Media release – Thursday, 1 September 2016: The Auckland councillor who successfully fought against a living wage being adopted by Auckland Council three years ago says mayoral candidate Phil Goff’s promise to introduce one will face significant resistance from the Auckland business community and around the council chamber next term.
In December 2013 a narrow majority of 11 councillors supported Cameron Brewer’s amendment which effectively kicked Mayor Len Brown’s living wage proposal off the table. It has never formally been raised again.
“The left gave this a really good run three years ago but in the end lost. At the time the council’s own Business Advisory Panel, many Auckland business leaders and owners, as well as ratepayers were genuinely concerned about its possible introduction and the consequences,” says Mr Brewer.
“The estimated $3.75m cost to introduce it back then would’ve only been the start. Wage inflation would be triggered throughout the whole council and contractor costs would increase. At the same time other Auckland organisations and businesses would suddenly be forced to compete with council on wages.
“This will simply end up costing jobs not creating new ones. For the likes of cleaning and landscaping businesses as well as some competing retailers and facilities, a council living wage would simply create an uneven playing field in the local labour market. It will only make it harder for local businesses and residential rates more expensive.
“Three years ago we were told by the business community that a living wage policy would hit Auckland businesses and ultimately cost jobs. Believe me their concerns remain!
“Labour’s Phil Goff has long pushed the living wage idea, but as a mayoral candidate he’s also promised to be financially responsible and business-friendly. A living wage at Auckland Council was proven to be neither and hence why it was dropped by a majority of councilors three years ago.
“Mr Goff needs to listen more to ratepayer feedback on what most think of council’s escalating wage and salary bill which is nearing $1 billion per annum.
“He’s trying to promote himself as an independent mayoral candidate but the reality is if elected Phil Goff will pick up exactly where Len Brown left off – that is pushing a left-wing agenda which Auckland business and residential ratepayers will be expected to fund,” says Mr Brewer.