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Students Support “” Campaign

Media Release
22 March 2006
For Immediate Use

University of Auckland Students Support “” Campaign

Students at the University of Auckland are in major support of the Minimum Wage (abolition of age discrimination) Amendment Bill, which passed its first reading in Parliament on 22 February 2006. The Bill is aimed at abolishing the low wage rate for workers aged 16 and 17 years old and encourages equal pay for equal value in the marketplace. It has been taken to a select committee for public submissions, feedback and consideration which closes on 21 April 2006.

Auckland University Students’Association President Dan Bidois said that the bill affects students since they are exploited by many employers, and can barely survive under the current minimum wage scheme, which is comparatively lower than other countries in the OECD. At present, Australian average wages are 30% higher than those in NZ, the two having been the same 20 years ago.

“Part of being a student in Auckland is having a part time job at Starbucks, a Petrol Station or in a Supermarket. We see cases all the time where students are forced to work beyond 30 hours a week because the hourly rate they earn is too low, to the detriment of their university studies”, Mr Bidois said. “This is especially a concern for Auckland students as they face higher costs of living than students in other regions. Renting a room in a flat near the Auckland CBD now costs students on average $150 per week.”

“We don’t believe students who are more than capable of performing the tasks needed in the marketplace should be discriminated against those a couple of years older than them. Raising the average wage that younger students can earn immediately will impact positively on their academic performance and studies. Students will be able to balance the hours that they work, and will be able to focus more on their studies and schoolwork,” Mr Bidois continued.

“AUSA encourages the public to support this bill with a formal submission to the Transport & Industrial Relations Select Committee. If the government fails to address this issue properly, students will begin to ask themselves whether their education is worth the hassle.”


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