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The shocking facts show Living Wage is needed now
Posted On: Thursday, 23 August 2012

"The shocking facts about what is really happening in New Zealand revealed in a key report show the desperate need for a living wage," said Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary John Ryall today.

"Inequality and poverty are growing at a truly arming rate and while the top earners are doing better than ever, those on low and even "middle" incomes struggle to survive.

The Ministry of Social Development's Household Incomes in New Zealand: Trends in Indicators of Inequality and Hardship 1982 to 2011 shows increasing numbers of children and families in poverty and of those children in poverty, 60 per cent are in severe poverty.

"Members of our union, many of whom are employed in the very lowest paid jobs in New Zealand, increasingly tell us they can no longer afford the basic necessities and struggle to provide school uniforms for their children or afford decent food," said John Ryall.

"With inequality at its highest level ever, and the child poverty rate over 20 per cent, the report clearly backs what an increasing number of New Zealanders are saying: low household incomes are the problem."

John Ryall said Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand, which unites over 75 community and faith-based organisations and unions committed to addressing poverty and inequality through lifting low pay, was clearly a movement whose time has come.

"It is timely that the Wellington launch of Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand is planned for next week. Momentum is building around the call for a living wage and this report is further evidence of the urgent need."

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