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Working smarter will lead to better balance

Working smarter will lead to better work-life balance

Improving the skills and knowledge of New Zealand’s work force is key step to getting a better balance between work and home life, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

Steve Maharey spoke at a workshop on the ‘Future of Work’ this morning attended by business and worker representatives, academics, voluntary organisations and officials. He said New Zealand has relied on ever increasing output to boost national wealth since the 1970s and it was now time to focus on boosting productivity and knowledge acquisition.

Steve Maharey said there was a real need to get agreement amongst all the social partners on practical ways to boost productivity and restore a better balance between work and the other parts of people’s lives.

“Work is a central aspect of our lives – but it should not be the sole focus. New Zealand has wasted the thirty years since Britain joined the EEC to develop a more innovative workforce that would free us from having to produce ever more of the same products to maintain our living standards.

“A smarter workforce is able to be more productive, produce new high value products and services, generate greater income and can afford to ensure a better balance between working and home life.

“The government has established a Future of Work programme within the Department of Labour to look at these issues.

“Labour market change is unavoidable. We are looking to give business, unions and others practical advice about how we can make the best of the future,” Steve Maharey said.

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