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Anderton Speech: Full employment for the youth

Jim Anderton Speech: Full employment for the youth of Porirua and New Zealand

Speech to Porirua Youth Employment Group

Thank you for the welcome.

This is a landmark event that can only happen because of an important partnership.

Central and local government, businesses, secondary schools, community groups, youth representatives are all here.

Partnerships are a new and controversial thing for governments to engage in.

It’s important to work together if we want to make a difference.

The Coalition is committed to full youth employment.

Unemployment has prevented New Zealand meeting its full potential as a nation. It has also prevented young New Zealanders from realizing their full potential.

I have a personal commitment to the issue.

The Progressive Party made full employment for under-20 year olds a cornerstone commitment at the last election.

The coalition government demonstrated its commitment with a $400-million package in this year’s budget to bring about opportunities for sustainable job opportunities and improved skills training development.

Jobs are the top priority because jobs unlock opportunities for individuals and communities.

My generation enjoyed the opportunity to pursue our dreams.

Jobs are the key to safer communities. Jobs mean less crime.

Jobs make communities stronger. People with no job feel they have little stake in their communities.

Jobs are the key to healthier communities.

We have a lot to do to achieve full employment.

For people under 25, the unemployment rate is still around 11%

In contrast, the general rate is about 5%.

Jobs don’t create themselves.

Past New Zealand governments tried that. Hands-off policies didn’t work.

Economic development is needed to create jobs.

The coalition government is working closely with industry to create opportunities.

One of the major things governments can do is remove obstacles to employment.

We have to move on economic development on many fronts at once.

Growth requires infrastructure. That is why the coalition government has offered to regain some control over New Zealand's railway system in the wake of the market's failure to meet the infrastructural needs of our regions.

We’re working on skills development, networks and opportunities for business.

We’re creating a one-stop shop for industry assistance – New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Skills are a major obstacle that we have to deal with too.

When my party joined the coalition government people asked ‘where are the jobs?’ Now they ask ‘where are the skills?’

In 2001, 9000 school-leavers left school with no qualifications.

They are entering a workforce where there is a premium on skill.

So they have a much lower chance of getting good long-term jobs.

The government has a role in working constructively to overcome skills shortages.

But governments can’t achieve the desired results alone.

Industry has a role too.

Many industries suffer skills shortages because of poor industrial practices and reputation.

Young people have responsibility too; to take control of their own futures.

Government needs to work with local communities because the problems and solutions aren’t the same everywhere.

The coalition government made a significant commitment in this year’s budget.

$84-million over four years is going to industry training.

The number of industry trainees will increase to 150,000 by 2005, double the number in 2001.

$24-million has gone into the Gateway programme, which creates useful workplace experience for secondary school students.

There will be 7500 Modern Apprenticeships by 2006.

The coalition government is also working with the Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs.

By 2007, all 15 – 19 year olds will be engaged in education, training or work. We are funding two regional pilots whose objectives are to match training with job opportunities.

They are whole-of-government pilots – involving MED, Ministry of Social Development, Department of Labour, Tertiary Education Commission, Youth Affairs, Industry New Zealand and the Careers Service.

Two of the best were chosen from proposals around New Zealand. Partners Porirua is one of them.

There will be major benefits for Porirua if the pilot is successful.

It will assist the economic development of Porirua City.

Create better linkages between schools and businesses.

Provide future employment and educational opportunities for Porirua youth.

Develop the skill base of youth in Porirua.

Porirua is a great place for a pilot of this nature.

In many ways, Porirua symbolises the future for New Zealand.

It is young. (Median age 30.8 v 34.8 for NZ in 2001).

It has more Maori and Pacific people. 20% Maori, 27% Pacific.

Porirua also has some challenges.

It has higher than average youth unemployment (28% of 15-19 year olds v 22% nationally; 20% of 20-24 year olds v 13% nationally).

But like New Zealand, Porirua has great potential.

Its annual economy is worth about $1.1 billion a year.

There are major development projects planned, including the Kenepuru Hospital upgrade ($33m), Porirua East Community Housing Renewal ($26m) and the Aotea Block development (hundreds of millions), as well as major retail upgrades.

So Porirua has both challenges and opportunities.

It is a great venue to trial a youth employment project.

Another reason for choosing Porirua for a pilot was the quality of its organisation.

You have shown a commitment towards the success of this project by being here today.

You have a record of partnerships between schools and businesses.

You have strong networks.

The community’s commitment is the key to eliminating youth unemployment.

It needs, of course, the support of schools, parents, community groups, businesses and young people themselves.

I have a vision for New Zealand where every young person can realise his or her potential.

Where all of us can look a school leaver in the eye and know he or she has a future here in Porirua.

If we have one responsibility as custodians of our community, it is to our young.

If I had one message to young people, it would be that each of you can make a difference.

Others can copy you, but only you have the unique talents you possess, and if you don’t do something, it will never be done.

We need to recognise the importance of individual young people by ensuring none is left behind.

I wish you well for the future.

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