We don’t make any bones about this one. Our country and our city have become too unequal. Inequality is a looming social and economic disaster. All of the evidence tells us that when the gap between rich and poor grows too wide that all manner of problems increase, from crime and disorder, to the incidence of 3rd world diseases, to poor economic productivity.
And whatsmore, it is just wrong. We live in a bountiful country and we simply do not accept that any child should go to bed hungry or that any person should be excluded from participating in our society because of poverty.
The Living Wage is a simple concept that can go a long way to addressing these issues. Essentially it is about people being paid enough to actually live on. The figure is calculated rigorously and independently, and in NZ’s case is $18.40 an hour. In places like the UK, the Living Wage campaign has made a huge difference, lifting hundreds of thousands out of poverty. In the long-term it also tends to have positive effects on employers as absenteeism and turnover decrease.
Because they are large employers, local authorities are often the first employers to be asked to implement the Living Wage. Here in Auckland the Living Wage campaign, led by churches, unions, and an array of community groups has led a strong campaign and because of that Auckland Council has inched towards a Living Wage this term, with City Vision Councillors and Local Boards leading the way.
This is an issue where there is a very clear difference this election. Our opponents oppose the Living Wage and have voted against it every step of the way. A Council with a majority of progressive Councillors and a strong City Vision presence will deliver a Living Wage, and a little more justice in our city.
If you want to see a Living Wage happen in Auckland you must vote City Vision in the next couple of days.