PAY­ING PEANUTS

The Bay Chronicle - - CONVERSATIONS - Craig Barnes Kaeo Ma­ree Bar­rett Kerik­eri

Re­gard­ing the min­i­mum wage de­bate, there are two pos­si­ble ef­fects on em­ploy­ment num­bers.

Those on the right say jobs will be lost as em­ploy­ers can’t af­ford the wage bill. Those on the left be­lieve if low wage work­ers are given a rise in in­come this will be spent on ser­vices and prod­ucts, in­creas­ing de­mand and there­fore in­creas­ing jobs with­out the need to in­crease prices.

There is no con­sen­sus on what in reality hap­pens and we can’t know the em­ploy­ment af­fect un­til years af­ter­wards. There will be some jobs lost and some gained. It is rea­son­able to as­sume that re­tail food and other es­sen­tial re­tail­ers will ben­e­fit from in­creased turnover whereas high ticket items will not ini­tially.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers of ev­ery­day prod­ucts will also ben­e­fit from in­creased sales off­set­ting the in­crease in wages.

In a re­gion such as North­land, with a high pro­por­tion of work­ers on low wages, this in­crease is a ma­jor boost to the lo­cal econ­omy al­beit cap­tured in the main by su­per­mar­kets, The Ware­house and liquor out­lets.

The en­emy of small busi­ness is the large cor­po­rates, not the min­i­mum wage. The moral­ity of pay­ing peanuts to those at the bot­tom must be a con­cern to all, due to the down stream ef­fects of in­creased crime, drug and al­co­hol con­sump­tion, men­tal health, di­min­ished par­ent­ing and re­sent­ment of em­ploy­ers. I be­lieve the wage hike to $20 has been a long time com­ing. For a lot of peo­ple their main wage earner barely earns enough to pay for rent and power.

Some peo­ple have had no wage in­creases for eight years and have strug­gled on low wages.

That didn’t stop food prices from in­creas­ing so that even to buy the ba­sic things like milk cheese and eggs are get­ting far be­yond some peo­ples’ price range. Even fruit and veg­eta­bles are far too ex­pen­sive.

Rent has in­creased over the years and buy­ing a house is be­yond many peo­ples’ range.

With a wage in­crease peo­ple may have more money to spend and will spend it lo­cally so busi­nesses won’t miss out. They are dead right, not only the prices but em­ploy­ment and trans­port.

Who’s go­ing to pay? Not those

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