Some 8000 jobs may be lost with today’s minimum wage hike, about equal to the population of Motueka, National’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Scott Simpson says.
“National raised the minimum wage every year in Government in step with inflation and economy-wide wage rises. They were reasonable and manageable for small businesses, but this Government’s decisions are too much, too fast and based on ideology and political deal-making.
“Today’s minimum wage hike is the steepest in New Zealand history and forces new costs onto businesses, making it harder for them to maintain or create new jobs. Two more sharp increases are coming by 2020 because of Labour’s coalition deal with NZ First.
“Workers and businesses are being hurt by this Government’s poor policy decisions on employment. They’ll soon both lose control of decisions on pay and conditions when they’re forced into compulsory national awards.
“We have much to be proud of as a world-beating economy of nimble, innovative companies that grow and hire more workers. But this Government is dragging us back to an age when New Zealand limped along on subsidies and was held hostage by trade unions.
“We’re enduring the worst outbreak of strikes in three decades and employment data is deteriorating. Unemployment has jumped by 10,000 in the past three months and 11,000 more people have enrolled on jobseeker in the past year. ANZ’s business confidence survey shows firms’ willingness to hire more workers has all but stalled.
“Even the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund is a sham for jobs with hardly any created. The last thing we need is Government policies killing off jobs and stifling our economy but now even the Reserve Bank says the New Zealand economy is losing momentum.
“Advice to Iain Lees-Galloway shows this year’s minimum wage hike will cost the Government $93 million and add $230 million of costs to New Zealand in total, inevitably leading to higher prices. Treasury says further hikes to reach $20/hour by 2021 ‘could be more significant’.
“National supports policies that drive economic growth and ultimately benefit all our communities. We need a productive, growing economy to meet the needs of all New Zealanders.”