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National Releases Employment Policy

5th July 2002

New Zealand can do better in the fight against unemployment, says National's Employment spokesperson Bob Simcock, in releasing National's employment policy today.

"Employment is the best antidote to poverty, crime, and the failure of families. However long term unemployment has gone up 27% under Labour, and New Zealand still has 396,000 working age people on welfare.

"Far too many young people are going from school to a life on welfare and there are far too many skilled and motivated people over forty being discarded by employers, which is a terrible waste of human talent.

"National will ensure that all young people stay in school until they have well developed plans for their future.

"We will work with employers to change the attitudes that are keeping older workers out of employment, and we will require Department of Work and Income (DWI) to develop specialist services for unemployed mature people. We have to stop the waste of experienced motivated people that is occurring.

"National believes that welfare should not be a one-way street - instead there must be mutual responsibilities. National will give DWI the power to require unemployed people to do community work where that will help restore work disciplines. We will also maintain a work test that requires those on the DPB to be available for employment as their circumstances permit.

"We will reinvest every dollar saved by getting someone off welfare, into supporting the next person to gain employment.

"Economic growth alone won't produce jobs for people who lack basic employment skills. We must invest whatever it takes to help people gain the skills they need to get employment, and in return we must expect people to support themselves where they are able to," said Mr Simcock.


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