Melissa Maths

Mt. Albert by election hopeful Melissa Lee managed to fit her foot in her mouth once again, telling a group yesterday that she thinks she is “currently on $2 an hour“.

While her intention was to show that they understood the plight of those on the minimum wage, she only managed to illustrate how far removed she is from the working poor.

Her claim is not only demonstrably false, but wrong by orders of magnitude.

Assuming she was referring to a post-tax income not including any entitlements, her $131,000 salary will net her $89,370 each year, meaning to be on $2 per hour she’d need to work over 44,000 hours each year. If we accept that being a hard-working MP, Ms Lee takes no holidays or weekends, she’d still need to work 180 hours each and every day of the year in order to be paid $2 per hour.

For the record, Melissa Lee’s gross hourly wage is closer to $39 per hour (assuming 4 weeks holiday and a 70-hour working week). This is more than three times the minimum wage.

It’s not just that her maths is bad. By suggesting that her pay was less than minimum wage Melissa Lee shows herself to be profoundly out of touch with what a low paying job really looks like.


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