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A recent report shows that paying a Living Wage to all directly employed and contracted workers at the Council is not only affordable but consistent with its goals  http://www.livingwage.org.nz/news
Auckland Living Wage Network enthusiastically gearing up for a busy year which includes the 2016 local government elections.

Living Wage in the world's most liveable city 2016

An independent report just released shows that implementation of a Living Wage for all Auckland Council workers is affordable and consistent with the Council’s goals.

Living Wage in the world’s most liveable city 2016 prepared by Catriona MacLennan shows that paying all directly employed and contracted workers at least the Living Wage rate of $19.25 is not only affordable but will be hugely beneficial for the city.

The report highlight’s Auckland Council’s future vision to 2040 of creating “the world’s most liveable city,” and that the Auckland Plan identifies social and economic inequalities as a contributing factor in Auckland’s economic underperformance.

Paying the Living Wage will go a long way towards addressing low family incomes, high housing costs, and the high cost of accumulated debts.

Many of Auckland’s local boards have supported the Living Wage and it is anti-democratic for those decisions to be overruled, particularly by unelected officials.

Catriona says that full implementation of the Living Wage at Auckland Council would cost less than 0.02% of the Council’s total budget. Arguments that the Living Wage is unaffordable are completely unfounded.

“If you look at the cost of the Living Wage in that context, it’s tiny. Despite this, we’re told the Council can’t afford a living wage,” Catriona says.

The report suggests a number of ways the Living Wage could be implemented, such as a pay increase freeze for those on the highest incomes at Auckland Council Group, and the Mayor and Councillors.

“In 2015, Auckland Council Group had 1840 staff paid less than the Living Wage. That’s up from the 2011 figure of 1503 workers paid less than the Living Wage,” Catriona says.

“But, at the same time as the number of people paid less than the Living Wage was rising, so was the number paid over $100,000. In 2015 Auckland Council Group had 1912 employees paid $100,000 or more, up from 1720 in 2014.

“So the number of people paid over $100,000 almost exactly matches the number paid less than the Living Wage – 1912 to 1840. Wouldn’t it be great if those people earning the most gave up a little of their pay, so everyone could have enough to live on?”

The report also identifies other measures that would make implementation affordable and easy, such as using the savings made from proper utilisation of technology and efficiency programmes.

“It’s not that Auckland Council can’t afford to pay a Living Wage. It has an asset base of $42 billion and spends billions on infrastructure. The cost of the Living Wage is tiny in comparison.

At the moment, Auckland Council chooses not to pay a Living Wage. It’s a choice, and right now, the Council doesn’t think the Living Wage is important enough.”

2016 Living Wage rate launch

The new rate for 2016 will be released on February 29. The national launch will take place in Wellington at 3.00pm and a community celebration with local Living Wage Employers at 6.00pm at the Manukau Rugby League Club in Mangere.

Contact: lyndy.mcIntyre@livingwage.org.nz for information about the Wellington release
cissy.rock@livingwage.org.nz for Auckland information

Upcoming Living Wage event @ Living Wage restaurant, Ika
The first Salon of 2016 - Tuesday 23 February
Annie Newman: A Living Wage Success story: how minnows can transform the city
Book here:
http://ikaseafoodandgrill.co.nz/salon/

Living Wage Hutt Valley Launch
The communities that make up the Hutt Valley are ready for the Living Wage. Join faith groups, community organisations, unions and Living Wage supporters at an event to highlight the need for the Living Wage and unite to call for the Living Wage in the Hutt Valley. Speakers, entertainment, food and a great community event.
Wellington Region Living Wage
It's been a busy start to the year in the Wellington Region. Living Wage Porirua collected over 250 submissions at Festival of the Elements calling on Porirua City Council to include the Living Wage in their 2016 annual plan. The Living Wage Hutt Valley team met to begin preparations for the launch in March; and students, TEU members and cleaners continue to work together to build a strong Living Wage campaign that unites the Victoria University community.

Living Wage Wellington is calling for volunteers to support the Living Wage stage at Newtown Festival which will host performers all day at the festival on 6 March. https://www.facebook.com/events/1553155051666363/

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