New Zealand minimum wage will increase by 50 centavos to $15.25 per hour beginning April, affecting over 150,000 workers. While this increase will not result in the cutting of jobs, the government stated that additional 25-centavo increase to $15.50 would cost around 2,000 jobs.
Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse assured the public that the government has made sure that there will be a balance between keeping the jobs and protecting the workers with the lowest pay. He added that the wage increase by 3.4 percent provides the lowest paid workers to earn more with no pressure given to the businesses given the current annual inflation at 0.1 percent.
The New Zealand minimum wage increase, according to the Public Service Association, is much better than no increase. However, it does not actually address the current need for workers to have a more decent life. President Richard Wagstaff of Council of Trade also noted that the increase will never make a significant effect on the workers who are on the said rates, NZ Herald reported. Instead, a policy must be made to improve the minimum wage to keep it on a higher level, he insisted.
However, ACT leader David Seymour believes that the increase will have a negative impact on the regional businesses, specifically the small ones that generally charge less. He added that the wage increase might discourage hiring which can result in business failures and layoffs.
In other news, Woodhouse noted that the officials based the effect of increase to the current figure of $19.25 per hour Living Wage, and that it will have an effect on 500,000 workers, will cost 28,000 jobs and rise up costs by $500M to the government. He insists that there is room for the Living Wage, however, it is not the minimum wage.
New Zealand minimum wage has been increased by the government every year from $12 to $15.25, an overall rise of 27 percent compared to the inflation which is around 11 percent, Stuff reported.