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Living wage essential to assist low paid

30 August 2012

Living wage essential to assist low paid

The growing gap between rich and poor in New Zealand shows why a living wage is needed, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.

Ms Roche, along with a number of other Green MPs, including Co-leader Dr Russel Norman, will lend their support to the Wellington launch of Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand today. The Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota initiated the Living Wage campaign. This campaign focuses on combating poverty through advocating for better pay rates for low paid workers.

“Recent small increases in the minimum wage under the National Government have done very little to assist New Zealanders make ends meet,” said Ms Roche.

"The minimum wage at $13.50 is too low. It needs to be based on what people actually need in order to have a decent life, not on the whim of cabinet and business.

“In the post war period the minimum wage used to be close to 80% of the average wage.

“Since the 1980s this figure has dropped to around 50% of the average wage making New Zealand one of the most unequal societies in the OECD.

“If the minimum wage was boosted to $15 that would still only equate to 55% of the average wage which is currently $27 an hour,” Ms Roche said.

"Lifting pay is essential to bridge the widening chasm between the haves and the have-nots.

“Many of those on the minimum wage work long hours and extra shifts to make ends meet.

"Lifting wages for these workers would make a huge difference to the quality of their lives,” said Ms Roche.

Note: The launch of Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand will be held at 12 noon at the Wesley Methodist Church, 75 Taranaki Street, Wellington.


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