WELLINGTON, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- The minimum wage rise helped lift labor cost index (LCI) salary and wage rates by 0.7 percent in the June 2019 quarter, New Zealand's statistics department Stats NZ said on Tuesday.
"This is the largest quarterly increase since the December 2008 quarter," Sarah Johnson, business prices delivery manager, said in a statement.
If wages affected by the minimum wage had remained constant, the LCI would have only increased by 0.5 percent this quarter, Johnson said.
On April 1, the government raised the minimum wage from 16.5 NZ dollars (10.8 U.S. dollars) per hour to 17.7 NZ dollars per hour. The minimum wage will continue to rise in annual increments, reaching 20 NZ dollars per hour by 2021.
Minimum wage increases have a larger impact on private sector industries. Private sector salary and wage rates rose 0.8 percent for the June 2019 quarter, following a rise of 0.3 percent in the March 2019 quarter, statistics show.
The impact of minimum wage change on industry groups was most significant in retail trade, along with accommodation and food services for the June 2019 quarter, Johnson said.
"Accommodation, food, and retail industries are generally lower-paying industries, and are most affected by a minimum wage increase," she said, adding that the increase in minimum wage also affected occupations such as service, clerical, sales workers, machinery operators, drivers and laborers.