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Minimum wage needs to be two-thirds of the average wage

Working people welcome today’s Government announcement to increase the minimum wage. However, the minimum wage needs to be significantly increased – not just by 50 cents to $15.75 hour from 1 April.

“People who are earning the minimum wage need a wage to live on. Too many working Kiwis are paid the minimum wage (data from Statistics New Zealand shows well over 200,000 people will be directly impacted by this rise) because people aren’t able to negotiate collectively,” said CTU President Richard Wagstaff.

“What is needed is a change in the calculation of the minimum wage. The minimum wage needs to be two-thirds of the average wage, this would make it much fairer (two-thirds of the average wage would be $19.88 per hour). Working people have been advocating for this change as a way to make real and measurable progress in improving the lives of some of our poorest families.”

“A 50 cent increase is certainly a step in the right direction but with small steps like this it will take a very long time to achieve a fairer New Zealand; the New Zealand which working people are telling us they need,” Wagstaff said.