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New Zealand Living Wage $18.40 an hour

New Zealand Living Wage $18.40 an hour

A landmark report released today identifies $18.40 an hour as the New Zealand living wage.

“Today is an historic day for thousands of low-paid workers and their families,” said Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary, John Ryall.

“The report confirms what workers have increasingly been saying. They can’t live on the minimum wage and this provides evidence that workers need at least $18.40 just to get by in New Zealand.”

The Report of an Investigation into Defining a Living Wage for New Zealand was prepared by Charles Waldegrave and Peter King of the Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit, who are best known for their work in establishing the New Zealand poverty line.

“The report establishes a minimal figure for a worker in New Zealand to not only provide the basic necessities but to have a decent, but modest family and community life,” said Charles Waldegrave.

“We are very confident that this figure is robust as the New Zealand living wage. The report provides a national figure and does not address regional differences, including the housing crisis in Auckland.”

The report defines the living wage as: “the income necessary to provide not only the basic necessities, but to enable workers to participate in society.”

The campaign for a living wage is a joint community and union campaign and the report has received strong support from across the community.

"The living wage is an effective response to poverty. Of the 270,000 New Zealand children who live in poverty many will have a parent who earns a low income,” said Rt Rev Ray Coster, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.

“The living wage will reduce the number of hours parents need to work to earn a decent standard of living allowing them more time to spend with their families."

Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand was launched in May 2012 and now includes 130 community organisations, faith-based groups and unions. Living wage movements are found throughout the world. In London the living wage is 37% higher than the minimum wage and is supported by Mayor Boris Johnson and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. All employers and contracted workers of the Greater London Council are paid the living wage, which is calculated every year.

John Ryall said Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand would now call on central and local government and institutions funded through public money to implement the living wage.

“We are also calling on all large corporates to pay a living wage to all their workers, including contract workers and we will work with and support small businesses and NGOs who are committed to making New Zealand a living wage country,” he said.

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