FIRST Union General Secretary Dennis Maga says that this morning’s comments from National Party Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith that the party would consider scrapping the Government’s proposed minimum wage increases if elected shows that they apparently do not have working peoples’ interests at heart and would seek to make New Zealand a more unequal society, taking us backwards.
"Just as we are making positive steps towards reducing income inequality in New Zealand and climbing up the OECD rankings, the conservative Opposition is apparently keen to abandon ship and continue punishing the lowest-paid workers in the country," said Mr Maga.
"We’ve already had a decade of inaccurate scaremongering from National about potential job losses in small businesses due to minimum wage increases, and those comments have never had any basis in reality - they are entirely political and do not bear any real scrutiny."
"Dangling tax cuts just like in every other election in recent memory is not a remedy to reduce income inequality, which they already know."
"Many workers would prefer properly funded services over a couple of bucks per week extra in the pocket."
"National knows you have to raise the minimum wage to account for and respond to increased costs of living and other changes in the economy - they did so themselves while in Government, and this morning’s comments suggest election posturing rather than any real concern for the books."
"More than that, they should be more than aware that New Zealand is a low-wage nation where important jobs like driving buses and working in logistics, for example, are paid at minimum wage or close to it, unlike in many other countries."
"It means workers don’t stay in those jobs for long, they aren’t seen as viable career paths for new entrants to the workforce, and those who are willing to work that hard for a poverty wages don’t tend to be able to live fulfilling lives outside of their jobs."
"This election campaign, it would be a great privilege for our political parties to debate the issues with evidence and compassion rather than flippancy and shock tactics - New Zealanders are sick of the spin."