March 22nd, 2013


Rant mode: on

So last night, the government of New Zealand passed the 'Starting Out Wage bill', the upshot of which is that 16-17 year olds are now not eligible for the full minimum wage, and 18-19 year olds who've been on a benefit for 6 months or longer are not either. The minimum wage in this country is $13.50 an hour, and the new 'youth rate' will be $10.80 an hour.

I did some maths, since my son is likely to fall into one of these categories. If he gets a full time job, working the standard 40 hour week (let's be ambitious - fact is he's more likely to get part time, casual or a 37.5 hour job), with a generous employer who pays $11 an hour, he'll gross a princely $440 a week. That's an annual 'salary' of $22,880. So his tax rate would be 10.5% for the first $14,000 and then 17.5% for the other $8,880.

*does some maths* So he'd be losing $3024 in tax/year off that. And let's not forget the compulsory (OK you can opt out but sensible folks don't) Kiwisaver input that's going up to 3% - that's another $686.40, for a total of $3710.40 off that $22,880 gross he'd earn. *does more maths* That boils down to $19,710 a year, or $368 a week he'd get in his hand.

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Guess who had the fun news of breaking this to him this morning? His response:

"I really don't know what to say, It almost feels like putting an effort in is a waste of time now. How in the hell is this supposed to encourage anyone to go out and get turned down repeatedly? This just means people are going to sit on the benefit longer."

And my heart breaks again. Fuck you, John Key and your rich cronies, for fucking up our country's employment laws, destroying jobs and trying to break my kid's will before he even gets started.

Never mind that this is part of a wider discrimination against young people that we are all tacitly party to. They are the most statistically marginalised group in our society, half the people this applies to aren't even allowed to vote, and now it's legal to pay them less as well - a law passed by people who have all the rights and privileges of full citizens and probably make at least four times the wage they just condemned these kids to.

Seriously, John Key and the National government, fuck you.