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Howard’s Reforms Aim To Slash Minimum Wage

Howard’s Reforms Aim To Slash Minimum Wage

“The New Zealand Alliance Party strongly supports the Australian Unions’ fight to stop John Howard using his majority in both Houses of Parliament to freeze and then cut the minimum wage in that country from 1 July,” said Paul Piesse, co-leader of the Alliance party today. The Alliance Party was in coalition with the Labour Party from 1999 to 2002 and attempted to reverse the cuts to minimum wages of the previous decade.

“The Australian minimum wage was raised in June so that the federal minimum wage for full time adults is now $484.40 a week. For casual workers on a minimum wage who have a 25% loading, this amounts to A$15.90 an hour. In New Zealand the minimum wage is NZ$9.50 per hour.”

“Australian workers need to know that their colleagues in New Zealand are still trying to recover overtime, penal rates, redundancy payments, and a livable minimum wage from cuts made after the 1991 Employment Contracts Act,” said Paul Piesse. “Pay rates in New Zealand are 30% lower than in Australia having started from a similar base 20 years ago,” he said.

Paul Piesse said it was Alliance policy to have a minimum wage of $15 in New Zealand. “The Alliance is campaigning hard for this to be introduced as part of the election campaign in September.”

“The Alliance intends putting information about the ‘New Zealand disease’ in front of the Australian public,” said Paul Piesse. “The ACTU’s $8m advertising campaign could do worse than show New Zealand workers’ situation to illustrate their case. Australia can learn from New Zealand’s example that it is vital that they fight the Right – our union leadership did not in 1991 and Kiwis are still counting the cost.”

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