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$100 million focus on jobs

19 May 2005

Hon Steve Maharey
Minister for Social Development and Employment

$100 million focus on jobs

The long term unemployed will be helped into jobs through a $21 million funding increase in the budget, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said.

The increase is part of a larger $100 million jobs package, the other components of which were announced pre-budget and relate to sickness and invalids beneficiaries and to support for working parents.

Steve Maharey says the new funding will provide intensive case-management, wage subsidies and an Urban Employment Service for clients who have been unemployed for more than three years.

"This initiative is a key part of the government's welfare reforms which include the drive towards a single core benefit and a new work-focussed service for all beneficiaries.

“It will enable the government to build on successful programmes which have seen the number of people on a benefit for more than two years halved since 1999. With low unemployment and increasing skill and labour shortages, this is the right time to focus on providing work opportunities for all New Zealanders."

Other aspects of the package announced earlier this month include:

- Service for sickness and invalids beneficiaries: $27.7 million over four years for a new service to support sickness and invalids beneficiaries moving into work. A 62 per cent fall in unemployed since 1999 has allowed the government to do more in these areas.

- Work choices for parents: an extra $55.2 million over four years for quality childcare and Out of School Care and Recreation (OSCAR) to enhance parents' work choices.

Steve Maharey said the additional support for childcare and OSCAR was over and above the widened eligibility and rate increases as part of the Working for Families package.

ENDS

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