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Regional plans to continue NZ's 'jobs miracle'

20 July 2005
Media Statement

Regional plans to continue NZ's 'jobs miracle'

After Work and Income's most successful year to date, the agency's new regional plans will see even more New Zealanders helped off benefits and into work, Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

"Every region in the country has fewer unemployed, fewer people on the DPB and fewer people on benefits than they did last year," Steve Maharey said. "The new regional plans will keep up this momentum right across the country."

Work and Income Regional Plans are developed by Social Development Regional Commissioners in close consultation with local communities. They set out the key goals for each region and the specific ways Work and Income will help communities achieve them.

Examples of initiatives in this year's regional plans include:
- The SMART programme in Northland to help unemployed people gain the skills necessary to pass entry exams for the Armed Forces, the Police and Fire Service
- The Straight Up programme to inform Year 10 Bay of Plenty students about the stark realities of living on benefits and the importance of training and education
- An urban case management initiative in Palmerston North to provide one on one job seeking help to people who have been unemployed for over three years

"This year, all of the regional plans include a major focus on sustainable employment. If we want regional economies to continue to grow strongly, we have to make sure people are moving off benefits and into jobs that will last.

"Work and Income will focus on things like training, employment services and career advice. This is the approach that has been working very well over the past few years.

"Just last month the OECD confirmed that policies like Jobs Jolt – not just a strong economy – have led to New Zealand having the second lowest unemployment in the world. The OECD has labelled New Zealand a 'jobs miracle'.

"Work and Income's regional plans will build on this success and help keep New Zealand's regions moving ahead."

ENDS

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