中小企业占了新西兰企业总数的 97%，并贡献率了40%的国内生产总值。当前大部分中小企业生存艰难， 他们与供应商的议价能力微乎其微， 也没有能力应对持续上涨的运营成本。
Statistics New Zealand put youth unemployment at 30.9 per cent for the December quarter - that’s the highest rate on record for more than 30 years.
In the late 1990s, when the youth minimum wage was 60 per cent of the adult rate, the youth unemployment rate was about six percentage points higher than that for 20-24 year-olds. In December 2012, the difference between the adult and youth unemployment rate was three times higher at 18.5 percentage points.
Labour progressively lifted the youth minimum wage up to the adult minimum wage between 2000 and 2008. A massive increase in the proportion of 15-19 year olds seeking work fruitlessly is the result.
What other explanations might there be for the stark fact that in December 2012, 41,500 New Zealanders aged 15-19 wanted a job, but couldn’t find one?
We can’t blame weakness in overseas markets. Prices for primary products are holding up and our terms of trade remain high.
We can’t blame high interest rates. They are at 50-year lows.
We can’t blame lack of stimulus from government spending. Government spending has been running at 33-35 per cent of GDP, up from 29-30 per cent of GDP a decade ago.
We can’t blame recession. Treasury is forecasting that this year will be the 3rd successive year of positive economic growth.
We can blame a lack of a basic standard of literacy and numeracy, an enormous handicap for nearly 20 per cent of school-leavers. A high minimum wage relative to the productivity of this group is almost guaranteed to ensure their unemployment.
Partnership Schools will help by giving more choice to those not achieving at school. But it will take time to turn the education system around.
Lack of skill can explain low productivity and thereby low wage rates, but it can’t explain joblessness in the absence of a minimum wage. Unskilled workers abound, worldwide.
Government laws and regulations that unduly raise non-wage labour costs and aggravate employment risks for employers could also help explain the unacceptably high rate of youth unemployment, and unemployment in general.
When I was a young jobseeker, I was able to say to a potential boss “just give me a chance to prove myself. I will work without pay for a month and after that you decide if you want to keep me on.”
Today there is such a maze of red tape with the rules around personal grievance and unjustified dismissal that many a potential employer might hesitate to give a young person that chance.
I believe that we owe much of our unemployment in this country to the idea that employers generally are out to exploit vulnerable workers. A failing few may be, but the vast majority are not.
It is very costly for society to tie all employers up in red tape because of an unscrupulous few.
Why is there not more public outrage at the youth unemployment rate today?
One argument is that a higher minimum wage boosts household income. Witness last week’s call for a ‘living wage’ far above the adult minimum wage, and thereby even further out of kilter with the productivity of those with the least skills and work experience.
However, the earnings of one member of a household are not a good measure of household income. In particular, most 15-19 year olds would not be the major income earners in their households and how does having 41,500 young people unemployed boost household income?
Those concerned to raise household income on a sustainable basis need to focus on reducing barriers to employment and skill attainment.
At base, the minimum wage denies New Zealanders a fundamental freedom - the right to offer their own labour at a price they see fit, subject to general laws.
I had that right as a young man, today’s youth do not.
If we are serious about youth unemployment we could eliminate the minimum wage, at least for 15-19 year olds. Alternatively, we could reduce its level and/or further expand the range of exceptions. ACT’s successful three month trial employment period could be extended.
By such means we could move quickly to ease the path to achieving the dignity of work for 41,500 young New Zealanders.
- Published in the NBR, March 8 2013
Imagine what might happen if there was a centre-left coalition.
They believe we can just pass a law saying all wages have to be paid above a certain amount. Anyone who was working below that amount would get a pay rise.
They believe we can attain real economic growth by simply printing more money.
Everyone could then buy a new house, car and what not.
They believe the Government can spend millions of dollars on all sorts of wonderful programs, without affecting the private sector negatively, as hey, it’s not like taxes come from it.
Unfortunately that is all fantasy.
But according to other political parties, it seems that there is no reason why you cannot legislate your way to prosperity.
ACT thinks differently.
We understand that wages are determined by supply and demand.
We understand that minimum wages price some workers - usually the young and inexperienced - out of the market. The minimum wage diminishes their opportunity for a head start.
We understand that printing money results in inflation - an invisible tax on savings, which is the key to capital formation.
Not only will printing money fail to stimulate economic growth in the long run, it may also cause recessions and the misallocation of resources in our economy due to the distorted price signals.
We understand that welfare programs, implemented with the best of intentions, can have detrimental outcomes: increased dependence on handouts, high marginal tax rates which remove the incentive to work and the occasional abuse of taxpayers’ dollars.
Furthermore, with the recent crisis in Greece, we understand what happens when the Government goes bankrupt.
Governments cannot spend so carelessly. That’s why ACT advocates for smaller government that operates within a disciplined budget and low taxes, which will not crowd out the private sector and prohibit the creation of wealth.
If we look at other issues such as the "manufacturing crisis”- other parties were quick to blame the current Government and their so called "hands off" approach - as if the Government has not dug its hands into our economy deep enough.
It appears that not only do they lack understanding in sound economic theory, but some economic facts too.
Out of its 33 members, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) rated New Zealand the second most restrictive in terms of Foreign Direct Investment regulations.
Foreign Direct Investment plays a crucial role in our modern economy. Not only does it contribute to job creation, real income growth and raising our standard of living, but also many other positive externalities such as technology and skilled-labour training.
This is why ACT wants to remove unnecessary regulation and red tape that does nothing except make it harder to do business.
I do not wish to demonise other political parties, because as I mentioned before they do have the good intentions. Unfortunately, as they say, the road to hell is also paved with them.
One of the main insights of economics is that it demonstrates to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.
I believe only ACT's policies, founded on sound economic principals, understands this.
Speech by Peter Jiang to 2013 ACT Annual Conference, The Farm, Kaukapakapa, Saturday, February 23 2013.
National’s decision to increase the minimum wage will see more business failures and more jobs lost, ACT Leader John Banks said today.
“At a time when National should be getting out of the way of business, it’s putting greater barriers in place,” Mr Banks said.
“Small businesses make up 97% of all enterprise within New Zealand and account for 40% of our GDP. Most are struggling as they have little to no bargaining power with suppliers and do not have the capacity to absorb on-going cost increases.
“A member survey by Hospitality New Zealand last year found that 48% of hospitality owner/operators paid themselves less than the minimum wage.
“If employers can’t afford to pay themselves the minimum wage, how can they be expected to pay their employees even more?
“The minimum wage increase will impact most on those who can least afford it - low-skilled workers. It will price them out of the market, consigning them to a benefit.
“We have seen this with the abolition of the youth minimum wage: Statistics New Zealand released its December quarterly report which put the youth unemployment rate at 30.9 per cent - the highest rate for at least 30 years.
“Of course we would all like to see employees earn higher wages. But arbitrarily raising the minimum wage via regulation rather than through an increase in productivity will only result in job losses,” Mr Banks said.