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Green Party Supports Living Wage

February 14 2013

Green Party Supports Living Wage

The Green Party is calling on the Government to follow the lead of conservative politicians like London Mayor Boris Johnson and adopt a living wage for all Government employees and contractors.

The launch today of a campaign for employers to sign up to a living wage of $18.40 for their employees is supported by the Green Party who believes central and local Government and profitable employers should be the first to sign up.

“The Government can use its power as a large employer to make a radical improvement to the lives of thousands of low paid employees and contractors by guaranteeing them a living wage,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“A true living wage gives low paid New Zealanders the opportunity to lead a good life and offers them and their family a shot at a fair future.

“This issue is not a left versus right one. The conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson has championed the living wage and British Prime Minister David Cameron has also voiced support.

“It is unethical that any person working for the Government earns less than the minimum required to live a basic existence.

“It is time for John Key to offer low paid Government workers and their families a truly brighter future.

“A living wage makes economic sense. It reduces the need for other Government transfers and empowers workers.

“A living wage will help to close the wage gap with Australia and can help stop the exodus of Kiwis looking for better wages overseas.

“A living wage is achievable, for the Government and profitable employers it is simply a matter of priority and choice.

“Many Chief Executives in the public sector earn salaries of more than $300,000 while those that clean and maintain their buildings subsist on the minimum wage. We can pay decent wages when we choose to.

“This issue should not be characterised as a choice between wages and jobs. Profitable employers could sign up today without having to cut a single job.

“Many employers, such as those in the banking sector, are currently making good profits, yet their cleaners would earn less than a living wage.

“Profitable employers, especially those who send big dividends offshore each year, need to make a bigger commitment to New Zealand and local workers by signing up to a living wage now.”

ENDS

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