CTU MEDIA RELEASE
21 July 2006
Rich List Fat Lot Of Use For Those On Poverty Wages
“While the rich navel gaze today over who has overtaken one another in the latest Rich List unions will continue the campaign to end poverty wages in this country,” said CTU president Ross Wilson.
“This gratuitous Rich List comes out the week after the Living Standards 2004 report, which showed one fifth of the country is still facing severe hardship.”
"Poverty only exists in New Zealand as long as we continue to tolerate it. The low wages that far too many New Zealand workers are paid has a direct impact on thousands of poor families, and contributes to our unacceptable rates of child poverty.“
“Of significant concern in the Living Standards report was the increased numbers of people living in severe hardship, and the lower living standards of Maori and pacific people,” said Ross Wilson. “While the Working for Families package has certainly made an impact for those in the paid workforce, we must do better to increase assistance to beneficiary families, in particular those with children.”
The neo-liberal economic and welfare policies of the 1980s and 1990s created and worsened the conditions that result in such hardship for low income workers and beneficiaries, he said.
“Action is needed on New Zealand's low wage crisis. Government needs to increase the minimum wage to $12 an hour now, not in 2008 and support the proposal to scrap youth rates, and employers need to get real about the need for regular wage increases for workers," said Ross Wilson.