While in Balclutha recently I visited South Otago High School and spoke to the Year 12 & 13 assembly. I met the head students, school council and met Rachel Dick, who is training as a hairdresser at a Balclutha business.
Learning the ropes: Hairdressing apprentice Rachel Dick is enthusiastic about work.
It can be tough for young people starting out in the workforce when they have no work history and a limited number of people willing to give them a chance. That's why we're backing them to get a start.
Youth unemployment far outweighs any other segment of the community with 18- to 24-year-olds making up a third of those on the Unemployment Benefit. The number of young people who want a job but can't get one has more than quadrupled in the past year from 4000 to 17,000.
We can't afford to leave young people languishing on a benefit. This risks diminishing the potential of an entire generation of Kiwis.
That's why we have announced our Youth Opportunities Package. It invests $152 million and aims to create up to 16,900 new opportunities for under 24-year-olds over the next 18 months.
Job Ops backs businesses that create work opportunities for young people. We are asking firms to provide up to 4000 young people with an entry-level job for at least six months. We will pay a $5000 wage subsidy for each placement.
Community Max invites local councils, mayors, community groups, and iwi to play a role creating up to 3000 work opportunities. We want community organisations to come to the Government with local projects that could employ young people and engage them in our communities. We will pay the minimum wage for 30 hours a week for up to six months, a training payment, and one supervisor for every four participants.
We are jump-starting our Youth Guarantee initiative. Some kids learn more from ripping an engine apart than studying Macbeth. Up to 2000 16- and 17-year-olds not engaged at school will get the opportunity to do fees-free training at polytechs, wÃ¤nanga, and private training institutions.
Other initiatives in the package include extra training places for careers in the Defence Force, 1600 summer scholarships for university students, and 2500 new places in military-style training programmes. The package also includes up to 500 jobs for young people on National Cycleway projects, 600 new Industry Partnership training opportunities, and a funding boost for polytechs and technology institutes.
By providing these opportunities we are bringing a brighter future to our young people who want to get ahead in life.
It's up to the individual to make the most of the opportunity and get their careers going.
Friday, 25 September: Opening of Queenstown electorate office and Thank you function for volunteers, Queenstown.
Sunday, 27 September: Bluegreens function at Queenstown Senior Citizens Centre with Nicky Wagner, List MP based in Christchurch Central.
Wednesday, 30 September, and Thursday, 1 October: Todd McClay, MP for Rotorua, will be in the electorate.
Ultra-fast broadband for local school
The Catlins Area School is set to receive a major upgrade to its Information and communication technology infrastructure, as part of the Government's $34 million boost for broadband in schools.
The school will receive internal network upgrades, providing opportunities for teachers and students to make greater use of digital learning technologies and improving access to online learning tools.
This is great news for the school and the community. I'm very pleased that The Catlins Area School has been selected as one of the first 14 schools nationwide to receive an upgrade.
Ultra-fast broadband has the potential to enhance the teaching and learning experience for students in every New Zealand school. It will allow schools like Catlins to access a wider range of online resources and tools, and deliver programmes that are relevant and engaging for students.
Broadband in schools is a major part of the Government's commitment to roll out ultra-fast broadband to New Zealanders where they live, work and study.
We believe ultra-fast broadband will deliver a social and economic step change in New Zealand - schools are one of our first priorities as the benefits of greater broadband capacity will be felt very quickly.
Critical social services get funding boost
Three social services groups in Clutha and Southland have been given more than $180,000 from the Community Response Fund.
It is part of almost $9 million given to 164 critical social services groups under severe financial pressure.
Wakatipu Abuse Prevention Network receives $10,000, Queenstown Lakes Centre/Families First Trust $57,655, and Invercargill-based Jubilee Budget Advisory Service $25,000.
The new fund was set up in May to help those groups providing vital social services during the recession, which are under severe financial strain or experiencing increased demand. Up to $104 million is being made available over two years.
Organisations that missed out in this round are being encouraged to apply again. Applications for the second round of the Community Response Fund close on 25 September. More information is available at
Biosecurity package a faster, fairer system
A range of measures to boost biosecurity readiness and strengthen partnerships with industry has been announced by Biosecurity Minister David Carter.
This package delivers on the Government's election commitment to provide a more efficient post-border biosecurity system and significantly lift New Zealand's ability to deal with introduced pests and diseases. At the same time, the introduction of some cost-sharing arrangements will enable primary industries to have a better say in biosecurity readiness and response activities.
The measures include:
- Agreement-in-principle to continue Crown funding of $30 million a year for managing bovine tuberculosis, to 2015.
- A move towards implementing joint decision-making and cost-sharing agreements with primary industries for biosecurity preparedness and response activities.
- A $25 million, 10-year deal between MAF Biosecurity New Zealand and AsureQuality to build and deliver biosecurity response field operations.
- The go-ahead for a biosecurity surveillance strategy that will encourage collaboration with industry which will result in swifter response capabilities.
Keeping funding for bovine Tb at existing levels, despite the challenging economic conditions, is crucial for our beef, dairy and deer industries and their ability to compete in global markets.
However, the future success of the Tuberculosis Pest Management Strategy will depend on industry and local government showing a commitment to ongoing funding now that the Government has signalled its contribution.
A move towards a cost-sharing agreement with primary industries will increase incentives to invest in biosecurity readiness, resulting in faster and less costly responses.
Fiordland wins health funding
Fiordland Medical Practice has gained funding for a 12-month teleradiology project been awarded $50,000 from the Health Ministry's 2009/2010 Rural Innovation Fund.
The one-off grant is one of six of up to $50,000 awarded throughout the country from the Health Ministry's 2009/2010 Rural Innovation Fund.
The Government wants better, sooner, more convenient care in rural areas. There were 22 applications for the annual fund of $300,000.
Teleradiology improves patient care by allowing radiologists to provide services without actually having to be at the location of the patient.
Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart scheme
Homeowners in Southland and Otago and will be able to get their homes insulated sooner with 40 more providers in the region approved under the Government's Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart scheme.
Contracts for the 40 providers of insulation and clean heating devices are expected to be in place by the start of next month, Southland gets another 19 providers and Otago gets 21.
This is good news for the two regions. An insulated house helps reduce energy consumption, puts less pressure on our electricity network and cuts energy bills.
People living in insulated homes are healthier. Warm and dry homes also help people with respiratory or medical problems which can be made worse by living in a cold, damp house.
The scheme is also a much needed boost for our economy, boosting employment.
Top tourist operator
Congratulations to Bryan McChlery - tourism owner and operator who manages Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park, Driftaway Rental Campervans and Go Milford - is one of four finalists for the PATA Young Tourism Professional Award.
Bryan has developed and manages three tourism businesses in Fiordland, with plans to open a fourth this year. Under his management Te Anau's Top 10 Holiday Park has expanded significantly and developed new and related tourism activities. These include the Top 10 Milford Sound Coach and Cruise business (rebranded Go Milford) and Driftaway Rental Campervans.
Bill English MP
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