For the past five years a group of Wellington musicians has produced the Living Wage stage at the Newtown festival, New Zealand’s largest street festival. The musicians formed Artists for a Living Wage and set out to share the Living Wage message through performance and creativity and bring that message to the huge crowds who attend the Wellington event. Living Wage Wellington, the local movement, has used the stage as the background for a stall highlighting the campaign for Wellington to become New Zealand’s first Living Wage council and, now with Wellington City council being an accredited Living Wage Employer, the campaign for Wellington to become New Zealand’s first Living Wage city.
Every year there has been a different line-up of musicians and other performers. On 8 March Don McGlashan headlined the Living Wage stage. Hundreds of people packed out the space in front of the stage and Don held the audience spellbound for around half and hour of his music from the past four decades. Whether it was Claude Rains, I Wish I Was In Wellington or Anchor Me, the crowd loved it.
Throughout the performance Don took the time to strongly advocate for the Living Wage. Wearing a T-shirt from local Living Wage employer, Good Fortune coffee, he gave a big shout out to Living Wage employers everywhere and spoke of the need for workers to have the Living Wage and for people to get active in the Living Wage Movement.
“In a country as small and well-off as Aotearoa New Zealand, we shouldn’t see the inequality that we see every day – families sleeping in cars, food banks and soup kitchens stretched beyond capacity,” Don said. “A Living Wage is a start, to enable more of us to live in dignity, and contribute to our community as citizens.”