Welcome back to our panel - Claire Robinson, Rod Oram and Phil O'Reilly. I think he [David Clark] summed it up at the end there when he said there were bigger issues. Phil O'Reilly, your take on it.
PHIL O'REILLY - Business New Zealand
Well, this is just really CTU policy that the Labour Party is putting out there, so we know that a $15 minimum wage will actually damage employment, and it won't actually help much. It's a very poorly targeted policy if you're after poor families, because the minimum wage is paid to the sons of rich parents as well. So it's actually rather poorly targeted. We know it will impact employment weakly. But here's the optic that the Labour Party's got to worry about - in tough economic times, everybody's thinking about belt tightening, all the rest, the Labour Party's going to put up a proposition, are they, which says, 'We're going to make it harder to employ young people by putting up the minimum wage, and we're going to have more holidays.' Really? Is that part of an economic plan that I can buy?
SHANE And let's not forget Sue Moroney's Paid Parental Leave Bill. That goes in the mix too. How do you think voters will be perceiving this?
CLAIRE ROBINSON - Political Analyst
The interesting thing about these members bills is that they tend to be 'nice to have' bills that actually aren't going to make a lot of electoral impact. The one bill, actually, that has been pulled out that will make some electoral impact is the gay marriage bill. So that is the one that is going to cause more discussion and controversy amongst the general public and is likely to have some sort of electoral impact. These ones, these small ones, aren't. They're actually a bit of a waste of time.
SHANE Are they a waste of time, Rod Oram? He [David Clark] didn't seem to have done his homework. He couldn't tell us how much they were going to cost at least.
ROD ORAM - Business Commentator
I'd like to think that we're capable in Parliament and as a society to work on big issues and a whole range of them, and these obviously come well down the range. But they are important because our workforce does work very long hours, and people are very stressed. So the idea that we're trying to improve those working conditions so that people then are more productive - and I think there is good evidence that that works - then that's a very interesting discussion to have. And all the research is not black and white at all about the effect of minimum wage on hiring. You can get all sorts of studies that will show you a different pattern. So it's an endless argument that we're not making any progress on, despite evidence on both sides.
SHANE What about Mondayisation? I want to talk about that briefly too. Phil O'Reilly, would employers support that?
PHIL Not in principle. I know the tourism guys do, and I acknowledge that point. But I think most employers would say, 'Gee, really? Are there not some more important things to be talking about?' I also think it's important that we understand what those two days are about. Anzac Day and Waitangi Day are celebrated on the day for a particular reason.
SHANE But aren't we talking about giving a fair deal as well, though?
PHIL Well, I think you could argue that. And, as I say, it's not the biggest cost that employers will face - two days over seven years. But I think in principle-
SHANE It's minimal.
PHIL In principle, employers are saying, 'Gee, really? Do you think we could get more productive?' To Rod's point, I'd like to see a more productive workforce as well and a higher-skilled workforce. Is the way to do that putting up minimum wages and having more holidays? The having more holidays may have a very marginal impact. In fact, what we should be doing is getting on a giving those kids more skills, more science, technology and engineering and maths skills so that they get a better job in the future.
CLAIRE And design.
SHANE Claire, the politics on this, National not supporting it, what do you make of that? It's a bit puzzling, isn't it?
CLAIRE Well, no. I think that National, actually, conforms to what Phil is just saying.
SHANE But Phil says that there is some prospect of some support out there.
CLAIRE Yeah, and I think most ordinary workers, like me- I mean, I'd love to have a Mondayised holiday, but, actually, yeah, for National it's one of those issues that isn't on the top of its pile of things to do.
SHANE So flip the coin - is this Labour trying to get its policy through with stealth?
CLAIRE No, no, no. I think it is what it is. It's a very keen, young, new politician - David Clark. I mean, I think he's very highly rated in the Labour Party, and I think he's somebody who's going to go far. You know, he was lucky. He got his bill.
SHANE He just needs to do his maths. Unfortunately, we have to leave it there, but thank you very much to you all for joining us.