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Govt hikes minimum wage 3.3% to $15.75/hour

Tuesday 24th January 2017

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Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced the minimum wage will rise 50 cents from April 1 to $15.75 per hour, or about 53 percent of the average hourly rate. 

The 3.3 percent increase will directly benefit 119,500 people, or 4.8 percent of people employed, Woodhouse said in a statement. In 2016, when the rate was raised 50 cents to $15.25, 152,700 directly benefited, or 6.4 percent of the workforce at the time, of which 74,900 were on $14.75 an hour. 

The starting out and training hourly minimum wages for youth workers will increase to $12.60 from $12.20 per hour, remaining at 80 percent of the adult minimum wage. 

"At a time when annual inflation is 0.4 percent, a 3.3 percent increase to the minimum wage will give our lowest paid workers more money in their pockets, without hindering job growth or imposing undue pressure on businesses," Woodhouse said. "Annual increases to the minimum wage since 2009 reflect this government’s commitment to growing the economy, boosting incomes and supporting job growth throughout New Zealand." 

Hourly wages rose at a 1.7 percent annual pace in the September quarter to $29.78, 49 cents higher than a year earlier, as an expanding population has kept a lid on pay increases. 

The current minimum wage of $15.25 is about 51 percent of the average hourly rate of $29.78, and has been trending higher since 2009 when it was about 49.6 percent.

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