Wage Policy and Justice in Aotearoa New Zealand

Young adults' perspectives


  • Deborah Stevens
  • John Kleinsman New Zealand Catholic Bioethics Centre
  • Adam Stevens
  • Jamie Crutchley
  • Colin MacLeod




minimum wage, living wage, economic policy, justice, wellbeing, employer, employee, reciprocity, youth


We analysed the responses of 995 Year 13 students from across Aotearoa New Zealand regarding the payment of minimum and living wages. In analysing their Likert scale ratings and written responses, we found the majority of these young adults to be clearly in favour of the living wage being adopted universally. Their justifications for this stance centred around themes of survival, justice, wellbeing, economic balance and reciprocity. We assert that the voices of rangatahi have been missing in the consecutive government reviews of the minimum wage, and that listening to these voices will enhance policymaking in this area.


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Author Biographies

Deborah Stevens

Deborah Stevens is an independent researcher and educator in the field of bioethics, with an interdisciplinary background in science, psychology, education and public medicine.

John Kleinsman, New Zealand Catholic Bioethics Centre

John Kleinsman is director of the Nathaniel Centre, the New Zealand Catholic Bioethics Centre. He has worked as a researcher in bioethics for more than 20 years and has extensive experience as a member of various research ethics committees.

Adam Stevens

Adam Stevens is an independent researcher with a background in science and climate change communication.

Jamie Crutchley

Jamie Crutchley is a qualitative social researcher and undertook discourse analysis of the 2022 focus groups as a contracted analyst.

Colin MacLeod

Colin MacLeod is an educator and administrator supporting Catholic primary and secondary schools, and significantly involved in interfaith dialogue within Aotearoa New Zealand