‘Future qualification’ on Northcote by-election candidate’s profile

Three candidates have been announced for the Northcote by-election (to be held on 9 June) – National selected Dan Bidois and Labour selected their general election candidate Shanan Halbert, and Peter Wakeman seems to have selected himself. Brief details (some from Wikipedia):

  • Dan Bidois – Economist, 72nd on National’s 2017 party list
  • Shanan Halbert – Head of Recruitment & Relationships at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, 51st on Labour’s 2017 party list
  • Peter Wakeman – Perennial candidate

National Party announcement: Bidois selected as National’s Northcote candidate

Mr Bidois is currently Strategy Manager for Foodstuffs. He was raised and educated in Auckland, leaving school at 15 to complete a butchery apprenticeship with Woolworth’s New Zealand. Aspirational for his future, he went on to study at the University of Auckland, and attended Harvard University on a Fulbright Scholarship. He has worked as a strategist and economist in New Zealand, the United States, and Malaysia.

Labour party announcement: Shanan Halbert selected as Labour’s candidate for Northcote

Shanan is an education professional with experience across the sector including secondary, tertiary and with the education unions. Locally he has been in leadership and governance roles at Northcote’s Hato Petera College. Currently he is head of Relationships and Recruitment at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

“I look forward to campaigning in Northcote on the issues that matter locally – transport, decent housing, health and education,” says Shanan Halbert.

(Oddly that can’t be found on Labour’s website,  had to go to Scoop for it).

I don’t recall hearing of Bidois or Wakeman before, but Halbert featured in the Labour intern issue last June – see Little and Labour MPs with interns.

Earlier in the week Labour party secretary Andrew Kirton promoted Halbert’s selection:

And David Farrar dissed Halbert’s chances and promoted all National candidates in  It’s Bidois vs Halbert for Northcote.

Yesterday Farrar tweeted on a Kiwiblog post What happened to Shanan’s MBA?:

He saw a MBA from AUT listed for Shanan Halbert (the Labour candidate). He checked out the AUT graduate page and they do not have Halbert as a graduate.

He then checked back Halbert’s Linked In page the next day, and the MBA mention was gone.

Stating unearned qualifications on your CV looks bad, and more so if you are a head of the Recruitment & Relationships department at an educational institute.

And the misrepresentation has been confirmed by Kirton in a response to Farrar on twitter:

That’s a remarkable explanation. The LinkedIn  page says nothing about ‘a timeframe of 2016-2020’, and it is extraordinary to list under Education courses you are enrolled in and are nowhere near completing. If Halbert wins the by-election he will have less time still to study.

And Kirton  goes further:

It’s not a dirty trick pointing out a candidate falsely claiming a qualification, it is holding to account, something some who are new to Government don’t seem to comprehend.

I don’t know enough about any of the candidates to rate them as potential MPs, but Halbert and Labour have not started their campaign very well.

UPDATE: I have just found Halbert’s profile on the Labour website. It includes:

As a senior manager in the education field, Shanan knows that life-long learning must be made available in our fast-changing world.

Changing so fast he got ahead of himself in claiming to have an MBA.

Bishop, Snapchat and Dirty Politics

The story about Chris Bishop’s brief use of Snapchat was known about and ignored by media before the election.

Several months later, it has now become a dirty politics style smear after the story surfaced at Stuff:  National MP confronted about his social media messages to teenagers

National’s Hutt South MP Chris Bishop was confronted before last year’s election by a mother upset at the older man messaging her daughter and other minors.

Witnesses said Bishop was taken aside and asked to stop what he was doing.

“I wanted to confront him as many parents felt very uncomfortable that their children were messaged,” said a mother who wanted to remain anonymous.

“He admitted it straight away and thanked me for bringing it to his attention.”

Another mother, whose 13-year-old daughter was allegedly in daily contact with Bishop for a week or two on Snapchat, took to Facebook to vent her frustration.

The mother, who also wanted to remain anonymous, allegedly wrote to MP Paul Goldsmith to complain about Bishop’s behaviour.

None of the parents were concerned that Bishop’s intentions were anything other than misguided.

Note: “None of the parents were concerned that Bishop’s intentions were anything other than misguided”. In other words, this was a non-story.

But it has become a dirty politics story, with claims that it was an internal National Party hit job, and counter claims that it was a diversionary hit from Labour.

When David Farrar posted about it at Kiwiblog as Anonymous innuendo – some will see some irony in his comment “Disappointed Fairfax has run a story like this, with anonymous sources” – Matthew Hooton both played down what Bishop had done, but blamed National party insiders:

I guess the problem with Snapchat is the lack of a record. But I have no doubt the exchanges were as anodyne as when MPs usually communicate with school kids who contact them. This is a hit job, presumably by people associated with Bill English against one of the new MPs seeking generational change.

Note ‘presumably’ – in other words, no evidence. And:

This is the sort of thing that happens when National has a subterranean internal war. People just forget, because it’s been more than 10 years since the last one. But Labour also on the suspect list, of course. But, if it was them, I think they would have dropped it during the election campaign.

Plus speculation that it could have been Labour.

Cameron Slater went further – much further, delving into extreme dirty politics with carefully worded (arse-covering) insinuations. I won’t repeat the dirt, but Slater claimed:

Yesterday there was a hit job on National MP Chris Bishop.

When someone commented ” I am also upset to see comments from some that they think it came from Bill English” Slater replied “Because it did. Join the dots.”

I’ll join some dots – Slater has no evidence, Slater has a long standing grudge against Bill English, Slater has attacked Bishop before, and Slater’s word is wothr bugger all, he has a reputation of being wrong and making up malicious shit. He repeats:

“Not the left. Internal Nat hit job.”

“My information suggests it was a Blue on Blue hit job.”

Note ‘suggests’. No evidence at all.

But Bill does, to protect himself. As Sally points out, if Labour had this they would have dropped it the week before the election. This is patch protection from National party players.

That sounds like nothing more than speculation laced with a long standing grudge.

Why the hell would National, who spent last week playing down leadership speculation and papering over any internakl division, do a dirty on a popular MP?

And Slater’s ‘Dirty Politics’ partner Farrar is notably in disagreement (or spinning a different line): HDPA on the Bishop smear story

Real dirty politics, but I predict no book written about this.

Labour just hate the fact Chris Bishop worked so hard that he won Hutt South off them, so this is what they stoop to.

Farrar referred to Heather du Plessis-Allan on Newstalk ZB (about 11:30): http://120.138.20.16/WeekOnDemand/ZB/wellington/2018.02.12-09.15.00-D.mp3

Why is this a story now? Because it’s a Labour Party hit job. That’s what I think.

I’ll be honest. I knew about this before the election. I knew there were messages about this. Guess how I found out? From the Labour Party. The Labour Party knew about this. So the only reason it has been delayed is probably because the parents would finally talk about it.

The Labour Party has probably been working on the parents to try and get them to talk to the media. So this in my opinion is a Labour Party hit job. And I think it’s actually disgusting to be honest.

And HPDA’s partner follows a similar line – Barry Soper’s The Soap Box: Vilification of Chris Bishop is sick

The vilification of Bishop is sick, mainly by those with warped minds, and is obviously politically motivated, curiously coming at a time when Labour was on the ropes over its unfathomable closure of charter schools!

Also no evidence that Labour was behind the stuff story. But this deserves more investigation, whether National or Labour are behind the attack smear.

This is dirty, and I think alarmingly so. Disregarding the Slater sleaze, the insinuations against Bishop, even though the original story said “None of the parents were concerned that Bishop’s intentions”, are dirty politics at it’s worst.

Farrar’s honeymoon poll bounce scam

A very detailed analysis by   of how claims of a failure to benefit from a ‘poll bounce’ after the after the election was bad for Labour amounts to a dishonest scam by David Farrar in collaboration with Bill English. And how much of the media and blogosphere got sucked in by the meme put out by Farrar (not me though that didn’t rate a mention).

It’s a long post that has some interesting information about polls both recent and historical, making both reasonable and  questionable points.

Sub-Zero Politics: Farrar’s Honeymoon Scam

Introduction

Over recent weeks, National Party agent provocateur David Farrar has managed to profoundly shape mainstream media analysis of the Post-Election Mood.

In two highly influential Kiwiblog posts, Farrar set out to aggressively heighten expectations of the new Ardern Labour Government’s impending Poll performance (What sort of poll boost should the new Government get? November 6, 2017 – published some 2 weeks before the very first poll was released) and then subsequently went out of his way to ignore the first two Post-Election polls,  instead waiting 5 weeks for the third poll to emerge, before declaring that Labour had conspicuously failed to live up to expectations (No real bounce for Labour in first Colmar Brunton poll December 10, 2017).

  1. Incoming governments traditionally enjoy a huge Honeymoon surge of post-Election support.
  2. This massive Post-Election Poll Bounce comes largely or entirely at the expense of the Opposition Bloc and in particular the Major Opposition Party.
  3. Such a Poll Bounce failed to materialise in the immediate aftermath of the formation of  the 2017 Labour-NZ First-Green Government .
  4. This failure is unprecedented in Modern Political History
  5. The reasons for this alleged failure are two-fold: (a) In 2017, “there was no clear vote for change as happened in 1999 and 2008” and (b) Labour “have had a pretty shambolic start to Government” (Dec 10 post).
  6. None of this augurs well for the survival /  longevity / future electoral prospects of the Ardern Govt.

Media UpTake

As so often over recent years, Farrar’s carefully-contrived narrative quickly gained wide currency among MSM Notables. Despite the central involvement of both Farrar and segments of the Fourth Estate in the murky 2014 Dirty Politics scandal, journalists still seem more than happy to take his claims at face value and to widely disseminate them throughout the media.

I didn’t take much notice of the honeymoon non-bounce theory because every post-election period is quite different, and the 2017 pre-election and post-election certainly was, and it takes time for Governments to settle in and for enough poll results to be done to give an idea of trends. I think it will be several months before polls give us a good picture of party support trends.

Swordfish claims (without evidence) that the ‘scam’ was a Farrar/National Party plot:

Obviously, Farrar had closely co-ordinated this whole strategic campaign with Bill English’s Office.

That isn’t obvious. English could simply have picked up on what Farrar had posted and the media had reported. Swordfish could have used the same reasoning to claim that ‘Farrar had closely co-ordinated this whole strategic campaign with journalists and bloggers’.

I’ll skip the detail and go to the start of a lengthy conclusion.

Conclusion

Prominent National Party operative David Farrar has very successfully managed to sell the MSM a bogus honeymoon meme. This, in turn, has generated a whole series of negative headlines for the Ardern Coalition … reinforcing, in the process, some of National’s key attack lines around the alleged fragility and illegitimacy of the new Government.

It’d probably be going a little too far, I think, to suggest that a Machiavellian Farrar brought to bear all the innumerable dark arts of messaging, comms, social psychology and public relations when devising his various rhetorical strategies. That would be crediting his two Kiwiblog posts with a degree of sophistication that they don’t, quite frankly, possess. But in his own relatively crude way, he was able to successfully weave a dodgy little tale of woe for the Govt using his trademark blend of fact and fiction, as always playing on the ambiguity that lies between.

The nub of Farrar’s Honeymoon Scam is this: Both explicitly (Nov 6) and implicitly (Dec 10), Farrar left visiting journalists with the distinct impression that the two previous incoming governments – 1999 Clark Labour and 2008 Key National – had enjoyed massive double figure spikes of support in the very first post-Election Poll. At a bare minimum, journalists went away from Kiwiblog with the impression that these honeymoon surges emerged in the immediate wake of these elections – that is, the first few weeks.

Yet, as we’ve seen, Farrar’s claims were essentially fraudulent.

I don’t have the time or inclination to carefully check Swordfish’s claims against Farrar’s – it’s only polls, and the Government is setting off into the political year as if the polls didn’t matter anyway.

But here are more detailed poll trends of each oh the post election periods being analysed, in easier to follow pictures – the starting point for each chart is the election result.

Post-1999 election polling:

Not many polls and not much sign of a bounce there.

Post-2008 election polling:

No immediate bounce, it wasn’t until a number of polls in 2009 before the trend of poll support for national became obvious.

Post-2017 election polling:

Too few polls and too soon to tell, in very different circumstances.

Take from this what you like, but remember that they are only polls. They are of interest but can be easily over-analysed and are often misleadingly reported by media and by bloggers and by parties.

More 2018 predictions

David Farrar has posted his Predictions for 2018. Most are fairly general and aiming for success (of the predictions), and of little interest outside political circles.  There’s a few of greater interest.

2. Bill English will remain National Party Leader

That contrasts with the Stuff prediction he would step down this year. It could be as better informed (inside information) prediction, or it could be a PR ploy.

5. Eugenie Sage will be elected Greens female co-leader

Stuff also predicted Sage over Genter and Davidson. She could be a compromise option, or she could be popular as a co-leader option alongside James Shaw. I think she would be a good choice.

6. The End of Life Choice Bill will pass its third reading

If MPs follow public opinion that’s likely, but ‘will pass it’s third reading’ leaves open the possibility that it will go to referendum to determine whether it will become law, or it will take longer than a year to get there.

14. The Tax Working Group will recommend a Capital Gains Tax

That’s a safe prediction – about the only question mark is probably whether it will happen this year or not.

17. Lisa Owen will be the next Political Editor for Newshub

Someone has to replace the outgoing Patrick Gower, and she is a likely candidate. I think she would be an improvement, unless overdramatics and political agendas are a job requirement imposed by directors.

 

 

With or without the Greens

James Shaw has made it clear, Green MPs and ex MPs have made it clear, Green supporters have made it clear – the Greens won’t try to do any sort of governing deal with National, this time at least.

This is despite some strong hints of accommodations from the National camp.

Stacey Kirk: Honour above the environment? Greens hold a deck of aces they’re refusing to play

There is no way the Greens can work with National.

They should, and the reasons they won’t work with National are getting flimsier by the day. But they won’t – it’s a matter that strikes too close to the heart of too many of their base – and for that reason, they simply can’t.

They prefer to stay staunch, holding out for everything and risking getting next to nothing. Or maybe not.

Well, National Party pollster David Farrar has “speculated” on what the Greens could potentially get from National in an abstention deal – purely for their vote on confidence and supply.

That could buy the Greens:

  1. $1 billion over ten years for cycleways
  2. A levy on nitrate pollution
  3. A South Taranaki Whale Sanctuary
  4. A levy on plastic bags
  5. Accelerated timetable for rail to Auckland Airport
  6. Doubling the funding for DOC
  7. $65 million a year more for predator-free NZ
  8. Stricter water quality standards to increase the number of water bodies rated excellent from 42% to 70%.
  9. A commitment to double the reduction of children in poverty from 50,000 to 100,000
  10. Double the reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from 11% to 22%

Farrar is so far up in National that’s not speculation – that’s an opening offer.

Why waste time offering the Greens something they don’t want to do?

Maybe NZ First should pick up these policies, go with National, and claim credit for doing what the Greens won’t.

Greens would be happy, they would have indirectly helped achieve major policy wins, even if it means they slip out of Parliament because voters decide there is no point in voting for them.

It sounds like National would be happy to be seen as not just a centre right party but as a party that values economic prudence alongside genuine care for environmental and social issues, so they would be happy.

And most New Zealanders would be happy. With or without the Greens it could and should happen.

Farrar has been busy promoting a green agenda on Kiwiblog:

Abuse unabated at Kiwiblog

An abusive and toxic environment at Kiwblog seems to continue unabated.

Kiwiblog is one of the most unmoderated blogs in New Zealand, with ‘free speech’ abuses often ruling over decency and fairness.

I have an extensive history at Kiwiblog probably still stand as one of the most prolific commenters there, but I have mostly given up on following comments threads. Too much abuse and awful comments directed at other commenters, politicians and anyone dragged into a topic.

David Farrar had another wee dig at Jacinda Ardern in Interesting recollection

In response Huevon commented:

I couldn’t finish reading the article without feeling I would throw up.

What a self righteous bitch. Brash was voicing perfectly legitimate concerns from many people about race relations in this country and the bogus privileges and exemptions applied to Maori. He is the rarest of creatures on the right in NZ – a man of principles AND courage.

She clearly holds most white NZers in contempt. She wants power simply to fulfil her ideological fantasies. God help us if this woman gets power.

Upticks 55, downticks 3

Daphne Whitethigh replied:

(Hidden due to low comment rating)

I wish commenters would stop the ad feminam insults.

Upticks 6, downticks 46

Rich Prick:

Why? Some of us just don’t have the stomach for the show pony. You are free to scroll past opinions or expressions thereof that you don’t like. But not the right to demand that they not be expressed. We are the right. Here you are free to express an opinion I may not like, and it may surprise you to know that I will take the time to actually read it, rather than grabbing my pussyhat and go rioting.

Upticks 47, downticks 4

Daphne Whitethigh:

(Hidden due to low comment rating)

It demeans your opinion if you can’t make your point without insult.

Upticks 6, downticks 41

Wayne Mapp:

On this point I agree with Daphne. I am heartily sick of seeing the level of misogyny of some of the commenters.

And even if that does not concern you, it is politically counter productive. The attitude reflected in far too many of the comments on Kiwiblog will be a real turn off to middle of the road voters, and generate a sympathy vote.

Take a cue from Bill English and Paula Bennett. They both instinctively knew they should condemn Gareth Morgan for his comments.

So, sure you have the right to say what you want. It would just be better not to say stupid things.

Upticks 13, downticks 8

There were a lot of comments following that, mostly ignoring Waynes advice and continuing unabated and abusive.

Farrar runs his blog with minimal moderation, that’s his choice. But it looks bad for Kiwiblog, and with Farrar’s close party associations it looks bad for National as well.

I used to confront crap there often but it was pointless because the abuse continued unabated. I pushed boundaries at one stage because someone kept repeating lies about me, but that changed nothing, I copped my only demerits ever over that.

It’s very sad to see one of New Zealand’s most prominent political blogs continually portraying the worst of politics and some of the worst of public behaviour unabated.

A lot of what goes on at Kiwiblog is disgraceful, this is a relatively mild example where someone decided to speak against and got abused for it.

Political debate is poorly served by this. National is tainted. I have no idea why Farrar has let it continue for so long, but it looks very ugly.

Calls to reopen police case, Barclay admits “misleading”

A double whammy for Clutha Southland MP Todd Barclay this afternoon, following revelations this morning – Politicians, police, and the payout –  with Newsroom also reporting  Southern Nats call for police to reopen Barclay case

Dozens of National Party members are calling for police to re-open the investigation into Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay’s covert recordings of a former staffer.

About 50 members of the National Party’s Clutha-Southland branch have called for police to re-investigate allegations Todd Barclay secretly recorded his former electorate agent, Glenys Dickson.

Mavis Smith, a National Party member of more than 20 years told Newsroom the case has upset southern members.

“We have discussed it as a group and if the investigation can be reopened then it should be. It was never finished, was it?

“All of us are long standing members and we would never do [anything] against the National Party. We are used to the party dealing with its own dirty linen so to speak, but this just hasn’t happened here.”

Police said the evidence to prosecute Barclay was not strong enough.

Earlier this afternoon David Farrar seems to have tried some damage control at Kiwiblog in About Todd Barclay:

  1. Todd ruffled more feathers than was necessary when he became the candidate and new MP.  Some of the criticism was unfair (some were unhappy that he chose to live in Queenstown instead of Gore, that he has a social life) and some was justified.
  2. For reasons unknown he and his senior electorate staffer fell out quite badly.
  3. The staffer started publicly and privately criticising Todd (as mentioned in this Newsroom article), and as I understand it actively working against him.
  4. Todd presumably heard that one of his own staff was using his own office resources and time to bad mouth him, and/or spread rumours about him. It seems (I have no first hand knowledge) he may have left a dictaphone running in the office to gather proof of this. It goes without saying he should not have done this and doing so (if he did) was a serious error of judgement.
  5. Since then a small group within the local party have been campaigning against Todd. They tried to get elected to the electorate committee and challenge him for the nomination. They failed massively, with Todd receiving the overwhelming support of the members.

But “about 50” and “dozens” sounds substantial compared to “a small group”.

Barclay has just made a statement to media which concedes that English was right, which means his statements this morning were not just “misleading”, he appears to have lied.

Labour called ‘lying losers’ over Sir John pettiness

There have been a number of attacks on John Key after his knighthood was announced in the Queen’s Birthday honours. These have largely come from Labour associated sources.

One of these attacks was in a Standard post Arise Sir John, which set the tone for many dirty comments there.

While no party seems to want to associate with Martyn Bradbury he also blasted the knighthood in Why I will never call John Key Sir. Ever:

This vacant optimism merchant banker whose laid back persona struck a chord with middle NZs anti-intellectualism made this country far worse for the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us.

That sums up a common level of pettiness and bitterness in New Zealand politics.

David Farrar blasts another example in Lying losers:

What a bunch of lying embittered losers.

Once she was out of politics, John Key gave Helen Clark the highest Honour there is – Order of New Zealand. He supported her campaign for UNDP Administrator and gave her 100% support in her campaign to be UN Secretary-General. He also knighted Michael Cullen and gave him significant board appointments.

Key is retired and out of politics. But the nasty losers at Labour are so choking on their bile they actually authorise an advertisement smearing and attacking him for getting a knighthood. Have you seen anything so petty before? They also repeat their lie about taking $1.7 billion out of the health sector when in fact Vote Health increased $4.8 billion in nominal terms, $3.0 billion in real terms and by over 10% in real per capita terms.

This was in reference to this post on the Young Labour Facebook page:

YoungLabourJohnKey

In the fine print at the bottom…

YoungLabourAuthorised

…is an authorisation notice: Authorised by Andrew Kirton, 160n Willis Street, Wellington

Kirton is Labour’s General Secretary so this attack on Key seems to be authorised by the Labour Party.

I’m not a fan of titles, but using Key’s knighthood announcement as an excuse to attack Key’s record in this manner looks bad for Labour.

Blogs respond to ‘Hit & Run’

Blogs have been abuzz on the Hager and Stephenson book “Hit & Run”.

At Kiwiblog David Farrar plays it down saying *if* and comparing 6 civilian deaths to total civilian deaths in Afghanistan (26,000) – TLDR: Hager book summary

So far at The Standard it has been left to comments with no posts other than Nicky Hager’s book launch but that does include some politically aimed tweets including:

And:

The Daily Blog had live stream coverage of the book launch but that was apparently quite unreliable. Martyn Bradbury has since had a major rant in a post targeting John Key – you have to tell NZ if you committed a war crime:

If we as a country are going to cheer when our troops go to war to fight ‘da terrorists’ then we have to demand accountability when they kill civilians! We deserve to know the truth before John Key steps down – did he or did he not order a poorly planned strike that killed 6 civilians?

Jesus wept this disgusts and angers me so deeply – if you send troops to a foreign land you are fucking responsible for what they do!

Brothers & sisters, we fund the NZ SAS – when they pull a trigger, we help pay for that trigger – Key has made us all killers here.

The Prime Minister has blood on his hands and we must demand some answers before he steps down.

In Bombers eyes know inquiry is needed, he has already tried and convicted the whole country. He seems to have missed the fact that Key stepped down from being Prime Minister last year. Key is due to give his valedictory speech in Parliament today and then leave. I’m not sure if he will have time to consider Bradbury’s demands.

Tim Watkin at Pundit – The O’Donnell raid in Afghanistan: The seeds of the new Hager book

The 2010 raid in Afghanistan detailed in Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson’s new book, Hit and Run, was first revealed on a TV interview I produced in 2011. It’s time for some official answers

Andrew Geddis at Pundit: Killing in the name of?

Nicky Hager and John Stephenson’s book, Hit & Run, presents compelling evidence that our SAS was responsible for killing at least six Afghani civilians, wounding at least another fifteen, and handing over a man to be tortured for information. And then we were systematically lied to about what was being done in our name.

He concludes:

I say that again now. If our SAS must dissemble and lie by omission or commission to those for whom they fight, then it should not be fighting. If military leaders and their political masters are complicit in those lies, then we should follow the German example and require their resignations.

For at a time when our defence forces are asking us to give them some $20 billion from the public purse to upgrade their equipment, it is incumbent on them to prove to us that they deserve it. And the first step they must take in doing so is showing that we can trust them to tell us just what it is that they do in our name.

I thought that a law professor might have listened to the other side of the arguments before coming to strong conclusions.

To date Whale Oil has no posts on the book. Perhaps they are disappointed it isn’t about them again. Apparently Slater has been otherwise occupied and no one else has stepped up. There have been some comments on it in Whaleoil Backchat.

Minimum wage increase

The Government has announced that the minimum wage will increase from $15.25 per hour to $15.75 per hour from 1 April.

A release from Michael Woodhouse:

The minimum wage will increase by 50 cents to $15.25 an hour on 1 April 2016, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse announced today.

The starting-out and training hourly minimum wages rates will increase from $11.80 to $12.20 per hour, remaining at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.

“The Government has once again taken care to ensure the right balance has been struck between protecting our lowest paid workers, and ensuring jobs are not lost,” says Mr Woodhouse.

“An increase to $15.25 per hour will directly benefit approximately 152,700 workers and will increase wages throughout the economy by $75 million per year.

“With annual inflation currently at 0.1 per cent, an increase to the minimum wage by 3.4 per cent gives our lowest paid workers more money in their pocket, without imposing undue pressure on businesses or hindering job growth.

“The Government has increased the minimum wage every year since coming to office, from $12 to $15.25. This is an overall increase of 27% compared to inflation of around 11%.

“Our steady increases to the minimum wage reflect the Government’s commitment to growing the economy, boosting incomes and supporting jobs.”

So it is a little bit more than inflation.

David Farrar promotes and defends this at Kiwiblog in The minimum wage under National

So I thought I would point out how the minimum wage has moved from 1 April 2008 to 1 April 2017.

  • Hourly rate – from $12.00 to $15.75 – a 31.3% increase
  • Gross Annual FT minimum wage – from $25,029 to $32,850 – an increase of $7,821 or 31.3%
  • Net (after tax/ACC) Annual FT minimum wage – from $19,798 to 27,684 – an increase of $7,886 or 39.8%
  • CPI (inflation) gone from 1044 to 1218 (estimate) – an increase of just 16.7% (includes GST increase)
  • Real Net Annual FT minimum wage – from $23,097 to $27,684 – an increase of $4,587 or 19.9%

So a FT worker on the minimum wage has 20% higher spending power than nine years ago. That awful oppressive poor hating National Government.

An alternative view from Anthony Robins at The Standard in Minimum wage increase doesn’t meet real costs (the CPI is broken)

Any increase in the minimum wage is better than nothing, but National’s increases have not kept pace with the real cost increases (notably housing) faced by low income earners. That is why we are seeing the rise of the working poor, and increases in homelessness and poverty.

The skyrocketing cost of buying an existing house is not included in the CPI (“Inflation is 0.4 percent, and Mr Eaqub calculates that if house price growth was included, inflation would have been 2.5 percent, or more, in each of the last three years”).

The cost of rent is factored into the CPI with a weighting of 10%, in fact for low income earners rent can be 40% to 50% of their income or more (“The report said the lowest 20 percent of earners spent 54 percent of their income on housing in 2015, compared with just 29 percent in the late 1980s”). So the CPI already massively underestimates the real inflation that low income earners face – and rents are rising fast in Auckland and elsewhere.

There are similar issues with other basics like electricity, which is how power prices have risen more quickly than the CPI.

In short, the CPI is broken, especially with respect to housing. (Over the last three years we have developed a better measure, why aren’t we using it?). Under National minimum wage increase have failed to keep up with the real cost increases experienced by low income earners. That is why we are seeing the rise of the working poor, and increases in homelessness and poverty. Shame.

He also took a swipe at Farrar:

* National’s pet blogger tried to spin the snakeoil on Twitter too – an interesting discussion followed.

From one of Labour’s pet blogger? Throwing around pet names leaves one open to boomeranging.

Another view from further left, Mike Treen at The Daily Blog: $20 an hour now! Make the minimum wage a living wage!

There are widespread and unacceptable levels of poverty in this country and inequality is getting out of control. One way to address those issues in a meaningful way is to progressively increase the minimum wage in real terms.

Should every 16 year old or 18 year old in their first job be paid $20 per hour?

Housing costs are a real and large issue, but bumping up all wage rates to compensate seems to be silly. Far better to sort out housing supply and costs.