Better Democracy NZ is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation.

Our mission is to foster the improvement of New Zealand's democratic system and encourage the use of direct democracy through the

Veto, Citizens' Initiated and Recall referendum.


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Unite Union Files For Referndum On Minimum Wage

"Unite Union National Secretary Matt McCarten today submitted a request to the Clerk of the House for the right to petition

for a referendum on raising the minimum wage to two-thirds of the average wage." Click on title link for full story.

This will certainly be an interesting referendum if they can collect enough signatures to trigger the referendum. Probably around 300,000 needed to do that. On a purely economic basis I would argue that this will only lead to unemployment in the long term as history has always proven. While it might be a wonderful idea for those who already have a job, a minimum wage law will only make it harder for those who are unemployed and with limited skills, to get a job. If you are an employer who are you going to put into a new job if you have room for one? Obviously you will employ a more skilled worker. But without a minimum wage you may very well give the job to a less skilled worker (still capable of doing the job) because you can pay him less. All we end up with is more unskilled, unemployed people who end up in trouble leading to an increase in crime. The market has always been the best way to judge the value of a worker. One way or another we will pay for minimum wage laws. having them is more expensive to the country.


Dominic Baron said...

Yes, I too am intrigued by the idea of a referendum on an economic issue like the minimum wage levels. I think it is an appropriate use of the referendum and will strongly support the move. There have been several such referendums in Switzerland, but generally the results have been fairly conservative. Sadly, in the end, with our "Clayton's" referendum "law", it will simply be ignored by the political class.

Steve Baron said...

As Dominic points out, what ever the result, it will be ignore. Simply because it can be and simply because referendums aren't worth the paper they are written on. To date the government has ignored every referendum we have had.

It is interesting that in Switzerland & California they have had a number of economic type referendums with the public showing great insight and wisdom.