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Banks to exit Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs?

Wednesday 27 February 2008

Banks to exit Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs?

Only three years after Dick Hubbard involved Auckland City for the first time in the Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs, John Banks and his Citizens and Ratepayers council colleagues look set to cancel all of the positive employment initiatives which arose from it, say City Vision-Labour councillors.

"Last term Dick Hubbard jumped on board as soon as he became Mayor because he immediately saw the value in joining this very important group. Mr Banks repeatedly refused to join the Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs in his first term as mayor, and now he looks set to exit from the Taskforce. Banks has already withdrawn much of Council's support for the positive employment initiatives that came out of Hubbard's membership of it," says Councillor Richard Northey.

The Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs is a nationwide network working on the issues of job creation and skill development in their communities. Begun in 2000 with seven Mayors the Taskforce now has a membership of 71 which is 97% of all Mayors. The Taskforce's vision is that all young people under 25 years have the opportunity and be encouraged to be in paid work, in training or education, or in productive activities in our communities.

Councillor Leila Boyle says it is vital that John Banks continues with all the positive initiatives that Dick Hubbard's membership started.

"Through the Mayors' Taskforce council staff have developed and supported youth employment initiatives across the city and been proactive in reducing youth unemployment. The Council set up cadetship programmes for employing young people within council departments. Dick Hubbard hosted graduation ceremonies for apprentices in the Town Hall and with government funding we established the youth transition service based in Mt Roskill. Now the cadetships and graduation ceremonies have been cancelled and the prospects of an additional youth transition service in Tamaki look grim."

Councillor Boyle says that John Banks must explain to ratepayers why he wants to cancel these very worthwhile Mayors' Taskforce for Jobs initiatives.

"I can't think of any good reason why John Banks would want stop positive job creation initiatives. Looks to me like he wants to snuff out anything that Dick Hubbard promoted, regardless of whether it is good for Auckland or not."


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