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National Rules Out Supporting Roger Douglas Youth Rate Bill

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Roger Douglas
Roger Douglas

Wellington, March 17 NZPA - The National Party has ruled out supporting a bill introduced to Parliament by ACT MP Sir Roger Douglas seeking to allow for the reintroduction of youth rates.

The last government ditched youth rates, with some exceptions around trainees and young workers starting out, and said the minimum wage should apply to all workers from 16 years-old.

Sir Roger says the minimum wage stops employers taking on young workers, while those who support it argue it is unfair to differentiate pay rates based on age and say there is little evidence of a link between youth rates and unemployment.

The bill, which has been slammed by unions, was discussed at a National caucus meeting yesterday and ruled out, said a spokesman from Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson's office.

Sir Roger took an opportunity in Parliament today to ask Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett about whether his bill would be supported and was told that National considered it wouldn't reduce youth unemployment.

"Plus it will be a distraction from the really important work of improving productivity and growing the economy to create long-term jobs which will keep young people in New Zealand," Ms Bennett said.

Opposition leader Phil Goff welcomed the decision. "It's crazy to suggest that any young person doing the same job exactly as older people should be paid automatically at a lower rate. It didn't add up," he told reporters.

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