The Living Wage rate is voluntary and for 2019 has been calculated to be $21.15 per hour, $3.45 more than the minimum wage set by the Government and currently $17.70.
The first Living Wage campaign was launched in 2012 in Auckland and in Wellington followed by other local networks around the country. Supporting organisations joined forces around a statement of commitment to a Living Wage. More than 200 groups agreed:
"A living wage is the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life. A living wage will enable workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society. We call upon the Government, employers and society as a whole to strive for a living wage for all households as a necessary and important step in the reduction of poverty in New Zealand.”
In April 2013 an incorporated society was formed called Living Wage Movement Aotearoa NZ with a governance body and membership comprising the three streams of civil society: faith based religious groups, unions and community/secular groups. In the same year independent research by the Family Centre Social Policy Unit established the first Living Wage rate for New Zealand, $18.40 per hour. This was updated the following February 2014 to $18.80 per hour, in February 2016 to $19.80, in February 2017 to $20.20 and in April 2018 to $20.55.
The Living Wage Movement is not aligned to any political party but seeks to influence those who have the power to change the lives of workers and their families. The focus of attention is where incomes are funded through public money, the large employers who can afford to pay a Living Wage. Many small and ethical employers choose to pay a Living Wage and have become accredited.
The Living Wage Movement is grateful to the support of the JR McKenzie Trust which has funded two half time community organisers for four years in Wellington and Auckland and supported research on the impact of our residential training on the effectiveness of the Movement. The JR McKenzie Trust has become a Living Wage Employer ensuring it lives the values of justice as a businesses as well as in its extensive philanthropic work in Aotearoa NZ.
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