Minimum wage increase will see businesses close

It is disappointing that the Government is will be pressing ahead with the minimum wage increase on April 1 given the slowing economy and recent yo-yoing between alert levels.

“We all want to see sustained wage growth, but sharply increasing the minimum wage during a period of extreme uncertainty for small businesses is economic vandalism,” National’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Scott Simpson says.

“A hike to the minimum wage might benefit those fortunate enough to keep their jobs, but the broader impact will be fewer hours, fewer jobs and many more businesses closing up shop.

“The Government has already heaped extra costs onto business by extending sick leave and creating another public holiday. Increasing the minimum wage will be the final straw for businesses struggling through the pandemic.

“Labour seems oblivious to the fact that many small businesses are finding it hard just to keep the lights on.”

National’s Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says there are more than 200,000 people on Jobseeker, which is almost 80,000 more people desperate for a job today than when Labour came into office.

“Knowing the minimum wage has gone up will be little comfort to the thousands of Kiwis who will be locked out of the workforce as more small businesses are forced to close their doors.

“After struggling through the toughest year in living memory and doing whatever they could to keep their workers employed, this cost increase imposed from Wellington is a slap in the face for small businesses.

“With one in every eight New Zealanders on a benefit, sacrificing small businesses in an attempt to look kind is not going to help bring that number down.

“If the Government was serious about protecting jobs, it would have postponed its increase to the minimum wage.”