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Youth have their say on employment relations bill

6 September 2006

Youth have their say on employment relations bill

Young people will tomorrow front up to a Parliamentary select committee to ensure their voices are heard on a bill that affects young workers.

Two representatives aged 16 and 17, from youth advisory group, Activate, will on Thursday (7 September) present a submission to Parliament's Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee on the Employment Relations (Probationary Employment) Amendment Bill. The bill proposes to introduce a 90-day probationary period for all new employees.

"The Activate submission is a great example of young people exercising their rights and ensuring their voices are heard by government decision-makers on important issues which affect them," Youth Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said.

The Activate group was established through the Ministry of Youth Development (MYD) to advise the government on issues of interest and concern to young people, and is made up of representatives aged 15-21 from the Wellington region. The group's views are independent of the government.

Activate have already made two formal submissions to select committees this year, the first on the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill, and the second on the Crimes (Abolition of Force as a Justification for Child Discipline) Amendment Bill. Activate opposes the latest bill because they say it will further disadvantage young workers, who they say are among the most vulnerable in society.

"While Activate's views may, or may not, necessarily reflect those of the government, we support their right to have their say and encourage them – and other young people – to do so. Gathering youth input is an important part of the decision-making process," Nanaia Mahuta said.

"A healthy democracy is one in which all people feel that they can make their views heard, so it is important that young people's voices are valued and considered as part of an inclusive society. The government welcomes the Activate submission, and encourages any other young person who is passionate about an issue that affects them to get up have their say.

"There are many ways that young people can get their voices heard. Organisations such as MYD, local councils, youth groups, Youthline, or Citizen's Advice Bureaux can provide useful information on how to go about this," Nanaia Mahuta said.


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