Q: What do you do when you have a whole lot of stuff on your shelf that you can’t sell?
A: You raise the price.
If that sounds stupid, that’s because it is. Yet that’s precisely what New Zealand’s sellers of labour have just done. At a time when unemployment is going up and more would-be labourers are being left on the shelf, they’ve gone and raised the price of their labour.
Their government has once again made it illegal for them to agree to sell their labour at anything less than the govt’s own chosen rate—which minister Kate Wilkinson has just put up, being raised today by this National-led imbecile of a government to a minimum legal wage of $13/hour in the same week that figures were released showing unemployment continuing to rise. Dumb. It’s not like they raised it by mistake, either. They did this at the start of this recession, right along with the abolition of Youth Rates—leading to the unsurprising result that unemployment among those looking for unskilled work continued to rise, with more than one-in four aged 15-19 now unable to get started on the employment ladder; more than one-in-six Maori; and more than half of the single parents.
One of the more insidious effects of minimum wages is that it lowers the cost of racial discrimination; in fact, minimum wage laws are one of the most effective tools in the arsenals of racists everywhere. (abridged)
Graham Clark, Lower Kaimai.