Are We Ready to Get Serious About Reducing Inequality?

Inequality: we know it’s bad for everyone. We know we need to reduce it. We want to reduce it – sort of.

The worship of wealth goes deep. The exorbitantly expensive cars, private jets, yachts, mansions, luxurious holiday homes, clothes, the glamorous lifestyles enjoyed by the very wealthy are beguiling. The prestige, the power, the ability to get anything you want whenever you want it. These are things that most people, if they were brutally honest, would find it very hard to say ‘no’ to. Are we ready to give up the dream that one day, with a bit of luck, our horse will come in and we could find ourselves a multimillionaire? Continue reading

Corbyn Calls For Cap On Excessive Earnings

A maximum wage – Franklin D Roosevelt first called for it, Bernie Sanders called for it, and now 75 years after Roosevelt, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK Labour Party, has called for it. It’s long overdue.

Corbyn says, “What we cannot accept is a society in which a few earn in two and a bit days what a nurse, a shop worker, a teacher do in a year. That cannot be right.” Continue reading

Major rise in minimum wage required

The Alliance Party says the National Government’s 25 cents per hour rise in the minimum wage does nothing to help low income New Zealanders who are living in a state of financial crisis.

Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says the Alliance has argued for many years that a substantial rise in the minimum wage would have positive economic and social outcomes.

“Wage increases stimulate the economy and create new jobs.”

“A higher minimum wage would mean more income for the Government through an increased tax take and it would mean less money spent on subsidies for low income earners such as the working for families package and rent subsidies.”

She says the Government is currently making up the difference between what minimum wage workers get paid and the amount workers need to live on.

Ms Murray says the minimum wage must realistically reflect the cost of living in New Zealand and should pay for the basics, which it does not do today.

Many larger employers making substantial profits are doing so by underpaying their often young and vulnerable workers who have little bargaining power, she says.

The share of wealth going to workers has decreased for many years, and low income workers are the most disadvantaged of all, battling with rising food, accommodation and transport costs.

The Alliance supports the Unite Union campaign for a minimum wage of $15 an hour and for annual increases until the minimum wage is brought up to 66% of the average total hourly earnings.

The Alliance Party policy is for a $17 per hour minimum wage.

Disability support workers let down by National

The Alliance Party says residential support workers in the disability sector should be paid the minimum wage for sleepovers, and the Government needs to come to the party.

Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says it’s amazing the Government plans to give money to lawyers to help mount an appeal on the Employment Court ruling, rather than ensure that support workers are paid for being on the job.

The Employment Court has ruled that night workers be paid the minimum hourly rate while sleeping over at work premises.

“The money required to fix the problem is not a great amount compared to what the Government spend on all sorts of things,” says Ms Murray. Continue reading