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Minimum wage rise “lacks courage, fails to deliver”

Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia
Co-leaders of the Maori Party

8 February 2012

Minimum wage rise “lacks courage, fails to deliver” – Maori Party

The Maori Party has condemned a minimum wage rise of only 50 cents an hour as lacking the political courage and strategic vision required to reduce poverty and address wide income disparities.

“The Maori Party supports a minimum wage of $16 per hour, as a way to meet the needs of low-income workers – those workers often referred to as the ‘working poor’,” said Co-leader Tariana Turia.

“Those on the minimum wage are often women, Maori and Pacific employees, disabled workers or refugees and migrants,” said Mrs Turia.

“Failure to act decisively in investing in these workers will have adverse impacts in many ways, particularly in limiting their capacity to cope with rapidly rising living costs, especially for food, power and transport,” she said.

“A raise to $16 per hour would also help New Zealand meet its obligations under the ILO to set the minimum wage at two thirds of the average wage,” said Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples.

“Such a modest adjustment, from $13.00 to $13.50, does not reflect the political courage and strategic vision we need to eliminate poverty,” he said.

“We are very disappointed that, in one of the first tests for National in being able to address income inequality and reduce poverty, this administration has failed to deliver,” the co-leaders said.

ENDS

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