NEWS  |  

New Zealand’s government has revealed the minimum wage will rise by 45 cents an hour to $23.15 from 1 April.

This signals a 2% increase, the slowest rate in 10 years, from the present minimum wage of $22.70.

However, as the cost of living is forecast to rise by over 2% within the next year, people on the minimum wage will likely move backwards financially, the New Zealand Herald reports.

According to Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden, the government is taking a “cautious approach” to hiking the minimum wage due to the “headwinds” the economy is facing.

With economic growth at a record low, more people are predicted to lose their jobs as the effect of high-interest rates filters through to the economy.

Van Velden added that minimum wage hikes surpassed consumer price index (CPI) increases under prior Labour-led governments.

“Between June 2016 and June 2023, overall, the minimum wage increased at nearly twice the rate of inflation, with a 48.8% increase in the minimum wage and a 25.1% increase in consumers price index,” she stated.

“This government’s approach sets the balance right.”

However, according to Camilla Belich, labour workplace relations and safety spokesperson, this latest increase is “pathetic” and “beyond disappointing.”

“The coalition government has chosen to turn a blind eye to our most vulnerable income-earners,” she commented, adding the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) recommended a 4% hike.

Whereas Van Velden proposed increasing the minimum wage by just 1.3%.

Back in 2017, New Zealand’s minimum wage was equivalent to 62% of the average wage, whilst in 2023 it was worth 72%.

“This has made it harder for businesses to issue pay rises or take on more staff,” Van Velden went on to say, adding previous large minimum wage hikes have misrepresented relativities with other wage-earners, the New Zealand Herald report continues.

The country’s training and starting wage will stay at 80% of the adult minimum wage rate and, therefore, increase to $18.52.

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Tags

  • Minimum wage,
  • CPI,
  • Cost of living

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