The Government's drive for a low-wage economy was exacting a
high cost on New Zealanders and their families, Green Party
MPs at a presentation in Dunedin said this week.
Communities and families were suffering in a hopeless
financial straitjacket, new Green MPs Denise Roche and Jan
Logie said at the Dunedin presentation of their national
campaign "False Economy: The High Cost of a Low Wage
More than 40 people attended the 11th presentation of the
fact-gathering initiative in the Dunningham Suite at the
Dunedin Public Library.
"This is a conversation about human rights and about people's
right to live with dignity in our society," Ms Logie said.
"What happens to our communities when poverty becomes the
norm is that marginalised people become more marginalised.
We're hoping to build empathy and momentum for finding better
People on low incomes hurt the most in difficult financial
times, Ms Roche said.
"So many people on low incomes are under stress. It's
important that we ask people what's going on and get ideas
about what should be done for change." "In times of
recession, there is a lack of sympathy for people on benefits
and the low-paid are used to divide and conquer."
Speakers made presentations from community organisations
representing workers, women, disabled people, youth,
children, refugee and migrant communities, Maori, Pasifika
and mental health.
Service and Foodworkers Union organiser Steven Briggs said
the minimum wage had plunged from 80% of the average wage,
when it was introduced in 1948, to 50% today.
Women's Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said domestic
violence involving women and children from lower
socio-economic situations had dramatically increased as a
result of Government policies.
The MPs said they planned to use the information to oppose
Government policies that were hurting people.