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What Does This Government Have Against Youth

What Does This Government Have Against Young People?

ACT MP Roger Douglas’ lodging of a Member’s Bill advocating a return to youth rates is an ominous sign, especially given the Labour Minister’s apparent support for such a backwards step, say Labour MPs Darien Fenton and Jacinda Ardern.

Labour’s Associate Labour spokesperson Darien Fenton says Roger Douglas confirmed in Parliament today he would lodge the Bill, which would reverse important progress made during the last term for the fair minimum pay protection of workers.

“Disturbingly, just yesterday Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson made a point of stressing that National had opposed the abolishment of youth rates, saying it would price young people out of the market.

This is ridiculous. The legislation abolishing youth rates included a requirement for 16 and 17 year-olds to gain 200 hours work experience before being paid the adult minimum wage to protect against this happening.

“I’m calling on the Minister to spell out now whether the Government will support Sir Roger’s Bill and whether it has any intention of reintroducing youth rates,” Darien Fenton said.

Labour’s Youth Affairs spokesperson Jacinda Ardern said the Bill was a pathetic attempt by ACT, no doubt supported by National, to divert attention away from the Government’s inability to come up with a proper economic plan to stimulate employment and training opportunities for our youth.

“That is the reason we are dealing with record high youth unemployment and now have 72,000 youth unemployed.

“What happened to National’s promised Youth Guarantee scheme? Why is the Government promising to crack down on student loans and allowances and failing to reject speculation it will increase the student fee maxima?
“Why is the Government happy to let youth languish on the dole instead of increasing the cap on student enrolments? It's time this Government worked for young people rather than stripping back their rights and opportunities," Jacinda Ardern said.


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