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Greens asked to get active on fight

28 January 2006

Greens asked to get active on fight to end youth rates

Green Party members are being urged to get active on the fight to abolish youth rates at the Party's Policy Conference in Whangarei today as MP Sue Bradford launches a campaign to gather support for her private member's bill.

Ms Bradford's Minimum Wage (Abolition of Age Discrimination) Amendment Bill, which was pulled from the Parliamentary ballot on December 8, aims to remove wage discrimination for young people.

"I am using this opportunity to highlight the desperate situation of young people who do the same work as adults for even less than the adult minimum wage," Ms Bradford says.

A young woman from Whangarei will talk to the conference about her own experiences on youth wages, and Ms Bradford, the Party's Industrial Relations Spokesperson, will outline what steps members around the country can take to support the campaign.

"It is an urgent situation as the Bill comes up for its first reading in Parliament on 15 February and we have until then to win support from enough other MPs to get it to the Select Committee," Ms Bradford says.

Rallies and meetings are planned in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, with the largest likely to be a rally at the Auckland Town Hall at 2.00pm on Sunday, 12 February.

Party members will be encouraged not only to attend rallies, pickets and meetings over the next two weeks but also to work with trade unions, community and youth groups around the country to lobby MPs from parties like Labour, the Maori Party and NZ First to vote to abolish wage discrimination against 16 and 17-year-old workers.

"There was a time that our society believed women should be paid less than men for the same job simply because they were women. It is a disgrace that even in 2006 we continue to accept that it is OK to pay a lower minimum wage to youth workers doing exactly the same job as the 18-year-old next to them.

"Food, shelter, transport and clothing cost the same whether you are 17 or 37; on top of this, many young peoples' wages actually go to help support their families, and young people put their schooling at risk by working too many hours for the minimum of $7.60 or not much more," Ms Bradford says.

ENDS

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