Wairarapa Labour Party chairman Kieran McAnulty said he finds it "no coincidence" that government has increased the minimum wage by a "miserable" 25c an hour just a week after a very public campaign to increase the minimum wage from $13.50 to $15.
On Tuesday Minister for Labour Simon Bridges announced the minimum wage would increase by 25c to $13.75, resisting political calls from the public and opposition parties to increase the minimum wage by $1.50. He said he wanted to protect low income earners, employers and protect jobs.
Mr McAnulty said while struggling families would welcome any increase he was disappointed by the latest 25c increase, which equates to a rise of about $8 a week after tax.
"In my opinion the latest move is a token gesture which probably lacks substance.
" When you think that Wairarapa is one of the lowest paid regions in the country it's not going to make much difference.
"It's no coincidence that a week after a very public campaign they go and put it up by 25c which is not anywhere near enough."
An increase of 20c an hour was announced as the minimum wage for employees who are training and new entrants. The Maori and Labour parties have both criticised government over the increase.
Mr McAnulty said he had very little confidence government will increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour and make life easier for families on low incomes.
"No, I've no faith, that figure of $15 is not a new idea, it's been around since before they came into government. If they had a serious desire to do so they could have easily done it by now."
Mr McAnulty said official Labour Party policy was to immediately increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour with the ultimate goal of reaching $18.40, once small and medium sized businesses had the resources to pay it.
He said he suspected not many people internationally realised how drastic the poverty situation was for thousands of New Zealanders, exacerbated by an increased cost of living. "About 270,000 New Zealand children live in poverty and 40 per cent of those come from working families, 25c an hour is not going to make much difference."