Living wage employers scarce in Tauranga

Not everyone in Tauranga is being paid a living wage.

There is a real danger that Tauranga will fall behind and become known for its low wages if employers don’t join the growing movement to pay their staff a living wage, says the E Tu union.

The 2018 New Zealand Living Wage rate increased to $20.55 an hour – 35 cents more than the 2017 rate – at a gathering of Living Wage Employers in Wellington last week.

The new living wage rate is more than $4 an hour above the minimum wage – recently increased to $16.50 an hour – and around a third of workers earn less than this.

A living wage generally means that a person working 40 hours a week, with no additional income, should be able to afford the basics for a modest but decent life, such as, food, shelter, utilities, transport, healthcare, and childcare.

More than 90 New Zealand companies are accredited Living Wage Employers, however there are none in Tauranga. It was announced this week that Bayhopper bus drivers will be paid the living wage when NZ Bus, which currently operates in Auckland and Wellington, takes over the Western Bay of Plenty bus contracts in December.

“Tauranga is often talked about as a great place to live but it’s not necessarily reflected in the wages and people are going to start asking questions,” says E Tu campaign lead Mat Danaher.

Nelson had a similar problem until recently, says Mat, but there is now growing support for the living wage movement there and one of the city’s largest employers, New Zealand King Salmon, is taking steps to pay its staff a living wage.

Tauranga City Council voted not to introduce the living wage for its staff in February 2016. A report last year revealed 65 of the council’s 665 staff earned less than the 2017 living wage rate of $20.20. More than half of those employees were working in libraries.

Mat says it often takes a large employer to lead the way and local government, when considering whether to pay its staff a living wage, should be looking at the real cost of low wages.

“We know that low wage workers – and people on the living wage are still classed as that – tend to spend 70-80 per cent in the local economy as soon as they get it. For a local body it’s not about the headline expense of the wages, it’s about what kind of money do you want to invest in your own community.”

Mat says there may be employers in Tauranga who haven’t thought about becoming living wage employers.

“Now’s the time to be thinking about it. They can get in touch with Living Wage Aotearoa. It’s a no-obligation, confidential process where somebody can talk them through it and how much it will cost. Quite often they will find it’s a much easier, less painful experience than they imagined and less expensive as well.”

To find out more about the living wage movement visit:

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@Bruja and lpma6

Posted on 16-04-2018 14:37 | By morepork

You have, between you, precisely identified the main problems we face: 1. Greed. 2. Learning to live within your means. It is a tragedy that simply noting them here will probably not do a lot to change them...

'Become known??????'

Posted on 15-04-2018 21:00 | By Bruja

THAT has got to be the most ludicrous comment that I have heard in a VERY VERY long time! Tauranga has been known as Ten Dollar Tauranga for as long as I have lived here and that’s coming up 25 years!!! Truth is if it wasn’t for the climate this place would have become a ghost town decades ago!!! Get your act together employers or you will be responsible for this city’s death. Already the combination of Ethiopian wages and Abu Dhabi real estate prices have it on life support! GET REAL! End the greed! :(

Time to leave

Posted on 15-04-2018 20:38 | By About that

Of all the S*&T Towns in NZ, I recon Tauranga is getting up there. Traffic problems are growing and only going to get much worse, income levels are the some of the lowest in the country, homelessness is a problem as a result, even the average wage in Wanganui is higher than here. Problem is, everything is so over priced here, employers can’t often afford to pay more otherwise they will be out of business. A move south is a real option for me to get away for all of the above. The council is likely doing their best to improve roading and infrastructure bit there is only so much you can do with limited funds.

Oh come on

Posted on 15-04-2018 18:49 | By lpm67

We already have the reputation as the poorest paid with the highest costs. Same o same o....and yes council stop screwing us over please, we don’t want a museum, we don’t want rates rise, why don’t you lot learn to live within your budget availability like the rest of us

Hospital also pay under living wage

Posted on 15-04-2018 16:08 | By KathFlossy

A lot of staff working at the hospital are also well under this living wage While some management are paid much higher.


Posted on 15-04-2018 15:30 | By maildrop

Council won’t pay the living wage to staff yet want to saddle everyone with huge rates increases and debt, to fund their folly projects. Disgusting people. It is sickening to see the pro museum bunch use children and "the youth" to try and justify their waste, yet it’s the youth who cannot afford to buy houses, let alone pay huge rates bills. These selfish people are sick.

Large Employers

Posted on 15-04-2018 13:33 | By astex

One of the largest employers in the area paying hundreds of staff below the living wage is the Bay of Plenty DHB. In fact one of the largest employers in NZ paying below the living wage is the NZ Government. Come on Labour Party, lead the way.

TCC should be ashamed.

Posted on 15-04-2018 13:26 | By morepork

"A report last year revealed 65 of the council’s 665 staff earned less than the 2017 living wage rate of $20.20. More than half of those employees were working in libraries." TCC should be setting an example, not victimizing people who do a great job.

Become known???

Posted on 15-04-2018 13:20 | By backofthequeue

For a city once known as ’Ten Dollar Tauranga’ to now having the ignominious honour of having the most unaffordable housing in NZ there is nothing new in highlighting our low wage economy.


Posted on 15-04-2018 13:00 | By namxa

Ten dollar Tauranga.