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Minimum Wage Rise Good News As Return To Work Looms

As tens of thousands more workers prepare to return to work next week under Level 3 COVID-19 restrictions, it’s good to know the lowest paid will getting a little more in their pay-checks thanks to the 1 April rise in the minimum wage, Peter Malcolm, spokesperson for Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc “Closing the Gap” ,said today.

“Critics of the government’s decision to go ahead with the long-scheduled April rise, from $17.70 to $18.90 an hour, have little evidence that this modest increase will hurt jobs and the economy. What’s more, to call for a delay at a time like this is simply mean-spirited,” Mr. Malcolm said.

The minimum wage in New Zealand is still below the estimated $21.15 an hour ‘living wage’ level, with little hope of lower housing or food costs on the horizon making a minimum wage boost all the more important.

Mr Malcolm said there was simply no conclusive evidence that a higher minimum wage would cost jobs, and pointed out that businesses could instead focus on over-paid CEOs and other high-end salary earners rather than those at the lowest rung on the pay scale.

“Some employers have led by example by taking cuts; more need to step up the plate before mounting criticisms of the minimum wage scale,” he said.

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