Min­i­mum wage lift has mixed im­pact

The min­i­mum wage has con­tin­ued to rise since 2007. Re­porter Caitlin Wal­lace in­ves­ti­gates how the lat­est spike will af­fect the district.

South Waikato News - - OPINION -

Mixed emo­tions are play­ing out around the district fol­low­ing a rise in the min­i­mum wage.

The adult min­i­mum has now in­creased to $14.25.

Lisa Lid­dell, owner of Bev’s De­light in Pu­taruru, be­lieved the 50 cent in­crease could hurt some of the district’s businesses in­clud­ing her own.

‘‘Con­se­quently I may have to put my prices up, it’s quite a big wage,’’ she said.

Lid­dell, who has five em­ploy­ees, said she would like to pay her staff more than the min­i­mum but it is just not pos­si­ble.

Mean­while, Lich­field Poul­try Farm owner Maria Pat­ter­son, who al­ready pays her em­ploy­ees higher than the min­i­mum, said the in­crease was needed.

‘‘I think it’s a good idea and it needed to be done, people are not earn­ing enough to live on,’’ she said.

In Ti­rau, Basil Crocker, owner of The Loose Goose, said his busi­ness would be able to han­dle it.

‘‘ It hasn’t gone up re­ally much, it’s rea­son­able,’’ he said.

But Crocker said if there was a larger rise, it may be an is­sue.

‘‘In the long term it could be detri­men­tal, prices would go up and it would be too ex­pen­sive to buy things and then you wouldn’t need as much staff,’’ he said.

Toko­roa fi­nan­cial ad­viser Vicki Ma­cann said any in­crease for an em­ployee is good but it would de­pend on how many hours they work.

Min­istry of Labour com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­viser Phillippa Nor­man said the min­istry could not mea­sure how it would im­pact on spe­cific re­gions.

Nor­man said an in­crease will have a flow-on ef­fect and higher earn­ings will re­sult in people spend­ing more.

In 2011 the for­mer Depart­ment of Labour ex­am­ined the 2008 in­crease and found a drop in youth em­ploy­ment.

Since 2007, the adult min­i­mum wage has more than dou­bled.

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