Te Ururoa Flavell
The Maori Party is at odds with the Government over the
increase in the minimum wage to $13.75, calling it pitiful.
Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell said the Government had the
opportunity to address low wages by increasing them to a more
realistic level, which he said would be $16 an hour.
Labour Minister Simon Bridges announced the 25-cent increase
today, saying he wanted to balance protecting low income
earners and employers and protecting jobs.
The training and new entrants' minimum wages will also
increase from $10.80 to $11, 80 per cent of the adult minimum
He said the Department of Labour recommended the minimum wage
be increased to $13.80 an hour.
"I don't there is any science in this; there are economic
theorists and they will tell you all sorts of things, but
what I do know is there comes a point when you are putting
people out of jobs and I'm very clear that at $15 we are
putting people out of jobs.
"This is a pro-jobs Government that doesn't want to do that."
Mr Bridges said he did not have any evidence that jobs would
be lost as a result of an increased minimum wage.
Mr Flavell said the Government should focus on reducing wage
inequality by targeting the wages of excessively high income
"There is researched evidence to show that increasing the
minimum wage doesn't lead to massive job losses and it can in
fact increase productivity and economic efficiency," said Mr
Labour spokeswoman on labour issues Darien Fenton called the
increase a slap in the face for the poorest paid workers.
Earlier this month a living wage campaign called on
businesses and local councils to pay workers $18.40 a hour.
Green Party industrial relations spokeswoman Denise Roche
said the 25 cent increase would do little to help the working
poor and a bigger increase was needed.
"The National Government disguises its inaction on the
growing gap between the rich and poor with tiny rises like
today's 1.9 per cent increase to the minimum wage - chief
executives' pay went up nearly 10 per cent last year."
Service and Food Workers Union national secretary John Ryall
said the Government had condemned low paid workers to poverty
with the increase.
"While the Prime Minister pocketed an extra $150 a week
December's pay rise, New Zealanders lowest paid workers will
get a miserable $10 increase if they are lucky enough to get
a full week's work," said Mr Ryall.