Minister of Labour Simon Bridges should cut the tired old rhetoric about rises in the minimum wage causing job losses and understand New Zealand has a serious problem with low wages and working poverty that needs to be addressed, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.
“The claim that increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour before Christmas and then to $16.25 next April will cost jobs just isn’t supported by New Zealand’s experience under the last Labour government, nor by overseas research.
“The last Labour government increased the minimum wage by 70 per cent over nine years and had the lowest level of unemployment in the OECD shortly before its term ended.
“The same government more than doubled the training rate over the same time, and youth unemployment went down. It has been over 22 per cent since 2009, even after the National government introduced youth rates and the 90-day law.
“Recent research by the US Department of Labour found that a review of 64 studies on minimum wage increases found no discernible effect on employment, and a UK Low Pay Commission study confirmed minimum wages boosts workers’ pay and doesn’t harm employment.
“We have a problem with a growing number of working poor and it is imperative we lift incomes.
“This is what Labour stands for through a comprehensive economic upgrade to move our economy up the value chain and by regulating sensibly, such as with the minimum wage,” Andrew Little said.