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Increase to the minimum wage aids Pacific families


07 January 2019


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The recent increase of the minimum wage to $16.50 last year, before rising to $20.00 an hour by 2021 will help many Pacific families.

The wage increase is a big step towards getting Pacific families out of the depths of poverty and contributes largely to the health and wellbeing of low paid workers.

In July 2018, SouthSeas Healthcare GP Tagaloa Dr Andrew Chan Mow appeared on the Tagata Pasifika TV programme, voicing his concerns about the high number of patients asking for support letters to get into subsidised housing.

Dr Chan Mow says the increase in the minimum wage will help advance the health of many struggling Pacific families as higher incomes are clearly linked to better health.

The impact of poor housing is undeniably associated with poverty and Dr Chan Mow sees the devastating effects poverty has on Pacific families and people in South Auckland through his work on a daily basis.

The increase in the minimum wage should be about discussions on health and wellbeing and not about the economic implications.

Dr Chan Mow says we must acknowledge that better wages mean improving the health and wellbeing of struggling individuals, and in particular Pacific communities.

Dr Chan Mow writes over 100 support letters each year to help people get into homes.

Statistics New Zealand 2017 data shows Pacific people have the lowest median income, sitting at $23,686 per annum and nearly half (49%) of all Pacific people earn below $20,000.

The current minimum wage rates (before tax) as at 1 April 2018 applying to employees aged 16 years or over are:

Type of minimum wage

Per hour

8 hour day

40 hour week

80 hour fortnight

Adult

$16.50

$132.00

$660.00

$1,320.00

Starting-out

$13.20

$105.60

$528.00

$1,056.00

Training

$13.20

$105.60

$528.00

$1,056.00

Employees have to be paid at least the minimum hourly wage rate for every hour worked.

Anyone who thinks they are being paid less than the minimum wage should contact the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on 0800 20 90 20.

Minimum wage rates are set by the Government and are reviewed on an annual basis.

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