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The Prime Minister’s feted Mana in Mahi programme is looking more and more like a flop as the Government scrambles to scale it back, National’s Social Development spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“After announcing in August last year that she would fund 4000 places on the Mana in Mahi programme, this has now been scaled back to 2000 places over four years. At the same time, the number of 18 to 24-year-olds on a jobseeker benefit has increased to over 27,000.

“What was supposed to be a transformative programme for young people is a flop. Making less than half of the proposed places available shows that the Government lacks confidence in the policy.

“We can see why in the numbers. Of the 247 participants so far, just 168 remain – a drop-out rate of 32 per cent.

“Work is a route out of poverty that allows people the chance to live better lives, but this Government has shown once again that they just haven’t done the hard yards in making sure the programme is a success.

“National understands the importance of wrap-around services for young people as they start out in their working lives. An increase of over 5000 young people on jobseeker benefits is a failure for young, vulnerable Kiwis.

“Mana in Mahi could be the Government’s next KiwiBuild.”

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