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New Zealand Approach Confirmed At APEC Meeting

30 September 2001

The Government's emphasis on lifting skill levels has received new confirmation following a summit of APEC Ministers, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Mr Maharey is in Kumamoto, Japan representing the New Zealand Government at the just-completed APEC 4th Human Resources Development Ministerial Meeting. The forum is an important preparatory meeting leading for the Heads of Government meeting which will take place in Shanghai in October. The meeting was called to consider how education and training can boost economic growth and development anf contribute to improving the well-being of all people in the APEC member-nations.

Mr Maharey said Ministers attending the meeting had discussed the challenges and uncertainties posed by the current state of the international economy. There was a large measure of agreement across the nations represented on the way forward.

"As the Joint Ministerial Statement notes, the new economy creates unprecedented opportunities for New Zealand and for the other APEC economies. Knowledge and skill development is the key to giving all workers opportunity in an increasingly globalised world.

"Volatility in the international economy makes this even more important.

"New Zealand is on the right track to share the gains of economic growth and to lift people's capacity to participate in the new economy.

"In particular the programmes we have introduced to:

- lift levels of educational and training participation, and lift levels of achievement;

- align our education and training policies with broader economic and social development strategies;

- seek to build on comparative and competitive advantage through the application of higher levels of skill and knowledge; and focus on life long learning, and the particular learning needs of specific groups;

position us well in terms of how the other APEC nations are responding to the challenges of globalisation.

"The meeting also endorsed the critical importance this Government has attached to building effective partnerships with business, unions and other stakeholders including the voluntary sector in the development and implementation of programmes," Steve Maharey said.

Ends


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