Bill English doesn’t have a lot of faith in our young people. Just last year, he described young men looking for work as ‘pretty damn hopeless’.
And earlier this year he went a step further, claiming that a lot of young Kiwis wouldn’t even be able to pass a drugs test. That’s a pretty big generalisation, and a pretty bleak view for a Prime Minister to have of our young people.
Unlike Bill English, Andrew Little and Labour think our young people have got a whole lot of potential. We’re all about creating opportunities for Kiwis, and our vision is that all young people who are able will be in work, training or education. Here are our seven top policies to help achieve that:
1. We’re going to fix the housing crisis so young Kiwis can afford their first home
Home ownership is the worst it’s been in 66 years and our young people are giving up on the idea of ever owning their own home. We’ll build 100,000 affordable houses for first home buyers. Read more here.
2. We’ll offer Kiwis three years of free tertiary education and training
This is an important way we can help young Kiwis get educated, trained, and into work. Our Working Futures policy provides three years of free tertiary education and training over a person’s lifetime. That’s for any training, apprenticeship or higher education approved by NZQA, and it can be used for full-time or part-time study. Read more here.
3. We’ll back young Kiwi entrepreneurs
We recognise that young Kiwis have a lot of potential, and we know how important it is to look to the future. When we’re in Government we’ll set up a scheme whereby any New Zealander, aged 18 to 23, can cash in their three free years of education and instead receive a start-up business grant, training, and a business mentor. Read more here.
4. We’ll give unemployed young people valuable work experience that benefits society
Labour will never give up on our young people. We’ll give unemployed young people a job for six months doing work of public value, so they can gain work experience and avoid long-term unemployment. Read more here.
5. We’ll give young Kiwis access to a personalised career development plan at high school
We’re going to professionalise careers advice and integrate it into learning, so that every high school has highly trained, skilled careers advice staff. That means young Kiwis will be able to get careers advice in high school and plan out their future. Read more here.
6. We'll make youth mental healthcare a priority
Labour will make comprehensive health services available in every state secondary school, from decile 1 to decile 10. Studies have shown that these services reduce depression and suicide risk by up to two thirds. Read more here.
7. We'll get unemployed young people off the benefit and into apprenticeships
We'll help employers with the costs of taking on an apprentice by paying them the equivalent of the benefits that person would be getting if they were still unemployed. That's how we'll get young people the skills we need to build a better New Zealand. Read more here.
If you'd like to see our full list of the policies we've announced so far in the lead-up to this year's election, click here. To stay up to date, click here to join our mailing list.