Changes to the minimum wage, main benefit levels and superannuation rates that come into force today will raise the incomes for around 1.4 million New Zealanders.
“This Government is committed to raising the incomes for all New Zealanders as part of laying the foundations for a better future,” Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni says.
“Over the last financial year the average wages for working New Zealanders lifted 3.1 percent, this means Superannuation and Benefit Levels will also be lifted by the same amount.
“This is the second rise in Main Benefits under the new indexation to wage rates. Under the previous indexation to the Consumer Price Index, beneficiaries would have only received a 1.15 percent rise.
“This change builds on the introduction of the $5.5 billion Families Package, Winter Energy Payment and the $25 per week main benefit rate rise last year.
“Today also sees the largest rise in abatement levels in two decades. This means that people receiving a main benefit and in part time work can keep more of what they earn.
“We recognise we have more to do, but we are making good progress,” Carmel Sepuloni said.
People earning minimum wage will also receive more money in the hand from today.
“Today’s rise to $20 per hour is estimated to boost wages across the economy by $216 million, giving New Zealanders more money to spend at local businesses,” Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Wood said.
“This will lift the incomes of around 175,500 New Zealanders – which means $44 more each week before tax for Kiwis working full time on the minimum wage.
“There are many Kiwis who earn the minimum wage who have gone above and beyond in our fight against COVID. I think everyone agrees those who served us so well during lockdown – including supermarket workers, cleaners, and security guards – deserve a pay rise,” Michael Wood said.
Other changes today include:
– The starting-out and training minimum wages will rise to $16.00 per hour, to remain at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.
– A new top tax rate of 39 percent on income earned over $180,000 will apply.
– Student Allowance payments will increase 1.15 percent.
– Annual General Adjustment to increase Foster Care Allowance and the Orphan’s Benefit and Unsupported Child’s Benefit by 1.15%.