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Greens lodge Minimum Wage (Fair Wages) Bill

Greens lodge Minimum Wage (Fair Wages) Amendment Bill

Green Party Employment Spokesperson Sue Bradford today placed her Minimum Wage (Fair Wages) Amendment Bill in the Members Ballot.

The bill makes several amendments to the Minimum Wage Act 1983. It establishes a minimum benchmark for the minimum wage of 60 per cent of average weekly, ordinary time earnings. The bill also lowers the age of entitlement to the adult minimum wage to 18 years and makes the youth minimum wage 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.

Sue Bradford said the bill was aimed to stop the exploitation of youth and the lowest paid workers and that change in this area was required urgently. "In the Minister of Youth Affairs' review of youth minimum wages in April the majority of participants saw no problem with increasing youth minimum wages to 80 per cent of the adult minimum rate. Many employers already pay youth close to or above this level," she said.

"We are worried by the procrastination of the Government over this issue," said Ms Bradford. "We believe the Minister of Youth Affairs wishes to head down this path but we fear she is being stalled on the issues of minimum wages and youth rates."

Ms Bradford said this was why the Greens felt a private members bill was necessary.

"Upon the election of a Labour/Alliance Government we had expected action on this issue almost immediately and we are disappointed this has not been the case. We are putting this bill up to let the Government know we are very serious about this issue," she said.

Ms Bradford said she hoped the issues would be advanced promptly and properly in Cabinet and that her bill was designed to prevent the issue being continuously stalled.

ends

Sue Bradford MP: 04 470 6720, 025 243 4239 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133

Copies of Sue Bradford's bill available on request.

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