New Zealand Labour Party

Youth no better off under National’s “guarantee”

John Key’s Youth Guarantee is such a spectacular failure that those who undertake the programme are more likely to end up on a benefit and less likely to end up in full-time employment than those who don’t, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.

“This programme was the Prime Minister’s flagship policy for youth when he took office. He spent months telling the public it would end the days of 16 and 17-year-olds being able to ‘drift along aimlessly’.

“The opposite has occurred. There are now more than 70,000 young people not in employment, education or training.

“The most recent analysis of Youth Guarantee – which was quietly uploaded to the Education Ministry’s website – found that due to participating in the programme there are:

· 2020 more young people receiving a benefit,

· 869 more young people not in employment, education or training,

· And 440 fewer young people in full employment.

“The Government is well aware of the shortcomings of this programme – ministers held a crisis meeting to discuss Youth Guarantee last year.

“But National won’t fix it because they are more interested in padding out their phoney Better Public Service targets than making sure the qualifications kids are getting are actually worth something.

“John Key and Bill English are writing some young Kiwis off as ‘hopeless’ and ‘drugged and lazy’. Youth Guarantee is not helping get these people into jobs and if National wasn’t so obsessed with its artificial targets it would do the right thing and fix this programme.

“Labour believes these youth just need a bit more support to become brilliant young people and will give them the help they need,” Andrew Little says.