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MP hasn't given up on minimum wage bill

By Peter Wilson, Political Writer, NZ Newswire Updated July 27, 2012, 3:01 pm

The Labour MP who has drafted a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour says he isn't giving up on it despite the government holding the numbers to defeat it in parliament.

David Clark says he's going to lobby United Future leader Peter Dunne and go to the top in a bid to change Prime Minister John Key's mind.

The bill has been drawn from the members' ballot and will come up for its first reading in three or four weeks.

The government is going to vote against it and so will its allies, Mr Dunne and ACT leader John Banks.

"I certainly haven't given up, I'm going to talk to Peter Dunne because he could make a real difference for New Zealanders living on the poverty line," Dr Clark told NZ Newswire.

"And I want to correspond, at the very least, with John Key - he has said he couldn't live on $13.50 an hour and I think it's unfair to expect others to live on it."

Dr Clark says the discussion over the minimum wage hasn't opened up yet.

"At $13.50 an hour it isn't anywhere near the Australian minimum wage ($A15.96, or $NZ20.68 at Friday's exchange rate) and we have to make sure it's a level playing field," he said.

The Greens have gone a dollar better than Labour and are calling for a minimum wage of $16 an hour.

They have crunched the numbers in the National Business Review's Rich List and say the collective wealth of the 151 New Zealanders on it increased by $7 billion during the last year, or 18 per cent.

"The Rich List highlights the growing income inequality in New Zealand," co-leader Metiria Turei said.

"While Kiwi families on low wages struggle to get by the wealthiest New Zealanders are doing very well."

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