Labour is committed to a skilled workforce that benefits businesses as well as their workers, and will increase workplace training to improve productivity and drive innovation, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.
“Labour believes the Government should support New Zealanders into work. We will build a world class skills training system and give all workers a pathway to realising their full potential.
“Five years on from the end of the recession – and in the middle of a rebuilding boom in Christchurch – there are still 32,000 more people unemployed than when National came to office. Unemployment is higher than it was then in every region except Canterbury.
“Labour will create an Employment and Skills Strategy in consultation with employer groups and unions to meet the changing needs of the 21st Century workforce. We will continue the New Zealand Apprenticeship Scheme that began in 2013 and create new apprenticeships in the creative, ICT and conservation sectors.
“Our already announced $183 million comprehensive Youth Employment Package will make sure 24,000 young Kiwis under the age of 20 are in work, education or training. It includes our Kick Start Apprenticeships which will pay a $9,100 subsidy – the equivalent of the dole –to employers willing to offer young unemployed people a permanent full time job.
“Labour’s Economic Upgrade plan will boost jobs and incomes by supporting our economic journey from low value commodities to high value production in primary manufacturing and high tech sectors. Our Economic Upgrade will increase investment through KiwiSaver and pro-growth tax reforms, support innovation through R&D tax credits and develop strategies for major industries.
“Our $200 million Regional Development Fund will partner Government with communities in projects that boost jobs and create an economic step change in their areas.
“This is all built on Labour’s firm fiscal foundations. Our full alternative budget will run surpluses every year, pay down National’s debt and bring unemployment down to 4 per cent.
“Job security is no longer certain for many people. A Labour government will be an active partner in creating jobs and providing our workforce with the skills and training to improve productivity and to give them a secure employment future,” David Cunliffe says.