Youth wage rate bill defeated in Parliament
An Act Party attempt to reintroduce the youth minimum wage rate was heavily defeated in Parliament tonight.
MP Sir Roger Douglas drafted the bill but neither the government nor the Labour Party would support it and it was voted down 117-5.
Sir Roger said he introduced it because youth unemployment had soared since the previous government abolished the youth rate in 2008, putting all workers on the adult rate.
"The other parties are pretending abolition hasn't stopped young people finding work but the youth unemployment rate is 26.5% and the rate for young Maori is 38.7%," he said.
"The unintended consequence has been to price young workers out of the market, they are being forced to compete with adults who have more skills and experience."
National MP David Bennett said the government saw a bright future for young people and wanted them to get the best skills possible through education and training rather than take up low-paid jobs.
"This bill says you need to pay people less to get them into their first jobs and into an unskilled future," he said.
Labour MP Trevor Mallard said Sir Roger didn't believe in minimum wage rates at all and should say so.
"He believes in the total power of the employer and he should tell the full truth about Act's position," Mr Mallard said.
Act's five MPs were the only ones voting for the bill.