Hutt City Council wallops ratepayers

Chris Milne writes:

By a margin of 10-3 Hutt City Council has moved a step closer to adopting a living wage policy. This will cost ratepayers about $700,000pa for no increase in service levels or improvements in key metrics such as absenteeism and staff turnover – this was the advice given to Council by the CEO and the HR manager.

The motion tonight was adopted without the Full Council discussing any legal advice or Council even obtaining its own advice. There is a real risk that paying the Living Wage is in breach of the Local Government Act.

Many ratepayers are expressing anger at significant rates rises – well here comes another one. …

To add insult to injury, Council morphing into an extension of WINZ sees about $400,000 of that $700,000 go straight to central government by way of GST, taxes and abatement of benefits such as working for families. A huge own-goal for Hutt ratepayers.

It’s not that those who voted against the Living Wage don’t care about people on lower incomes. Rather they look through the policy to how it really plays out in practice. It’s sounds caring and kind, but it’s a double edged sword, and the other side is pretty sharp.

There are all sorts of problems with the Living Wage, well summed up in the Taxpayers’ Union report “Best of Intentions, Worst of Results”. In a nutshell, the Living Wage hurts those who it is designed to help. Happy to expand further if readers wish to know more about this. The best way of informing yourself further on this is to go to the Taxpayers’ Union website and read the summary of their report.

I can’t work out why any sensible body would outsource their wages policy to a self-appointed entity with no accountability.

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