Richard Moore: Low wages just bring apathy

By Richard Moore

Bill English recently said that a lot of Kiwis were "pretty damned hopeless". Photo / NZME
Bill English recently said that a lot of Kiwis were "pretty damned hopeless". Photo / NZME

It never ceases to amaze me that anything gets produced in this country, or that things get sold.

And the reason is there is very much an attitude issue in far too many Kiwi workplaces.

In Tauranga I have been astounded at times by how much some staff - particularly in retail - get away with.

Not showing up to work, bad attitudes, having to be led by the hand to do even the simplest of tasks and a don't-care demeanour.

So I can understand the grizzling by Deputy PM Bill English and Rural Contractors' boss Steve Levet about finding skilled Kiwi workers.

English recently told farmers that a lot of Kiwis "were pretty damned hopeless", while Levet said some younger New Zealanders, when offered the chance for work, "won't take it, can't pass drug tests, or don't have an appropriate driver's licence".

And it must be frustrating for those needing work done to not be able to find locals to employ.

So much so they want to bring in immigrant labour to do the work.

But let's look at it from the other side.

Most of the jobs English and Levet are talking about are menial ones and I would guess that the rate of pay would be minimum wage. Or $15.25 an hour.

That's $122 a day, or $610 for a 40-hour week. Before tax.

Let's face it, that's pretty rubbish pay.

And, in Tauranga, that's not limited to labourers, or farm workers. Retail workers, bakery staff, hospitality workers and plenty of others hover around that minimum wage mark.

That does not buy much goodwill, or loyalty, from workers. Pay peanuts, get people who don't care.

My guess is that most on that sort of wage would always be looking around for something else to do.

If you are on $80,000 a year and want to change jobs you have a limited number of choices, if you are on $30,000 you have a massive list to choose from.

Employers need to pay more and workers need to earn their wages.

TV3 News - sorry, Newshub - won't be the same without just-quit newsreader Hilary Barry.

The gal with the infectious lose-it-on-camera sense of humour chucked away her job late last week.

The shock decision - to her bosses and audiences anyway - is said to have devastated the TV3 staff, who only a short while ago also waved tata to the very popular John Campbell.

In fact it was such a shock that none other than Paul Henry, who is usually never lost for a quip, said: "Er ... I don't have any comment to make. Thank you and good evening."

And if you pop along to the Mediaworks website you will still see Hilary Barry's image plastered all over the brand.

Mind you, despite being a household name for more years than a gentleman will mention, it seems Hilary wasn't so well known by her boss Mark Weldon.

In a message to TV3 staff about the resignation he spelled her name Hillary rather than Hilary.


YOU have to like the sense of humour of some police officers.

And, one would suspect, if you were a copper in Waikato you'd need one.

Like the rozzers in Te Awamutu who posted the tale of a Waikato woman who was caught four times over the limit after a boozy ball.

She became so confused by road cones she had to stop her car.

And when breathalised she blew 965 mcg.

The police post read: "Our Cinderella overindulged at the Hunt ball at Mystery Creek. As she was leaving she nearly ran a security guard off the road. I'm guessing she was rushing to get home before she turned into a pumpkin."

What I want to know is did she have glass slippers, or glass gumboots?


- Richard Moore is an award-winning Western Bay journalist and photographer.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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