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$7 enough? Try living on it

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"Anyone who opposes an increase to the adult minimum wage should try living on it," Labour industrial relations spokesperson Pete Hodgson said today.

He was responding to comments from the National Party and Employers' Federation that an increase in the minimum wage rate of $7 an hour, before tax, would cost jobs.

Mr Hodgson said National's and the Federation's remarks were indecent, and were unsupported economically.

"Why is it that a rise in managerial salaries doesn't cost jobs, but a rise in the minimum wage does? Why is it that the OECD, itself a very conservative organisation, steadfastly disagrees with National's and the Employers Federation's point of view. The OECD says that a nation risks unemployment only when the minimum wage is large. That is most assuredly not the case in New Zealand.

"New Zealand's future does not lie in competing with the Third World by paying Third World wages. Ours is already one of the western world's most unequal nations. Some employers will take advantage of the pool of unemployment to bid wages down to bedrock levels.

"After nearly a decade of trickle down failure Labour is simply saying that an increase in the minimum wage is due. It has not been increased for three years and is now only 39.7 percent of the average ordinary time wage," Mr Hodgson said.

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