A Labour Government will ensure every young Kiwi under the age of 20 is given the opportunity to be in work, education or training, and plans to develop a conservation apprenticeship scheme to help do that, Labour’s Youth Affairs spokesperson Louisa Wall says.
“The global financial crisis hit young people particularly hard. In some regions as many as 22.5 per cent of young New Zealanders between 15 and 24 either don’t have jobs or are not learning. That is such a waste of talent and it has long-term consequences.
“Labour will ensure all New Zealanders under 20 are in work, education, or training through a comprehensive youth employment package that includes paying the equivalent of the dole to employers willing to offer a permanent fulltime job and providing intensive support to school leavers who have been out of work or training for more than six months.
“Because we know how important the environment is to young Kiwis and how concerned they are about it, we’ll include young people in environmental decision making. Alongside that Labour will add to the available pool of conservation rangers, planners and biodiversity specialists by developing a conservation apprenticeship programme.
“For many young people tertiary education is a ticket to social, cultural and economic success. That means we need to make sure all our young Kiwis have access to world-class tertiary learning, without having to take on massive debt.
“A Labour Government will review the student support system including allowances, loans, and scholarships with an aim to increasing access to tertiary education that is fair, transparent and sustainable.
“In conjunction with that we will support and extend programmes such as StarPath and the Maori and Pacific Admission Scheme that allow young Maori and Pasifika people to realise their learning potential and contribute to their families and communities.
“Adopting a comprehensive and evidence-based strategy to support youth mental health and sexual and reproductive health and education will be a priority for Labour. We will restore and strengthen anti-bullying initiatives to ensure all young people have the tools to make informed decisions about how they live their lives.
“Our young people are the future. They deserve to be valued and their dreams and aspirations supported. A Labour Government will do that,” Louisa Wall said.