The Living Wage, the amount of money a family needs to live on, continued to increase ahead of the minimum wage this week.
This week the government lifted the minimum wage by 50 cents to $15.25, seven years after unions first called for a $15 minimum wage.
Meanwhile, the Living Wage Movement announced that the money a person now needs to earn to give her or his family the basic necessities of life has increased by 55 cents to $19.80 an hour.
$19.80 per hour is about $39,000 per year for someone with a full-time job, whereas the minimum wage is about $30,000 for someone in full-time work.
TradeMe estimates the average rent in New Zealand is over $22,000 per year. In Auckland, it is closer to $26,000.
CTU president Richard Wagstaff said the increase to the minimum wage was just treading water.
“The minimum wage should be enough to take your family to the doctor, buy nutritious groceries, replace your washing machine if it breaks down. The minimum wage should be a wage you can live on, not just exist on.”
TEU vice-president Phil Edwards says that there are people across New Zealand working for tertiary institutions, as employees and contractors, who are not getting enough money to live on.
Edwards says many British universities are now official Living Wage employers and it is time for New Zealand institutions to follow suit.