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Unemployment response top of OECD agenda

aHon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development and Employment
Minister for Youth Affairs


29 September 2009
Media Release
Unemployment response top of OECD agenda

The Minister for Social Development and Employment will tonight detail to her OECD colleagues how New Zealand has responded to the global economic downturn.

Paula Bennett is at a two-day OECD Labour and Employment Ministerial Meeting in Paris.

The meeting will canvass a wide range of employment issues – including how labour market policies can help workers weather the economic crisis and how to assist young people to get a firm foothold in the labour market.

Ms Bennett says the meeting is an excellent opportunity for OECD members to share their experiences and responses to the worst economic crisis in 50 years.

“OECD countries have varied in their approach to dealing with the challenges posed by the crisis. Some have introduced unprecedented stimulus packages.

“One of the strong themes that came through on the first day was how focused member nations are on easing the unemployment burden on young people. That tells me New Zealand is on the right track with the initiatives we’ve introduced.”

Ms Bennett will tonight speak about how New Zealand has managed to maintain an activation stance during the crisis.

“I’ll be focusing on our country’s strong “work first” approach. Unlike other countries, we don’t hand over a benefit and then offer to help someone find work. We aim to match people into jobs first, before they need a benefit. That’s why our rate of “triaging” someone into work or training – before they go onto welfare – is high at around one third.

“I’ve held seven bilateral meetings with fellow employment ministers today, and they’ve all been impressed with New Zealand’s high triage rate.

“I’ll talk about what this Government has done to try to minimise the impact of the recession on New Zealanders. This includes the 4000 places created for young unemployed people through Job Ops. This was just one aspect of our Youth Package, with nearly 17,000 opportunities for those aged between 16 and 24.

“I’ll also look at how we’ve stimulated the economy through tax cuts and encouraged small businesses to take on staff through the introduction of the 90 day trial. We’re supporting the newly redundant through the ReStart package - and businesses transitioning through a financial rough patch with the Job Support Scheme,” Paula Bennett says.

ENDS

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