Thousands of New Zealanders can look forward to more money in their pockets from today.

Minimum wage employees can now expect $16.50 an hour from their employers, up 75c.

Superannuation is going up 1 per cent. That means singles living alone will pocket about $6 extra per week and a married person will get an extra $5.

Students earning a government allowance will get about $4 extra a week if not living in their parents' home, or $3 if living with their parents.


Also going up are veteran pensions, social security benefits, supported living payments, jobseeker benefits, child disability allowances and weekly payments for Oranga Tamariki (formerly Child, Youth and Family) caregivers.

Living Wage New Zealand convenor Annie Newman said the minimum wage increase was a welcome change, but there still remained a significant difference between the minimum wage as it stands on April 1 and the current living wage ($20.20).

Newman clarified the living wage wouldn't change in light of the new minimum wage, as the living wage changed because of its own independent research process.

"Every five years there's a review of the base data to ensure that it's still in line with current costs and expenditure. That process is just coming to a conclusion, so April 4 we'll have an announcement of the new living wage for April 2018."

Newman acknowledged the 75c difference between the old and new minimum wage would have a noticeable impact for people.

"When you're not earning much, you become very good at managing your pennies. People who are on low incomes budget to precision so they can get by, so I think you'll find that people who move from $15.75 to $16.50 will notice a difference in what they can provide for their households."

She said there was no question that every small addition of money at the bottom end could be transformative for families, but people had to remember the living wage was not luxury living.

"It's a basic decent income, and that remains quite a long way from that minimum wage."


Financial Capability Trust's Tim Barnett said any increase in income was valuable for New Zealanders.

"We'd definitely say that it's good news."

Barnett said the April 1 increases would allow families to spend more on basic needs like groceries, essential items for their children or pay off debt.

"Often, people who come to our services are in a cash flow-deficit, which means their income is less than their expenses.

"We can support people with their budgets and their financial capability but often the issue is that they just don't have enough income."

Barnett added New Zealanders were facing intense pressures from the cost of living. He said rent was particularly expensive, and it wasn't just an Auckland issue.


"The pressure is being felt everywhere. Incomes need to go up and the cost of living needs to go down so that families can meet their needs and save for emergencies, without having to go into debt."

Changes from today:

• Minimum wage increases to $16.50 from $15.75 an hour
• Superannuation entitlements increase 1 per cent: A couple will now receive $345.75 weekly, up from $340.80
• Student allowance increases by 1 per cent: A student under 24, not living in a parental home, will see their payment increase from $253.66 to $257.12
• Veteran's pension increased by 1 per cent: The single living alone rate per week increases from $450.10 to $456.45 and relationship rate to $345.75 from $340.80
• Oranga Tamariki workers caring for children receive 1.36 per cent more in weekly payments
• Supported living payment benefits increase by 1 per cent: For a single beneficiary with one or more dependent children $374.10 rises to $379.19 weekly
• Jobseeker support increases by 1 per cent: A single beneficiary under the age of 20 living with a parent moves from $141.62 to $143.55 per week
• Social Security (Childcare Assistance) payments go up 1 per cent: For a principal caregiver with one dependent child and a household income of less than $800 a week, $5.06 per hour moves to $5.13
• Child disability allowance moves from $47 to $47.64 per week