ratepayers amounts to a very small sum of a few cents a week to promote the capitalistic society …. from acorns grow large trees. I think Manolo is the stupid short sighted person here.

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  9. JeffW (320 comments) says:

    JCUK, I am sure you can start a fund to receive donations, including your own, through which low wages can be boosted, by free will rather than force.

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  10. Alan Wilkinson (1,812 comments) says:

    jcuk, rewrite your argument: “The more money I pump into the economy through raising the wages of those at the bottom of the scale the more consumption I promote and in a small way”

    Can you see any flaws in it now?

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  11. PaulP (140 comments) says:

    Save $50k on fluoride and spend $600k on this.

    Not sure why they’ve paused as this is usual local body madness.

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  12. jcuk (576 comments) says:

    Alan W I can see that a Greenie would argue that it is increasing the waste of earth resources but until sanity comes to society it is a good intermediate action to take becuase your purchases is my income and my spending is your income …. pragmatism at how the world is operating at the moment.
    There are further arguments which in the long term save the ‘haves’ some of their money in that with more income those at the bottom are likely to live a better life and cost the country less in medical bills et al … considering myself one of the ‘haves’ I can see the common sense in raising the wages of those at the bottom.
    This is likely to cause inflation which under the current set-up is a NO NO but I can remmber back some decades when inflation was rampant that so were wage increases … the only problem with inflation for those on inflation adjusted incomes is the tradiness of the increases with public servants, who after all run the country rather than the politicians, who cannot see beyond their noses as most of the people on this blog.

    It is after all just money going around in circles and your penny pinching is my starvation.

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  13. Alan Wilkinson (1,812 comments) says:

    jcuk, think before you talk. None of that ramble explained in any way how or why you should spend your money should you actually wish to take your own advice and change what you are currently doing.

    You have a simple choice: pay more to fewer people and receive less goods and services for so doing. Now, how does that benefit either you or the community?

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  14. OneTrack (2,559 comments) says:

    “It is after all just money going around in circles and your penny pinching is my starvation.”

    AKA give me your money you rich prick Hamlton ratepayers

    jcuk, did you take economics 101 when you were doing your BA? Thought not.

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  15. jcuk (576 comments) says:

    This thread is a sad commentary on the closed minds built on doctrine and not on knowledge and common sense by those who argue against me.
    It really is a waste of time on this thread but at least I have made the comments if people have the wit to read, understand, and perhaps question their previosly held beliefs.

    I didn’t go to university but have many more years in the university of life than any of you I suspect otherwise you wouldn’t be so scornful.

    AW 1151 … a completely non-sensical posting A choice has to offer alternatives.

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  16. Alan Wilkinson (1,812 comments) says:

    @jcuk, there were alternatives offered. The “no change” option is that you continue to allow the market to set the price of labour for the goods and services you buy. The other is that you put your own money where your mouth is.

    I suggest you take your own advice and “read, understand, and perhaps question your previously held beliefs”.

    As I pointed out, if you pay some people more, you will pay fewer people and the net wealth in goods and services of the community will be reduced. Think about it. (And don’t confuse yourself by claiming that some people you pay will have more to spend since that will be exactly matched by the loss of spending by those you are no longer able to pay.)

    And if you claim graduation from the university of life then you had better produce relevant evidence from your direct experience that supports your argument. Otherwise we will judge your qualifications fraudulent.

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  17. jcuk (576 comments) says:

    The market is as utterly incompetant as government often proves to be but at least occasionally common sense appears to be stamped upon by vested interests. the fears that if you pay more you will pay fewer are completely unfounded … it is capitalistic hogwash.
    I have in the past changed my allegences becuase once I supported ACT thinking it was a viable form of socialism, different from what the country had previously experienced but sadly I was wrong.

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