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Internet Mana Pledges Boost in Employment And Technology

Internet Mana Pledges Huge Boost in Employment And Technology Workforce

Internet MANA has launched its election campaign, promising 100,000 new jobs and to make New Zealand a world-leading digital workforce.

At the official campaign launch in Auckland today, party leaders Hone Harawira and Laila Harré outlined strategies to create jobs through initiatives based on the party’s belief in the Right to Work and a new nationwide objective of Full Employment.

The plan is to create 50,000 permanent jobs and up to another 50,000 shorter term jobs a year over the next five years through initiatives to tackle youth and long-term unemployment and develop a world-leading digital technology workforce.

Mr Harawira and Ms Harré said unemployment was New Zealand’s biggest problem, affecting communities from the Far North to the Deep South.

“There is a need to act rapidly and on a large scale to provide meaningful work in communities and to develop a digital and technology savvy workforce on which our economic future will depend. Internet MANA is promising an explosion of creativity and entrepreneurship at all levels.

“We will resource job-rich, community economic development initiatives, short term job creation and a significant plan for the development of a world leading digital industry workforce.

“Our welfare system was not designed to bear the load of joblessness that we carry as a country. While other parties concentrate on managing an increasing welfare budget we are fully focused on the solution – jobs.”

The cost:

• Job-rich community economic development initiatives and short-term job creation: $1.3 billion per year

• Digital workforce development: $400 million per year

The funding:

Funding for the Right to Work Force and Digital Workforce initiatives will come from redirecting a portion of ACC reserves and existing employer and earner levies to a new social insurance fund.

“Even on the current funding model for ACC it is widely accepted that reserves and levies are excessive. This provides a unique opportunity to confront our biggest problems without having to increase taxes, introduce new levies or increase government borrowing.”

Internet MANA will redirect just over 20 per cent of current ACC reserves and also next year’s proposed levy reductions to the work and earners’ accounts to its full employment plan.

The proposal will not impact on proposed reductions to the motor vehicle levy. Combined with a reduction in state spending on benefits, and taxation gained from the new jobs, this will create an estimated fund of $1.7 billion a year for five years – a total of $8.6 billion.

The Right to Work:

Internet MANA will tackle the unemployment problem head-on with immediate action – a combination of strategies to be known as the “RIGHT TO WORK FORCE” (RTW).

The $1.3 billion annually for five years will be allocated as follows:

$1.1 billion will be used to create shorter term jobs (3-18 months’ duration) and to administer the programmes. The remaining $200 million per year will be available for longer term grants to create sustainable work emerging from the initiatives supported.

The aim is to fill gaps where the market is not able to create and fund jobs and to create sustainable community-based employment.

The work will reflect the wide range of skill levels among those who are unemployed or under-employed.

It will recognise the potential of the tribal economy and the economic aspirations of hapu, with the intention of addressing large disparities in unemployment between Maori and non-Maori.

Partners will include iwi, hapu and community sector organisations, local government, schools, and non-government organisations.

Employers will include community sector organisations, local government, schools, and non-government organisations. The programme will have community oversight and accountability involving key stakeholders.

Greatest priority for the shorter term jobs will be given to:

• Young people, including young single parents

• Those who have been unemployed for more than one year

• Maori and other communities with the highest rates of unemployment

• Students over the summer break

Life skills and work skills education will be part of the programme, including training in financial literacy, civics, parenting, employment rights including access to unions, careers, and other essential workforce knowledge.

In some cases there will be a need for alcohol and drug rehabilitation programmes and also a system for assisting offenders into training and jobs as they complete sentences.

Jobs in the scheme cannot replace existing jobs and employers will need to demonstrate new jobs they create have a social, environment, or economic community-level benefit.

Student jobs will include opportunities to gain experience in the industries and services that students are interested in entering and allow them to offer their developing knowledge and skills to communities.

Community economic development initiatives might include:

• waste management and recycling initiatives, including the management of e-waste

• Maori creative arts and design, and te reo Māori

• providing community ICT support and developing digital tools for community organisations

• extending the coverage of fast, cheap Internet in local communities

• school food programmes

• maintaining and beautifying marae and public and civic areas, including public art and heritage projects

• assisting hospitals, schools, retirement villages, elderly living at home, public libraries, and community gardens for food production

• renovation and maintenance of homes

• assisting community and family organisations

• maintaining or developing land set aside at direction of government

• animal welfare

At national level:

• conservation, land management and work related to the improvement of water quality

• replanting offshore islands with native scrub and bush to help restore natural habitat

• pest control to replace 1080 poison aerial drops

• beach and fisheries protection

Increasing the size and skills of our digital workforce: Average $400 million per year for five years

Internet MANA also promises a huge leap into the future of digital technology and will invest in the development and expansion of the digital workforce to support this priority.

This needs a “New Zealand Incorporated” approach, with businesses, communities, non-government organisations, schools and tertiary institutions involved.

New Zealand will become one of the world’s leading incubators for innovation.

The Internet Party has already announced that the establishment of a new Ministry to oversee this transformation.

An early Ministry priority will be developing a Digital Workforce and Employment strategy and an average of $400 million will be available each year for five years for implementation. The aim of this funding will be to develop the ICT workforce and support new employment opportunities in the Technology Sector.

Priority will be given to addressing current disparities among Maori and non-Maori, women and men in entering the digital workforce.

Ideas are the lifeblood of developments in new technology. Professional support services and funding will be provided for start-ups and mentors, and we will promote greater networking within the innovation ecosystem.

Immediate initiatives to develop the technology workforce will include:

• $5 million a year to award 500 “ideas grants” of $10,000 each to encourage entrepreneurs to develop ideas, build prototypes, and prepare to seek seed funding

• New Zealand Venture Investment Fund Limited (NZVIF) will be given establishment capital of $25 million for a new Social Enterprises Fund. Success in this area will be measured on social rather than financial outcomes. NZVIF will work with the Māori economy and other pools of domestic capital, such as ACC and NZ Super Funds

• while there are start-up communities thriving all across New Zealand, university-centred innovation hubs need to be attached to every major university, modelled on the Stanford Research Park in California and the Cambridge Science Park in England. The hubs will initially focus on sectors Callaghan Innovation has determined are areas of deep expertise – electro-mechanical systems, software, agri-tech, food technology and biotechnology

• ICT apprenticeships (public sector, private sector and community-based) to develop a clearer pathway for non-university careers in the information technology field

• encouraging school children to get greater exposure to careers in the digital economy and learning how to code

• facilitating greater industry-schools engagement to interest school children in the diverse opportunities and high quality jobs that will be available

• “Digital Sciences” as a learning area in the New Zealand Curriculum

• additional support for tertiary level ICT education, which will complement the introduction of free tertiary education and universal student allowances to lift the number of graduates and post-graduates working in the digital economy

• support for on-the-job training, ongoing skills development, and skills retention through industry organisations

The future

The party leaders said that during the past 30 years governments had failed to grasp the huge impact of social and economic change on employment.

“Reliance on traditional primary industries, market forces economics and disposal of state assets has failed to provide enough jobs for a growing workforce.”

New Zealand’s manufacturing base has been decimated by the removal of protections and monetary policies leading to a high dollar hindering exports.

“There has been a failure of national vision. Community and industry innovators have been starved of the funding, digital infrastructure and support platform to create new jobs.

“As a result, whole families and communities are unemployed, under-employed or in low-paid, insecure work.”

Ms Harré and Mr Harawira said there was an immediate need to tackle persistent unemployment in particular groups, for example, youth, long-term unemployed and young parents.

“New Zealand political leaders can no longer walk six steps behind the rest of the world. Internet MANA has confronted the problems and found solutions. If there is political will and a commitment, we can make them work to improve the lives of all of us.”

ENDS

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