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Promoting and protecting Kiwi jobs

2 November 2008 Media Statement

Promoting and protecting Kiwi jobs during the international downturn

EMBARGOED TILL DELIVERY

Prime Minister Helen Clark today released more details of Labour’s comprehensive plan to promote and protect Kiwi jobs during the international downturn.

“The New Zealand economy is clearly facing short term challenges caused by the global downturn. Labour has already taken initiatives to underpin the stability of New Zealand’s financial system and provide security for New Zealanders. These are:

- introducing retail and wholesale deposit guarantee schemes to reinforce confidence in our financial system

- gaining agreement from banks to work with clients struggling to pay their mortgages and use their best endeavours to support them staying in their homes.

“Labour has also announced that it will introduce an economic stimulus package in December to address the challenges New Zealand currently faces.

“Labour knows that the best security for our families comes from steady employment. Our top priority is to sustain jobs throughout New Zealand and build our country’s capacity for future growth.

“Labour will not stand by and see a return to the large scale unemployment experienced under the last National government.

“Today I am releasing more information on the direction and content of Labour’s economic stimulus plan.

“As I have been outlining for the past three weeks, Labour is prepared to invest in retraining and other forms of transitional assistance for redundant workers, ease the burden of provisional tax for businesses, and bring forward investment in infrastructure and other job rich initiatives.

“Our plan can be activated in any region particularly affected by job losses.

“As well as investing in infrastructure and developments from road, rail, and public buildings to housing and reafforestation, I am also announcing three new areas for development in the stimulus package.

- Labour will bring forward access to the $1 billion home energy efficiency fund so that schemes for retrofitting older houses can be expanded to areas where higher unemployment emerges. This programme is labour-intensive, and people can be trained to work in it within a relatively short time.

- Labour will provide an enhanced Financial Assistance Rate of funding for regions in need of additional economic stimulus to allow local authorities to bring forward projects such as road maintenance and providing dedicated road space for public transport or other extended passenger transport services.

- Labour will bring forward its planned investment in the roll out of superfast broadband in regions in need of support from the economic stimulus package. Rolling out this infrastructure creates jobs.

“Further details on the overall shape of Labour’s economic stimulus package are available in the policy document I am releasing today,” Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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