I can hear the more cynical amongst you saying that Len Brown’s move to implement a ‘living wage’ of over NZ$18 an hour for all Auckland City Council workers as being no more than diversionary tactic to take the ‘big eye’ from his recent transgressions.
Leave that aside for a moment and think of what his move may mean. Living in Auckland is expensive to say the least and any move that makes it just that little bit more possible, albeit for a fairly small group of Aucklanders, does send a signal that such a move should be extended to all workers. There are those who oppose such a move and you can be sure that they do not struggle to live on a wage that is anywhere near that of the current minimum wage.
I get tired of hearing those who have so much more, decrying any move on the part of workers to receive a fair wage. They state that such moves will cause firms to go broke and that NZ can’t afford such levels of wages. I say we cannot afford not to pay our lowest earners less than a living wage because it will cost us in other ways; social costs that will far outweigh the small rise that proponents of a ‘living wage’ are espousing. Let those who are so vehemently opposed to giving workers a fair go try living on the wages that so many people subsist on in our largest city.
One more point: ‘They should therefore move to the provinces where costs are much less!’ Great, if the jobs were there.