Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Caritas: Parliament showing lack of concern for young people

7 December 2012

Parliament showing lack of concern for young people - Caritas

Catholic social justice agency Caritas is deeply concerned about the messages Parliament is currently sending New Zealand’s young people.

Caritas spoke against the Government’s ‘starting-out’ minimum wage proposal at the Transport and Industrial relations select committee on Thursday. It also expressed disappointment at Parliament’s defeat by 61 votes to 58 of legislation that would have given greater protection to New Zealand’s youngest workers.

‘Making the labour of young people cheaper will increase the vulnerability of the entire youth workforce,’ Caritas research and advocacy coordinator Lisa Beech told the Select Committee considering the Minimum Wage (Starting-Out-Wage) Amendment Bill.

The government’s own calculations show most new jobs for lower-waged 16-17 year-olds will come primarily from substitution of jobs for 18-19 year-olds . ‘Displacing one group of vulnerable workers with another is not job creation,’ Lisa Beech said.

Caritas undertook in-depth interviews with four young people currently living and working in situations that future young people will face on lower wages, if the Bill is passed. The interviews showed that young people’s wages may currently support wider family household costs, independent teenage living, or study – all of which would be affected if young people earn lower wages.

Caritas CEO Julianne Hickey said if demand does not increase, whatever the price that is set for supply is what will be paid by employers. ‘Wages cannot be treated just as any other commodity, because people deserve to live in dignity on their earnings.’

Julianne Hickey told the Committee that Caritas recognises youth unemployment as such an urgent and serious problem that it has made it the focus of Social Justice Week in the Catholic Church next September. The Week takes place each year at the request of New Zealand’s Catholic Bishops to highlight a particular social justice concern.

‘Just making the labour of young people cheaper will not address the major challenges facing us as a community unable to find work for everyone,’ said Mrs Hickey.

Five of the members of the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee had spoken against the Employment Relations (Protection of Young Workers) Amendment Bill which was defeated in Parliament on Wednesday night. Caritas said it was disappointed at the lack of knowledge displayed in the Parliamentary debate on the vulnerability of working children in New Zealand, including research undertaken by Caritas. Copies of the Caritas 2007 Delivering the Goods report on child delivery workers were given to the Committee.

Julianne Hickey said the starting-out wage proposal and rejection of the children’s work bill, together with the 90-day probationary employment period for workers, and the extension of sanctions to beneficiaries who refuse work, will all combine to make working conditions more difficult for young people.

Quoting research saying New Zealand’s elderly deprivation levels are equivalent to that of Sweden while child deprivation levels are equivalent to that of Mexico, she said Parliament is further entrenching these inequalities. ‘We are deeply concerned about the messages Parliament is sending about New Zealand’s future.’

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Greek Riddles:
Gordon Campbell On The Recent Smackdown Over Greece

There had been a fortnight of fevered buildup. Yet here we are in the aftermath of the February 28 showdown between the new Syriza government in Greece and the European Union “troika” and… no-one seems entirely sure what happened. Did the asteroid miss Earth?

It seems to have. The EU still exists. Syriza is now claiming a victory of sorts. It doesn’t help that the only people who do appear to be sure (the Greeks buckled) are claiming the exact opposite to what the other group (the Greeks won!) are saying. Plus, there are bets either way e.g. Bloomberg News: “Its too early to say who caved in to whom.” More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Statement: Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Mrs Abbott to New Zealand. The visit has enabled wide-ranging and substantive discussion that has underlined the strength, value, diversity and warmth of our trans-Tasman relationship. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: Peters To Stand In Northland By-Election

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has announced his intention to stand in the Northland by-election, citing his own links to the electorate and ongoing neglect of the region by central government. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza? More>>

ALSO:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Whether NZ Troops Are The Least Of Islamic State’s Problems

Given that it has been politically packaged and sold as a training mission, the Iraq deployment announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key seemed to be mysteriously short of actual trainers... The other wing of the argument is whether a troop deployment is (a) the only effective way and (b) the appropriate time to combat Islamic State. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news