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Minimum Wage Bill Progresses

A bill reinstating a modified form of a youth minimum wage progressed in Parliament today.

Labour Minister Simon Bridges said the lower wage for some youths proposed by the Minimum Wage (Starting-out Wage) Amendment Billwould make it easier for the unemployed to get work.

Youth unemployment was too high and long periods on the dole were a bad start to a working career.

The minimum wage would be at 80 percent of the adult minimum wage and would apply to those starting work and training for six months and after that the minimum adult wage would apply. There were also other riders around who the ``starting out’’ wage would apply to.

Bridges said he agreed with the select committee amendment bringing the law into force from May 1 instead of April 1.

Labour’s Darien Fenton said the bill was about cutting workers’ pay and was widely opposed by submitters as it reinstated youth rates ``something we have not seen since last century’’.

The bill was based on the flawed idea that lower wages created jobs and it would fail.

The bill completed its second reading by 61 to 59 with National, ACT and United Future in favour.

The House rose at 6pm interrupting debate on the Building Amendment Bill (no 4)

Earlier the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Amendment Bill completed its first reading by 98 to 22 with Greens, NZ First and Mana opposed.

Maurice Williamson said the validations of past fee decisions proposed by the bill were needed urgently or the board would be under financial pressure and unable to fulfil its statutory obligations.

As a result Williamson sought a report back by the Government Administration Committee by March 22, this was approved by 97 to 23 with Green, NZ First, Brendan Horan and Mana opposed.

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