Inequality is on the rise in New Zealand. At the bottom end wages have stubbornly refused to keep up with the cost of living, particularly given the rapidly rising cost of housing.
Hospitality is renowned for being one such low wage sector. Paula Bennett’s solution for relieving the hardship on this group appears to be greater use of tipping. The Deputy Prime Minister seems intent on deflecting the problem of hospitality workers struggling to get by to consumers, rather than focusing on her own government’s policies.
Of course Paula argues tipping also helps encourage good service, but the Spinoff debunked that idea. Tipping is discriminatory and is more related to looks and corruption than good service.
The real problem is that the Government have stuffed the immigration system by allowing anyone into the country regardless of their skill level.
Here’s the way the labour market is supposed to work: if businesses are doing well and workers are valuable, a shortage of workers should develop – not across-the-board but in pockets both regionally and in specific industries. As a result a firm should pay more in an effort to attract more Kiwis to work. But these days such normal market mechanisms have been destroyed by the Government’s approach to just ship labour in from overseas to make sure wages don’t rise. It is in effect, a full frontal assault on tricke down economics, which is what the supply side revolution of 1984 was sold on.
Most people are now aware of the rorts that have been taking place in the education sector, using courses as a back door for work permits, and ultimately residency. That is one of the sources of low skilled labour, another is the roughly 70,000 working holiday visa holders in the country at any one time. These are youngsters from overseas that have been let in under our free trade agreements. These agreements, many of which allow in unlimited numbers of people from much larger countries, have proliferated in recent years.
There is definitely a place for immigration, but let’s make sure every migrant contributes to making all New Zealanders better off. They shouldn’t be used to suppress the wages of our most modestly paid and vulnerable workers. If Kiwis are out there are wondering why they haven’t had a pay rise, loose immigration policy is one of the reasons. We certainly shouldn’t blame the lack of tipping.
The Opportunities Party is not anti-immigration, but instead believe it should be responsibly managed. Skilled migrants create wealth and jobs, so that is where we should be focussing. We should be importing foreign developers and scientists, not foreign waiters.