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Minister launches Southern Regional Plan

30 June 2006

Minister launches Southern Regional Plan

Regional plans focused on how to further create employment, build strong families and communities, and support New Zealanders are being launched throughout the country this week.

The Ministry of Social Development’s 2006/07 Regional Plans explain how the Ministry intends to continue and further extend the work being done in regions. They acknowledge key priorities and outline the Ministry’s response to the individual needs, challenges and opportunities for the region.

“The Ministry of Social Development’s work in the Southern region is making a real difference to our people and our communities,” Social Development and Employment Minister David Benson-Pope said at the launch of the Southern Regional Plan today.

“There are three overarching themes that helped form the basis for the Regional Plans: economic transformation; national identity; and families – young and old. The 2006/07 Regional Plans put these themes into action.

“Great things are happening in the Southern region. We are working with local councils and other agencies to establish labour market opportunities. Programmes like Industry Partnerships, Youth Transition Services, and seasonal co-ordination are all supporting the new work-focused approach that aims to get people into the right job right from the start.

“Programmes like Strategies with Kids Information for Parents and Family Start are helping our families to be safe and strong and to look after all their members. Working for Families is delivering financial assistance that makes it easier to work than to be on a benefit,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

Regional Commissioner for Social Development John Allen said he is pleased to see the benefits of closer relationships within the Ministry and in the community.

“We’ve completed a community report about services in the region, we’ve introduced a mentoring service for young people and we’re aiming to bring some relevant and practical training courses to the area in response to labour market needs,” he said.

The Regional Plans draw together all the activities of all the Ministry’s business units. They are a whole-of-Ministry approach and look at the work being done by Work and Income, Family and Community Services, the Ministry of Youth Development, StudyLink, Benefit Integrity, and Senior Services.

ENDS

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