We don’t get much of a glimpse into what John Key really thinks about anything, but boy did we get one today, when Key reacted to the idea promoted by Labour’s leadership candidates that the government should support a ‘living wage’ for its workers of $18.40 an hour.
Key today dismissed their ideas as unworkable and “unbelievable”.
“If you can legislate at $18.40 a hour and have no implications, why not make it $30 and hour – and show me one country in the world that has legislated for higher wages and it has been successful,” he said.
“We set the minimum wage but there is always a balance between jobs … most companies have to pay more, that means they have to put their prices up, that means you as a consumer pay more … inflation goes up so the Reserve Bank raises interest rates, that means your mortgage costs go up – by the way, a lot of people lose their job … it’s a fool’s paradise.”
Cunliffe has costed the living wage policy at about $25 million. Key flicked $30 million to Rio Tinto just a couple of weeks ago. The interest free loans for power company shares has been estimated to cost about $40 million, although no one knows how much the taxpayer is liable for that policy because the National government didn’t even bother to ask Treasury to cost it for them. The point is that Key’s government showers wealthy people with money on a routine basis, but the idea of increasing the incomes of low income workers is ‘unworkable and “unbelievable’. Key genuinely seems to believe it will destroy our economy if we stop giving taxpayer cash away to share market investors and corporations and pay it to poor people in exchange for their labour instead.