An increase to the minimum wage is an increase to wellbeing
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation welcomes the increase to the minimum wage announced today and commends the Government for its commitment to the health and wellbeing of low paid workers.
NZNO Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne says the increase will advance the health of the nation because higher incomes are clearly linked to better health.
"The burden of ill health and early death associated with poverty is undeniable and nurses see the devastating effects poverty has on people every day in their work.
"Health and wellbeing must be part of any discussion we have about what raising the minimum wage means for the country. Too often we talk about the minimum wage in the context of its economic implications. We fail to acknowledge the important issue of what better wages mean for the health and wellbeing of our communities."
Registered East Coast rural health nurse and NZNO delegate Gina Chaffey-Aupouri also says low incomes have a big impact on health.
"If we continue to pay low wages we will continue to have people in our communities with poor housing leading to poor health and education - and the people suffer.
"People with low incomes often live in houses that are poorly insulated, which means children develop asthma or sore throats that can lead to rheumatic fever. Children get sick because there isn’t enough food to keep them well.
"I welcome an increase to the minimum wage. As a Māori nurse I believe, ‘He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.’"