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News > New Zealand

New Zealand To Increase Wages for Lowest Paid Workers

  • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at an airport in Wellington, New Zealand on April 19, 2021.

    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks at an airport in Wellington, New Zealand on April 19, 2021. | Photo: Meng Tao/Xinhua

Published 10 February 2022
Opinion

The New Zealand government will raise the minimum wage for the lowest-paid workers by increasing it to 21.2 New Zealand dollars (14.1 U.S. dollars) per hour from April 1, a move expected to benefit approximately 300,000 workers.

The government remains committed to supporting New Zealanders by raising their wages as the country continues recovering and rebuilding from the COVID-19 pandemic, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood said on Friday.

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 New Zealand's current minimum wage is 20 NZ dollars (13.3 U.S. dollars). The 6-percent growth is just above the annual inflation recorded in the last quarter.
   
The minimum wage has increased steadily from 14.75 NZ dollars (9.83 U.S. dollars) in April 2017.
   
Wood said in a statement that with the arrival of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, frontline workers, such as cleaners, supermarket workers, and security guards, have significantly contributed to the COVID response and deserve a pay rise.
   
Raising the minimum wage will help many households that the effects of COVID-19 have most impacted, he said, adding that for people working a 40-hour week on the minimum wage, this increase will see them earning an extra 48 NZ dollars (31.9 U.S. dollars) a week, and almost 2,500 NZ dollars (1,665 U.S. dollars) more each year.
   
Despite some COVID-related disruptions to the labor market in New Zealand, the latest statistics show employment is increasing across most sectors thanks to the wage relief and resurgence packages to support people and businesses, the minister said.
   
The wage increase will also have a stimulatory effect on the economy as many workers will spend the extra money on goods and services, which in turn, will help support businesses, Wood said.

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