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She’s Not Alright For Young New Zealanders

Youth Affairs Spokesperson

13 February 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

She’s Not Alright For Young New Zealanders

The Government should count itself lucky that the Salvation Army only gave it a ‘D’ rating for its “singular failure to address entrenched youth unemployment”, Labour’s Youth Affairs spokesperson, Megan Woods says.

“The Salvation Army’s State of the Nation report lays bare the fiction that this National Government is concerned about rising youth unemployment.

“In dishing out its ‘D’, the report notes National’s failure is made more disappointing by its Youth Focus Programme. It doesn’t matter how many times the Government tinkers with the welfare system if there are still no jobs for our young people to go to.

“Bill English can make all the excuses he likes. But the simple fact is that youth unemployment has increased dramatically on his watch, and this Government has no answer.

“Almost 45% of all unemployed people in New Zealand are 15-24 years old. The unemployment rate for 15-19 years olds is a disgraceful 30.9%. 90,000 young people are not in a job or in any education or training. What sort of a future is this Government offering young New Zealanders?

“Literally tens of thousands of our young people are staring down the barrel of a life that involves years on the dole, low-paid, casual part-time work, or being forced overseas because of lack of opportunities here.

“National Ministers need to wake up and realise that sitting on their hands and waiting for this problem to magically solve itself isn’t good enough. The Government needs to get real and start focusing on policies that will address entrenched youth unemployment, rather than spending all its time and effort fudging the figures to try to downplay the problem.

“Labour has genuine solutions on offers to address this crisis. We will get hands-on, and pay the equivalent of the dole to employers who are prepared to take on an unemployed person as an apprentice. Labour will address the housing crisis by building housing and at the same time create thousands of jobs. And we will encourage investment in job-creating businesses rather than in property speculation.

“She’s not alright for our young people and it’s about time this Government woke up to its failures in this area,” says Megan Woods.



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