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Government ignores more advice – this time on youth wages

Tertiary Education Spokesperson
Government ignores more advice – this time on youth wages

National has ignored advice from the Ministry of Education, warning that its new youth rates could seriously affect students being able to finance their tertiary study, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Megan Woods says.

“The Minimum Wage (Starting Out Wage) Amendment Bill passed its third reading today, allowing employers to pay young New Zealanders less than the minimum wage.
“As well as doing nothing to address youth unemployment, this bill is another kick in the guts for students and for tertiary education from the government, coming as it does hot on the heels of cuts to student loans and allowances.

“Not only that, but the government has also chosen to ignore warnings from the Ministry of Education that youth rates were at odds with the Government’s own stated education goals and would impact on the incomes of working students, thus creating barriers to gaining qualifications.

“Ministry officials asked for an opportunity to discuss this with the Minister of Labour. It is now up to Simon Bridges to explain what further advice he - or his predecessor - received and why he chose to go ahead with a move that contradicts our education and training needs.

“National talks big on the importance of education, yet its actions today shriek of a government that doesn’t listen or really care.”


Ministry of Education comment from Regulatory Impact Statement Starting Out Wage

40 The Ministry of Education notes that the starting out wage may impact on the incomes of students who are working part-time while studying or working full-time during school or tertiary holiday periods. This may impact
on students’ ability to finance their current or future tertiary study.

41 The Ministry of Education is also concerned that the starting out wage proposal is at odds with the Government’s Better Public Services targets of increasing the proportion of people attaining NCEA level 2 at school and also the proportion of the population with at least level 4 qualifications aged between 25 and 34. We’d welcome the opportunity for further input to ensure that the objectives of this policy and the Government’s stated
education goals can be more closely aligned.”

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