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Migrants Aren’t Responsible For NZ’s Low Wage Economy

Auckland Action Against Poverty stands in solidarity with migrant communities as they’re blamed by the Labour government for suppressing wages in Aotearoa New Zealand.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern blamed New Zealand’s reliance on a temporary workforce as a lever that suppresses wages in this country. Migrant workers should not be scapegoated, when the real levers of our low wage economy rests on the fact that benefits are below the poverty line, and there have been decades of attacks on pay and conditions.

“This has nothing to do with migrants. One of the reasons Aotearoa New Zealand has a low wage economy is because benefits are so low, and provide no competition for low wages. If they were raised, businesses would have to pay people better for their time and labour,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Brooke Pao Stanley.

“The government continues to scapegoat our communities for problems they caused. Jacinda’s comments are reckless and irresponsible and add to racist rhetoric that can keep us divided. This same rhetoric was responsible for the Dawn Raids when Pacific communities were blamed for rising unemployment back in the 1970s.

“We support the call for better pathways to residency and equal access to our welfare system for our migrant whānau, who bring so much diversity and vibrancy to our communities.

“We also call for Liveable Incomes so that Aotearoa New Zealand can shift from a low wage economy to one that honours people for their time and commitment to the work they’re in. All work should be recognised by the government as being integral to the economy, and both wages and income support should reflect this.”

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