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Nats eyeing up youth minimum wage?

Written By: - Date published: 4:29 pm, February 11th, 2010 - 38 comments
Categories: national/act government, roger douglas, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

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 Māori 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.

38 comments on “Nats eyeing up youth minimum wage? ”

  1. Tigger 1

    What is this research Douglas refers to?

    ‘Responsible for’ is a strict causal relationship where the law change is being totally blamed for the increase. National make it very clear that various things contribute to unemployment – well they do when it suits them.

  2. Let’s have some fairness here.
    Here is Douglas’ press release:

    IrishBill: Deleted. Next time post a link only. If you try to spam our blog again I will ban you.

  3. As I understand it the Bill/act would not bring back the minimum wage, merely, open up the possibility to bring it back.

  4. millsy 4

    No wonder we have lost our way as a country. What happened to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

    The ideal wage for a lot of employers is $0.00. The sooner our business leaders start coming clean and saying that, the better.

    • Morgan 4.1

      Youth rates are a lazy solution to unemployment which is why i’m not surprised weak minds on the right would be willing to accept it.

      Youth Parliament takes place this year and i imagine it would turn very ugly for the government if this issue was on their agenda.

  5. Another reason to join the protests this Saturday

    IrishBill: Deleted. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t quote press releases verbatim in our comments section as we consider it spam. If you’ve got an event to promote then please email it to us (our address in under “contact us”) and we’ll put it up as a post if we agree with it or bring it up as part of a genuine comment. If you post in the comments like this people will ignore it because it doesn’t fit with the discussion flow and it throws threads. Nobody wins. However if you email it to us it goes up, gets thousands of hits and leaves our comment threads in some kind of order and everyone wins (except the right).

    • Definitely Spam… Not much shorter than my text. If you don’t delete this it will prove that your rules only apply to right-wingers.

      • BLiP 5.1.1

        Honestly, TeenyWeeny, do don’t want to be wandering around the site calling Irish a cyclops. You’d better just apologise for trashing this post with your dribble and keep your pointy head down for a while.

        • kiwiteen123

          I apologise for posting some text that added to the understanding of the topic.

          [lprent: Link it. If you don’t know how, then look in the FAQ at the top of the page.

          The comment section is there for the original (or a suitable facsimile) thoughts of the commentators, so they can discuss posts. They’re perfectly happy to go down a link if they’re interested. Quoting minor bits to make your point is fine. Dropping a whole bloody press release isn’t. We aren’t a reprint service. It is pretty routine to give a sharp lesson about it. Irish must like you – you got a warning.

          BTW: I suspect I’m going to get requests to reduce the nattering noise (ie you) soon. The best way to avoid it is to actually say something relevant. ]

  6. SPAM!
    Sorry… I’ll take a break and calm down.

  7. DeeDub 7

    Jesus kt?! You can’t be serious???!!

    This is a left-wing blog. Don’t expect us to help you propagate right wing propaganda here.

    • It’s not propaganda.
      I have no problem with the admins discouraging me from putting up Douglas text. Suppressing it is not the way to go.

      • DeeDub 7.1.1

        Um, yes it is.


        Main Entry: pro·pa·gan·da
        Pronunciation: \ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də, ˌprō-\
        Function: noun

        1. the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person

        • kiwiteen123

          Ok this is propaganda. I apologize.
          I was spreading ideas and information for the purpose of helping the cause of freedom of speech.
          It depends how you define propaganda.

          • Pascal's bookie

            …and on how you define freedom of speech.

            but press releases by politicians? Bits of text they want to be picked up and disseminated by the media?

            I’d like to see a useful definition of propaganda that doesn’t include that.

            Whadiya got?

  8. Rachel 8

    Spam or not, I agree with not having any youth rates! They should stay in school! If a bill to compensate students that stand out or are above average can be made , it would bring out the best in them more so. After they are done with college, they can compete in the busness world as much as they want!

    [lprent: Someone must not like you. Akismet reckons you’re spam. But the comment is ok and I haven’t seen your IP before. Passing through. ]

  9. Fido 9

    Youth rates stop young people getting jobs. Great we have a sensible government that will get rid of them.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      Discouraging how many people never allow reality to intrude on their beliefs.

      • Fido 9.1.1

        Seen unemployment for youth? Maps straight against intro of youth rates.

        • Izzy

          I’m an 18 year old woman (girl??) and I’m worth 88% of what a similarly qualified man in a comparable job is worth. About two years ago working in a supermarket I was worth 80% of what an identically qualified 18 year old in exactly the same job was worth. It’s discrimination, pure and simple. Maori unemployment is around 12% – do we fix this by creating a lower Maori minimum wage? A refugee minimum wage? Or perhaps we should just abolish the minimum wage altogether? I’m sure dodgy Rog would love that.

  10. millsy 10

    Hi Izzy,

    Yes he would actually.

    I would also point out that 40 years ago women were paid less than men. I think that there would have been those who said that pay equity would increase unemployement among women.

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