WELLINGTON, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Changes to the minimum wage, main benefit levels and superannuation rates that come into force on Thursday will raise the income for around 1.4 million New Zealanders.
"Over the last financial year, the average wages for working New Zealanders lifted 3.1 percent, this means Superannuation and Benefit Levels will also be lifted by the same amount," Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said in a statement.
This is the second rise in Main Benefits under the new indexation to wage rates. Under the previous indexation to the Consumer Price Index, beneficiaries would have only received a 1.15 percent rise, Sepuloni said.
This change builds on the introduction of the 5.5 billion-NZ dollar (3.8 billion-U.S. dollar) Families Package, Winter Energy Payment and the 25-NZ dollar per week main benefit rate rise last year, she said.
"Today also sees the largest rise in abatement levels in two decades. This means that people receiving a main benefit and in part time work can keep more of what they earn," Sepuloni said.
People earning minimum wage will also receive more money in the hand from Thursday.
The rise to 20 NZ dollars per hour is estimated to boost wages across the economy by 216 million NZ dollars, giving New Zealanders more money to spend at local businesses, Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Wood said.
This will lift the income of around 175,500 New Zealanders, which means 44 NZ dollars more each week before tax for Kiwis working full time on the minimum wage.