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Greens Miss Government's Good Work

Fri, 29 Oct 2004

Greens so busy abstaining from voting they must have missed the government's work on skills shortages

You'd have to be incredibly one eyed not to notice the work the Government is doing to address skills shortages, according to Progressive Deputy Leader Matt Robson, in responding to claims by Greens musterer and co-leader Rod Donald that the government isn't addressing the issue.

"The government's work on skills shortages started from the first year of progressive coalition government back in 1999 with the reintroduction of apprenticeships under the Modern Apprentices programme and a boost to industry training. Since then there has been almost continuous increases to these essential training programmes. We have also introduced a close case management system to help unemployed New Zealanders gain the skills they need to get a job.

"Jim Anderton and Steve Maharey are currently working through a tour of the regions to ensure that the regions have skills strategies in place to address their particular needs. They were in Taranaki just two weeks ago working on this.

"Skills development projects play the key role in many of the major regional development initiatives initiated by Jim Anderton as Minister of Regional Development. Just last week he launched a centre for maintenance engineering training in the Eastern Bay of Plenty to address the shortage and need to upskill maintenance engineers in the region.

"Immigration is a very important part of addressing skills shortages also, which are often in areas requiring high level skills that are not easily gained by our unemployed New Zealanders. We are living in a period of global competition for skilled workers and it is only going to get harder for us to compete on the world stage if we do not attract skilled immigrants to New Zealand.

"Recent changes made to immigration laws to ensure skilled migrants are considered were very important. The Greens would do well to reflect on the contribution that migrants have been, and are making to New Zealand for the benefit of all.

"The Greens, which have been an opposition party since the day they entered Parliament, are either genuinely unaware of what the Labour Progressive government has been doing these past five years or deliberately 'being economical with the truth'. Maybe they've just been taking too much time trying to decide on whether they abstain from voting or actually make a decision in the interests of New Zealanders.

"Ignorance of the constructive role that the government is playing in New Zealand's economy just shows us how important it is to have another term of Labour Progressive government.. The Progressives are the only truly constructive pro-growth coalition partner," Matt Robson said.


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