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John Key does not understand Living Wage campaign

Deputy Leader
MP for Wellington Central

3 September 2013

John Key does not understand Living Wage campaign

John Key's hysterical reaction to my proposal for government workers and contractors to be paid a living wage shows just how out of touch he is with the lives of the lowest paid in our community, Grant Robertson said.

"The whole point of the Living Wage campaign is that employers voluntarily sign up to it. I believe the government can show leadership and set a clear timeline for paying a living wage to its workers. I would love it if private sector employers did that too, but that will be the result of bargaining between workers and employers.

"John Key is deliberately misleading New Zealanders with grossly inflated figures that have no relationship to what I am committing to, and are based on the usual flawed arguments against wage rises for workers. The bottom line is that if John Key can find $30 million to subsidise his share float, he can find the money to give a boost to low paid workers that he directly or indirectly employs.

"He needs to answer a pretty simple question- does he think that the person who cleans his office and is paid $14 per hour is getting a fair wage? If he doesn't then he should commit to a timeline to improve those wages.

"I find it odd that John Key is promoting Working for Families as the alternative to a Living Wage. I thought he was all about reducing dependence. In actual fact paying workers a living wage will reduce dependence on programmes like Working for Families. A Living Wage supports the dignity and value of work, something all New Zealanders are entitled to.

"What I am committing to is a timeline to see the Living Wage introduced for all government workers and contractors. Once in government we will be able to determine the total cost, and plan a responsible and timely progression to this point. It is the right thing to do, and it will mean the government is showing leadership in giving people the wages they need to feed their families," Grant Robertson said.


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