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Green's Bill: longer dole queues for teenagers

Media statement Thursday, June 29, 2006

Green’s Bill prescribes longer dole queues for teenagers

Abolishing youth rates will hurt most the young people it seems to be trying to help, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) told Parliament’s Select Committee hearings in Auckland today.

“The law would destroy job opportunities for 16 and 17 year olds and leave more of them on the dole,” said David Lowe, Employment Relations Manager for EMA.

“Between 20 (Independent research from Auckland University of Technology) to 30 per cent (EMA survey results) of job opportunities for teenagers would be lost.

“Regardless of the rights and wrongs, that’s how the market will react, and nothing the Green Party says will change it.

“If a 16 year old and an older person want the same job for the same rate of pay, it’s a no brainer; the 16 year old will lose out.

“The EMA survey also showed most employers recognise the relationship between the skills of a teenager and what they pay. 80 per cent of businesses that employ 16 and 17 year olds pay at least some of them more than the minimum rates now.

“Passing a law to force a few employers who won’t recognise a teenager’s skills with more pay literally throws the baby out with the bath water.

“Paying adult rates to a teenager carries more risk than employing an adult and employers will take on older people or not employ at all unless they have the added incentive of trialling the young person on a lower rate at first.”


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