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The Lower Hutt City Council Mayor, Ray Wallace, recently pushed a motion that the council “agree in principle” to the living wage, moving the council a step closer to becoming a living wage employee. What are your thoughts on the living wage?
Greens at Vic
The Green Party position on the minimum wage is that it should be 66% of the median wage, as has traditionally been the case. The Party’s position on the living wage is that we should support businesses to implement it if possible. While this would make the minimum wage approximately $18/hour and be significantly better for workers than the current minimum, Greens at Vic believe that the minimum wage should be the living wage — $20.20/hour. Anything less is a starvation wage. If the minimum wage had kept pace with what it was before neoliberalism began, it would be higher than $20.20. The reason why the minimum wage has decreased in value over time is that wages have stagnated since neoliberalism began. Business cannot be trusted to implement the living wage as it cuts into profits, profit being the reason for business’ existence. The government must intervene to support workers to earn a minimum of $20.20/hour.
— Elliot Crossan
Ray Wallace speaking in favour of the living wage is a step in the right direction, however in principle is not the same as in action. VicLabour are strongly in favour of implementing a Living Wage given the amount of poverty among New Zealand families, and the increasing inequality happening under National. This year, it’s calculated to be $20.20 per hour, which the Living Wage movement points out is $4.55 more than the Government has set the minimum wage at. A wage that allows people to live fulfilling lives and not be strained by financial uncertainty is key to reducing issues like widespread child poverty. Nationwide implementation of the Living Wage is an achievable goal which will do immense good for the working class in New Zealand, which is why Wellington Mayor Justin Lester has committed to a living wage for Council workers. We’re proud to support it.
Young Nats — Lower North Island
The Young Nats do not support a legislated living wage.
Our reasoning behind this is that the higher the minimum wage, the lower the demand for labour is. This creates a serious concern for young people, such as students, who often fill those low wage jobs while they study or upskill. The risk is that we may find ourselves suddenly priced out of the market and unemployed with a minimum wage that is too expensive for employers to manage.
National has been very clear that natural wage growth is an important aspect of economic success and under the current government we have seen average annual wages rise by 25% since 2008 and the minimum wage increasing another $.50 to $15.75 next month. This represents growth that balances support for workers and financial stability needed by employers to drive our economy forward.
— Sam Stead