11 November 2011
John Key covers up the facts on minimum wage
Prime Minister John Key has been caught out sitting on a report from his top economic advisers that says a higher
minimum wage does not cost jobs, Labour Leader Phil Goff said today.
“John Key has repeatedly told New Zealanders that lifting the minimum wage to $15 an hour would cost jobs despite
getting Treasury advice 18 months ago that would not happen.
“The Treasury report from March 5, 2010, says: ‘We have evidence that has not been true in the past, so without new
evidence the balance of probabilities is that a higher minimum wage does not generally lead to higher unemployment’.
“John Key has known this for 18 months. But that has not stopped him repeatedly telling New Zealanders that Labour’s
plan to lift the rate to $15 an hour in its first year in government would cost jobs. He based this on a report from the
Department of Labour.
“He said it numerous times in May after Labour made the announcement and twice last week during lives debates,” Phil
“In the Christchurch debate he couldn’t have been clearer when he said to a live audience of 600 people: ‘Lift the wage
overnight from $13 to $15? What that'll see is some people paid more, and another chunk of New Zealanders lose their
“It is outrageous that he’s sat on this advice all this time and tried to fool people by talking only about one report,
instead of putting all the facts on the table,” Phil Goff said.
“He should stop playing games with Kiwis. Raising the minimum wage does not cost jobs.
“It is the right thing to do because working families are struggling. With costs increasing four times faster than wages
and National putting GST up to 15% life is getting much tougher. People just can’t get by on $13 an hour.
“That’s why Labour will make this change happen. It gives families more money to live on and puts more money into the
economy, which means more jobs.”
The Treasury report, released under the OIA to TV3, is available here