Auckland Chamber of Commerce

The Living Wage doesn’t work

“Focus on improving skills and paying what a job is worth is best way for businesses to recognise their responsibility to the communities in which they operate – not paying a ?subjective and artificial? Living Wage.”, writes?Michael Barnett, head of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

All businesses, including councils hire on merit, so paying a higher rate without asking for better performance is not sound business practice. Private sector businesses would soon go out of business, but councils take the easy option – they simply pass the cost on to rate payers.

“That?s why the ?living wage? is not good business, or good for business. Most businesses recognise this. “It is of concern, however, that Auckland Council and others are leading the charge on this flawed concept – they don?t face up to ?real business? price-cost pressures like other businesses do, and instead are expedient in exploiting the revenue they receive from ratepayers,” said Mr Barnett.

The $10,000 difference between the just under $32,000/year minimum wage and new $42,000/year living wage is a significant extra ?social? cost to make up.

Of course, the Auckland Chamber recognises that low wages can make it difficult for workers and their families. But Government welfare policies exist to address this, including the setting of a ?minimum? wage to prevent unscrupulous employers paying too little. Read more »

Auckland Council ‘not fit for purpose’ says Chamber

Michael Barnett has delivered the Auckland Chamber of Commerce’s submission on Auckland Council’s draft budget…and he is damning.

Auckland Council is not yet ‘fit for purpose’ and in some areas appears out of control, says Auckland Chamber of Commerce in a submission on a new 10-year budget.

“In a real sense Auckland is at a crossroads,” chamber of commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said.

“One road has us continuing to jolt along a conflict-riddled and ‘jumping from crisis-to-crisis’road.

“We have yet to find the other road we need to get onto and travel if we are to deliver the ‘better Auckland’ we all want,” he said.

The chamber today released a 17-page submission on the draft budget, a few hours before public consultation closes at 4pm today.

The council has received more than 15,000 submissions on the budget, which includes an overall rates rise of 3.5 per cent this year and a choice between a basic transport plan or raising an extra $300 million a year from motorway tolls or a mix of a regional fuel tax and higher rates to fund a much larger programme.

The chamber of commerce recommends rates should be limited to the rate of inflation.

It wants the $385 uniform general charge raised to $500. The charge is what every ratepayers pays towards council services regardless of property value.

The chamber is opposed to the regional fuel tax/higher rates option for transport and wants the motorway toll option to be debated further with the view of looking at other revenue sources.

Read more »

A Chamber board member writes about AECT


There is much scrambling occurring behind the scenes after Michelle Boag’s little plan to raid the AECT consolidated fund and hand the cash to Len Brown was rumbled.

A humber of people named are now backing away from the plan, and some feel they have been mis-represented by their attendance at Kim ‘The Clown’ Campbell’s little meeting the other day.

Clearly people are frustrated at the Boagan’s old school whispering campaign and it looks and sounds like the?Chamber is running a million miles away from her nationalisation/theft scheme.

One Chamber of Commerce board member writes:

Dear Cameron,

I have long been a reader of your blog, and appreciate that you have a desire to put the truth out in front of your readers.

I also understand that you suspect the motives of some people, and use your blog to raise these issues into the sunlight.

I know that you accept that you don?t always get it right, and have, in the past, been happy to acknowledge this, and apologise accordingly.

Your recent attack on Michael Barnett and the Chamber of Commerce is one of those errors.

I am not a neutral bystander in this, and write as someone who chose to be a Director of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. This choice was made through years of watching the way the Chamber, and Michael work.

The Chamber is the rational voice of business within Auckland. An organisation which works to make sure that the physical and political landscape is shaped to serve the interests of Auckland, by ensuring that the business environment is the best it can be.

This is not an easy task, and for many years the Chamber has worked away to ensure that business has a rational and respected voice.

Michael has been a voice promoting initially the need for significant transport projects in Auckland, and then promoting the debate on where the funding will come from. Auckland faces a dramatic shortfall in funding for transport projects whether or not the Central Rail Link is built.

Government has accepted the Central Rail Link case, and has said that it will provide funding when certain conditions are met, and after a certain date if they are not.

The debate that needs to happen is for Auckland City to determine where it will source its funding, and how it will achieve that.

The only way for this to happen fairly is to bring all of the options on to the table, and work out which ones are available for use. Read more »

More good news

Labour and David Cunliffe really must be wondering how theya re going to win an election when there seems to be a never ending stream of good news coming out that proves their negativity and mendacity.

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce delivers more good news.

Extraordinary Growth Signalled in Business Survey

A survey of more than 800 business? over the last 48 hours in Auckland reveals some extraordinary results.

71% of survey respondents believe that the general business situation in New Zealand will continue to improve over the next six months, an increase from 61% last quarter. This response is also matched by 68% of respondents believing that their own personal business situation will see a direct improvement in the coming six months, another rise in confidence from the last survey in Nov 2013 which reported 63%.? Read more »