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FFNZ: Government Must Focus on Skill Shortage

FFNZ: Government Must Focus on Skill Shortage

Don't use minimum wages as a substitute for growing the skill base of young New Zealanders, says Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Vice President Charlie Pedersen.

Federated Farmers has urged the government to focus on the skill shortage of young New Zealanders entering the rural industry.

"Farmers are crying out for skilled young workers who have a capacity for work, and no amount of tinkering with the minimum wage is going to help that, said Mr Pedersen.

"OECD research suggests that a 10 percent rise in the minimum wage, all else being equal, is generally associated with a fall in youth employment of 2 - 4 percent.

"In fact, lifting the minimum wage without a similar focus on skills has the potential to backfire as marginal entrants to the workplace become too expensive a risk.

"Federated Farmers members represent both sides of the employment relationship and no-one would like to see employees underpaid for the good work that they are doing.

"However there has to be a stepping stone into the industry that encourages employers to carry the risk of employing and training staff.

"Once an employee is trained, their wages can quickly move above $30,000 but what use is future earnings if a start cannot be made?"

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