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Minister Releases Forces for Change

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Social Development and Employment

6 October 2008 Media Statement

Minister Releases Forces for Change

New Zealand’s labour market will go through significant changes over the next 12 years, says a report released today by Social Development and Employment Minister Ruth Dyson.

Forces for Change has been produced by the Department of Labour as part of its Workforce 2020 programme, aimed at helping New Zealanders to understand and adjust to changes that will affect our future working lives.

"By 2020, one in four people in our workforce will be aged 55 or over. This workforce will include thousands working beyond current retirement ages," said Ruth Dyson.

"Although the labour force is projected to keep expanding over the next 12 years, the pace of the last nine years is not expected to continue. This means that our success as a nation requires an increase in labour productivity.

"Labour recognises that increases to productivity should not come about through working longer hours or reducing workers’ rights. Flexible work arrangements, paid parental leave, four weeks annual leave, increased minimum wage rates, meal breaks and the introduction of KiwiSaver have made New Zealand a more attractive place to work and are only safe under Labour.

"We must increase productivity through investment, working smarter, new technology, appropriate training, and education and by working with our labour market partners.

"The Workforce 2020 programme is a new and exciting way to think about New Zealand’s workforce. It will inform future Government policies and business strategies to ensure New Zealand has the right labour market to deliver a prosperous economy.

The report Forces for Change is available on


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