Yesterday the Unite Union launched a petition for a Citizens Initiated Referendum on immediately increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour and eventually increasing it to 66% of the average wage.
Now I’m normally no great fan of Citizens Initiated Referenda – largely because it seems too easy to get leading or misleading questions, like that in Larry Baldock’s silly smacking one, approved.
But Unite’s one to increase the minimum wage is worth supporting. An adult in a full time job should have a reasonable standard of living without getting into debt or relying on charity or income support. $15 an hour – $600 a week – is a good start.
Unlike superannuation or benefits the minimum wage is not automatically increased each year. By making it 66% of the average wage (the same as the married rate for superannuation) it will keep the lowest paid New Zealand workers out of poverty.
If you want to help gather signatures for the petition you can download petition forms here.
Meanwhile, Melissa Lee seems to have made a fool of herself (yet again) at the Unite Union’s candidate forum. Lee quipped “I think I am currently on $2 an hour”.
Actually, she is on $131,000 a year, plus expenses. I doubt workers on the current minimum wage of $26,000 a year (if they work 40 hours a week) would have been very impressed.