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The Living Wage Movement in Aotearoa New Zealand

by Lyndy McIntyrePower to Win cover

The Living Wage means thriving, not just surviving. 

Lyndy McIntyre’s Power to Win tells the story of the living wage movement in Aotearoa New Zealand. The living wage movement is grounded in the fundamental belief that all New Zealanders should be paid enough to meet their needs, enjoy their lives and participate in society. Yet, from the 1980s, with the gap between rich and poor growing and poverty increasing, more and more workers could no longer afford to aspire to this quality of life. The question of how to rectify resultant social inequities was becoming urgent.

In Power to Win, McIntyre documents the history of the Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand from these roots to the present day. This is the story of the movement’s efforts to lift the wages of the most disadvantaged people in our workforce – women, Māori, Pacific Peoples, migrants and refugees, and young workers. McIntyre provides a window into the lives of these workers and those committed to ending in-work poverty: the activists, faith groups, unions and community organisations who come together to tilt the axis of power from employers to low-wage workers.

Power to Win is the record of an extraordinarily successful movement. It is a celebration of hope and an inspiring read. This book shows that communities have power and that change can happen.


Lyndy McIntyre grew up in the 50s and 60s in a time of relative prosperity in Aotearoa New Zealand. In the 70s she became increasingly active in left/progressive issues and her community. Lyndy learnt about unions on the job as a union delegate in the printing industry through the 1980s. In 1990 she started a 30-year working life in unions, with a brief stint as a parliamentary press secretary. In 2007 she was elected to Kāpiti Coast District Council. She served one term and decided that union work was more worthwhile. In 2015, she became one of two paid community organisers in Living Wage Movement Aotearoa New Zealand. In 2020, she retired from her community organising role and began to write this story of the movement.

Publication details

230 x 150mm, 285pp
ISBN 9781990048753
RRP $45
Release date: July 4 2024

Reviews and Interviews

Unity Books Wellington Bestseller Chart for the week ending July 12 Read

Interview: Lyndy McIntyre speaks to Suzie Ferguson about the history of the living wage movement for Saturday Morning, RNZ Listen

Feature: Power to Win featured by Emma Hatton for Newsroom Read

Interview: Lyndy McIntyre on the Duncan Garner Podcast YouTube Channel Watch

Interview: Lyndy McIntyre speaks to Duncan Garner on Duncan Garner: Editor-in-Chief Live Listen

Interview: 'The book is about building community power to win better wages so that people can have decent lives and participate in society ... The message is that if we unite together and campaign around lifting the wages of low-paid workers then we can win those campaigns and we have.' – Lyndy McIntyre speaks to Aui'a Vaimaila Leatinu'u for PMN News Listen

Review: Oliver Clifton reviews Power to Win for The Spinoff Read

Interview: 'The national convenor of the Living Wage Movement rang me up, while I was walking on the beach, and asked about documenting the movement ... To be honest, I didn’t have a clue what I was taking on, but I thought it was a story that needed to be told, so I decided to do it.' Lyndy McIntyre speaks to David Haxton for Kāpiti News Read

Review: Paul Diamond reviews Power to Win for Nine to Noon, RNZ Listen

Feature: Erik Kennedy features his poem 'Living Wage Nations', written for the Christchurch launch of Power to Win, on Newsroom Read

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