About Us

A grassroots Movement: Our Story

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.”

The Living Wage emerged as a response to growing poverty and inequality that continues to hold back so many Kiwi workers, their families and our economy. 

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 Research Unit established the first Living Wage rate for New Zealand, $18.40 per hour.

Our kaupapa: What we do

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, and large employers who can afford to pay a Living Wage. 

Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand brings together community/secular, union and faith-based groups to campaign for a Living Wage.

We uphold four key principles, including that the Living Wage Movement is:

  1. non-party political
  2. built locally through local relationships and local issues
  3. independent of government in terms of funding and association
  4. comprised of three streams of the membership: secular/community, union, faith-based groups.

We also have an accreditation system available for employers, who meet the criteria to become a Living Wage Employer. 

This is a trademark and cannot be used unless a licence has been signed committing the business to pay no less than the Living Wage to directly employed and contracted workers, delivering services on a regular and ongoing basis. 

See the Employer section of this website for more: Living Wage Employers and for any questions contact [email protected].

Our people

National Governance Board members (2023)

Alec Toleafoa - Polynesian Panthers

Annie Newman - Treasurer  - E tū

Bridget Sinclair – Secretary – Aotearoa Legal Workers’ Union

Camille Nakhid - Migrant Action Trust 

Chas Muir - Anglican Care

Hiueni Nuku - Porirua Union and Community Health Service

Jenny Dawson - Anglican Diocese of Wellington

Kerry Davies - Public Service Association

Muriel Tunoho - Hutt Union and Community Health Service

Stephen King – Chair - St Peter’s on Willis St

Xavier Walsh - UNITE Union

The Governance Board would like to thank the JR Mckenzie Trust, our member organisations, Living Wage Accredited Employers, and our Principal Partners Council for funding and supporting the work of the Living Wage Movement.

We acknowledge volunteers working tirelessly in our communities to advocate for the Living Wage.

Members of the Living Wage Movement

The Living Wage Movement is a group membership-based organisation. The Movement organises through groups because groups build the power of civil society, bringing together thousands of people who share a common goal of reducing poverty and inequality in New Zealand.

There are three streams of membership: 

• Community/secular groups 

• Faith-based religious groups

• Union groups 

If you are part of a group or organisation you can become a Member Group of the Living Wage Movement and stand for leadership positions on our National Governance Committee or in a local network. Click here to become a member organisation.