Member log in

OPINION: Living wage - Auckland mayor fails to deliver, and will continue to do so

Auckland Council's blocking of the Living Wage policy is another big blow to Auckland Mayor Len Brown.

When his own credibility crisis broke in October he promised to fast-track the living wage to shore up a bit of political support and keep the left happy.

Now he's failed to deliver it and rest assured any followers he has left have lost even more faith in him.

This was going to be a circuit breaker for Mr Brown but he has failed. This second term is going to be so much harder for him and his Labour mates to push their political agenda through.

Mr Brown's planned political expediency was beaten by better process. The council’s decision is a much more prudent and considered approach.

At the last council meeting of the year to sign off the draft 2014/15 annual plan for public consultation in the new year, I put up an amendment, seconded by Dick Quax which was won 11/10.

The successful amendment read: “That the Governing Body agrees that Auckland Council first and foremost prepare a remuneration policy in the 2014/15 financial year, and as part of that policy work fully investigate the costs and wider implications on the organisation, business community and region of the Living Wage policy and have the CE back to the Governing Body at a later date.”

So I'm pleased to have got it through with the support of others. It’s a saving for suburban ratepayers and businesses will be relieved they won't be subjected to more pressure.

I've been dragged into the likes of cleaning and landscaping businesses and shops and have been told a living wage policy by the council would hit Auckland businesses and ultimately cost jobs by creating an unlevel playing field in the local labour market.

Businesspeople were genuinely worried so I'm pleased we were able to put the brakes on. More work needs to be done and now it can be.

The interesting thing is that in November the living wage narrowly got through to the next stage at the Budget Committee because two Independent Maori Statutory Board members supported it.

But when it got to full council where Maori don't have seats or a vote, Mr Brown lost.

The reality is with the centre right picking up a few more seats at the October elections, and with the Mayor losing support and confidence around the table since, we are going to see the centre-left lose a few more votes at the Governing Body this term.

More by Cameron Brewer

Comments and questions

Mr Brewer you are an utterly visionless person who is best suited to sniping at those on power.

What may I ask have you delivered to our city by way of vision for our collective future? -you lack our cuurent Mayor's vision, energy and collabortive skills. You seem only to be able to represent the oldies of Orakei.

Please promise Aucklanders you will not stand for Mayor as if you were to be elected I am sure history will put you in the same ineffective category with former Mayors Mills and Flectcher.

By the way nice little touch of race politics in your article too - but then I suppose there aren't too many Maoris in Orakei so you had little to lose on that nasty little inference.

You screwed up spectacularly when you accused him of racism. You're the one with the cheap (and nonsense) shots, buddy.

Sorry Wazzman, I'm not an 'oldie of Orakei' and I support Cameron's point of view. Also, there are plenty of Maoris in Orakei - ever heard of Bastion Point?

"The reality is with the centre right picking up a few more seats at the October elections, and with the Mayor losing support and confidence around the table since, we are going to see the centre-left lose a few more votes at the Governing Body this term."

Thank god for that, Cameron, because something needs to be done to stop the profligate rot been forced on to Auckland city's ratepayers by the Left's economic agenda.

Well Cameron

so its time for you and rest of the like minded spirits in our Council to step up and fill the gap. Just pretend he's not there, we are.

Grasp the issues, shake out the executive that was also asleep while their Captain was nodding off and take a Graeme Hart approach to running the business of Auckland - namely if you arent getting your fingernails dirty you probably don't have a job.

More cut berms and cut debt and less self actualizing blood sucking pretenders creating a Court around themselves.

Right on the mark there Mr Brewer....Mayor Brown is your typical chardonnay socialist, always pandering to a certain segment of society with mealy mouthed platitides, whlle he himself goes about livng the 'high-life' on the back of other peoples time and money.

Brewer has truly abandoned his journalistic roots and is now utterly the Politician. His political bias has made it impossible for him to be a good journalist, so he has turned either into that very political substitute the propagandist or worse the self serving politician.


Time for Phil Goff to step up. Massive cross-party support. He's always been to the right in Labour and can smell the Cunliffe disaster coming.
He keeps his pants on too.

I don't begrudge low income people earning more .... but ultimately the complexities of the labour market coupled with questions around relativities the flow on to other workers etc must be considered .. Increased productivity is the only sustainable answer to increased income ...

Thank goodness .... sanity has prevailed !!

As an accountant in a small manufacturing business I can certainly add up the sums. Forcing small businesses to up wages while still coming out of the recession and the massive pressure from low cost imports is a recipe for layoffs or worse small employers closing down
Better to have a job than be on the benefit
The pressure on taxes from the working for families allowances is another interesting topic.
Staff won't work overtime for fear of losing these benefits - it's a very strange world now less productivity more money
thanks auntie Helen

This move will garnish support for Len Brown by those on minimum wage, who would see this as a right wing slight again Len Brown at the expense of minimum wage earners who juggle 3 jobs to pay the rent, note to Brewer, Auckland extends past Orakei and Remuera and poor people still have a vote...