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Key Notes: Skills to succeed

Skills to succeed

National is committed to ensuring that all New Zealanders have the skills to succeed in modern life. We know this is an important step in building a more productive and competitive economy, and to deliver higher wages, better living standards, and the brighter future that you and your families deserve.

This week, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce announced the Government will be making all foundation education fees-free for people between the ages of 20 and 24. At the same time, we're going to extend the Youth Guarantee Scheme to 18- and 19-year-olds.

This means that from 2014, all New Zealanders under 25 will be able to access fees-free level 1 and 2 education courses - whether that's in a Youth Guarantee programme, at a secondary school or with a tertiary education provider.

Our changes are aimed at providing our students with the core foundational skills required to transition into higher level vocational study, training and employment. They're part of National's focus on giving all New Zealanders the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Earthquake-prone buildings

This Wednesday marked three years since the first of the destructive earthquakes that shook Canterbury. The National-led Government remains as committed as ever to the rebuild - that's why we've made it one of our four top priorities for this term in office.

In the aftermath of the earthquakes, one of the things that became clear was the need to review and improve the system of dealing with earthquake-prone buildings in New Zealand.

Watch my latest video below to find out the steps we're taking to guarantee the timely and cost-effective management of affected buildings, and to ensure the safety of New Zealanders.

From my diary

This week I was in the Marshall Islands for the 44th Pacific Islands' Forum. As a nation of the South Pacific, the Forum is an important annual event for New Zealand. It's also a great opportunity to catch up with the other leaders in the region. This year, we covered a number of important topics, including climate change and clean water supply.

With Parliament in recess next week, I'll be travelling around the country to hear about and see first-hand some of the positive work underway in our local communities.
John Key
Prime Minister

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