Darien Fenton |
Monday, July 29, 2013 – 14:28
Reports out of Australia about New Zealand becoming a desirable destination for business looking to cut wages are nothing to be proud of, says Darien Fenton, Labours spokesperson for labour issues.
Food giants, such as Heinz and McCain, and cigarette maker Imperial Tobacco have recently moved hundreds of manufacturing jobs to New Zealand from Victoria and Tasmania to work that is temporary and paid minimum wage.
“The clear incentive is the yawning gap between Kiwi and Aussie wages, along with New Zealand’s highly deregulated labour market.
“Call Active CEO, Justin Tippitt, who is opening a new call centre operation in Wellington is quoted as saying that ‘culturally, language, all that stuff is still the same, but you are saving about 30 per cent.”
“Other comparisons – seen as favourable by some Australian businesses – are also being made. Along with the $100 a week difference in the minimum wage, they include the highly precarious nature of New Zealand work, and our lower compulsory superannuation payments – three per cent compared to Australia’s nine per cent.
“National’s changes to employment law, the reintroduction of youth rates and a punitive welfare regime will only drive wages down.
“We have deep income inequality in New Zealand already. This Government seems hell-bent on making it worse.
“No Kiwis would consider themselves as worth less for doing the same job as their trans-Tasman neighbours. In fact, I think many will find it deeply worrying that New Zealand is becoming a low wage destination for Australian business.”