Few candidates attend forum

Living Wage hosted a forum for Invercargill City Council mayoral and council candidates yesterday in Bluff.

However, only about quarter of the council candidates and half the candidates for mayor attended the event, which promoted a commitment to introducing the living wage for all council employees and contractors.

Council candidates present were Lindsay Abbott, Barry Chilton, Kari Graber, Carol Jasperse and Graham Lewis.

Mayor and council candidates Becs Amundsen and Steve Chernishov also attended.

Even candidate for Environment Southland Nathan Surendran, who was there as an observer, had the opportunity to talk about the subject, as so few candidates showed up.

Despite this, all the candidates present supported the campaign and raised the importance of the living wage to enable workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society.

However, candidates said it would be harder to achieve this in relation to contractors.

Wellington and Dunedin's city council offer their workers a living wage.

Bluff Living Wage convener Linda Bevin said all the Invercargill City council and mayoral candidates had been formally invited to the event by email.

She had had apologies from Allan Arnold, Thelma Buck, Darren Ludlow and Lesley Soper who were not able to attend the forum.

"It is important to council do this commitment. They need to be leading the way and looking after their workers.

"As a council, they should give a good example to the whole community."

The living wage is calculated by the New Zealand Family Centre Social Policy Unit, based on workers' expenses such as food, transportation, housing and child care.

At present, the living wage is estimated to be about $21.15 per hour, compared with the legally required minimum wage of $17.70 per hour.

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