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Mega Jobs Created By New North City Megacentre

The lives of hundreds of workers and their families are being enhanced with the opening of the new North City MegaCentre in Porirua, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today.

Speaking at the opening of the new Warehouse store - part of stage one of the MegaCentre - Mrs Shipley said the complex would provide up to 500 new jobs, when completed, and at least $10 million a year in wages.

"Some of the jobs will be part-time, but based on average earnings of $20,000 per person a year, at least $10 million in wages will be injected into the community and probably a lot more."

The new $50 million MegaCentre will house 36 shops. It already has a new Burger King and a Harvey Norman department store, that will be joined today by the Warehouse and Care Chemist, Hannahs, Baby City, and Arbuckle's. A new Whitcoulls shop will open later this month and Cost U Less early next month.

"The employers at these companies have told me that WINZ has been instrumental in placing staff in the new shops which is great news. For example:

· The Warehouse has 44 full-time and 90 part-time staff (14 placed by WINZ).

· Burger King has 65 new staff (30 from WINZ).

· Harvey Norman has 50 new staff.

· Cost U Less will employ up to 60 staff (13 from WINZ).

· Hannahs has 15 staff (8 from WINZ).

· Baby City has 7 (2 from WINZ).

· Arbuckle's has 5 (2 from WINZ).

"John Arbuckle told my office yesterday that WINZ provided two top rate staff for his new store in the MegaCentre, after a poor response to newspaper advertisements. He said some of his shops had doubled their monthly turnover in recent months and he was praying for a National win this election.

"I am seeing this sort of growth and confidence all over New Zealand. Employers and government agencies are working well together to get willing job seekers into work and people don't want the conditions changed on them.

"I challenge Helen Clark to put her hand up and acknowledge the success stories, rather than talking the country down," Mrs Shipley said.

The Prime Minister congratulated the MegaCentre developers and the Porirua City Council for making the vision a reality.

"The city is moving forward in leaps and bounds with a 7.7 per cent increase in the number of businesses, and a 10 per cent increase in retail spending.

"Almost 14 per cent of the local population is involved in retailing, providing good stable incomes to families.

"This is exactly the type of growth that will continue if National remains in Government. We must continue to go forward. The people of Porirua and New Zealand cannot afford to go back," Mrs Shipley said.

ENDS

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