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Europe's Social Agenda Provides Model For NZ

8 July 2001 Media Statement

Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton says Europe's Social Agenda provides a model for New Zealand to follow.

The Social Agenda linking social policy with economic and employment policy has been adopted by the European Parliament, and member states are required to report annually on progress towards implementing the Agenda.

In a speech today Jim Anderton outlined the main focus of the Social Agenda:

1. More and better jobs. The commitment is to promote high-value, high-skill jobs, and to ensure there are opportunities for groups such as the long-term unemployed.

2. Changing the work environment to create a new balance between flexibility and security. This means ensuring there is adequate provision for social needs in the workplace, such as paid parental leave and child care. It means collective bargaining and dealing with workers in good faith.

3. Fighting poverty and all forms of exclusion. For New Zealand, transforming the economy has to also mean transforming the distribution of wealth and ensuring that everyone benefits from the improvements.

4. Modernising social protection. This means reducing poverty traps in welfare assistance. It also means ensuring provision is made for an aging population, and that health and education systems are adequate to meet changing populations.

5. Promoting gender equality. We need to recognise that women overwhelmingly bear the brunt of poverty and of reconciling work and family.

6. Strengthening regions. We cannot have a strong national economy if the regions are weak.

"The goals are all core policies for the Alliance, and the Labour-Alliance Coalition Government is making progress on all of them. They are an example of the positive achievements that can be made through government. And I believe they are demands supported by the majority of New Zealanders," Jim Anderton said.

Ends

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