Employment Minister out of touch with portfolio

Questions in Parliament today show just how out of touch Employment Minister Willie Jackson is with his own employment programs, National’s Skills and Employment spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“When asked about programs adults 30 years and older can enrol in to re-train should they lose their job, Willie Jackson recommended Mana in Mahi and He Poutama Rangatahi. Both of these programs are designed for those under the age of 25, so it would be difficult for a 30 year old to enrol.

“While you could write this off as just another embarrassing gaffe by Willie Jackson, it’s far more serious as it highlights how unprepared this Government is for dealing with our largest economic crisis in a generation.

“Thousands of New Zealanders have lost their jobs already, and many thousands more will. We need programs that will support these Kiwis, and help them re-train and find employment again.

“What we have is a Minister who doesn’t even understand his own employment programs and what New Zealanders they will be able to help. While it’s important Kiwis under 24 years of age have opportunities to re-train, there will also be many others older than this who also need those same opportunities.

“The unemployment rate is set to increase, we need a Minister in charge who not only understands the scale of this crisis, but competent enough to deal with it and support New Zealanders. Willie Jackson is not that Minister.”