TV star makes HR history in Rotorua

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A former TV presenter turned politician has made HR history in Rotorua after becoming the city’s first accredited living-wage employer.

Kiwi favourite Tamati Coffey confirmed yesterday that his 2015 venture – Ponsonby Rd Lounge Bar – had been officially recognised as a living wage employer.

“I’m really happy,” said Coffey, who was TVNZ’s early morning weatherman. “For me, it’s saying to our workers; ‘We are a partnership and here’s your fair share’, as opposed to ‘Thanks for your hard work, your peanuts are in the bank.’”

The independently-calculated living wage currently sits at a minimum of $19.80 an hour – $4.55 more than the government’s minimum wage.

Tim Smith, who opened the venture alongside partner Coffey, says the switch was a savvy business decision which made good economic sense.

“You can’t provide our tables with the best service in town when you’re constantly worrying about how you are going to put food on your own,” he stressed. “

Both Smith and Coffey also called on other employers in the hospitality industry to amend their current pay practices.

“Many hospitality workers in our country have kids to feed and bills to pay on minimum wages that just aren’t keeping pace,” scolded Smith.

“Instead of hospitality being labelled with offering wages that hold back many kiwi workers and their families, let us as an industry be known for offering fair wages that value contribution and boost our people forward,” he urged.

An estimated 800,000 people in New Zealand are currently considered to be living below the poverty line with hospitality a key source of minimum wage positions.

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  • Myra Clarke on 5/08/2016 9:40:02 a.m.

    Inspirational is all I can say. Thank you for taking that initiative. I feel almost jealous of your staff. Good luck.

  • kevin on 22/06/2016 9:15:30 p.m.

    It's about time for to long prices are going up the wage stays the same .You Tamiti has set very very good example for implores to look after the people that look after you. Good work.

  • Dorz on 22/06/2016 7:28:52 p.m.

    This is wonderful!
    Thank you Tamati & Tim for recognising that your staff are the backbone of your business! More employers need to follow your lead. The care giving sector is a bit slow on the uptake. As a care giver I know that we do not simply clean and do personal cares for people, we are often the only ones who are noticing/observing what happens in the lives of those in our care.

  • Joanne o'toole on 22/06/2016 4:54:45 p.m.

    This is fantastic, the more you appreciate and look after your workers the better production.for your business and their familiea, win win situation, love it! you 2 are awesome xo

  • Tania on 22/06/2016 6:46:14 a.m.

    Congratulations Tamati & Tim, putting people first, absolutely awesome. Not a new concept but certainly got pushed behind profit in many cases. I applaud you both!!

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