- Date published:
4:29 pm, February 11th, 2010 - 38 comments
Categories: national/act government, roger douglas, wages, workers' rights - Tags: david farrar, kate wilkinson, roger douglas, youth rates
Over the last month or so National’s pollster David Farrar has been running a series of posts desperately trying to pin the spike in youth unemployment under National to Labour’s decision to abolish youth rates.
I’d been wondering why the obsession with youth rates until I saw this exchange between Roger Douglas and Kate Wilkinson in Parliament yesterday:
Hon Sir Roger Douglas: Is she aware of the academic research in New Zealand that shows that Labour’s removal of youth rates is responsible for the huge increase in youth unemployment; and will she review that decision, or is she comfortable with youth unemployment of 17 percent, including MÄori youth unemployment of 38 percent?
Hon KATE WILKINSON: The member may be aware that when Labour wanted to abolish the youth rate we did in fact vote against that legislation, for that very reason. We were concerned that it would price young people off the job market, and that it might also be a perverse incentive for them to leave education. I say to the member who asked the question that we are always willing to listen to good ideas.
The Minister of Labour was practically begging Roger Douglas to run up an attack on young workers.
No surprise then that Douglas has today introduced a private members’ bill to bring back youth wage discrimination. He’ll be banking on National backing it – after all, they voted against the law change to end discrimination, they still oppose it, and chances are they’ve been polling and testing their lines on it.
On a left-right continuum few things are as defining as the relationship between workers and capital. We’re already seeing attacks on ACC, personal grievances and the Holidays Act. National’s response on this one will be very interesting.