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MEDIA RELEASE: LIVING WAGE MOVEMENT AOTEAROA NZ

29 February 2016

$19.80 an hour — The 2016 New Zealand Living Wage rate

 

The 2016 New Zealand Living Wage rate is $19.80 an hour. 

The rate was announced today at a gathering of employers, faith and community groups and unions at Pivotal Thames, a medium sized printing business in Wellington. Also present were local body and national politicians. 

The updated Living Wage rate was identified by Charles Waldegrave, from the Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit. Along with Dr Peter King, Mr Waldegrave conducted the extensive research which established the first New Zealand Living Wage rate of $18.40, which was announced in February 2013.

The updates of 2014, 2015 and now 2016 were based on the average movement of hourly wages. The 2015 rate of $19.25 has been updated to $19.80 to reflect an average wage movement of 2.8%. The new rate comes into effect on 1 July.

Each adjustment has been based on the annual wage movement to June the previous year to remain consistent with the timeframe used to identify the original figure.   

“Because this is a Living Wage, it is important that it is regularly updated to enable workers and their families to earn a decent income, so they can not just survive, but participate in society,” said Living Wage Aotearoa NZ National Convenor, Annie Newman.  

Annie Newman said the rise of 55 cents an hour was very modest.  0.55 cents an hour will mean an extra $4.40 a day and $22 for a 40-hour week for a worker on the Living Wage. 

In the same timeframe, the CEOs of New Zealand's biggest companies enjoyed an average pay rise of 10 per cent, their biggest rise since 2010. 

ANZ New Zealand's chief executive David Hisco, received $4.27 million in 2014 — up around $250,000 from the year before. 

“The extreme differences in increases for those at the top and bottom of the earnings ladder continues to contribute to escalating inequality in New Zealand,” said Annie Newman.  

“Employers adopting the Living Wage can make a significant difference to addressing inequality and not only is the Living Wage good for workers and their families, but it is good for employers and local economies.”

The 2015 increase in the minimum wage was 3.5%. The government has signalled an increase in the minimum wage in April.

 

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Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand
Media release

17 February 2016

Living Wage is affordable for Auckland Council – Report

An independent report released today shows that implementation of a Living Wage for all Auckland Council workers is affordable and consistent with the Council’s goals.

Living Wage in the world’s most liveable city 2016 prepared by Catriona MacLennan shows that paying all directly employed and contracted workers at least the Living Wage rate of $19.25 is not only affordable but will be hugely beneficial for the city.

The report highlight’s Auckland Council’s future vision to 2040 of creating “the world’s most liveable city,” and that the Auckland Plan identifies social and economic inequalities as a contributing factor in Auckland’s economic underperformance.

Paying the Living Wage will go a long way towards addressing low family incomes, high housing costs, and the high cost of accumulated debts.

Many of Auckland’s local boards have supported the Living Wage and it is anti-democratic for those decisions to be overruled, particularly by unelected officials. 

Catriona says that full implementation of the Living Wage at Auckland Council would cost less than 0.02% of the Council’s total budget. Arguments that the Living Wage is unaffordable are completely unfounded.

“If you look at the cost of the Living Wage in that context, it’s tiny. Despite this, we’re told the Council can’t afford a living wage,” Catriona says.

The report suggests a number of ways the Living Wage could be implemented, such as a pay increase freeze for those on the highest incomes at Auckland Council Group, and the Mayor and Councillors.

“In 2015, Auckland Council Group had 1840 staff paid less than the Living Wage. That’s up from the 2011 figure of 1503 workers paid less than the Living Wage,” Catriona says.

“But, at the same time as the number of people paid less than the Living Wage was rising, so was the number paid over $100,000. In 2015 Auckland Council Group had 1912 employees paid $100,000 or more, up from 1720 in 2014.

“So the number of people paid over $100,000 almost exactly matches the number paid less than the Living Wage – 1912 to 1840. Wouldn’t it be great if those people earning the most gave up a little of their pay, so everyone could have enough to live on?”

The report also identifies other measures that would make implementation affordable and easy, such as using the savings made from proper utilisation of technology and efficiency programmes.

“It’s not that Auckland Council can’t afford to pay a Living Wage. It has an asset base of $42 billion and spends billions on infrastructure. The cost of the Living Wage is tiny in comparison.

At the moment, Auckland Council chooses not to pay a Living Wage. It’s a choice, and right now, the Council doesn’t think the Living Wage is important enough.”

ENDS

The report Living Wage in the world’s most liveable city 2016 prepared by Catriona MacLennan is attached.

For more information or comment, please contact:

Catriona MacLennan: 021 082 03908

Annie Newman, Living Wage Convener: 027 204 6340

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