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Minimal pay increase a tragedy – The Mission

The Methodist Mission – Media Release 10 February 2012

Minimal pay increase a tragedy – The Mission

The 50c per hour increase to the minimum wage is a tragedy says Methodist Mission Chief Executive Laura Black.

“The tragedy is that so many people will be affected by this. Too many working people have to rely on the legal minimum, which will be increased to $28,800 a year from April.

“However, just this week Mighty River Power raised prices by 5.8% and Transpower warned of years of power price rises ahead. Food and power went up last year by more than 6%. The increase in the minimum wage has already been eaten by cost of living increases.

“The Mission works with many low-income families and raising a family on $28,800 and perhaps a bit extra from Working for Families, given the cost of rental, power and food, is extraordinarily hard work,” says Ms Black. “Yet we know, from Treasury’s own figures, that a much more substantial increase to $15 per hour would have no effect on unemployment.” She says that’s worth repeating “There is no downside to a more aggressive increase in the minimum wage”.

Ms Black notes that New Zealand is known for being a low wage economy. “Thirty years ago, we were sending international aid to Singapore. Over those thirty years they have transformed their standard of living by aggressive increases in the minimum wage and high investment in research and development. New Zealand is doing neither of those things. And the people paying the price are ordinary families, mums, dads and kids. It’s simply not acceptable, the Government must do better.”

ENDS


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