The Green Party today announced a workers' package that is part of its plan to build a fairer society where all workers have enough to live on.
The key policy points in the Green Party's plan to make life better for all New Zealand workers are:
- Lifting low wages by moving the minimum wage to $18 an hour by 2017 and introducing a Living Wage for the core Government sector.
- A new legislative minimum redundancy package of four weeks' pay.
- Bringing top pay back into line requiring companies to report on the gap between top and bottom pay.
- Measures to boost bargaining power and make workplaces safer and more democratic.
"Under National, wages are not enough for many workers and their families to cover the basics and they are not enough to raise kids out of poverty," said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
"Half of all kids below the poverty line have parents in work and nearly 40 percent have parents who are in full time work.
"Under National, the number of kids growing up in poverty in working households is growing, as wages fail to keep pace with rising housing costs.
"In contrast to National the Green Party is committed to make work pay, and to be a real pathway out of poverty.
"In Government, the Green Party will lift the minimum wage to $15 this year and gradually increase it to $18 an hour by 2017.
"Our minimum wage policy will raise pay packets for half a million New Zealanders in our first term.
"A single person on the minimum wage will have $125 a week or $6,400 a year more in the pocket under the Green Party policy.
"A typical low-paid two-adult, two-child family will have $60 a week or $3,300 a year more because of the Living Wage, even once current Working for Families abatements are taken into account.
"In order to make wage increases really pay, we will also allocate $70 million a year to amend abatement rates to Working for Families so parents who work can keep more of what they earn as their wages rise.
"Our wages policy is a core part of our plan to tackle child poverty by ensuring working families earn enough to live.
"Our policy will benefit the hundreds of thousands of New Zealand workers who simply don't earn enough to cover their basic costs.
"Employers will benefit from our policy too, as staff who are paid fairly work harder and are more productive.
"The Government needs to lead by example when it comes to lifting worker's wages so all core public service workers will be paid a Living Wage.
"Workers need greater economic security when they lose their job. To deliver this we will require all employment agreements to contain a minimum redundancy provision of four weeks' pay.
"This new legislative requirement will ensure workers are better looked after at one of the toughest times, when they are laid off from their job.
"Our workers plan will restore the Kiwi dream that is built on the idea that if you work hard, and do your fair share, your income will rise consistently and workers will have what they need for a good life," said Mrs Turei.