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Government Moves to Widen the Gaps for Youth

Government Moves to Widen the Gaps for Youth

Wednesday 5th Jul 2000
Dr Muriel Newman
Media Release -- Social Welfare

Recommendations on increasing youth wage rates being considered by the coalition government will put the jobs of “low skilled, disadvantaged youth” at risk, ACT Youth Affairs spokeswoman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

In answer to questions in the House today, the Minister of Youth outlined a number of options for raising the youth minimum wage, including raising it to 80% of the adult minimum.

”In view of the Labour Department's advice that a 50 cent rise in the minimum wage could cost up to 4,700 jobs, I challenge the government and the Minister to give an absolute assurance to young people that any proposals to raise the youth minimum wage will not cost jobs,” Dr Newman said.

Dr Newman said the assertion by the Youth Affairs Minister that raising the minimum youth wage to 80% of the adult minimum would not add costs to business was misguided.

“In March, youth unemployment was at a six year peak of 18.3%. This is the highest since June 1994. The increases the government is talking about will put at risk the jobs of the low skilled, disadvantaged youth, the very people this government has pledged to help through its closing the gaps programme. Raising the minimum wage will put that programme at risk and cause the gap to grow,” she said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.



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