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Jun 29, 2011

ACT: Restore the Youth minimum wage.

ACT Is a New Zealand classical liberal party, which is strong on individual freedom, personal responsibility, small government, and financial responsibility. They have begun a campaign for the reintroduction of the youth minimum wage, the abolition of which has had a devastating effect on youth unemployment. The following is their case, trimmed down a little for space:

There are 41,400 young people out of work – enough to fill Westpac stadium and then spill onto the pitch. An estimated 12,000 are unemployed as a direct consequence of the abolition of the youth minimum wage. 

Youth unemployment is the highest level it has ever been - even after taking recession effects into account - with 27.5 percent of 15-19 year olds unemployed. That equates to almost one in every three young people out of work. 

While unemployed our young people are scraping by on the dole. But the more insidious problem is not the money. The problem is that, while unemployed, they are missing out on vital work experience – experience that would benefit them for years to come. 

Abolishing youth rates; the consequences: 

Why did abolishing the youth wage push so many young people out of work? Surely it gave youth a more livable wage? 

No, it didn’t. When given the choice between an older, more experienced worker and taking a punt on an inexperienced school-leaver an employer will, more often than not, hire the older worker. It’s simple – you get more experience for the same wage. 

In abolishing the youth wage the Government forced young people to compete with experienced workers, placing youth at a serious disadvantage. Despite declining rates of overall unemployment, youth unemployment continues to rise. 

An entire generation of young people is growing up without the work experience that the generations before them have benefited from. The 16 and 17 year olds that are unemployed today will tomorrow become 19 and 20 year olds who have never held a job.

Reinstating youth rates - the consequences: 

ACT has fought tooth and nail for the youth wage to be reinstated. We submitted a Private Members Bill in 2010, which would effect change and curb youth unemployment. National, Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party voted against this. Since then youth unemployment has skyrocketed. 

Reinstating the youth wage would allow young people to get a foothold on the job ladder. Most of us will remember our first job - most of us will also remember that it probably didn’t pay too well either. But we all remember our first pay rise. 

The key to getting a pay rise is work experience – it is this experience that is now out of reach for so many. 

Minimum Wage Myths Busted: Click here.

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