Enough To Live On?

Patrick Bray

Is $15.75 an hour enough to live on?

By Kapiti College student Patrick Bray

I believe that New Zealand needs the Living Wage now. But paying it is voluntary in this country, and there are apparently no accredited Living Wage employers in Kapiti.

I happen to be  a 17-year-old student in year 12 at Kapiti College and I’ve joined the movement for a Living Wage ( $20.20) because I support the ideas and concepts.

The current NZ Living Wage rate is $20.20 an hour, compared to the minimum wage of $15.75 an hour.


Add your support

As supporters in Kapiti, we can support the growing demand for the for the Living Wage by volunteering to support Living Wage actions and get involved by signing up as a supporter of the Living Wage movement. Do this online at http://www.livingwage.org.nz/  

Good Fortune, good pay

Next time you are at the supermarket look out for Living Wage companies such as Nice Blocks, Little Island Ice Cream and Good Fortune coffee. Buying these products means you are supporting the Living Wage. But you could be the first accredited Living Wage employer in Kapiti.

I’m interested in the Living Wage campaigners because they focus on income inequality and how it affects the growing rates of poverty in New Zealand.

I think that it is unacceptable that so many people live in poverty or unbearable living conditions. It is unacceptable that so many people are not getting the wage they need to live a bearable life.

My goal is to make younger people understand how the Living Wage will benefit us, especially our future.

So, what is the Living Wage? It’s the pay rate workers need to have the basic necessities of life to support themselves and their families.

It is not just a bare survival rate, nor is it a luxury rate. But it’s enough to afford the necessities of life. This will allow quality time with your family and community.

Getting more time for family life

If people don’t have to work at two different jobs or long hours so they can pay the rent, they will have more time to contribute to the life of their community and do things like a family outing to the park, attending parent-teacher meetings and participate more in their children’s lives.

So the current New Zealand Living Wage rate is $20.20 an hour, compared to the minimum wage of $15.75 an hour.

It takes $20.20 an hour to sustain a basic life, so how is $15.75 supposed to support anyone? The minimum wage makes me embarrassed for New Zealand as we are meant to be a developed country.

I am also irritated that the National Government is doing nothing to counter income inequality and poverty in our country.

The New Zealand Living Wage rate has been calculated by two experts in their field, Charles Waldegrave and Dr Peter King.

They used research methodology similar to that used around the world where the Living Wage has been adopted. It is updated every year and the new rate is announced in February.

Why is our government not taking action to lift wages in New Zealand?

United call for a Living Wage

Across New Zealand, people who care about poverty are uniting to call for the Living Wage.

Living Wage supporters outside the KCDC HQ in Paraparaumu

These people are from a wide range of organisations, including faith groups, community organisations, unions and also students.

They have come together in the Living Wage Movement, committed to addressing poverty and inequality in New Zealand. If these organisations can act why does our government not take action as well?

Enduring benefits

The Living Wage has advantages for future generations. If parents get paid more, kids will be the ones that will immediately benefit.

They will have a better lifestyle and this will help them do better at school and they will be more likely to do well. Parents will be able to spend more time with their children and have more family time.

That means kids have a better understanding of the world around them. It means kids will be able to form better friendships and relationships with other people because they will feel secure and safe. The Living Wage is the future and it does matter!

There are 72 official Living Wage employers in New Zealand. We should support these employers and their products.

So do you think $15.75 ( the minimum wage) is enough?

What a great article. The Living Wage is good for our whole Kapiti community.