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Minimum wage to be raised

The minimum wage will be lifted to $18.90 per hour in April next year.

The Government announced the increase as the next step in its plan for a $20 minimum wage by 2021.

Around a quarter of a million workers will gain an extra $1.20 an hour.

“The new $18.90 rate will mean an extra $48 per week before tax for Kiwis who work for 40 hours on the current minimum wage," said Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

Auckland security guard Lavinia Kafoa is thrilled with the news and said it was a struggle to keep up with all the rising costs, especially rent.

“As a single mother, every bit of extra income makes a lot of difference."

“For my family, being on minimum wage means I spend many more hours at work than with my boys at home. I explain to them that mum has to work more hours to earn more money so we can afford everything we need.

“It can be especially hard during the school holidays. My boys are at home, so I have to get everything ready for them before I go to work. I wish I could spend more time with them.”

The new hourly rate is a significant and meaningful increase to the minimum wage, said Richard Wagstaff, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions President.

But he said there was more the Government could do, such as the introduction of Fair Pay Agreements and enhanced protections for those working as contractors.

E tū Assistant National Secretary Annie Newman said that while minimum wage increases are very important, they are only one part of the picture.

"In the 2017 election campaign, all three coalition partners committed to paying the Living Wage to all core government workers, including those employed by contractors.

“Time’s running out to deliver the Living Wage for the people who need it most.”

The starting out and training wages will also see a boost, with a rise to $15.12 per hour from 1 April 2020, remaining at 80% of the adult minimum wage.