Politicians commit to Living Wage at St Peter’s on Willis

The Living Wage Movement joined together with the Anglican Church last night at St Peter’s on Willis Street, along with other faith groups, community groups and unions to call on politicians for a commitment to supporting and promoting the Living Wage for government workers – and it appears they were successful.

The Living Wage Movement’s Wellington Regional Co-ordinator, Lyndy McIntyre, says “it was fantastic to see such a good turnout of faith groups, community groups and unions all coming together to call for the Living Wage.” Representatives of the Green Party, Labour, New Zealand First and the Māori Party were there and when asked by Rev Jenny Dawson if they will support and promote paying the Living Wage to core public service employees, and regular and ongoing contractors, they all said yes.  The political candidates were also asked if they would establish a relationship with the Living Wage Movement if they became part of the next government, and to this question, they also all said yes, followed by each being able to deliver a two minute speech, and sign a commitment card.  Lyndy told the audience that she had tried for months to get the National Party to come, but they refused.  An empty chair was left on the stage to represent their refusal to attend.  The ACT Party also declined the movement’s request to attend.

Lyndy believes that last night’s commitment from several parties was a huge advance.  Though most of them had previously expressed a commitment to the principle of the Living Wage, the forum represented a solid commitment to see it implemented, and for the first time, to see it happen in the first term of the next government.  “Last night proves that people power really works.  It was the power of the crowd in the room that secured that commitment,” Lyndy said.  She also noted the warmth and energy in the crowd, and the moving stories which were able to be shared by core public service employees or those who work for companies contracted to the Government, telling the audience of their desire to have a flourishing life, but the struggle to get ahead on low wages.

The event was MCed by the Wellington City Missioner, Rev Tric Malcolm and respected broadcaster Ian Johnstone, and many representatives from parishes within our diocese were there in support of the Living Wage as well.  Bishop Justin spoke at the event, congratulating the Wellington City Council for implementing the Living Wage, and saying that this makes him proud of living in this city.  He closed by calling on politicians to challenge the private sector in their dealings with them in order that they too would implement the Living Wage.

Please note: photos of the event were not immediately available at the time of publishing.  We hope to bring you photos of the event as soon as they are shared with us.  Please keep an eye on this page for updates, or on our Facebook page.