“Spend wisely.” Employers tell city councillors what they should do, again

Press Release – Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce
Wellington has a huge and dynamic future but to ensure the city reaches its potential it must grasp the many opportunities that are beginning to present themselves, says Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce President John Milford.

He was making the Chamber’s oral submission to the City Council’s Draft Annual Plan.

“Looking ahead to what we can do, the Chamber has some ‘bottom lines’ for future projects and proposals, both those in the draft annual plan and those signalled for future consideration as part of the priority growth agenda’s ‘8 big ideas’,” he told councillors tonight.

“With continued uncertainty about future liabilities such as earthquake strengthening of council buildings, legal action from leaky homes, and as the region awaits the outcome from the Local Government Commission’s reorganisation proposal, it is important that expenditure within the council’s operations is well considered.”

He said the council must continue to operate within financial prudence as the economic recovery begins to be cemented in.

“This is not to say the Chamber is against future investment or consideration of future project expenditure.

“But we should be well informed and thoroughly convinced about adding to the city’s debt – with a plan on how we pay for it.”

He said that for all project proposals, the Chamber would need to see:

An investment strategy, with a robust business case, including a convincing cost benefit analysis and return on investment, with funding in collaboration with commercial partners.

A repayment strategy, with a solid commitment to service and pay down the debt quickly.

“Regardless of the overall balance sheet or the council’s credit rating, servicing our debt and paying it down needs to be made a No 1 priority.

“Given the upcoming amalgamation possibilities, we must also be clear on how each project will benefit the entire region.

“The council needs to ensure the city has what it needs, to generate business activity, to make our city regionally, nationally, and internationally attractive and vibrant.

“The council must be absolutely focused on growth – because it’s business and investment that are going to get the city humming.

“This should not be a single focus about growing the rate base – it’s about being a competitive city again.”

He also repeated the Chamber’s concerns around the council’s decision to adopt the Living Wage.

“The Chamber is very concerned with the method in which the council made this decision.

“Though a living wage is well-intentioned, and we all want everyone to share in the rewards of economic growth, what’s not clear is how this is going to help the city grow so everyone can enjoy higher wages.

“The Living Wage incurs additional operating cost on the city and ratepayers which is not in the council’s mandate. Minimum wage and employee income subsidies are a central government issue for which individuals and business contribute through tax.

“As a business organisation we question whether the adoption of the living wage was a prudent business decision.”

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Original url



  1. CC, 27. March 2014, 9:56

    Typical. Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce President John Milford wants corporate welfare in the form of the 8 big ideas and will no doubt applaud the proposed mega-spend of rates money to cover the city in tinsel at Christmas. At the same time, his organisation can’t see that paying honestly earned living wages enables workers to help grow the economy of the city.

  2. John Clarke, 28. March 2014, 15:54

    These chamber of commerce types are always amazingly arrogant. Who cares if they have “bottom lines”? If they want to get their ideas implemented then they can stand for council and get elected, like real council lots do – only they’d find not many ratepayers would vote for their form of corporate welfare mixed with council austerity. But here they are, lecturing from the sidelines and expecting to bypass democracy instead.

  3. Elaine Hampton, 28. March 2014, 16:01

    Corporate welfare indeed :
    Amazing how subsidies in the form of government top ups for people on low wages are an assumed right for ‘business’. ‘A government issue’, unions are so weakened in NZ that the wage rates are set using the minimum wage set by government.
    Frankly I object to businesses paying low wages whilst their workers need a subsidy paid from my taxes. A business that cannot pay a living wage should not be in business.
    I feel that taxes and rates are the price of living in a civilised society, including a living wage for public employees. Money is made round to go around as my granny used to say. Pay too low a wage and there is not enough going around for a viable economy.

  4. Hel, 28. March 2014, 18:10

    Strange you object to your taxes being used to assist low paid workers. Money was made to go around. Where do you think money in the economy actually comes from? Let me give you a clue: it is not the government or unions.

  5. John Clarke, 28. March 2014, 20:27

    Hel – you might want to do some actual research before making statements that are factually wrong. Here’s the Bank of England on where money in the economy actually comes from:

    “In the modern economy, most money takes the form of bank deposits. But how those bank deposits are created is often misunderstood: the principal way is through commercial banks making loans. Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money.”

    I suggest you read the full article as it will stop you making basic mistakes in blog comments. And while you’re at it, I suggest you google “modern monetary theory” to help free yourself of the delusion that businesses somehow create all the wealth in an economy like New Zealands.


  6. John Droflim, 28. March 2014, 20:52

    Please tell us where it comes from if not the government or unions Hel. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce I really need to know where my corporate welfare comes from. On second thoughts, perhaps not. If it was obvious, someone might turn the tap off and I would have to actually work for a living and even pay my employees out of the profits. God life can be very unfair.


Write a comment: