Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Minimum wage: Tariana Turia

Maori Party position on Minimum wage

Tariana Turia, Co-leader Maori Party

22 February 2006

The Maori Party will be supporting the Minimum Wage (Abolition of Age Discrimination) Amendment Bill before this House, in its direction to abolish age discrimination.

In our worldview, to arbitrarily single out any one age group, and discriminate against it, is entirely contrary to the recognition that it is the breadth and collective strength of people that is our wealth.

I thank Sue Bradford and the Green Party for introducing this legislation. Others will want to take the credit for it, but no one has stood up for 16 and 17 year olds. I have not heard anybody talk about that before, so I thank the Greens for that.

We can appreciate what employers are saying, and understand their concerns that their ability to select their preferred workforce, is being constrained by another intervention, even one with good intentions such as this - by the Government.

Having been an employer myself, however, I know I would not expect young trainee employees to carry out complex duties which I would expect more experienced employees to carry out.

I would expect that those I employed on the minimum wage, would be performing at the level of the basic skills that you would expect to see at the lower ends of the salary range.

It does not matter how old a person in a new job is, that person needs training. Frankly, when I see those young people pushing those trolleys around car-parks I do not think too many sixty-year-olds would want to perform that job, certainly for a minimal wage.

The central concept in this Bill is the word discrimination. The current Bill discriminates against those rangatahi who are aged 16 to17, by dropping the minimum rates to $7.60 an hour. Those rangatahi are tomorrow's parents, workers, leaders, helpers, spokespeople and mentors.

In order to ensure that rangatahi have the ability, confidence and support to fulfil those roles to the very best of their ability, we need to ensure that there is nothing that we are doing - as part of the Government, as whanau, as community - which limits or impedes their development. They are tomorrow's managers.

It is a question of justice. We must remove the discriminatory aspects of the Minimum Wage Act 1983, in the interests of our young people, which in the end is in the interests of our nation.

We have heard some shocking stories from right around the country about youth rates. We have heard about 15 year olds working long hours, being paid $5 an hour for stacking supermarket shelves. And that's legal.

The Maori Party has a particular concern about the injustice currently permitted by the legislation, given the demographics of our population.

Almost half of the Maori population is under 18 years old - forty-three percent compared to the non-Maori population, on twenty-four percent.

In real numbers, when we look at the age range, 10 years to 18 years; it's a figure of 103,158. That's a lot of young people on youth rates.

We know that for far too many of our young people, the crisis of poverty that racks this nation has pushed them literally out the door - out of their homes - into the workplace.

This House needs no reminding of the reality that the Maori poverty rate is over 50% more than the non-Maori rate.

We must also consider the reality that one in five children live in low-income families - which is nearly twice the level of the late 1980s.

Alongside this, the employment security that previous generations enjoyed has mostly disappeared, with many training and education options being too costly to pursue to a level where employment and income security is more assured.

I heard a member from National say that that is how one gets ahead and how one moves on to higher wages at a later stage in life. Well that is fine talk if one has money. Some people do not know what it is like to have no money and just to focus on living from day to day.

Finally, I want to return to the issue of discrimination and raise the obvious anomaly of this Bill. It is to do with disabled workers.

During our discussions with our constituents about this Bill, we have heard about intellectually disabled employees who know that they are being exploited, who know that they are being abused, and that it is legal. Yet this Bill does nothing to change the current law.

We will support this Bill through to select committee to remove the current discrimination against 16 and 17 year old workers.

Members of this House will be familiar with the whakatauki, Ma pango ma whero ka oti te mahi - interpreted in this context to mean that old and young, in fact all peoples, can work together and be rewarded equally for this work. It is a worthy goal to work towards.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news