Below average response on average wage

Minister of Employment Willie Jackson got caught out with a basic question for his portfolio today in Parliament.

The original question “Does he stand by his statement in the Manukau Courier, “for 9 years we’ve had Government policy which has offered up little more than lip service to job creation”; if so, can he confirm that in the past 2 years an average of more than 10,000 jobs a month have been created in this country?”

Jackson began with some very general responses to specific questions. Then:

Hon Paul Goldsmith: What is the current average wage?

Hon WILLIE JACKSON: At the moment we know what the average wage is, and that MP needs to do some research.

A very ironic reply.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER: Is it a point of order on me for allowing the question?

Hon Paul Goldsmith: No, it’s just I’d like to have an answer. I asked a very simple question and I didn’t get any answer.

Mr SPEAKER: Yes, and I’m not sure of its relationship with the original question.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I assume you are considering whether or not you will act on that point of order? I mean, to—

Mr SPEAKER: I am considering.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: You are? OK. Well, we we’ll be quiet until we’ve had a bit of consideration.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: For the Minister’s information, the average wage is nearly 60,000 a year—a 28 percent increase on 9 years ago, which is twice the rate of employment. And so, given that, what would his target be for increasing the average wage?

Mr SPEAKER: I would have given some extra questions if in fact we had a question. We did at the end, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to have the Hon Willie Jackson answer that question, but I do want both sides to settle down, and I especially want questions not to have prefaces.

Hon WILLIE JACKSON: Sorry, Mr Speaker. What was the question again?

Mr SPEAKER: Well, I think if the Hon Paul Goldsmith just does the tail end of what he said before.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: So my question to the Minister is: what is his target for increasing the average wage?

Hon WILLIE JACKSON: Our target is to create real jobs with dignity amongst our communities. This is an Opposition that has forgotten a big group of people in New Zealand: the Māori nation and the Pacific Island nation. Shame on you.

Another vague response.


Audrey Young: Willie Jackson gets caught out on basic question

It is was a simple question that required a simple answer but Willie Jackson was left exposed and learned a basic lesson as Employment Minister.

National MPs hooted in delight at the fact-free answer and Labour MPs looked unamused.

Clare Curran, sitting in front of Jackson, turned around and muttered something.

Kieran McAnulty sitting nearby pulled out an iPad mini and started frenetically tapping, presumably into Google, but Goldsmith beat him to it.

Goldsmith: “For the minister’s information the average wage is nearly $60,000, 28 per cent increase on nine years ago.”

Jackson’s defence to being caught out was to come back fighting.

More transcript:

Paul Eagle: What has the Minister seen that highlights that the creation of jobs for Māori and Pasifika people are lagging behind those of others?

Hon WILLIE JACKSON: I’ve seen the recent unemployment figures that show under the previous Government Māori and Pasifika people were more than two times more likely to be unemployed than others, and that highlights that the job creation under the previous Government left parts of our community unacceptably behind.

Paul Eagle: What other examples has the Minister seen of lip-service to job creation?

Mr SPEAKER: The member will resume his seat. That is not a supplementary question.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: When he wrote “I’m Minister of Employment to make a real difference, not appease easy stereotypes and lazy journalism”, which journalists did he think were being lazy?

Hon WILLIE JACKSON: There are many fine journalists, particularly the ones who write negative articles about the Opposition.

Hon Iain Lees-Galloway: What impact does he anticipate the Government’s plan to progressively raise the minimum wage to $20 per hour and to enhance workers’ bargaining position in the workplace will have on average wages?

Hon WILLIE JACKSON: Huge, huge impact—huge impact. Workers are so happy with the changes at the moment, particularly after being under attack for the last nine years from a disgraceful Government.

He tried to snap back but the damage had been done.

Full transcript here.

Median salaries by job type here at PayScale.