What the Living Wage Movement is asking this election..

Thousands of New Zealanders work in the wider state sector, publicly funded schools, hospitals and health care providers.

Inside these workplaces are people who deliver cleaning, groundskeeping, catering and other care and maintenance services. Many are on low hourly wages, even though they're essential workers.

An incoming Government can change this. They can ensure these workers receive a living wage, and can live with dignity.

We’re asking political parties to keep paying living wages to workers in public service.

The Living Wage Movement spent years urging our government to pay all their workers at least the Living Wage. And eventually, they listened.

In 2018, the Government committed to paying workers in the core public service at least the Living Wage. In 2021, this was extended to include contracted staff, who are often the lowest paid.

The first affected were MSD security guards like Robert Duston. Here’s what he had to say:

When I supported my daughter growing up, it was very hard on low security pay, so I'm pleased for others in similar circumstances. I wake up every morning knowing I’m being paid what I’m worth.

No matter who ends up in Government, this must continue. Too many lives have transformed to go back now. At the national Living Wage Movement election forum, we’ll be asking party leaders to maintain a Living Wage for directly-employed and contracted workers in the public service.

We’re also asking political parties to extend the payment of living wages to workers in publicly-funded education and health.

Many workers in publicly-funded sectors, like education and health, are still earning close to the minimum wage. Whether directly employed or contracted, these workers are essential to the function of our hospitals and schools. 

We think that where the Government can provide the funding and direction to ensure that workers can live with dignity, they should.

You can read our policy asks in full here.

On Friday 29 September, at our national Living Wage Election Forum, we found out where the top-polling parties stand.

It was awesome to see our communities turn out in force for the Living Wage Election Forum this year, held in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.

We put our asks to the candidates and here are the results! Note that parties who did not send a representative do not get any ticks – you have to show up to get on the scorecard.