A twenty-five cent increase in the minimum wage will do little to help some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable families make ends meet, said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei today.
“John Key’s Government lacks both the courage and the compassion to help those earning the bare minimum to get through these difficult economic times,” said Ms Turei.
The Government today announced a raise to the minimum wage from $12.50 to $12.75.
“Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would have brought us into line with minimum wage rates in Australia — one gap this Government isn’t interested in closing,” said Ms Turei.
“450,000 New Zealanders would benefit by raising the minimum wage to $15. Protecting the wages of the most vulnerable is an essential part of creating a fairer, more equal society. Sixty-one percent of New Zealanders agree.”
Ms Turei was using figures from a NZ Herald poll last week that found that 61% of New Zealanders support raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The Green Party is growing increasingly concerned at the current economic direction of John Key’s Government — a Government now giving serious consideration to cutting the top level of income tax by 21%. The resulting inequality will inevitably lead to greater social spending and a more divided country.
“It’s better to pay people fair wages for their work than to top up their salaries with social assistance spending. A minimum wage of $15 per hour could save more than $1 billion from the Government’s social assistance budget alone. A billion dollars we could put into schools, hospitals, or cleaning up our rivers.”