Shane Jones' 'work for the dole' scheme doomed: National

NZ Newswire,
Publish Date
Monday, 4 December 2017, 1:19PM

Shane Jones' work-for-the-dole scheme is doomed because the cabinet won't back it, National says.

NZ First's Regional Development Minister wants to get young unemployed people into work and says he'll announce four projects before Christmas.

"They will be made to go to work, they'll have to receive a minimum wage but there'll be no more sitting on the couch," he said at the weekend.

READ MORE: Don't call it work for the dole, said Ardern

"I am not going to remain silent any longer while my young ne'er do well nephews in Kaikohe and other places fall victim to gangs."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reacted cautiously and won't call it a work- for-the-dole scheme.

She agreed on Monday the programme would help young people gain a foothold in the workplace and said she preferred to call it Ready for Work.

Those who agreed to work as part of it would earn at least a minimum wage, which was higher than the unemployment benefit, she said.

Imposing sanctions on those who refused to work would be up to the cabinet.

READ MORE: Scheme 'won't work without compassion'

National's economic development spokesman Simon Bridges says the coalition is clearly divided.
"He's in favour of work-for-the-dole, she wants a training programme," he said.

"He wants it to be compulsory, she wants to put it in front of cabinet - which won't support it."
Mr Bridges said Labour would win.

"The Labour Party and the left won't let work-for-the-dole happen - they want to reduce work obligations, not increase them."

Mr Jones is in charge of a $1 billion regional development fund and one of his projects is to plant a billion trees.

"I don't want to rely on Filipinos to plant my trees," he said.

Beneficiary advocacy group Auckland Action Against Poverty said the scheme would lead to exploitation.

"Work-for-the-dole schemes will not lead to training and upskilling of youth, they will instead instil in our young people the idea that low wages and exploitation is all they are worth," it said.

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