• Max Bradford

New statutory minimum wage rates will apply from 1 March 1997 the Minister of Labour, Hon Max Bradford said today.

The adult minimum wage increase implements the commitment given by the Coalition Government partners last December.

"New Zealand First and National have been working towards introducing the Coalition Agreement since Christmas and today's Cabinet decision is the first major step in making the Agreement a reality for New Zealanders," said Mr Bradford.

"The new minimum wage rates for employees aged 20 or more are $7.00 per hour, $56.00 per day, or $280.00 per week."

"Youth rates have been raised as well to maintain the 60 percent relationship with the adult minimum, which has been a feature of the minimum wage regime for two years. Young employees aged 16 to 19 must be paid $4.20 per hour, $33.60 per day, or $168.00 per week," Mr Bradford said.

The minimum wage is currently $6.375 per hour for adults and $3.825 for young employees. The adult and youth minimum wage rates were last increased in March 1996.

"The Coalition's review of youth rates will proceed over the next few months and I have asked the Department of Labour to advise me on commissioning appropriate research into the impact of this significant increase in minimum wages."

Mr Bradford said that there were very few exceptions from the minimum wage and these were specified by law. Employers and employees who wanted more information about the changes to the statutory minimum wage should contact the Labour Inspectorate Information Centre of the Department of Labour toll free on 0800 800 863.