Labour's job policy "wrong policy at the wrong time" - Joyce

Alex Mason,
Publish Date
Monday, 7 November 2016, 5:26AM
(Getty Images).

UPDATED 9.25am Labour's being accused of missing the mark with its vision for getting thousands of young people into jobs.

LISTEN ABOVE: New Zealand Careers Expo director Mark Gillard spoke to Mike Hosking

Andrew Little's promising six months, full time, minimum wage work for young people who have been on the Jobseeker’s Allowance in the Work Ready category for six months.

But Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce is calling it the wrong policy at the wrong time.

He said unemployment among young people is back to pre-GFC levels.

"Of course we can do more, and you do that with a strong economy and getting people into the jobs that are there.

"You don't divert them off into a make-work scheme when there's employers crying out all over the country to get people into work," he said.

Joyce said it's the sort of policy you'd roll out in the middle of the GFC - not now when there are jobs that need filling.

"It's certainly not the time to be proposing a scheme where you would take these young people out of the job market effectively, and have them doing stuff for DOC when we could be proposing getting them into real jobs, that are long-term jobs and a long-term career."

Labour's idea to get young people off the dole and working in their communities is being welcomed by a local board member from Auckland's Manurewa.

Manurewa Local Board member Sarah Colcord said it will help build young people's confidence and get them involved in the community... and bridge the gap to permanent employment.

She's spoken to youth in the South Auckland community recently who have been struggling to get employed because they don't have the work experience a policy like this could help provide.

CTU president Richard Wagstaff said it's good initiative to get a lot of things done, and build up young people's work experience.

"Volunteer agencies need a lot more support. There's a lot more work that can be done in conservation and in other areas so it's a good initiative. Labour's putting two and two together saying we can give people experience of work in to the habit of work."

New Zealand Careers Expo director Mark Gillard told Mike Hosking the skills include having a driver's licence, turning up on time and communication skills.

He said that's going to help them engage in the workforce and have better long-term employment benefits.

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