Red Alert

Futile (and desperate?)

Posted by on May 9th, 2011

As the Parliamentary Term draws to its close, the chances of MPs getting a new members’ bill from the ballot are almost zero.

Tau got a bit of free publicity over Easter by saying he would be putting forward a members’ bill to allow shop trading on Easter Friday. Desperate in Te Atatu?  Sounds like it.

Now Roger Douglas has joined the ACT, with this press release today saying he’s going to resubmit his members’ bill to strip young workers of minimum wages.  His members’ bill on the same topic was roundly defeated last year. Roger’s on his way out, thank goodness, but Don Brash will gladly pick up the mantle.

Problem for Tau and Roger is that there ain’t going to be any more ballots this term of parliament.  Unless, that is, all MPs with members bills up for first readings withdraw them and I can’t see that happening.

Only six Members’ bills awaiting first reading can be on the Order Paper on each Members’ Day.  We have six already, but also in front of those bills are :

  • Local and private orders of the day :  These take precedence, and there are currently two at committee stages, with third readings to come.  There’s likely to be more.
  • Two controversial bills awaiting committee stages and third reading : Voluntary Student Membership Bill (Heather Roy) and Secret Ballots for strike action (Tau Henare).
  • After that, there comes two second readings of NACt MP bills, followed by committee stages, and if they get to it, third readings.

Then, and only then can we begin on the first readings of members’ bills that are already on the Order Paper.

Given that Members’ Days are only held every second sitting week, and the government’s predilection for using Members’ Days for urgency, I can confidently predict there will be absolutely no more ballots for members’ bills this term, including those of Tau Henare and Roger Douglas.

Thank goodness for that.

50 Responses to “Futile (and desperate?)”

  1. tracey says:

    lower than low youth wages, what next, slavery to save the economy?

  2. Oliver I says:

    Youth wages offer an incentive for employers to give young people a go at having a job. If there was un unskilled 16 year old and an unskilled 18 year old most employers would pick the older one by age, not giving the young one the chance to build up any experience.

  3. lollercaust says:

    Hasn’t labour been filibustering even on bills the whole house supports?

    are you finally admitting you are futile(and desperate?)

  4. Oliver I says:

    @lollercaust correct, Labour have been filibustering on Members day at every opportunity.

  5. @Oliver – yeah, where is the evidence?
    @lollercaust – nah. You got it wrong.

  6. Slight typo above I think Darien, Members Days are held every second sitting week, and they are often lost to Urgency for govt business.

  7. tracey says:

    yes Oliver, that’s the way, give low waged 14 year olds the job to help them gain “experience”, rather than a decent wage to an adult with a family. It never occurs to an employer to give the low aged youngster the job to save themselves money and improve their profit, it’s kind of like charity really. heck why pay them at all, they should be able to just give them “experience” and not have to pay them for it, quid pro quo.

    More myth inspiration. The youth employment rises during a recession because of last on first off policies and because many employers feel those with families need the job more than say a youngster with no encumbrances. But you feel free to keep blaiing it on the pay rates.

  8. Monty says:

    So what is Labour’s solution to the high unemployment of the youth – make it illegal for business not to employ a minimum % of youth? Reality is that Labour’s silly law on abolition of youth rates has severly contributed to youth unemployment rates simply because the high minimum wage makes it uneconomic for an employer to give them a job when they can get an older person for the same rate. It is a foolish policy and National should have reversed it.

    And Chris – the reason why the Government needs to go into urgency is because (Partly) Labour fili-buster too much.

  9. Ianmac says:

    There was research published which said that minimum youth wages did not alter employment rates. Raising the minimum wages to say $15 or $18 as in Australia do not increase unemployment. It is a myth used by some politicians to avoid giving a chance of a fair wage. (Can’t find a link but it was genuine research.)

  10. Oliver I says:

    @Tracey, You don’t give people the job out of charity, you do it to increase profitability, but if you are going to spend more time training someone as they do not have experience, then to make up the opportunity cost of you training them then low wages offers an incentive to employ them.

    Also, a lot of law, accounting, and advertising students recognise the value of experience and offer to work for free with the major companies over summer, though that is a side issue.

    Cost affects a decision to hire someone or not.

  11. Darien Fenton says:

    @Monty – you reallly do get a bit tiresome on this issue. Is your solution to unemployment to pay everyone less?

  12. Spud says:

    Hey for just a dollar a day we could have full employment! 😛

  13. Monty says:

    Darien – the solution to unemployment is complex, but one part of it would be to ensure that whole sectors are not priced out of the market in the first place. I hold that no person will be employed for more than their economic return. So I am suggesting that thanks to Labour legislation a whole lot of people have been priced out of the market. Call it tiresome if you like – but you cannot disprove the hypothesis. Those on the dole at $160 per week may not appreciate the fact they cannot go an earn $400 doing a job and leaning some basic skills.

    Spud – if someone was willing to work for $1 per hour then that should be their choice. By the same token if a person can demand $1000 per hour and they found someone to pay that then that is also a matter of choice.

    I also have to add that when I first read your heading to this Post (Futile (and desperate?) I thought your were talking about the latest efforts of Chippie and trev and Hodgson.

  14. Oliver I says:

    @Darren, I think what Monty was fairly saying was that we shouldn’t price people out of the market. For example Treasury suggests a $15 minimum wage would price 8,000 people out of the market

  15. Darien Fenton says:

    @Oliver I : with respect, I’m Darien – and that’s a girl’s name (at least in my case). I’m a woman, not a man. And the government’s own advice that a $13.50 minimum wage would have negligible effect on jobs – so why didn’t they at least up it to that?
    @Monty : I enjoy a good chuckle, and I always appreciate it from you.

  16. Oliver I says:

    @Darien, sorry I mistyped the name, no offense was intended and I apologise. How many more people would get jobs if we didn’t have a minimum wage? They only need to earn more than $4 per hour at 40 hours per week to better off than on the unemployment benefit of $160. Earning $10 per hour they would be on $400 per week.

  17. dave says:

    What is stupid is the fact that Easter Sunday is not regarded a public holiday and so although staff are forced not to work, they are not entitled to a paid day off.

    Surely a forced day off without pay is unfair.

  18. Monty says:

    Darien – and while you laugh, there are youth wasting away on benefits because they cannot get a job because the minimum wage is more that what an employer is prepared to pay for their limited skill set. Ideaology getting in the way of the reality of life.

  19. Bed Rater says:

    Darien, if they raised it to $13.50 an hour, and provided that didn’t have any noticeable effect on employment, you would be the first one standing up and bleating about the resulting inflation leaving workers ‘no better off’

    Pretty easy to make bold comments like this when you’re in opposition for the foreseeable future.

  20. Darien Fenton says:

    @Monty – laughing at your predictability. Show me the evidence that lowering the minimum wage makes any difference. Have a look at your lot’s time during the 1990’s when the minimum wage for young people under 20 was one third of what it is now.
    @Bed Rater – yep, I would be saying that wasn’t enough, but we’re not in government and there was no excuse to keep it at $13.00. The government’s own advice said so. And don’t get too arrogant about Labour being in opposition. What goes around comes around.

  21. Darien Fenton says:

    @Tracey : “heck why pay them at all, they should be able to just give them “experience” and not have to pay them for it…” You got the the narrative. Workers are lucky to have a job, they should not bite the hand that feeds them because it’s good deed really, like charity. Whatever happened to a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay?

  22. Quoth the Raven says:

    The youth employment rises during a recession because of last on first off policies and because many employers feel those with families need the job more than say a youngster with no encumbrances.

    Tracey, what you say is probably true and youth unemployment is generally higher than adult unemployment in a recession, but you miss the point that youth unemployment has been even higher again than what would be expected since the youth rate was abolished.

    The model expects, given the current adult unemployment rate, that the youth unemployment rate would be 19.3% if the youth unemployment outcomes were no worse (relative to adult outcomes) than in the worst quarter from 1986 to 2008. As the actual youth unemployment rate is 27.5%, the rate is 8.2 percentage points higher than would have been expected under the prior trend. That translates to 12,350 kids who don’t have work who we would have expected to be in work had the prior relationship between youth and adult unemployment rates continued.

    And as I said to you on this in another thread, the justification for this policy wasn’t, as you seem to argue to help adults in employment by harming the employment prospects of the young, but simply to help youth in employment. At that it appears to have failed.

  23. Monty says:

    Darien – from the time the Employment contracts Act was brought in to about 1995 there were 150,000 jobs created, Raven above is of course correct that the policy has failed. The ECA was a major driver in the recovery and lowering of unemployment in the early 1990s.

    The victims of a minimum wage are inevitably those who productivity is lowest – the young and the unskilled. You profess to be concenred about these people . For this group there is no choice between high pay and low pay. The key choice is between obtaining their first job and failing to do so. The first job is easily the most critical, leading to on the job training and a valuable work record. Not allowing the young this choice is criminal.

  24. Bilbo says:

    Darien Fenton’s comments on this thread are some of the most depressing I have ever read by a New Zealand politician.

    Thank god she will never be in Cabinet in any Labour government.

    “Is your solution to unemployment to pay everyone less?”

    –> Yes. That’s actually a really good idea. It’s what the Australian LABOR government did throughout the 1980s in Australia – wage restraint to raise employment.

    As I said, depressing.

  25. Spud says:

    @Monty – have you ever read The Grapes of Wrath?

    – Youth wasting away? So is the rest of the country!

    @Darien – Yeah I fine Monty amusing too! 😀

  26. Jeff says:

    I read some comments here, and I honestly wonder if I was living on the same planet as many people during the 1990s. The ECA did nothing to raise wages or employment. It was a law that made workers more fearful of losing their jobs. It encouraged bad employment practices. It was a major player in making New Zealand a low wage economy. And I still see it being defended! Incredible.

    And somehow the argument is that keeping wages low is for the good of workers, especially young people. I wonder how many of the writers who support this idea have children of their own who are getting a first job, and struggling on the minimum wage, dealing with arrogant, demanding employers who think they are somehow doing that young person a great favour. Well, I have a 19 year old son in that position; he is keenly aware of the rip-off. As are his friends in the same boat. And this year, he votes for the first time. As do his friends.

    Also frustrating is the endless quibbling over theoretical pay figures. A simple reality is that we have lost the concept of the living wage. Instead, pay is set by some magical construct called “The Market” – which appears to many people to be the new God. “Let The Market decide! Impede not The Market – for The Market is all that is good and wise.” What a sad, moribund and depressing ideology.

  27. Jeff says:

    Sorry to worry you Spud, but there it is. Maybe some empathy will begin to appear amongst our neo-liberal friends when they have children of their own being screwed over. Nothing changes theoretical ideology faster than seeing your own kids get shafted for the sake of corporate profits.

    Bring back the smiley face!

  28. Quoth the Raven says:


    And somehow the argument is that keeping wages low is for the good of workers, especially young people.

    No, that ‘s not the argument. It is a recognition of the observation that putting a floor on wages tends, and we have ample empirical evidence to demonstrate, to increase unemployment for marginal workers. That I would say isn’t good for workers.

    Real wage increases come from increased marginal labour productivity. This comes about from technological progress, capital deepening, capital accumulation, and so on. Not from the edicts of politicians.

    Instead, pay is set by some magical construct called “The Market” – which appears to many people to be the new God. “Let The Market decide! Impede not The Market – for The Market is all that is good and wise.”

    Hyperbole. The market can no more be good or wise than it can think of a sunny day. The market is not somehow apart from us making decisions. It is an aggregate of the multitude of decisions of people, of human interactions and exchanges. The state on the other hand is an ideologically legitimized institution of mass coercion (and something that should be opposed).

  29. Swampy says:

    And the reason for this could it be LPNZ filibustering every time members’ bills come up for debate?

  30. Darien Fenton says:

    @And could it be that Tau and Roger wanted to get free publicity about bills that will never happen?
    @Bilbo – careful what you wish for.
    @Jeff- thanks for your comments. It’s certainly sad and depressing reading the views of those who continue to defend the indefensible.

  31. lollercaust says:

    Darien, did labour filibuster on the royal society bill? because if they did, you got it wrong. or does labour not support the royal society bill?

  32. darrenw says:

    @Jeff what the ECA achieved was to give workers a choice as to how they engaged with their employer. Union membership dropped overnight as workers shed themselves of the burden of union membership for little or no return. As we still have freedom of association here workers could rejoin unions if they so chose. That they don’t is perhaps the most telling thing and suggests that they understand the fact that since the ECA we saw a boom economically. Unfortunately this was spent and promised away, especially in the last 3 – 5 years of the last govt and with the impact of the global financial situation and a couple of disasters we now need to recover some ground.

  33. tracey says:

    QTR – are you saying, and you may not be, that lowering minimum wage increases youth employment? If you were saying that, could you point to the evidence from the past when youth rates were lower to confirm?

  34. darrenw says:

    @tracey – as Youth unemployment is at its highest level now the evidence is fairly clear I would have thought???

  35. tracey says:

    darrenw – you are missing out an important component of your history of the ECA and the freedom of association, namely that some employers offered financial incentives to those who “chose” not to join the union. Telecom was the most prominent transgressor in this regard. That was against the law by the way.

    Good news economically today, both ACC and NZS have gained ground substantially, some $3b-ish. Two organisations this govt has shown no interest in.

  36. Darien Fenton says:

    @lollercaust : Labour supports the Royal Society Bill. There were many Labour members keen to speak on it, as is their right in the committee stages of the bill. Makes a change from the ramming through of legislation we have seen in recent times.

  37. darrenw says:

    @Darien – do you really expect us to believe this. This bill had almost unanimous support I understand so what was there to debate? It was nothing but filibustering and wasting money.

  38. Quoth the Raven says:

    tracey – As it was shown in the link if we look at youth unemployment relative to adult unemployment in the worse quarter from 1986 to 2008, when the youth rate was abolished, if the relationship held we would expect youth unemployment to be much lower now than it is. So yes, we should expect given time that reintroducing the youth rate would lead to lower youth unemployment. Because this is an example of economic planning we should not be at all surprised that it fails.

    It’s certainly sad and depressing reading the views of those who continue to defend the indefensible.

    It’s sad and depressing to see those who advocate for more statism, more top-down control of society, more economic interventionism, less and less freedom, to continually fail to provide rational arguments and empirical justification for their views, to fail to learn from the lessons of history and resort to straw men and hyperbole.

    We have yet more evidence from a new study on the harm caused by the minimum wage on young black men in the US:
    The consequences of the minimum wage for this subgroup were more harmful than the consequences of the recession.

  39. tracey says:

    Thanks QTR – I did read the link and look at the graphs etc. I could see from one of the US studies that sometimes employment amongst youth was higher in minimum wage states than non minimum wage states but was more often lower than its counterpart.

    I also saw the study relating to black men.

    As you appear to suggest economic planning and economists sit on various parts and sides of the fence andits not an exact science.

  40. lollercaust says:

    @darrenw, it has been spoken by one of our elite. Their will be done. I d o b e l i e v e t h a t l a b o u r j u s t w a n t e d t o s p e a k o f t h e i r s u p p o r t o f t h e r o y a l s o c i e t y

  41. Darien Fenton says:

    @lollercaust and darrynw : You mean like National really, really, really wanted to have a genuine debate about a whole range of bills that were pushed through under urgency, with no select committee process or public input?

  42. lollercaust says:

    if labour is going to keep filibustering, national will have to use urgency as much as they do. Then maybe members bills will get a chance. This is just a knee jerk response to what david farrar said on kiwiblog. You are not an effective opposition if you are scared of the bloggers on the right of the political divide.

  43. Darien Fenton says:

    @lollercaust – lol

  44. tracey says:

    lollercaust, if you actually believe any of that I pity you. No amount of filibustering was even possible for most of the urgency used by this Government, including when they decided to remove one of the pillars of our justice system, natural justice, with no debate.

  45. Quoth the Raven says:

    tracey – I believe the legislation you refer to that removes one of the pillars of our justice system was also voted for by the Labour party. One should look at the what the Labour party did to our justice system with such abominations as the Terrorism Suppression Act and the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act which was Labour’s baby, but passed by National with Labour’s support.

  46. tracey says:

    I’m pretty sure the Labour party didnt vote for the changes to the Employment Laws between late 2008 and today QTR. I also dont condone the same done by Labour. I was critical of both pieces of legislation you refer to particularly the former. Labour isn’t in government at the moment and currently doing these things.

  47. @Tracey : you are dead right we didn’t vote for changes to employment laws this term, including the removal of right to justice for workers.
    @lollercaust : have a look at the debate on the Environmental Protection Bill in the last few days and tell me if Labour were filibustering, or doing the job that the Government should have been participating in. The Committee of the whole House is to enable scrutiny clause by clause; the government’s contribution to this important bill, including a late Treaty clause introduced during committee stages was almost non existent. Shameful.

  48. Quoth the Raven says:

    tracey – I thought you were referring to the copyright infringement filesharing amendment act. What that and the other pieces of legislation demonstrate is Labour’s scant regard for natural justice whether it is the party in power or their voting behaviour whilst in opposition.