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Young New Zealanders need opportunities

Jacinda Ardern
Employment Spokesperson

16 November 2011

Young New Zealanders need opportunities

Young New Zealanders are important to this country’s future and Labour has as comprehensive Youth Affairs policy to engage and encourage young people, Labour’s Youth Affairs spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“New Zealand youth are more mobile, culturally diverse and technologically aware than ever before and they need policies that engage them and meet their needs. This hasn't happened in the past few years under a National Government more focused on blaming young people for social issues, than listening to them."

“Labour believes that investing in future growth by improving educational, employment and social opportunities is one of the best investments we can make to secure a strong future as a nation.

“Labour will ensure every school leaver has a plan for further training, education or work and assist if they don’t.

‘We cannot continue to let youth unemployment rates soar because of a lack of jobs and training opportunities.

“Our young people are too important to let them simply drift without support. Unlike National, we don't believe youth unemployment will be solved by paying them less than an adult, for the same job."

“Labour will also tackle the issues of youth suicide and the increasing rates of sexually transmitted diseases.

“There is currently a sporadic approach to the provision of youth health services in New Zealand. With Labour, this will change.

Labour will adopt a mixed model of supporting youth health centres and nurses in schools to accommodate for various population bases, ensuring nationwide coverage of youth health services with a focus also on boosting youth mental health services.

“Under National one of the best youth health services closed – this simply isn’t good enough.

“We will also ensure that New Zealand youth are heard. We know that many young people are simply not enrolling to vote. In 2005, they made up 50% of those who did not enrol. While there are

a range of reasons why young people are disengaged, one thing we can do is improve civic education in schools, a major focus of our youth policy."

“Labour will also investigate the development of internships and community volunteer schemes whereby young people could work for up to a year to advance their employment and education opportunities and/or contribute to community development.

“National has done nothing to help young people over the last three years. Instead they have raised the age they can drive, proposed paying them less, and responded with boot camps for almost everything else."

“However, Labour understand today’s young people are tomorrow’s innovators and leaders we need to listen and work with them, not ignore them,” Jacinda Ardern said.

ENDS

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