Greens plan to boost minimum wage

The Green Party wants a minimum wage of $18 an hour by 2017, a minimum redundancy package of four weeks' pay, and measures to shrink the gap between a company's highest and lowest paid.

It also plans to abolish youth wages, 90-day trial periods for new workers, and the employment law changes made for The Hobbit that makes screen workers contractors by default.

Party co-leader Metiria Turei announced the workers policy in Wellington this morning.

"Half of all kids below the poverty line have parents in work and nearly 40 percent have parents who are in full time work," Mrs Turei said.

Higher wages would make work a more effective pathway out of poverty, she said.

The Greens want to bump the minimum wage to $15 an hour in December, and then by $1 an hour each year to $18 an hour by 2017.

"Our minimum wage policy will raise pay packets for half a million New Zealanders in our first term. A single person on the minimum wage will have $125 a week or $6400 a year more in the pocket under the Green Party policy," Mrs Turei said

The policy also features a Living Wage of $18.80 an hour for core Government sector workers, a statutory minimum redundancy package of four weeks' pay, and requiring large companies to disclose the pay gap between male and female workers, and the gap between top and bottom salaries.

The party also wants to tweak Working for Families abatement rates so families can keep more of their own salaries when their pay goes up.

The extra tax revenue from increasing the minimum wage would be almost $2 billion over four years.

This would more than pay for the $1.1 billion cost over four years for increasing the wages for Government workers, as well as a $10 million social enterprise fund for increasing cooperation and democracy in workplaces.

"Our policy will benefit the hundreds of thousands of New Zealand workers who simply don't earn enough to cover their basic costs," Mrs Turei said.

"Our workers plan will restore the Kiwi dream that is built on the idea that if you work hard, and do your fair share, your income will rise consistently and workers will have what they need for a good life."

- By Derek Cheng of the New Zealand Herald 

Add a Comment