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Labour Policy Coercive Nostalgia

Hon Max Bradford
Minister for Enterprise and Commerce


July 14, 1999

Labour's training strategy is not a plan for the 21st century, it is designed for 19th century workplaces, Enterprise and Commerce Minister Max Bradford says.

"It is backward looking nostalgia. The only new thing is more government control.

"It is not going to provide New Zealanders with the skills to prosper in a knowledge-based economy.

"Labour wants to reduce the number of Industry Training Organisations (ITOs), force ITOs to merge and reduce the diversity of training.

"Labour does not trust employers to decide what training their staff need, it would dictate and impose levies. Labour would force trainees to train off job, even if this was not the best way of doing things," Mr Bradford said.

"Labour wants to waste subsidies and throw millions at a scheme that will not work.

"Previous experience shows that 90% of employers who got subsidies to take on a trainee would have done so anyway.

Mr Bradford said the current ITO system was a resounding success. Since 1993 the numbers in industry training had trebled to almost 50,000 trainees.

"It has extended training to 32 industries not previously covered by apprenticeships, including seafood, forestry and community services.

"Unlike Labour, National has a plan to help New Zealand move to a knowledge-based economy where there is a greater partnership between the education, business and research sectors.

"It will be unveiled next month," Mr Bradford said.

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