Introducing the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand as our latest member of the Global Living Wage Affiliate Network

Who is Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand? 

The Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand began in May 2012. The Living Wage emerged as a response to growing poverty and inequality that continues to hold back so many workers, their families and the economy. New Zealand is currently ranked 23rd out of 35 countries on the OECD’s income inequality ranking and half of the children in households in material hardship come from households with working parents. 

The movement worked closely with the US-based Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) to learn from its organising experience in building broad-based campaigning through alliances as its approach to winning a living wage as well as coming to the UK in 2012 to meet the Living Wage Foundation team to share experiences.  

Since 2012, over 360 businesses have become accredited as Living Wage Employers in New Zealand. The Movement has sustained a community membership of about 80 union, faith and community organisations on average.  

What impact can a national Living Wage movement have? 

Since the movement’s inception, the gap between the minimum wage and the Living Wage in New Zealand has shrunk from a 30% gap to under 15% demonstrating the influence of the campaign. In the UK, we have also seen a similar trend where the gap has been closing since emergence of the real Living Wage.  

Supporting nationally led Living Wage movements can add pressure to increase the Minimum Wage to keep up with the Living Wage. In turn this can help the business case for employers to pay a voluntary Living Wage when the gap between the two wage rates is smaller.  

The Movement has successfully ensured the words “Living Wage” have entered the lexicon of New Zealand culture as the new standard for decent wages and as a political demand in elections for public office. The Living Wage has in a very real way impacted on the debate about the minimum wage and, arguably, the level at which it is now set. 

The New Zealand government recognises the importance of the Living Wage benchmark and has moved all contracted cleaners, catering workers and security guards to a minimum of the Living Wage as contracts for service are renewed. 

Interested in learning more about accreditation outside of the UK? 


A reminder: Why do we need a Global Living Wage? 

Today, being employed offers no guarantee of financial safety. According to the International Labour Organization, over 630 million working people – almost one in five of the world’s employed population – do not earn enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.  

We believe that a fundamental shift in our approach to tackling inequality is desperately needed. We look forward to working with businesses who aim to be a force for good by implementing Living Wages across their global operations and using their platform to encourage other businesses to join their efforts to ensure workers everywhere can afford to meet their everyday needs. 

This is why the Living Wage Foundation has created a Global Living Wage (GLW) Affiliate Network, with its two members Living Wage for US and Living Wage Movement Aotearoa NZ


A reminder: What exactly is the Global Living Wage Affiliate Network? 

The Global Living Wage Affiliate Network is a group of accreditation bodies from different countries that take an aligned approach with the Living Wage Foundation, offering multinational employers a robust approach to provision of Living Wages across global operations. Members of the network have demonstrated that they have shared values and principles on methodology, calculation, accreditation policy, and compliance. We look forward to growing the network to include an increasing number of Living Wage accreditation bodies being established beyond the UK. 

By creating alignment in a range of areas while maintaining local specificity, we can encourage and make it easier for leading multinational employers to take a truly global position on paying a real Living Wage to all their directly employed and contracted staff. 


Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation said:  
“The Living Wage Foundation is absolutely delighted that the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand has joined the Global Living Wage Affiliate Network.  We have worked closely with the movement ever since they visited our UK offices in 2012 to share experiences, so it is a significant milestone to finally be formally affiliated with them.   

The strength of the Living Wage community movement across Aotearoa New Zealand has enabled them to achieve major successes with the New Zealand government implementing a Living Wage for their staff, as well as whole industries such as the banking sector.   

Multinational employers are stepping up to meet their responsibilities in supporting achievement of the SDGs, including provision of Living Wages. An aligned approach across multiple countries is a big step in the right direction.” 


Gina Lockyer, Executive Director, Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand: 
“The people in our Movement, our robust accreditation system, and independently calculated rate have led to the Living Wage becoming the benchmark for decent pay in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Our accredited Living Wage Employers also play a vital role in this.They take the concept of a Living Wage and make it a reality. Businesses from a variety of industries have become accredited – banks, law firms, NGOs and fashion among them.   

For us, it’s the right time to support more multinational employers to get on board. Joining the Global Living Wage Affiliate Network is the way to make this happen.   

It’s one less barrier to accreditation, and one more step towards more Kiwi workers being paid a Living Wage – and the positive impact on whānau (families) and communities cannot be underestimated.”    


Matt Sparkes, Sustainability Director, Linklaters ( also sits on the Review Panel for the GLW Affiliate Network) said:
“Reaching the standard required for affiliation is no easy task and I am so pleased that the Living Wage movement in NZ passed the test so impressively. Building a global network is essential if we are to bring to life the idea of each and every employer paying a fair wage wherever they may be. NZ’s success is another important step in achieving that benchmark of responsible employment.” 


Bernard Gouw, Senior Manager Social Standards, B Lab Global said:
“We're delighted to see the Global Living Wage Affiliate Network grow. The B Corp standards recognize all three accreditations now represented in the Network and we believe that continued collaboration and harmonization will only benefit B Corps. As the Network grows, they will continue to send the undeniable message that paying a Living Wage is not only necessary, but also feasible.”