A Tauranga clothing retail worker's quest to sustain herself in "the real world" is being challenged by the Government's bid to introduce a starting-out wage of $11 an hour.
Laura Blair, 18, is fresh out of high school, and embracing her new-found independence. She studies radio broadcasting at the Bay of Plenty Polytech Monday to Thursday, and works at a clothing store Friday to Sunday.
She considered the possibility of earning $50 less a week, for doing the same work as her workmates, nonsensical.
"How do they expect students to live?
"Everything is so expensive."
Laura pays $170 a week for rent, and $60 a week towards her new laptop, on top of all her other living expenses, and study costs.
She said she had no time to take on a second job to make up for the amount she may lose.
"I don't know what I would do. I may have to move back home."
Laura also questioned, "Why only youth? You're meant to be encouraging youth to work. Dropping wages wouldn't help.
"Just because you're young, doesn't mean you don't work as hard."
Laura believed young people often worked harder as they were keen to prove themselves.
She hoped her employer would not cut her wages when the law is expected to come into force on May 1.