If National refuses to increase the minimum wage, then there is always the option of increasing it by a member's bill. We shouldn't have any trouble selling the idea to an MP.
The Minimum Wage is governed by the Minimum Wage Act 1983. The actual amounts are set by Order In Council, and are supposed to be reviewed annually. The latest such order is the Minimum Wage Order 2008.
There are two obvious ways to increase the minimum wage:
- Amend the Minimum Wage Order 2008 directly, adding new subsections setting a new minimum wage and a new commencement clause to bring them into force.
- Repeal the Minimum Wage Act 1983 and replace it with a virtually identical one which also included base values for 2009.
- Legislation is slow, so we would need to think ahead on the dollar values and make some asusmptions about how long the bill would take to pass.
- There is no majority for this. The bill would be symbolic only, aimed at positioning the relevant party and forcing the government to vote it down.
- An amended order could easily be overturned.
- A legislated value could be used as an excuse by the government to delay further increases.
- A bill could backfore badly; if by some miracle a bill was progressed to select committee or the committee stage, it could be amended there to produce a lower minimum wage than at present.