Labour's Youth Affairs Policy
YOUTH AFFAIRS POLICY
Identity, independence and investment were the cornerstones of Labour’s commitment to young people when it entered government in 1999.
Since that time, Labour has:
• Made the Student Loan Scheme fairer by removing interest on student loans for full-time and other low-income students while they are studying, and increased the parental income thresholds for student allowances, benefiting 36,000 students
• Limited tertiary education fee increases by introducing the fee maxima policy
• Increased the youth minimum wage by over 80%, taking it from $4.
20 an hour to $7.
60, and provided for 18 and 19 year olds to be paid the adult rate
• Reduced youth unemployment by 34% from 14.
5% to 9.
• Introduced lower cost doctor’s visits and cheaper prescriptions for everyone under the age of 24 who is enrolled in a Primary Health Organisation
• Introduced and expanded the highly successful Modern Apprenticeships Scheme which has created work-based learning opportunities for almost 8000 young people
• Introduced the Gateway programme, designed to build pathways into work-based learning for senior secondary school students, and expanded it to 180 schools
• Doubled the amount of funding to Student Job Search and assisted them to focus increasingly on high-quality jobs that assist students to prepare for their future careers
• Boosted Youth Suicide Prevention programmes to support individuals, families and whanau after a suicide or suicide attempt, and increased funding for youth Suicide Prevention Information New Zealand Labour has also increased the input young people have in decision making at a local and national level.
• Developed a web-based toolkit to help local government staff develop forums such as Youth Councils that provide young people with an opportunity to have a voice in decision-making at local government level.
• Created and piloted an online consultation tool to help tailor the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa.
• Launched the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa, to ensure a whole-ofgovernment approach to the needs of young people.
• Engaged in active consultation and dialogue with young people around the country through youth forums and the Keepin’ It Real and E Tipu E Rea workshops.
• Provided additional funding to the Young New Zealanders’ Challenge, an event designed to encourage youth participation in voluntary/service activity.
• Established the PROVOKE youth participation project to replace the Student Representative Scheme and involve young people in decision making in society through ‘youth voice advocates’.
In its third term in government Labour will provide better access to quality tertiary education and training by:
• Abolishing all interest charges on student loans for all students and New Zealand based graduates from 1 April 2006
• Progressively increasing parental income thresholds so that at least half of all fulltime students will be eligible for a student allowance
• Doubling the number of bonded merit-based scholarships from 500 to 1,000 by the end of 2006, with a view to further increasing that to 1,500 by 2008
• Maintaining a simplified, capped tuition fee structure to provide certainty as to fee levels to students throughout the duration of their studies.
• Providing funding for an additional 5,000 Modern Apprenticeship places, taking the total number of Modern Apprentices to 14,000 in 2008
• Increasing participation in structured industry training to 250,000 by 2009 Labour will also deliver a strong school curriculum which not only leads to young people leaving school literate, numerate, and with a broad general knowledge, but also prepares them for full participation in society.
This includes developing an understanding of:
• The role of democratic institutions
• The rights and responsibilities of citizenship
• The history of New Zealand
• Information young people need to keep themselves healthy and safe
• Decision-making and communication skills
• Rights and responsibilities as an employee
• Driving skills and respect for road rules Labour will also deliver safer, more inclusive schools by:
• Developing, implementing and resourcing a national safe schools strategy, to target the underlying causes of bullying, and other destructive antisocial behaviour, with the aim of proactively making schools safe places for all
• Encouraging more democratic processes in schools by creating frameworks to aid the development of school councils and their involvement in decision making within the school.
Also by facilitating links between school councils in regions and with Local councils and other government departments
The time at which young people enter the workforce is both a time of great potential and a time when young people are vulnerable and may be taken advantage of.
• Expand Youth Transition Services (more policy on Youth Transitions and employment issues to be released tomorrow, 29 August)
• Retain the youth minimum wage, with regular reviews to ensure it maintains its value relative to the adult minimum wage.
Well-being is essential to young people reaching their potential.
Labour is committed to ensuring that all young people have the very best health they can.
• Continue to provide lower cost doctor’s visits and cheaper prescriptions for everyone under the age of 24 who is enrolled in a Primary Health Organisation
• Deliver youth mental health services that recognise the importance of intersectoral collaboration across health, education, welfare and justice, and ensure continuity of care for young people moving from child to adult mental health services.
• Continue to implement the Youth Health Strategy, the Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy and the Agenda for Children with appropriate monitoring and evaluation.
• Take new initiatives to ensure that all children and adolescents up to the age of 18 have access to free dental care
• Direct funding of holistic one-stop-shop, school and community based Youth Health Centres that combine a range of youth services including, health services, social workers, councillors, and employment information.
The best preventative measures to youth offending are those that involve early intervention.
The way that a young person is dealt with when they first enter the criminal justice system represent a ‘last chance’ for intervention.
Intervention programmes must involve young people in context- at home, at school, and in the community with their peers.
• Expand early intervention programmes which identify at risk youth before they offend, address risk factors, and involve their whole family and support structures
• Widen use of school engagement programs, which use a restorative justice approach and take a holistic view of discipline problems
• Ensure accessible information on legal services is available for young people through placement on an enhanced youth government/services web portal.
The Youth Development Strategy identifies goals to ensure that young people are supported and encouraged to take up challenges, build their skills and confidence, and reach their full potential.
Labour is committed to giving youth these opportunities.
• Ensure that the Youth Development Strategy guides policy for young people across the whole of government.
• Retain a separate Minister of Youth Affairs responsible for the implementation of the Strategy, and retain the Ministry of Youth Development as a semi-autonomous division of the Ministry of Social Development reporting directly to the Minister of Youth Affairs.
• Recognise the diversity of youth achievement by initiating a Nationwide awards scheme for youth sporting, cultural and artistic achievement
• Investigate the development of internships and community volunteer schemes whereby young people could work for up to a year to advance their employment and education opportunities and / or contribute to community development.
• Investigate initiatives to increase voter enrolment amongst young people such as: o Providing enrolment forms when filling out government forms such as driver licensing applications forms, 18+ cards, passports, student loans or allowances etc
• Review the NZ Conservation Corps, Youth Service Corps and Specialist Youth Service Corps to ensure they are continuing to provide a relevant and effective vehicle for supporting youth involvement in conservation and service activity
• Support youth mentoring and leadership schemes which help young people plan future pathways
• Develop initiatives and mechanisms to ensure that talented young people are identified as suitable for appointment to appropriate statutory boards and public bodies, and have the appropriate training to be effective.
• Facilitate more direct consultation with young people by o strengthening links between councils, ministries, government departments, commissions, parliament, and young people, o establishing a National Youth Council Network as a national-level representative body for youth.
• Following an evaluation of the 2004 Youth Parliament, consider steps that can be taken to improve its overall operation and impact.
• Continue to support the provision of radio services for young people, including by keeping the FM frequency which has been reserved for this purpose.
• Develop a youth targeted web portal, which would help young people access relevant government information and services easily.
• Continue to promote the use of the Internet by public agencies, in line with the Digital Strategy.
ARTS, CULTURE AND HERITAGE
Labour has demonstrated a commitment to the arts and the development of a youth culture in New Zealand, particularly in the area of film making and New Zealand music.
• Introduced the Large Budget Screen Production Grant Fund in 2003, which encourages the filming and production in New Zealand of large-budget films, such as The Last Samurai
• Provided Film New Zealand with secure funding of $578,000 (excluding GST) a year for two years, to enable it to continue facilitating domestic and overseas film and television productions.
• Introduced a voluntary quota of New Zealand music content on commercial radio, which saw radio play of New Zealand content reach 20.
3% in June 2005.
When Labour was first elected in 1999, New Zealand music accounted for only 8.
68 per cent of what was played on commercial radio
• Established the Music Industry Commission to support the development of New Zealand music and the Music Industry Export Development Group (MIEDG) to help identify what was needed to take NZ music to the world.
• Provided additional funding of $5.
4 million to support export growth in the New Zealand music industry.
(Funding being distributed to the NZMIC and NZ on Air.
) Labour remains committed to supporting the New Zealand arts sector and taking Kiwi talent to the world.