PM Continues To Thumb His Nose At Young Kiwis

Prime Minister Bill English’s persistent disregard for young Kiwis not in work, education and training will disappoint many families, says New Zealand First’s Revenue Spokesperson Fletcher Tabuteau.

“Elaborating in Parliament today on his puzzlement concerning the 92,700 idle New Zealanders aged from 15 to 24, Mr English painted a picture which suggested it was not the government’s fault, but the young people themselves.

“He claimed there were pathways for training and work that implied young people were just too slack to take up the opportunities.

“Sadly, he continues to have the attitude he displayed last year when he said young Kiwis were ‘pretty damned hopeless. They won’t show up. You can’t rely on them.’

“The fact is that since the Global Financial Crisis in 2007 young adults aged between 15 and 19 suffered the greatest employment setbacks and have since faced increased competition from the massive number of immigrants and international students coming to New Zealand.”

Youth Affairs Spokesperson Darroch Ball says in 2007 an average of around 150,000 of the 15-19 age group had jobs but by the middle of last year this had only improved to 115,000 workers, which is 23 percent lower than before 2007.

“Under National the number of apprenticeships collapsed between 2008 and 2012 which meant around 20,000 people have not become tradespeople who otherwise could have been.

“Apprenticeship numbers have increased since but as the Salvation Army’s report Addressing NZ’s Youth Unemployment (October 2016) stated: ‘This collapse in training effort points to poor planning on the part of the government and also from the industries that require skilled tradespeople.

“It is obvious Mr English and National are failing young Kiwis,” says Mr Ball.