Advocates for the living wage have put the figure for 2017 at $20.20 an hour and comes into effect on July 1. This is an increase of 40c on 2016’s rate of $19.80 and is in line with the average movement in wages. The rate is set by the New Zealand Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit in the Hutt Valley led by Charles Waldegrave.
The Living Wage is an hourly wage a worker needs to pay for the necessities of life and participate as an active citizen in the community. It reflects the basic expenses of workers and their families such as food, transportation, housing and childcare.
Sixty-four companies in New Zealand are accredited as living wage employers. Last year, the majority of representatives on six councils around New Zealand voted in favour of paying all council employees the living wage. Living Wage national convener, Annie Newman, said it was important for councils to lead the charge by paying their staff and contractors a living wage. “There is a moral imperative when you are using the money you’ve taken out of people’s pockets, either by tax or rates, that you are using it for the public good. In other words you are using it to create flourishing, thriving communities and you can’t have those communities if people aren’t paid enough.” Newman also told Radio NZ that people on the living wage are able to spend more time with their families, rather than having to work continuously.