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Benson-Pope to visit Canada

14 June 2006

Benson-Pope to visit Canada

David Benson-Pope, Minister for Social Development and Employment and Minister for the Environment, will travel to Canada today to attend both the OECD “Boosting Jobs and Incomes” conference and the World Urban Forum.

The OECD “Boosting Jobs and Incomes” conference, held in Toronto on 15 and 16 June, will see ministers, business leaders, academics and unions discussing the lessons that have emerged from a review of the OECD Jobs Strategy.

“A decade ago the OECD Jobs Strategy focused on policies to cut high and persistent unemployment. New Zealand has played an active role in the review of the OECD’s Jobs Strategy. The revised Strategy is in line with the Government's labour market and employment policy Better Work, Working Better,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

“Overall, New Zealand has the second lowest unemployment rate in the OECD. Unemployment benefit numbers have dropped from 161,000 in 1999 to 41,000 since Labour became government.”

Key issues for discussion at the conference will include tax and welfare reform, wage and working-time flexibility, and training.

On 18 June Mr Benson-Pope will travel to Vancouver to attend the opening of the World Urban Forum in his capacity as the Minister for the Environment.

“A key theme of the forum is sustainable urbanisation. This is of particular interest to me as New Zealand itself is one of the most highly urbanised countries in the world with over 87 percent of us living in urban areas,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

ENDS

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