22 May 2011

$15 minimum wage - Labour

9:58 pm on 22 May 2011

Labour vows to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour in its first year in office.

Party leader Phil Goff says lifting the minimum wage will ensure that people who work for a living get a fair living wage.

He told an election year conference of the party that the move is part of a plan to grow the economy.

Mr Goff said the goal must be to grow a high skill, high-tech, high wage economy.

Increase would lift unemployment

The Employers and Manufacturers Association says Labour's plan to raise the minimum wage would lift unemployment especially among young people.

Its chief executive, Alasdair Thompson, says if employers are forced to pay higher wages to unskilled workers they'll be unable to create more jobs for school leavers.

Mr Thompson says the country's productivity needs to grow before the minimum wage can be lifted.

He says if Labour was to increase the minimum wage it should also reinstate the youth minimum wage.