Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Far be it from me to say I told you so...

Remember how right-wing bloggers used to write all the time about the wage gap with Australia, how it was all Helen Clark's fault and getting rid of Labour would lead to an improvement in our situation relative to Oz? It seemed like every other post was about NZers fleeing to Australia for the money. Hell, even John Key was saying it.

In vain did lefties point out that Oz wages are higher largely due to them not having crushed the unions like we did and having higher productivity due to reasons other than which party was in govt, and that a change of govt here was unlikely to affect that. How the right-wing bloggers ridiculed us! Ignorant of economics, we were. Partisan Labourites, we were. What rapid change we'd see with a decent man at the helm, they said.

How depressed they must be at this morning's news: Tasman wage gap $40 a week wider. I guess that explains why the right has become silent on the wage gap...

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Australian trade unionization stands at around 20%, up slightly last year after a steady decline over the last 20 years as the document below shows. Quite similar to NZ actually.

http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/6105.0Feature%20Article2July%202010?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=6105.0&issue=July%202010&num=&view=

Blair said...

Well I am not silent on the wage gap. When you refuse to cut government spending, or refuse to mine valuable resources from government land, or you introduce an ETS, and then you don't really change anything else of significance, that gap is just going to get wider isn't it?

I really don't understand how National think they are going to bridge that gap without doing the things necessary to bridge that gap.

Rob Carr said...

Perhaps if our minimum wage wasn't woefully less than theirs in dollar terms let alone taking into account exchange rate then our wages might be higher. Seems hard to have them lower when it is illegal to do so >.>

JC said...

The 2006 return for union membership shows that 17.9% of the workforce is unionised.

It will come as no surprise at all to note that 56% of that membership lies in health, education and Government, ie, there's no wealth making productivity there, no hardship, very high female participation, high job security.

The picture is thus one of leaching Chardonney Socialism, not productivity or wealth creation.

JC

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

What about the mining boom PM?
Something we will never have.

Psycho Milt said...

JC: Gee - having crushed the unions in the 90s, we now find that it's mostly people in the public sector with good job security who are union members? How astonishingly counter-intuitive...

More to the point - your personal feeling about unions aren't really relevant to the effect of unions on wage levels.

Fairfacts Media: as I recall, the Aussie mining boom was in full swing when you were writing post after post about the lezzo Klarkian Helengrad Liarbore communist regime being responsible for the wage gap.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we are simply not as rich as Australia and equality is a pipe dream given the state of the world in 2010. It may not always be that way. Having worked there I didn't think their productivity was anything to brag about.

Budgieboy said...

Not a fair cop Milt!

Right wing bloggers had hopped they were electing a right wing government!

It will never matter who is in power as long as they continue to pursue pinko polices. (Pink may not be Red but it’s still too far to the left)

The true debate isn't really about Liabour vs National it's about whether left wing policies work. They don’t, and it's refreshing to see you acknowledge that but how you manage to drag ‘right wing bloggers’ into the gun for it I do not know.

Many of them are exasperated at this Government while some argue that the pace of change needs to be slow and steady and yet they pretty much all agree that if we want to catch up with Australia we have to move away from the policies of the last Liabour Government.

Having a crack at right wing bloggers for the fact the National Government has not adopted right wing policies is a bit rich when as a self described lefty it’s your policies that continue to fail.

There have been a truck load of ideas from the right on how to close the gap ( http://www.donbrash.com/new-zealand-s-economic-outlook-can-we-ever-catch-australia/ ) but there is no political will to do it. Righties can debate the merits on the pace of change for as long as they want but until the right actually does get its ides adopted then blaming them for the lefts failure is misguided at best.

Left or Lefter said...

Agree with Budgieboy - we thought we were electing a right wing gummint, not more socialists.
The fact is most Kiwis only want us to be richer if we don't have to compromise on our idea of what is environmentally or socially correct.

Thus no mining, more taxes through the ETS, very little trimming of the public service.

The unions virtually had to make up something to protest about FFS (what is their beef anyway - that they have to ask permission to enter the workplace, or that their employer can ask for a doctors cert for one day sick - which they can already do)?

Anonymous said...

"In vain did lefties point out that Oz wages are higher largely due to them not having crushed the unions"

And no-one believes it because just like then, you dont provide any proo or link of causation. A bit like the theory of CO2 causing positive feedbacks with water vapour and making the "world" hot.

JC said...

Milt,

Your initial point was that unions are the major reason for higher wages in Oz. Yet unions in Oz not many more members by percentage than we, so unless you are arguing that 25% of Oz union members are paid so much more than non unionists that they drag up wages $300 per week that argument fails.

Also, I've shown that unions are concentrated in the non tradable sector, so cannot improve productivity that drives up wages.

In short, there's no appreciable link between unionism, productivity and wages.. rather the reverse in terms of productivity and investment of tax money.

JC

Anonymous said...

What Budgieboy said.

I think it fair PM, that you demonstrate evidence of
(1) any "right-wing" policies (even just one) National have introduced, and
(2) how that policy has comprehensively failed to address your statement.

Claiming that educational league tables, capping the number of state employees, introducing the ETS or GST increases (or even modest tax reductions) are "right-wing" policies are laughable.

True right-wing persons should be bitterly disappointed with what National has done to introduce right-of-centre (let alone right-wing) policies. Government interference in our lives has increased, not lessened. Our personal freedom is continually eroded, and National has not stopped or reversed that at all.

National is not a right-of-centre party. Rarely has been, with the exception of 1991 with Richardson. National are centrists with a left bent. National posture while in opposition as the party of the right. As soon as they have the levers of power, they transmogrify into a status-quo party, abandoning such pretexts.

Don’t even get me started on the former Liberal party, ACT.

Ford Anglia

Psycho Milt said...

And no-one believes it because just like then, you dont provide any proo or link of causation.

There's no shortage of research into the effects of the ECA 1991 on real wages in NZ, not to mention general stuff on the effects of unionisation on wage rates. I'm sure you can use Google as well as I can.

Your initial point was that unions are the major reason for higher wages in Oz. Yet unions in Oz not many more members by percentage than we...

It's not simply a numbers game. The Aussies didn't butcher the unions in the 90s, resulting in an immediate collapse of union membership, rapid decrease in real wages and increase in part-time jobs, and a corresponding incentive for employers to put money into cheap labour rather than capital equipment. The fact that Oz union membership has gradually tailed off to be not hugely higher than hours doesn't change that.

Right wing bloggers had hopped they were electing a right wing government!

And Labour voters often hope they're electing a left-wing govt, but they never get one. Life's tough. What are these right-wing policies that the Labor govt in Australia is apparently following, that sees them still increasing the wage gap over a National/ACT govt in NZ?

ZenTiger said...

I'm still waiting for a right wing government to be voted in. Until that time, it remains pertinent to point to the widening wage gap, and all the dangers that brings to our economy.

Ackers said...

You'll be waiting a long time Zen. National's about as right as you will get. New Zealanders aren't that stupid which is why ACT is and always will be a fringe party with very ltd support.

Australians clearly aren't that stupid.

Collectively both countries do quite well because the ideologues infesting No Minister and Kiwiblog are just that.

Fringe dwellers with ltd influence on public policy thank god.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for a right wing government to be voted in.

A "Right Wing government" was voted in'

It just ignored what its voters wanted.


more seriously, NZ will never have a good government as long as bludgers, codgers, civil servunts, state teachers & doctors etc have the vote

Only the productive should be able to vote. Then the rot will stop tomorrow!