Collins and Ardern divided on merits of minimum wage increases in first leaders’ debate

Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern are divided when it comes to the future of Aotearoa for young Kiwis, and the topic of the minimum and living wage. 

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Meanwhile Jacinda Ardern says investing in those on the lowest wages is “what makes a difference.” Source: 1 NEWS

During TVNZ's first leaders' debate tonight National Party leader Judith Collins says small businesses in New Zealand can’t afford “constant increases” to the minimum wage.

"Actually having a job is really important.

“We’ve got to get people into trades, we’ve got to get them educated, but we have to make sure we have jobs that people can go to.

"What we're hearing from small business owners, and I was one, is that they can't afford constant increases in the minimum wage when they haven't got the money coming through the door." 

But Ardern says right now is the time to invest in those who are on the lowest wages which is “what makes a difference" for families and young people. 

“The first port of call is make sure that their family members have jobs that are earning adequate income to not just survive but to thrive.

"Things like keeping up with lifting the minimum wage - we’ve done that already and it's made a difference of more than $100 dollars a week for families.

"Us as Government paying a living wage for those who are in jobs like security and cleaning - making sure that those jobs pay, that’s what makes a difference."

Collins says the minimum wage will not be increasing under a National Government. 

The current minimum wage is $18.90 an hour. Under a Labour Government the minimum wage would be increased to $20 per hour next year.