The abolition of the youth minimum wage by the Labour Government in 2008 saw youth severely affected by the 2008/2009 recession, with large falls in employment and rising unemployment.

Alongside the problem of high numbers of unemployed young people was the number of young people moving on to a benefit at 18 years. As at the end of March 2012, there were 13,700 18 and 19 year olds on a benefit, with 5,100 (about 37%) having been on a benefit six months or longer.

This is unacceptable.  The National Government has introduced the new starting-out wage that will help provide young New Zealanders with more opportunities to get into the workforce.

This was one of National’s 2011 campaign promises, and designed to provide 16- to 19-year-olds with the opportunity to earn money, gain skills and get the work experience they need.