New Zealand minimum wage to rise to $15.75

new-zealand-moneyThe minimum wage in New Zealand will rise by 50 cents to $15.75 (£9.03) an hour from 1 April 2017.

The starting-out and training hourly minimum wage rate will remain at 80% of the adult minimum wage, rising from $12.10 (£7.01) an hour to $12.60 (£7.30) an hour in April 2017.

Michael Woodhouse, workplace relations and safety minister, said: “The government is committed to striking the right balance between protecting our lowest paid workers and ensuring jobs are not lost. An increase to $15.75 will benefit approximately 119,500 workers and will increase wages throughout the economy by $65 million per year.

“At a time when annual inflation is 0.4%, a 3.3% increase to the minimum wage will give our lowest paid [employees] more money in their pockets, without hindering job growth or imposing undue pressure on businesses.

“Annual increases to the minimum wage since 2009 reflect this government’s commitment to growing the economy, boosting incomes and supporting job growth throughout New Zealand.”

Richard Wagstaff, president at the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, added: “People who are earning the minimum wage need a wage to live on. Too many working Kiwis are paid the minimum wage because people aren’t able to negotiate collectively.

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“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. 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.”