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Workers need more than 9 cents an hour

Hon Phil Goff
Leader of the Labour Party

9 February 2009 / Media Statement
Workers need more than 9 cents an hour

Labour Leader Phil Goff has today called on the Government to increase the minimum wage paid to New Zealand’s lowest paid workers to $13 an hour.

"If National provides for only the minimal increase recommended by the Department of Labour from $12 to $12.50 an hour, after inflation that equates to only a 9 cents an hour rise in real wages.

"$3.60 a week doesn’t even buy a small block of cheese that John Key used to be so fond of talking about.

“In difficult times, the burden too often falls on those already finding it hardest to survive,” Phil Goff said.

“Our lowest paid people in shops, offices and factories struggle to make ends meet.

“Every hard working New Zealander is entitled to a wage they can live on.

“But as well as the question of fairness, it also makes sense from an economic perspective to increase wages for the lowest paid.

“If the Government’s goal is, as it claims, to stimulate the economy and ‘push back’ the recession, this is the group which will spend their money on the goods and services they need.

“The lower paid, particularly families, were also the ones to lose rather than benefit from the tax changes legislated by National before Christmas,” Phil Goff said.

“As the Minister of Finance admitted, nearly three quarters of a billion dollars was stripped from the pockets of low and middle income families compared to the tax changes Labour legislated for.

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"By contrast those in the top income brackets benefited by hundreds of dollars a week.

"It's time for some fairness," Phil Goff said.

"Increasing the statutory minimum wage by $1 an hour over each year of this Parliamentary term should be the Government's objective, to provide both greater fairness and to help get the economy going again," Phil Goff said.

ENDS

NEW ZEALAND'S MINIMUM WAGE

Year / Youth ($) / Adult ($)
1990 / / 6.125
1994 / 3.68 / 6.125
1995 / 3.75 / 6.25
1996 / 3.825 / 6.375
1997 / 4.2 / 7
1998 / 4.2 / 7
1999 / 4.2 / 7
2000 / 4.55 / 7.55
2001 / 5.4 / 7.7
2002 / 6.4 / 8
2003 / 6.8 / 8.5
2004 / 7.2 / 9
2005 / 7.6 / 9.5
2006 / 8.2 / 10.25
2007 / 9 / 11.25
2008 / 12 (after 3 months or 200
hours work) / 12


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