Kiwis need a living wage

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

Labour’s Work and Wages policy will ensure all New Zealanders receive a decent living wage to stop them from falling further behind, Labour leader Phil Goff said today. Phil Goff launched the policy in Hamilton today. “New Zealanders need a … Phil GOFF Labour Leader Kiwis need a living wage Tuesday, 18 October 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT

Labour’s Work and Wages policy will ensure all New Zealanders receive a decent living wage to stop them from falling further behind, Labour leader Phil Goff said today.

Phil Goff launched the policy in Hamilton today.

“New Zealanders need a decent wage, a fair go at work and confidence they can get jobs to secure their future,” Phil Goff said.

“But growing numbers of Kiwis are struggling to make ends meet and see no end in sight as this government concentrates its effort on the already well-off at the expense of the rest.

“Those at the top have benefited from billions of dollars of tax cuts in the last two years, the super wealthy have increased their wealth by $7 billion and top chief executives received pay rises well above inflation.

“But the vast majority of Kiwis are worse off now than they were three years ago with Statistics NZ indicating last week that inflation rose by 9% and incomes increased by only 2.5% in that period. Meanwhile, record numbers of New Zealanders –100,000 – have left for higher wages in Australia since John Key became prime minister.

“Labour will reverse this government’s punitive changes to employment laws and put in place a system to lift the bar on wages so that we can compete better with Australia. Labour’s plan for a better functioning labour market will include:

• A system for extending minimum wage and conditions standards in suitable industries. • A Workplace Commissioner in the Employment Relations Authority to agree appropriate industry standards. • $15/hour minimum wage. • Repealing National’s 90-day law. • Amending the Holidays Act to ensure 11 days of public holidays each year, regardless of them falling on a weekend day. • Restoring reinstatement as the primary remedy when an employee has been unjustifiably dismissed. “Labour’s Work and Wages policy is a sensible way forward to improve the lives of Kiwis and is standard practice in many other countries we compare ourselves with, including Australia.

“The policy is an important part of our plan to get New Zealand back onto a solid foundation for growth by paying off our ballooning national debt, keeping our state assets, making everyone pay their fair share of tax, creating new jobs through investment in high tech companies, lifting productivity in the workplace and increasing our self-reliance through a larger savings pool.

“To close the gap with Australia we need a plan that builds businesses and delivers for workers. Labour’s plan does this.

“The labour market clearly does not have all the answers. Equally, a return to compulsory unionism is not the answer.

“We must strike a balance. We need a plan that supports competitive businesses and treats workers fairly.

“National keeps talking about wanting a ‘brighter future’ for New Zealand, but only Labour has a plan for the future that includes everyone,” Phil Goff said.

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