So you support Maori being paid less than Pakeha for the same work? What about men being paid less than women? No, that would be discrimination, eh? Same work, same pay. So, what about paying a 17 year old less than a 18 year old for the same work? That’s what National is planning if we are stupid enough to give them a second term.
National is planning to re-introduce youth rates. That’s directly cutting the minimum wage for 16 and 17 year old workers.
They’re justifying it on spurious arguments that the abolition of the youth minimum wage increased youth unemployment. There’s no evidence of this. All they can say is that youth unemployment started increasing dramatically six months after the youth minimum wage was abolished on April 1 2008. But there was something else pretty major happening at the same time – the largest recession in generations.
If the youth minimum wage abolition was to blame for the change in youth unemployment, we would see a one-off jump in the unemployment rate starting just before the rate was abolished and would quickly reach the new ‘normal’ We didn’t. The youth unemployment rate has been rising nearly continually for three years.
And consider this: when we’re talking ‘youth unemployment’ we’re talking about the 16-19 age group. Most of the people in this age group who are in the workforce are 18 or older – they’ve left high school and entered the workforce. The youth minimum wage only applied to 16 and 17 year olds when it was abolished. That means most of the people in the age group weren’t affected by the minimum wage law change.
Unemployment among Maori and men has also risen disproportionately since the recession began. Is this a result of the abolition of the youth minimum wage? Obviously not. Should we respond by lowering the minimum wage for Maori and men? No, because it’s not the wages that are the problem. It’s the destruction of jobs dues to the recession.
Does National have any vision for dealing with unemployment? Clearly not. But they would “love to see wages drop“. Reintroducing youth rates is just one part of their plan to achieve that.
– Bright Red