INDEPENDENT NEWS

Policy position: Minimum wage must go up - Greens

Published: Thu 11 Nov 1999 12:36 AM
The Green Party is calling for a substantial increase to the minimum wage,
as part of its commitment to social equity and local economic development.
Enterprise and Employment spokesperson Sue Bradford, speaking at the West
Auckland District Council of Social Services Political Forum today, said the
Green Party believed an increase was possible as part of a shift by New
Zealand away from "a low-wage servant of globalisation to a work-rich
nation".
New Zealand's minimum adult wage of $7 per hour was 42.5 per cent of the
average wage, compared to an OECD recommendation it be set at 68 per cent,
Ms Bradford said.
"It's grossly exploitative," she said. "It is simply unjust for employers to
pay people less than it costs to live, let alone support a family."
The Trade Union Federation proposed a minimum wage raise to $8.25 an hour.
Ms Bradford said the Green Party was sympathetic to TUF arguments and
believed Green policies would create conditions which allowed a meaningful
increase in the minimum wage.
"Just as we believe those who pollute must face the true costs of their
action, so we believe that the social costs of low-pay must be faced up to
by business rather than passed on to the community and the taxpayer," she
said.
"The core of ensuring an adequate minimum income is ensuring that we create
an economy that is rich in jobs and uses resources sparingly. We must accept
the challenge of creating work with dignity rather than McJobs."
Ms Bradford said the Green Party's Buy Local campaign, support for a
community bank and switching taxes from work to pollution were steps towards
helping protect and boost real jobs for New Zealanders and so helping moves
towards increasing the minimum wage.
Sue Bradford: 025 243 4239

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