PGF announcements for northern regions
This week saw a raft of announcements from the Provincial Growth Fund, with backing for initiatives in Rotorua, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Northland.
- $15 million towards rebuilding Rotorua Museum, and completing the first stage of an international scale exhibition and conference centre. The museum, in the iconic Government Gardens Cultural Quarter, was closed in 2016 following a seismic assessment.
- $980,000 towards a cruise ship hub in Tauranga to support the Bay of Plenty’s goal of creating 4000 new jobs in tourism. The new hub is expected to drive a 35 per cent increase in cruise ship numbers, boosting the amount spent by visitors who are key contributors to the local economy.
- $400,000 investment in Te Waka Waikato Economic Development Agency, to ensure it has the access to resources and systems for developing viable initiatives for consideration by the Provincial Growth Fund.
- $700,000 contribution to the Historical Maritime Park Marine development project in Paeroa, which includes construction of a wharf, two floating pontoons, a vessel to transport passengers and cycles between landing sites, and a boardwalk connecting the floating pontoons.
- A $449,300 allocation from Te Ara Mahi, the PGF’s skills and employment initiative, towards Smart Waikato’s Secondary School Employer Partnership (SSEP) extension. The programme introduces Year 9 and 10 students to possible future employers, making it more attractive for them to stay, take up employment and possibly plan their whole lives locally.
- $88 million in a range of digital, work and life skills training for young unemployed people in Northland. Collectively these programmes will support over 800 rangatahi and will be funded through the He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) programme.
- $3 million over three years in the Accelerating our Capability programme, a wide-ranging skills and employment programme, which supports Kaikohe locals who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). The programme will continue on for at least 10 years, as a result of co-contributions from other funders.
Mana in Mahi work training programme builds on its success
A year after the launch of Mana in Mahi – Strength in Work, the Government is extending the successful work training programme.
The Wellbeing Budget signalled a $49.9 million boost for Mana in Mahi, extending the places available for participants from 150 up to 2000, on the way to the goal of 4000 places. The criteria for placement in Mana in Mahi has also been extended to now include young people not in employment or education (NEETs).
Under the scheme, employers receive a wage subsidy equivalent to the annual Jobseeker Support rate, and support for work-readiness or pre-employment costs if needed. Participants receive in-work support and incentives to encourage them to stay in work and enter industry training.
New Zealand First is pleased to see the scheme building on its success and expanding, and believes partnering with employers in key growth industries is key to building an economy that everyone can participate in.
“Phase two will improve on what was developed in phase one, including part-time employees in the scheme, making the process for employers easier, and reducing the administrative procedures of being involved,” said Employment Spokesperson Clayton Mitchell.
“New Zealand First has consistently campaigned to provide wage subsidies for small businesses that take on apprentices, job seekers or provide work experience. We want to provide incentives to employers, so that as many young people as possible can start the pathway to a meaningful career.”
Productive land gets better protection
New Zealand’s most productive land is to get better protection under proposals announced by the Government this week.
The draft National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL) introduces a clear and consistent policy that councils must follow when making decisions on land use.
Under the proposals, councils would be required to ensure there is enough highly productive land available for primary production now and in the future, and to protect it from inappropriate subdivision, use and development.
“It is madness that highly fertile soils on the outskirts of New Zealand’s cities have been paved over to make way for housing,” said New Zealand First Primary Industries Spokesperson Mark Patterson.
“These precious lands are food baskets on the doorstep of our main centres of population. Once the land is turned over to development, it is lost to food production forever. I am proud to be part of a Government taking action to protect our most productive land and the communities which it supports.”
Archives NZ to get modern new home
Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced plans for a new, fit-for-purpose facility for Archives New Zealand to replace its current home, which is at the end of its functional life.
Funding in this year’s Budget of $25.48 million over two years will allow progress on a design which sees Archives NZ housed in a building which connects with the National Library, creating a national documentary heritage campus.
“Together, Archives and the National Library are the stewards of our nation’s irreplaceable taonga, such as the Treaty of Waitangi and the Women’s Suffrage Petition. These collections are valued in excess of $1.7 billion and growing,” Mrs Martin said.
“Our documentary heritage and taonga provides real value and insight to New Zealanders, increasing our sense of national and cultural identity.
“We need to preserve this history for our future generations and this new funding and project is a major step to ensuring this happens.”
Employment Strategy seeks to meet both employer and employee needs
The Government’s Employment Strategy, which was released this week, aims to ensure all New Zealanders can achieve their potential by developing skills, finding secure employment and having fulfilling careers.
“At the same time, a well-functioning labour market is vital for economic growth which in turn, allows us to tackle the long-term challenges we must address to lift the wellbeing of all New Zealanders,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The Employment Strategy will be delivered through a series of six Action Plans. The first of these, the Youth Employment Action Plan, which seeks to create long-term employment opportunities for young people through programmes such as He Poutama Rangatahi and Mana in Mahi, was launched this week.
Other Action Plans will cover the elderly, Maori, Pacific peoples, refugees and new migrants, and those with disabilities.
The strategy seeks a cohesive approach which includes education and training, the social welfare system and active labour market strategies in order to get people into the right kind of jobs. Work is already under way on all these fronts, most notably the recently announced Reform of Vocational Education (ROVE), which will tackle the long-term challenges of skills shortages and the mismatch between training provided and the needs of employers.
NZ boosts support for climate action across the Pacific
New Zealand is bolstering its support for the Pacific region’s resilience and collective response to climate change.
To help deliver on New Zealand’s $300 million global commitment to climate change-related development assistance, $150 million has now been dedicated to a practical package of support for the Pacific which includes:
- Providing infrastructure such as water tanks, along with better tools and training to manage droughts, floods and coastal inundation
- Further climate hazard mapping and risk planning
- Customised climate information that will support priority sectors such as agriculture, tourism, health and infrastructure
- More projects to get rid of invasive species that threaten food security. This will boost the resilience of key crops that are also vulnerable to increasingly unpredictable weather driven by climate change
- Improving access to international climate finance through technical assistance
- $5.6m to Tuvalu-specific climate resilience projects, including water storage facilities, along with renewable energy and drought modelling support.
The Coalition Government acknowledges the very real risk that climate change presents to Pacific nations and will continue to support them to defend themselves against its effects. The Pacific Reset policy announced by Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters 18 months ago also prioritises our commitment in the region.