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New Zealand's minimum wage set to increase today to $18.90 an hour

The minimum wage is set to rise today but the opposition is calling for the move to be delayed due to economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Opposition Leader Simon Bridges is among critics who say now isn’t the time for an increase. Source: Breakfast

Today’s increase would see the minimum wage go up to $18.90 an hour from $17.70 an hour. It would be an extra $48 a week for Kiwis working full-time.

It has gained support from unions across the country, but National would like to see the increase deffered for six months because of Covid-19.

National leader Simon Bridges yesterday called the increase “irresponsible”.

Mr Bridges said “increasing the minimum wage will add substantial costs at a time where almost every industry in New Zealand is feeling the pain of the coronavirus outbreak”. He said the additional cost of the minimum wage increase will hit those businesses hard.

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Tomorrow's minimum wage rise is 'irresponsible' amid Covid-19, Simon Bridges says

"We are urging the Government to defer the increase for six months while we reassess its affordability during this unprecedented economic situation."

Last month, before the country went into a four-week coronavirus lockdown period, Finance Minister Grant Robertson had said many businesses had been "preparing for some time" for the rise.

Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday that $3.7 billion had been paid out under the Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme to more than 580,000 workers.