Is Roger anti-youth?

Roger Douglas is a lucky man. He’s now got two Private Members Bill out of the ballot, with his latest Minimum Wage (Mitigation of Youth Unemployment) Amendment Bill, pity they’re both so terrible.

You’ve got to ask though – is Roger anti-youth?

His youth rate Bill would reverse Sue Bradford’s success from 46th Parliament to end the minimum wage discrimination based on age. The Standard has a great parody here, replacing the word ‘youth’ with ‘Maori’ in Roger’s Bill. The point is, we wouldn’t discriminate based on ethnicity – so why should we on age? People are already mobilising and you can join the Say NO to YOUTH RATES! Group on Facebook here.

It would be a massive step-backwards if this Bill passed. That ball is now in the National Party’s court.

The other Bill Roger has is the Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) of students’ associations bill which would gut student services on tertiary campuses.

Maybe Roger is now like the curmudgeonly old relative reflecting on the past at family get-togethers, who says to the teenager “…you got paid what? Back in my day, we got paid less than the minimum wage and we were grateful for just that. Student Unions at uni? Luxury! In my day we didn’t have any services or student representation and had to walk 100 miles to class every day.”

Let’s not look to the past for youth policy – let’s pay our young people equal pay for equal work and protect our student services from right-wing ideologues.

35 Comments Posted

  1. Unite director Mike Treen says he campaigned robustly to remove the rates and had the support of many high school students who went on strike.

    Treen says if the government were to adopt youth rates again employees could then start to discriminate against workers young and old, by not paying them equal rates.

    “They do the same work, and work side by side. Certainly it’s an abuse of workers rights. The Human Rights Commission said it was discrimination.

    By allowing employers to employ young workers at a lesser rate, it’s taking advantage of younger workers.

    Business NZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly says other measures have now replaced youth rates for those sectors who previously paid them.

    Under the government’s ‘Job Ops’ scheme, which began in August last year workplaces can be subsidised $5000 for each young person they employ. Employers hiring staff aged 16 to 17, or between 18-24 with little skills or experience qualify.

    Treen says those industries seeking to employ young people will keep doing so because of their suitability – regardless of the pay rate.
    “That’s because of the time the workers are available – weekends and after school. That would suit the fast-food industry, supermarkets and the cinemas.”

    Treen argues if a lesser wage was introduced it would further disadvantage those families relying on multiple incomes.

    “During the 90s there was an increase in unemployment. As a consequence families depend on working longer hours and more people working. “It’s often not pocket money but it’s necessary for the families survival in difficult times.”

    O’Reilly says it is the joint responsibility of the community and the government to support young people in need of work.

    “New Zealand is a welfare state. I think it would be a hard call to say to a young person first entering a job that they are to provide for their family. And that’s a big ask to say to an employer you should be paying more because this person is supporting their family.”

    He says youth are over-represented in the ranks of the unemployed – currently at 7.3 per cent – but the renewed debate was unlikely to result in youth rates being reinstated.

    O’Reilly said he’d “be very surprised” if the bill to reintroduce them got much support.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/small-business/news/article.cfm?c_id=85&objectid=10628656

    At least Roger and Rodney won’t super size the city AND mini me the wages for youth.

  2. Drakula,

    What do you mean by “Lets get the means of production into the hands of the workers by community enterprises.” ?

    And if you simply mean worker control of the means of production, how do you think this can be achieved? I’m not averse to the idea, but its all very easy to make statements like this without having a concrete plan on how to achieve the goal.

  3. I agree with Gareth, let’s move on into the 21st century. It is absolutely amazing as to how much power ACT can wield with such a small mandate.

    They are the reactionaries, after they deny youth equal pay then it will be women and who will be next? socialists? Greens?
    Lets get the means of production into the hands of the workers by community enterprises.

  4. Yep, SPC – check out my 3:06 PM comment yesterday on this thread, where I link to it.

    Guess Roger’s sucking in the big ones now on this one.

  5. Darien Fenton says on red alert that he asked a written question of the Minister Kate Wilkinson and she said she did not support a minimum youth wage.

  6. Curious how the Greens think student associations are so lousy that students in their droves will choose to not be members, and they will dry up and shrivel.

    Nothing like the issue of whether individuals should have a choice as to whether they belong to a “student representative” organisation to bring out the authoritarian in those who like student unions.

    There is no more valid argument for compulsory student union membership than there is for compulsory political party membership.

  7. The biggest effect of a raise in minimum wage is a decrease in hours needed to be worked by the average student in order to be able to cover living costs while studying – those who earn a higer rate during the summer vacation, spend less term-time working while studying.

    If we’re going to have enough qualified, motivated workers in ten years time (or so) when all the baby-boomers peak retirement ages are reached, as a society we need to nurture our future replacement workforce – or else a whole lot more folk are going to have to work past 65 just to keep the lights on here in Aotearoa.

    We need qualified young people to get into the workforce and stay here, so that there are experienced workers ready to take up the slack when the huge retirement bulge begins.
    Alienating young workers so that they follow Bill English’s advice, and ‘go overseas until they’re thirty’, coming back like godwits to breed, is too short-sighted.

  8. A 2004 Treasury paper, 3 years after the youth wage was abolished, says:

    “We find no robust evidence of adverse effects on youth employment or hours worked. In fact, we find stronger evidence of positive employment responses to the changes for both groups of teenagers, and that 16-17 year-olds increased their hours worked by 10-15 percent following the minimum wage changes. Given the absence of any adverse employment effects, we find significant increases in labour earnings and total income of teenagers relative to young adults.”

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2004/04-03

    Why do youth have to be working? Shouldn’t we be encouraging them back into education. Shouldn’t they actually be having a youth?

    It must also be noted that youth unemployment isn’t that big of an issue. People under 18 who don’t live with their families and aren’t in education are in a minority.

    We need to nurture our youth, not make them slaves to the all mighty dollar before their childhood is up.

  9. The fact remains that increasing the cost of youth employees without decreasing the risk of employing them, vs an adult, results in higher unemployment for youth workers.

    What Hughes advocates results in more youth unemployment, not less.

    http://tinyurl.com/yl59je4

    The recession is part of it, but it doesn’t explain such a wide margin between youth and adults.

  10. How have I derailed anything? Were posters forced to respond to me?

    People tend to respond to accusations whether true or not. You don’t really expect us to believe you don’t know that given the high art to which you’ve raised the straw man tactic?

    Perhaps we should take your advice and just ignore you, but its not the nature of blog exchanges is it. Mind you, I’ve been doing my best lately.

  11. @rimu – the thing is the amount that the VUWSA gets at the moment could have easily been invested so as to allow for cafes, pubs, uni shops. It is a student group that does not act in the interests of students simply

  12. How have I derailed anything? Were posters forced to respond to me?

    I guess they felt they had to, and I know the reason for that 🙂

  13. I know you know the post wasn’t well thought out.

    I know you know we’ve exposed yet another of your straw men. Despite that, this one’s been very effective as its completely derailed the the discussion from the real issues. As was intended.

  14. greenfly, stop feeding the troll. I know it’s fun but it gets in the way

    I know you know the post wasn’t well thought out. And if a thicko like me can spot the problem, that doesn’t bode well, huh 🙂

  15. targeted specifically at young people are being led by the MP who is furthest removed from that age group

    So what? The policy also affects employers and the labour markets.

    Does tax policy affect young people, too? Best appoint Keisha Hughes to head Treasury.

  16. BluePeter wrote:

    “So you start off saying we shouldn’t discriminate based on age, then you liken Douglas to “the curmudgeonly old relative”.

    So his views are irrelevant because of his age?”

    No, it’s just interesting to note that these policies that are targeted specifically at young people are being led by the MP who is furthest removed from that age group. It would be the same if Gareth Hughes was spearheading a policy change that only affected old people.

  17. stephensmikem: I note that the UCSA owns 6 cafes and 2 bars. Of course they make a profit! VUWSA doesn’t seem to own any, as far as I can tell from their web site. Are you comparing apples with apples? Is a free market ideology appropriate for both situations even though they are completely different?

  18. Thanks for proving my point.

    Janette’s views were irrelevant because of her age, were they? If the right-wing chose her age as a means to undermine her, that would be valid, would it?

  19. When in a hole, stop digging.

    The comparison was obviously pejorative and ageist. Many people, of differing ages, share Rogers views. The view is mostly to do with economics and labour theory, and nothing to do with the age of the person holding that view.

  20. Why use the term ‘old’?

    Douglas is young ????

    He keeps his organs in canopic jars filled with Natron, for f*cksake!

  21. If a Student Association is good enough there will be no impact whatsoever to their functioning, refer the UCSA that doesn’t charge its members and actually makes profit and DOES services for its membership and OUSA which provides a number of valuable services for the majority of its clients . Ones that just sit around claiming more in parking and travel expenses (refer VUWSA 2009 budget between welfare and executive expenses)for their exec than they do for their hardship funds from the pocket of Uni students should be gutted ,semi- private lobby groups already exist at universities for the specific Degree groupings at many universities. Students do not want these associations in general if the services they provide are not going to be of any use to them, Orientation parties at the start of the ear are almost entirely designed for the 17-28 yr old age group so why should the 65yr old retiree have to fund the pissups of a group of Otago shop breakers or a 18yr old fund the adult learning centres? choice is needed , with the 2006 L&C Act only students are bound to belong to a group where individuality is needed most

  22. A curmudgeonly young relative isn’t likely to reflect “on the past at family get-togethers, who says to the teenager “…you got paid what? Back in my day, we got paid less than the minimum wage and we were grateful for just that. Student Unions at uni? Luxury! In my day we didn’t have any services or student representation and had to walk 100 miles to class every day”, would they?

    For that matter, talking about an old Gen Y-er wouldn’t make sense either, would it BP?

  23. Let’s turn it around:

    “Maybe Susie is now like the naive young thing pontificating on the future at family get-togethers, who says to the older people “…you get paid what? I should get paid the same! Right now! Even though I’m 12!”

    Bless 😉

  24. Curmudgeon: a crusty irascible cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas.

    Gareth isn’t saying Douglas’ ideas are irrelevant, he’s just saying that they’re crusty, cantankerous and stubborn.

  25. So you start off saying we shouldn’t discriminate based on age, then you liken Douglas to “the curmudgeonly old relative”.

    So his views are irrelevant because of his age?

    Ho-ho.

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