The National government’s increase in the minimum wage by 50 cents to $15.75 an hour will not change the living standards of unemployed and low-wage workers struggling with rent and food.
“With the costs of living increasing, a low wage economy, and welfare reforms which have caused increased poverty, this wage increase is an insult,” says AAAP spokerperson Vanessa Cole.
“Unemployment and competition for work enables employers to continue to pay poverty wages with legislative support from the government.
“Yet the government continue to punish beneficiaries and unemployed workers, blaming them for the poverty the wealthy create.
“Beneficiaries are being forced by Work and Income into low-paid, casual and temporary work which force them into a poverty trap between low benefit payments and low wages.
“If we assume people are in full-time employment, this increase will get them $640.00 a week.
“In Auckland, where average rents are now over $500, this increase will do little for those struggling to pay rent and basic necessities.
“The calculated living wage is $19.80, with Auckland’s living wage even higher. This increase does not even come close to the amount needed to live with dignity.
“AAAP supports a progressive UBI, a living wage for all workers, an increase in benefit payments and an end to the war being waged on the poor.