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Skills shortages must go

24 August 2005

Hon Jim Anderton MP, Progressive Leader

Skills shortages must go - Progressive Policy launch

Businesses around the country are finding it harder than ever to address skills shortages and action must be taken now to help them, according to Progressive leader Jim Anderton, who launched a package to address skills shortages in Wellington at the Business NZ election forum today.

A net 60 per cent of firms had difficulty recruiting skilled staff according to the Department of Labour's (DoL) skills shortage survey in March 2005. The DoL also found that 32 per cent of firms that operate across the country had difficulty finding staff and staff turnover across all firms was the second highest ever at 21 per cent.

"Progressive is campaigning on reducing skills shortages with a Skills Shortage Package," Jim Anderton said.

"We will undertake a regular skills shortage stocktake in cooperation with the business community so we can plan for apprenticeships and graduates in these areas.

"We will offer skills shortage scholarships to encourage people to train in areas of urgent need. A pilot scheme of 1,000 scholarships will be run to start with at the cost of $12 - 15 million. The scholarships will provide for: total student fees, or training costs and the student allowance. Those people who won the scholarships would be bonded to stay and work in New Zealand for at least the period for which they received the scholarship.

"This policy is backed up by our strong progressive economic development policies; a company tax cut on April 1, 2006 to encourage businesses investment in technology, skills training, research and market development; and double the number of Modern Apprentices and Industry Traininees by 2007, to 16,000 and 250,000 respectively.

"Now that National has put Muldoon-style borrowing and indiscriminate income tax cuts ahead of business growth, it appears the Progressives are the only pro-business party in the running this election," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

Full speech available on: www.progressive.org.nz

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