May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Equal pay for equal work, Te Ururoa Flavell

2 min read

The Maori Party is strongly opposing the Starting Out wage package, which establishes a youth wage at 80% of the minimum wage in New Zealand for 16 and 17 year olds in the first six months of work with a new employer.

We have always pushed for an increase to the minimum wage in recognition that those who work should be able to survive and thrive on their income. This policy does not move us towards this goal in fact it discriminates against young people.

If you do equal work, you should earn equal pay thats what parity is and thats what we should all be working towards if we are serious about addressing the issue of poverty in this country.

Our concern is that the proposed approach will incentivise employers to employ the cheapest form of labour; it will not address youth unemployment and it may have significant negative impacts on M?ori.

Getting our people into employment is important, but frankly there are better ways of doing it that do not undermine the contribution that our young people make to our communities, our businesses and our nation. Job Plus and Community Max are examples of this, where businesses are incentivised to employ young people while ensuring they get a decent wage.

We do not support the creation of a low wage economy. Lowering the youth wage merely creates a cheap labour market.

We intend to vote against the Minimum Wage (Starting-out Wage) Amendment Bill and we will continue to advocate for initiatives which build on the potential of the M?ori youth population to develop a highly skilled, productive workforce.

Media Contact: Kym Maxwell 021 798 103

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