Low waged workers still trying to keep heads above water - RePress

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Tuesday, February 10

Low waged workers still trying to keep heads above water

Today’s Minimum Pay rise to $12.50 is simply not enough for Kiwis on low incomes, says the Green Party.

Green Party Employment Spokesperson Sue Bradford says it merely makes up for what has been lost in buying power for our lowest income workers since last year's minimum wage increase.

"However, it is better than nothing and we welcome the fact National has seen fit not to follow the recommendations of Business NZ and others to simply freeze the minimum wage," Ms Bradford said.

"A greater increase would have been a much more effective response to the recession - the more money in the pockets of the lowest income workers, the more is spent on goods and services locally - keeping other workers in jobs and helping businesses to survive.

"This increase will be of marginal assistance – an extra $20 before tax for someone working 40 hours a week on the minimum wage. When you look at it like this, you can see how little it will buy, especially with prices for some key products – like petrol – rising again.

"The Greens continue to support a far more substantial increase. We want an automatic annual adjustment to the minimum wage, ensuring it equates to no less than 66 percent of the average wage.

"We also believe the pitiful trainee rate and remnant youth rate (first 200 hrs on the job for 16 and 17-year-old workers) from $9.60 per hour to $10 an hour – should be raised to the same as the adult minimum."

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