“Having previously ignored advice and failed to take account of economic conditions, this year the Government must delay the 1 April increase to the minimum wage,” says ACT Small Business and Workplace Relations spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“Last night’s announcement of another Auckland lockdown and nationwide rise of alert levels will be crippling for businesses across the country.

“Infometrics economist Brad Olsen summed up the plight of employers trying to cope with yo-yo-ing in and out of lockdown perfectly when he noted they were ‘exhausted’ and their ‘patience will be wearing thin.’

“As ACT said last March, the Government’s approach to business should be to first do no harm.

“The Government has put in place various support schemes for business, but it would be helpful if it just stopped putting new costs onto business such as more sick leave, new holidays and ongoing minimum wage increases.

“It’s time for the Government to stop ignoring the business community and cut them some slack.

“Not only can they not open or are operating at diminished capacity, they have a $1 billion cost coming their way in the form of extended sick leave.

“They can’t handle the cost of raising the minimum wage from $18.90 to $20 – there will be job losses as a result.

“Official advice to the Government said big increases to the minimum wage should not be imposed during an economic crisis.

“Well that’s what we’re in.

“It will be completely irresponsible if the 1 April increase goes ahead.”


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