Mark Richardson thinks young people living at home with their parents don't need to earn a living wage, saying "they don't need it".
His comments came after Wellington City Council appeased living wage advocates by becoming the first fully accredited living wage council.
Newhsub understands one of New Zealand's largest banks is also considering the move.
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But Richardson isn't convinced everyone needs to earn a living wage, telling The AM Show on Tuesday "hairy-ass teenagers" living at home don't need to be paid the living wage. If he were an employer hiring them, he said he shouldn't have to pay them that much.
The living wage rate is voluntary and for 2018 has been calculated to be $20.55 per hour, which is $4.05 more than the minimum wage set by the Government. It was a campaign launched in 2012, and since then around 110 employers have become accredited.
"They don't need it. It's not a fair wage," Richardson said of teenagers living at home. But for a young person supporting a family it is fair and they do need it, replied co-host Nadine Higgins.
"There needs to be flexibility and employers need to know who they are employing," Richardson retorted, suggesting employers pay staff based on their personal circumstances.
Duncan Garner said he doesn't pay his nanny the living wage, but pays her "close to it".
Paying employers the living wage "just raises the standard in the industry," says Wellington Council head of operations Will Phillips, telling Newshub on Monday it allows employers to attract the best talent.
"There are economic benefits - sometimes you need to think outside the box," said Wellington Mayor Justin Lester. "If you pay more, you get better people."
New Zealand's minimum wage has been upped to $16.50, with plans to raise it to $20 by 2021. But by that time, the living wage might have increased anyway.