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Employment And Training Policy Initiatives

Maori Party Employment And Training Policy Initiatives
Monday 12 September 2005

The Maori Party have adopted kaupapa. Those kaupapa are accessible to us when we are facing issues which may be either problems or opportunities. The kaupapa are values that cause us to think differently from the usual day-to-day mental activity. From each kaupapa, many different tikanga (policies) can be drawn.

This is the condition out of which innovation grows - innovations that are value-based (innovation grows out of being able to identify the issues and having many alternative solutions to assess). We can predict how to be innovative and we know that we are protected by the values. This is the Maori contribution to the nation’s economy, coupled with education, training, governance, management and entrepreneurship.

The need for meaningful employment and access to global opportunities has also influenced the two proposals for apprenticeship and cadetships.

The Maori Party believes employment and training policy must:

- value staff;

- recognise and respond to cultural diversity;

- recognise the unique contribution employees can make once they are able to maintain the essence of who they are in the work setting;

- invest in skill development and better use of technology; and

- recognise that quality employment and productivity emerge from a decent work environment and decent wages.

Rangatiratanga and kotahitanga prescribe a rise in the minimum wage to help to reduce the gap between low income taxpayers and the average income for the Nation. The incomes of Maori people are on average $163 less per week than Pakeha [$437 compared to $600]. We propose that the minimum wage rate be increased to $12.50 which would mean a figure in the vicinity of $25,000 for those working between 37.5 and 40 hours per week.

Manaakitanga and rangatiratanga leads us to address the low income taxpayers:

- 1.9 million taxpayers are on an income of $25,000 or less; these people are paying $3.5 billion in tax while the government is accumulating surpluses of $4 billion to $7 billion per year;

- we will use $1.75 billion of the surpluses to give a tax discount of 50% percent to our low income people, and also maintain all existing services.

The Maori Party will also encourage and support individual and whanau savings schemes towards home ownership, towards education savings plans, and towards personal goals.

We believe that in a buoyant economy we should expect more people to benefit from employment opportunities. In the 1980s the ruthless economic restructuring driven through by Labour increased Maori unemployment to record levels. The damage caused in the 1980s has left a lasting impact, with the unemployment rate of 8.8% for Maori still three times that of Pakeha (3.1%) and more than twice the national rate (4.2%). That equates to 18, 100 Maori available for and seeking work.

A responsible government must target the workforce response to meet demand. Particular priority for the Maori Party will be in creating apprenticeships for information technology systems developers and analysts. The number of vacancies in the IT sector has reached a new high – there were 48% more vacancies in July 2005 than July 2004. We would consider that specific areas of innovation would include creative ventures in the arts, design and technology and multimedia.

Other areas of priority will be in the sixteen trade areas listed as suffering from acute skill shortages: automotive electrician, baker, boat builder, bricklayer, butcher, cabinet maker, carpenter, diesel mechanic, electrician, fitter and turner, fitter and welder, hairdresser, motor mechanic, panel beater, plumber, sheetmetal worker.

- The Maori Party will introduce 1000 new apprenticeships [ie apprenticeships will reach a total of 15,000 by 2008]

Given the profile of educational and employment opportunities currently experienced by Maori, the Maori Party will take on young long-term unemployed as ‘cadets’ and provdie them with one year on-the-job training. The cadetships will be supported with assistance to cope with transition into the workforce. The cadetships will provide a valuable opportunity to co-collaborate between the private and public sector.

- The Maori Party will introduce 1000 new cadetships each year with a growth of 1000 per year up to 5000.

Other priorities in the area of employment and training include:

- improved training environments for improved success and completion;

- promote further amendment to Employment Relations Act for it to become worker-friendly;

- improve access to paid parental leave;

- support for pay and employment equity legislation;

- support the development of a user friendly minimum code of employment conditions;

- initiatives and incentives to facilitate enterprise and full and meaningful employment.


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