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Nats plan lower wages for workers

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, June 13th, 2011 - 18 comments
Categories: election 2011, minimum wage, national, workers' rights - Tags:

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

18 comments on “Nats plan lower wages for workers ”

  1. Tangled up in blue 1

    National is planning to re-introduce youth rates


    • Tangled up in blue 1.1

      Anyone have a link to this plan?

      I’m asking because National didn’t support Douglas’s youth min wage bill.

  2. marsman 2

    Economics lecturer Eric Crampton, in the Dom-Post Thur. 10 June ‘Opinion’ piece, claimed abolition of youth rates increased youth unemployment. His assumptions and spurious logic proved nothing. He was however identified as ‘Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Independent Studies’ and it was not explained that said Centre is a Neo-Liberal Political Lobby Group and Hoodwink Academy which in tandem with the Businees Roundtable pretty much tell Nact how to run this country.
    The article was to make us believe that re-instating youth rates would be a good thing with the screaming headline ‘Stop pricing young workers out of the labour force’

    • Tom Gould 2.1

      Neo-liberal? More like neo-Victorian?

      • 1. I don’t object to the title chosen for the piece, but do recall that op-ed writers don’t write the headline; subeditors do. I didn’t know the title till the piece was in print.
        2. Hoodwink Academy? Neo-Victorian? You guys crack me up.

  3. queenstfarmer 3

    Great news. I don’t know whether the Govt or anyone else is justifying this on a “spurious argument that the abolition of the youth minimum wage increased youth unemployment” (link?) but I would say give it a go on the basis that it can be expected to decrease youth unemployment.

    • marsman 3.1

      ‘ ..can be expected to decrease youth unemployment’ More assumptions.

      • queenstfarmer 3.1.1

        Yes, a very reliable one.

        • Colonial Viper

          Let’s ship more high paid engineering jobs off to China, then argue that we can’t have under 20 year olds on decent pay, especially as beer pourers to the rich and famour during the RWC.

          But more seriously: queenstfarmer, what level does the youth minimum wage need to be set at to reduce youth unemployment by 20%? Without impacting the employment prospects of older more experienced workers?

          A round 50c figure will suffice.

          • queenstfarmer

            I don’t know how you’d get to any specific figure, but I’d suggest taking 10% off. That would still be higher than the adult rate under the previous Govt, plus the tax cuts.

        • marsman

          ‘Very reliable assumptions’ ???

  4. hellonearthis 4

    Youth rate for the unemployment is under 25, could National make the Youth wage 25 as well.
    It sucks what National is doing.

  5. Jum 5

    That’s the point really – how stupid are New Zealanders,

    that they would vote in a man and his backers who promise to treat our youth like idiots (yet their command of computers and their energy are equal if not better than the experience of our 18+ workers) by reducing their pay to monkey nuts


    who treat women like second class citizens by refusing to pay them equally to men (WINZ workers in 2008/9) or better still equal pay for work of equal value for men and women

    then we must ask ourselves the question: who would support other parties that don’t do everything they can to stop this present government from regaining the treasury benches.

    This year, as I have said so many times is a pivotal year; if New Zealanders want to be treated like serfs in their own country which will be owned by foreigners then all they have to do is nothing. They will succeed in their wish.

  6. Peter Bains 6

    Look like employers are voting with their feet. At the end of the day they decide who they hire and it looks like they are hiring older workers. Why is this occurring if 16-19 yr olds are just as good as 20+ workers?
    So in reality the non youth rate is causing increased youth un employment.
    Now, we need to decide:
    1. Are we happy with higher youth un-employment or
    2. Are we willing to see young in employment more.
    This is it in a nutshell.

    • Jum 6.1

      Peter Bains,

      Employers can do what they like now NAct is increasing its unemployed numbers and forcing the sick, injured and mentally impaired into the workforce. Given that after a quick tour around the country shortly after the last election, to speak to the employers that had said they were hanging on to their current staff, yet suddenly getting rid of them shortly after those ‘meetings’, I’d say the employers know exactly what to do – anything the government tells them to because it means they will get employees for even less than they pay now – shit wages from a shit employer base; call that studied, objective, knowledge based decision-making? Shit no. That’s cynical manipulation, as it has always been from the group of haves against the have nots. Shame on you.

    • KJT 6.2

      If stopping youth rates were really transferring jobs to older employees, we would have expected to see a corresponding increase in employment of older staff as the employment of youth decreased.

      Instead un-employment increased for all as we know. Meaning that the drop in youth employment had little to do with youth rates, and more to do with an overall decrease in jobs due to the recession and, lately, the usual reduction in business confidence/employment when National returns to Government.

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        The other alternative is that in the NZ economy, a lot of these “jobs” produce so little economic value added that employers will not actually hire any one to do them until that employee can be taken on for a pittance.

        Ah, the refreshing mindset of the NZ private sector and it’s management aptitude.

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