"The establishment of Regional labour market bodies by the Government is a welcome if not long overdue step," said Dennis Maga, FIRST Union General Secretary, commenting on today’s Government announcement that 10 of the 15 proposed interim Regional Skills Leadership Groups (iRSLG) had been established and their membership announced.
"Regional skills and labour market bodies have been missing in New Zealand since the National Government abolished the Regional Employment and Access Councils in the early 1990s," said Mr Maga.
"The lack of regional labour market planning and active labour market strategies in New Zealand has been often criticised by the OECD, and have held back the New Zealand economy."
"Bodies such as the RSLGs were called for in the 2019 Welfare Expert Advisory Group report, Whakamana Tāngata, the 2018 MBIE Public Consultation on a new approach to employer assisted work visas and regional workforce planning and the current Reform of Vocational Education review. They have also been identified as having a key role in the Government’s Just Transition and the Future of Work programmes."
Mr Maga said he was also pleased to see a good number of FIRST Union members and officials taking up roles on these groups around New Zealand.
"I am especially pleased to see FIRST Union President, Robert Reid, appointed as co-chair of the Auckland iRSLG," said Mr Maga.
"Robert Reid served on one of the Regional Employment and Access Councils and their predecessors in the 1980s, and he has doggedly pushed for the re-creation of these bodies over the last 3 decades, including as a member of the Government’s Welfare Expert Advisory Group."
FIRST Union also welcomed the announcement of the establishment of the Interim Workforce Development Councils (iWDC) today and was pleased to see Maxine Gay, former FIRST Union Retail, Finance and Commerce Secretary, appointed to the Service iWDC.
"The Reform of Vocational Education has the full support of FIRST Union and it is pleasing to see the Government making progress in this area," Dennis Maga said.