This week included the first meeting of Parliament for the year, beginning with the Prime Minister's statement in the House. We also saw a major shake-up of the future of the vocational education sector, celebrated Chinese New Year, and launched a free counselling for 18 to 25 year olds pilot programme.
Polytechnics and technology institutes were the subject of a major announcement by Minister of Education Chris Hipkins this week.
On Wednesday, we released an number of wide-ranging proposals for strengthening our polytechnics and institutes of technology.
These proposals are designed to fundamentally rethink the way we view vocational education and training, and how it’s delivered.
We want to properly prepare our workforce and our employers in the face of a critical skills shortage.
The best way to achieve this is through a unified, coordinated, national system of vocational education and training. Under the new system, the 16 existing ITPs would be brought together as one entity, with the working title of the New Zealand Institute of Skills & Technology.
The development of courses and programmes would be consolidated, improving consistency and freeing up resources to expand front-line delivery. There will be more sharing of expertise and best-practice, and more use of online, distance, and blended learning.
This pilot is a great step forward in making sure our young people are getting access to the mental health services they need, when they need it.
We visited the Tasman region this week, where we pledged $150k extra for residents affected by the recent fires.
Our Prime Minister awarded Mike King New Zealander of the Year at a ceremony in Whangarei. King was honoured for his work with mental health, especially the mental health of young people.
Finance Minister announced that the Budget will be released on the 30th of May this year. This Budget will be our first Wellbeing Budget - and one of the first in the world! - and will expand our focus beyond just GDP to look at measures of success that more closely reflect the wellbeing of our people. You can read all about this new approach here!
And finally, we also celebrated Chinese New Year this week. Our PM and Finance Minister joined a number of our Ministers and MPs including Kelvin Davis, Raymond Huo, Jenny Salesa, and Michael Wood, to celebrate the festivities and ring in the year of the pig!