That is an increase of 40 cents, so not a big deal in itself. However, it is nearly $5 an hour more than the current statutory minimum wage of $15.25. Assuming that hourly rate is paid for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, that amounts to annual pay of $42,016.
Living Wage campaigners say the new rate reflects the movement in the average wage. Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says that there is a 25% turnover in council staff a year. Higher pay will result in more retention and that will save on training costs.
The living wage is defined as the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life and enable workers to live with dignity and participate as active citizens in society. Living Wage national convenor Annie Newman says 64 employers have now adopted the living wage.
In Auckland with its astronomical housing costs it won’t go as far as it will in other parts of the country; in Kapiti the average house price is less than half what it is in Auckland. Nevertheless, we support that amount being paid in Kapiti, too.
As we have commented several times, the problem in Kapiti is the excessive, unwarranted salaries given to top bureaucrats. Dougherty in particular gets over $300,000 a year or more than 7 times the new Auckland minimum. This is patently ridiculous. Shaving $100,000 off that would enable a 40 cents an hour increase to be given to 120 council staff instead.
But is the new council going to tackle this subject? Don’t hold your breath.