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B2000: Creating new job opportunities

Hon Steve Maharey
Minister of Social Services and Employment

Hon Parekura Horomia
Minister of Social Services and Employment (Employment)


15 June 2000


Creating new job opportunities

Creating new opportunities for jobs is the focus of an employment package with $90 million of new funding announced in the Budget, Social Services and Employment Ministers Steve Maharey and Parekura Horomia said today.

Three major employment programmes are to be funded, along with other initiatives to close the gaps in Mäori and Pacific people's communities, target migrants and mature workers and to conduct specialist research into future work trends and effective employment programmes. The Ministers said the Government was looking to spend funds more carefully to achieve job growth and to refocus Government agencies on growing real, sustainable jobs across the country.

"Labour and the Alliance's approach to employment policy is to see it within the context of the range of macro and micro-economic tools to be used to promote the economic climate necessary to nurture job creation. My colleagues Michael Cullen and Jim Anderton have outlined the contribution of economic policy, and industry and regional development to job growth.

"The Government's employment policy is summed up in one word – jobs. Budget 2000 begins the process of turning around the mistakes of the past by spending existing funds in smarter ways and by introducing new programmes which have an unashamed job creation role.

"Next week we will be releasing the Government's response to the Hunn Report into the Department of Work and Income which will re-emphasise the Department's role amongst the range of employment tools available to us.

"New funding worth $42 million over four years will be invested in Mäori and Pacific people's community organisations to improve their capacity to promote economic and employment activity.

"We are allocating $8.5 million over three years to pilot the establishment of Community Employment Organisations (CEOs). The programme is aimed at assisting the development of community based organisations and in doing so creating employment for disadvantaged individuals.

"Our Artworks programme, worth $585,000 over three years, is a new community employment initiative which provides opportunities to create employment in the creative industries.

"In line with our decision to repeal the ineffective Community Work scheme we are over four years, reallocating $33.6 million of existing funding together with investing a further $24.9 million to refocus the scheme and better tailor it to the needs of individual job seekers through a new Activity in the Community programme. The programme aims to work with up to 13,000 participants in its first year.

"Pilot schemes totalling $330,000 will be funded in 2000/01 to trial specific programmes aimed at meeting the needs of the recent migrants to New Zealand and the growing number of unemployed mature job seekers.

"Our employment package is closely connected to other packages aimed at improving employability levels and closing skills gaps. In particular the $73.2 million skills package also announced in the budget is heavily focused on ensuring New Zealanders are able to access skills training necessary to take up employment options otherwise closed to them.

"The Government also needs to have good information on what is happening in the labour market if we are to settle on the best mix of policies to promote job growth. $1.7 million is being allocated over three years to undertake action research into new employment initiatives.

"We will also be investing an additional $2 million over four years to improve the capacity of the Department of Labour to give us advice on future work trends. An immediate priority for this funding will be a project to determine how we can close the 'digital divide' between those with and without skills and access to information technology so that we can take better advantage of world-wide growth in the knowledge industries," the Ministers said.

ENDS

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