Week 18 – Living wage

I was put in touch with someone from the New Zealand Living Wage Movement and realised this is something I needed to learn more about.

What I discovered

A living wage is the hourly wage needed for a family to meet basic needs: to live simply but with dignity. The living wage is constantly changing, and almost always increasing (following the cost of living): last year it was $18.80/hr NZD, and this year it is $19.25/hr NZD. Between 500,000 and 750,000 people in New Zealand are living in households with incomes below the poverty line, and the gap between rich and poor continues to increase.

Action

I went to a hearing with the city council, and spoke to councillors and the Mayor about why the council providing a living wage to all its employees would be a good example to businesses in the region. I do not know whether the presentation will have any immediate effect on the council, but hopefully change will occur with time if the Living Wage Movement persists with its message.

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