Fair/Living/Family/ Minimum/Social Wages: Historical and Recent New Zealand Debates


  • Prue Hyman Victoria University of Wellington




This paper briefly discusses usage of the following terms with respect to wages in New Zealand: fair, living, family, minimum and social wages. A historical outline is followed by consideration of some arguments used by various interest groups, particularly with respect to changes to the minimum wage in recent years. Noting international trends towards increasing earnings differentials, it discusses why a living wage is less central to New Zealand wage campaigns than in the United States. It argues that social justice advocates will and should continue to work on a combination of employer responsibility and government support for those on low wages - with a realistic minimum wage part of a package which could also include the concept of a living wage, explicitly or at least implicitly.


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Author Biography

Prue Hyman, Victoria University of Wellington

Research Associate in Women's Studies