Today's 25 cent increase to the minimum wage will do little to help the working poor and a bigger increase is urgently needed, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.
"The National Government disguises its inaction on the growing gap between the rich and poor with tiny rises like today's 1.9 per cent increase to the minimum wage - CEOs pay went up nearly 10 per cent last year.
"Today's 25 cent increase to the minimum wage is the bare minimum the National Government can do," Ms Roche said.
"The minimum wage should be increased to 66% of the average wage, with an immediate increase to $15 an hour. Research shows that arguments that it would cost jobs are wrong and in fact a higher minimum wage would be good for the economy.
"The minimum wage at $13.75 is too low. It should be based on what people actually need in order to have a decent life, not on the whim of Cabinet and business.
"Increasing the minimum wage substantially would be a step towards reaching a living wage of $18.40 an hour which would give workers enough to actually get by on.
"Lifting pay rates for New Zealand's lowest paid workers will reduce inequality and poverty.
"Today's increase must be a bitter pill for those on the new entrants' minimum wage who will now get $11 an hour for doing the same work others get paid $13.75 for.
"Lifting pay is essential to bridge the widening chasm between the haves and the have-nots," Ms Roche said.