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Labour wants to kick-start Canterbury rebuild

Labour wants to kick-start Canterbury rebuild

Labour will invest in getting more building and construction workers on the job quickly in the
Canterbury region to kick-start the stalled rebuild, says Labour Leader Phil Goff.

"It's been a year since the first quake. But the rebuilding of the city and many homes throughout Canterbury is essentially at a standstill because of insurance problems.

"It's hard to understand why insurance companies won't provide coverage for the green zone where housing wasn't damaged by the earthquake and where the risk is small. The Government needs to get in there and bang some heads together to resolve this issue.

"When the insurance issue is resolved, everyone will want to start building at the same time. At that point, a critical shortage of skilled tradespeople will delay reconstruction and push up housing prices," Phil Goff said.

"National should have boosted trades training months ago so the trainees would have been ready for work when reconstruction hits its peak. It didn't.

"In fact, under National, the number of building and construction industry trainees in
Canterbury has almost halved - down 45% since December 2008.

"That is a shocking failure and will cost Canterbury dearly. We are told that because of the skilled labour shortage, the rebuild may now take 15 years.

"Labour will take action. We've been told that the process of training apprentices is too slow so we'll work with the industry and training providers to ensure regulations and funding decisions are made to speed that up.

"Labour will also put $87 million towards getting 9000 young New Zealanders off the dole and into apprenticeships. We'll provide another 5000 fee-free training places for 16 and 17 year olds and an extra 1000 places will be allocated to group apprenticeships and public service cadets.

"In each of these areas, Canterbury will be the top priority in terms of allocating training positions.

"This policy has widespread support from employers, training providers and the industry - including many businesses in Canterbury who want to get the rebuild going.

"We are reaching crisis point in the lack of skilled workers in this country.

"It is estimated an extra 77,000 building and construction workers will be needed nationwide over the next five years to deal with the rebuild demand, leaky homes remediation and the general economic recovery. About 30,000 of those workers will be needed in Canterbury alone.

"This is the perfect opportunity to address the crippling problem of youth unemployment in this country.
"There are about 58,000 Kiwis aged under-25s who are not learning or earning. This is a ticking time-bomb and must be fixed. These kids are our future but they've been thrown on the unemployment scrapheap by National.

"More than 19% of Cantabrians aged under 25 are unemployed. Almost 49% of Pasifika young people in the region are out of work - that's a national high It cannot go on. We must give these young Kiwis jobs and hope.

"This National-led Government has made a lot of promises to Cantabrians. But it has consistently failed to deliver."

© Scoop Media

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