Flood-hit farmers in the Bay of Plenty region will have a further opportunity to apply for a grant to help with clean up and recovery, say Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy.
The $100,000 Primary Industries Flood Recovery Fund is part of a package of additional support totalling $295,000 for farms and orchards who suffered damage following the floods.
“The Government is committed to ensuring communities in the Bay of Plenty have the support they need to recover from the April floods,” says Mrs Tolley.
“The first Bay of Plenty Primary Industries Flood Recovery Fund was on a first-come first-served basis and all grants were allocated after just a couple of weeks. Farmers who missed out on the first round of funding can now apply for grants of $2000, $5000, or $10,000.
“This support is in addition to the $1 million funding provided to enable Enhanced Taskforce Green teams to clear debris from towns, rural properties, and parks and reserves.”
“The Bay of Plenty Rural Support Trust and agencies on the ground have been taking stock as clean up continues. They have told me there are still a number of affected primary producers who could really use a grant to help them with re-establishment of pastures and crops, and the clean-up of silt and debris,” says Mr Guy.
“I’m also further bolstering the Rural Support Trust who have been working tirelessly with local agri-business and agencies to assist in recovery. Funding will also help the rural recovery coordinator continue, and helping farm relief workers to be continue to be available through the Trust.
“Priorities for rural recovery in the region include ongoing psychosocial support, restoration of farm productivity, and building resilience to future events, particularly on flood-prone land.
“Looking to the future is fundamental and the funding also covers extension services to farmers.
“I appreciate the work of the Whakatane District Council who have provided support to administer both rounds of the grants on behalf of the region.”
Applications for this further round of grants can be made via the Whakatane District Council until 29 September, and will be assessed on need.
Short-term housing will be provided to perpetrators of family violence in the Waikato to help ensure victims are kept safe and can stay in their own homes, say Justice and Social Housing Minister Amy Adams and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.
“The Government is putting $1.1 million into emergency housing for perpetrators at the Integrated Safety Response pilot sites in Waikato and Christchurch, because evidence shows it’s better to remove perpetrators than to uproot victims and children from the family home,” Ms Adams says.
The Hamilton Abuse Intervention Project has this week been awarded the contract to provide the service in the Waikato. In Christchurch, the service has been running through Stopping Violence Services for six months, and has already provided emergency housing for 22 perpetrators.
The emergency housing is for perpetrators who have been served a Police Safety Order stopping them from returning to the family home for up to five days, but who don’t have anywhere to go.
“Perpetrators must voluntarily agree to the referral. It gives them the opportunity to cool down, accept help, and address their abusive behaviour, while ensuring that victims and children can stay safe in their own homes,” Ms Adams says.
Mrs Tolley says perpetrators who use the service will also be referred to the Integrated Safety Response pilots, in which core agencies and NGOs work together to create family safety plans tailored to the specific needs of each victim, perpetrator and family.
“The emergency housing initiatives demonstrate how the ISR pilots are maturing and evolving as we gather more information and understanding of what will make a real difference for families.”
Police Safety Orders were introduced in New Zealand in 2010, and allow Police to remove a suspected perpetrator of family violence from the family home and require them to stay away for up to five days.
This emergency housing funding is part of the cross-agency work programme overseen by the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence, which is committed to reducing family violence and keeping victims safe.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the Community Finance Initiative is helping low income Kiwis to improve their financial capability and independence while saving thousands in interest.
“This initiative has provided $1 million of zero fee, interest free or low-interest lending in the last year, saving low income individuals and families over $500,000 if they had borrowed from alternative lenders,” says Mrs Tolley.
“To date, nearly 400 people have received a loan since the Community Finance Initiative was piloted.
“Over 1,700 in-depth financial capability sessions have also taken place between borrowers and dedicated financial mentors, helping people to develop long term financial capability and independence.
“An interim evaluation of the Community Finance Initiative found that participants reported improvements in their financial management. Over time those skills will help people to become more independent and successful.
“Just over half of the loans were used to purchase a vehicle or for vehicle maintenance, helping people maintain their employment or find new employment opportunities, as well as maintain their independence.
“The interim evaluation also found a significant increase in the employment rate for those who participated in a financial session, irrespective of whether they received a loan or not.
“This initiative is now being scaled up, with the CFI Partners (BNZ and Good Shepherd New Zealand) working on finding alternative providers to deliver the service, alongside existing community providers, the Salvation Army and Aviva.”
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says strong uptake of the $3K to Work grant has seen over 1,200 New Zealander’s move off benefits and into stable employment.
“The $3,000 grant supports people to relocate to take up employment. There has been good uptake of the grant over the last year,” says Mrs Tolley.
“In the year to 30 June 2017, $3K to Work delivered 1,203 grants at a total of $3.6 million. Over 90 per cent of the grant recipients, mostly single men aged 20-29, remained in employment and off benefits for longer than 91 days.
“Around 25 per cent were employed in the construction sector, and over 180 people took up roles in farming, forestry and fisheries.
“Canterbury and Auckland had the highest uptake of relocations, with Northland, Bay of Plenty and Nelson also receiving a large share of the grants.
“$3K to Work is helping both jobseekers and those at risk of long term benefit dependence into work, and building skills and experience in valuable and growing industries. This supports New Zealand’s continued economic growth.”
The $3K to Work initiative was merged with the successful $3K to Christchurch programme in July 2016 which made a total of $3 million of grants available.
Minister for Children Anne Tolley says the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki is working with iwi to strengthen whānau connections and improve children and whānau participation in decision-making.
“There are a number of initiatives underway to build stronger connections with iwi to ensure children and young people are connected to their whānau and have safe, loving, stable homes,” says Mrs Tolley.
“This collective approach ensures the right people are engaged in decision-making so we can address the needs of Māori tamariki in prevention, early intervention, care support, transition to independence, and youth justice.
“Early-stage whānau meetings (hui-a-whānau) and whānau searching are being trialled across 21 Ministry sites. Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Rangitāne, Ngāti Raukawa, and Ngāti Toa are also building capability to lead and co-ordinate Family Group Conferences.
“Hui-a-whānau provides a way for children, young people and whānau to work together to make decisions and resolve problems. At-risk families will be supported at an earlier stage, and outcomes of Family Group Conferences will be improved.
“Whānau searching will enable the Ministry to engage in a more culturally responsive way. As a result, children and young people are more likely to be placed with whānau, and develop a sense of belonging and connection.
“In Tairāwhiti two iwi co-ordinators have completed their first iwi-led Family Group Conferences with positive outcomes.
“For example, one young person attended the Te Ara Tuakiri Wananga Programme run by Turanga Ararau which teaches the requirements for Youth Court attendance, and participated in anger management classes and community work.
“Mokopuna Ora, which has been developed with Waikato Tainui, is being extended to South Auckland to keep children and young people connected with their extended whānau who will train a pool of people to act as kaitiaki.
“Mokopuna Ora has been successfully running in Waikato since 2015, and has resulted in 66 tamariki staying with whānau.
“Whānau are able to get extra help and support to safely care for their children at home. A whānau researcher also helps connect tamariki in care with their marae and hapū.”
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says MSD’s latest Household Incomes Report shows median household incomes rose three per cent in real terms in the year to June 2016.
“This increase shows the Government’s focus on strengthening the economy is delivering for New Zealand families and households,” Mrs Tolley says.
“Despite the effects of the Global Financial Crisis, most Kiwi households are much better off today than they were back in 2008.
“Since 2008 median household incomes have risen by around 11 per cent more than inflation – faster than in many other OECD countries. This contrasts with Australia, the UK, the US, France, Italy and Germany where real household incomes remain at or close to pre-GFC levels.”
The report shows there is no evidence of any sustained rise or fall in household income inequality over the last two decades, and trends in child poverty and hardship are either flat or falling, depending on the starting point or measure used.
“This is the result of our growing economy creating more jobs and opportunities for people to get ahead, and also the redistributive nature of our tax and transfer system,” Mrs Tolley says.
“Around half of all households with children receive more in welfare benefits and tax credits than they pay in income tax.
“The report also highlights that housing affordability and quality are an issue for lower income groups with housing costs making up a larger proportion of their household budget.
“That’s why the Government’s committed to building more social houses and is working with councils to make more land available for new housing.
“It’s also why we increased the accommodation supplement as part of our $2 billion Family Incomes package in Budget 2017, and why we lifted the incomes of beneficiaries by $25 a week last year – the first real increase in more than 40 years.
“This report doesn’t capture the impact of these benefit increases or the Family Incomes packages, but as data comes through, I’m confident it will show more improvements in the lives of those most in need.
“The expansion of free doctors’ visits and prescriptions to under 13s is a good example of how our targeted investment can make a real difference.
“Virtually none of the families surveyed said they put off doctors’ visits ‘a lot’ for their children, meaning families aren’t making financial trade-offs in getting care for their kids.”
The report also shows that:
- New Zealand continues to rank near the middle of the OECD in terms of income inequality, poverty and material hardship.
- Child material hardship numbers have decreased from the 220,000 peak in the GFC to 135,000 in 2015 and 2016 – that’s a drop from 20 per cent to 12 per cent, using the less severe threshold. The numbers in more severe material hardship are down from 100,000 (nine per cent) in 2011 after the GFC to around 70,000 (six per cent).
- Incomes for minimum wage workers rose by around seven per cent in real terms between 2008 and 2015, however incomes for beneficiaries remained steady.
MSD’s 2017 Incomes Report uses data from StatsNZ Household Economic Survey to monitor trends in disposable household income to June 2016. It is released alongside a companion report of material wellbeing including food, heating, accommodation and transport.
The report is available at: www.msd.govt.nz
The Government will co-invest up to $600 million alongside local councils and private investors in network infrastructure for big new housing developments through a re-purposed ultra-fast broadband company, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Local Government Minister Anne Tolley say.
“Crown Fibre Holdings will be re-named Crown Infrastructure Partners, and bring the investment skills and experience gained through the Government’s world-leading ultra-fast broadband rollout to the job of attracting private investment in roading and water infrastructure that open up big new tracts of land for more housing development,” Mr Joyce says.
"Crown Infrastructure Partners will set up special purpose companies to build and own new trunk infrastructure for housing developments in return for dedicated long term revenue streams from councils through targeted rates and volumetric charging for use of the infrastructure by new residents.”
“This innovative new funding method will be made available to cash-strapped councils who are struggling to fund new long-term infrastructure from their own balance sheets,” Mrs Tolley says.
“Councils will have the option of buying back the infrastructure at some point in the future, but won’t have to commit to doing so. This is all about introducing outside capital to build this infrastructure, so current ratepayers don’t get burdened with all the costs of growth.”
Two of the earliest projects to be assessed by Crown Infrastructure Partners for investment will be the Auckland North and Auckland South projects previously submitted by Auckland Council as requiring investment outside the Council’s own balance sheet.
“These two large projects can provide an additional 5,500 homes in Wainui to the north of Auckland, and 17,800 homes across Pukekohe, Paerata and Drury to the south of the city,” Mrs Tolley says.
Mr Joyce says the Government is prepared to be an investor alongside the private sector and take up some of the early uptake risk.
“We learnt from the ultra-fast broadband programme that if we de-risk some of the early stages of the investment, we can bring in private sector investors to take on much of the heavy lifting as the investments mature,” Mr Joyce says. “We would expect the Crown’s investment in each project to be matched with at least one to one with private sector investment over time.”
“This new model is another way in which we are helping Councils in our fastest growing cities to open up more land supply so more Kiwis can achieve the goal of home ownership,”
Mr Joyce says it forms part of our comprehensive programme for lifting housing supply to meet the needs of a confident growing country.
“Crown Infrastructure Partners is the logical next step in infrastructure funding following the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund which will deliver 60,000 houses across our fastest growing population centres over the next ten years.
Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) Questions and Answers
What is Crown Infrastructure Partners?
CIP is a Crown company (formerly Crown Fibre Holdings) that is being tasked with designing and implementing new commercial models to attract co-investment from the private or other sectors and achieve the Government’s objectives for the efficient deployment of water and roading infrastructure to support the timely increase of housing supply.
The aim is to increase the total investment in local arterial roading and network water projects needed to make more housing development possible by tapping private sources of capital.
Why repurpose CFH as CIP?
A number of corporate structures were identified during the review phase. Establishing a Special Purposes Vehicle (SPV) that investors, councils and government have confidence in requires a high level of commercial and financial expertise. This expertise currently exists which CFH and since the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme is nearing completion (Phase 1 is 75 per cent complete), that work will start to wind down which means there is capacity to start this new project. In addition, repurposing an entity like CFH is significantly cheaper and more efficient than establishing a new entity.
What is the aim of CIP?
CIP will work to speed up housing developments. The aim is that by introducing different sources of capital, it will allow the infrastructure required for this growth to be brought forward earlier than would be possible if it was funded entirely from Council balance sheets.
Some high growth Councils in New Zealand are constrained in their ability to take on further debt to invest in infrastructure. Many of these high-growth Councils are near their borrowing limits, and so cannot finance the infrastructure investments needed to keep up with demand. This limits their ability to open up the supply of land for housing construction, which in turn feeds into higher house prices.
How will CIP speed up housing developments?
CIP will look at how Crown investment through an SPV might be designed to bring forward the provision of infrastructure, particularly in these high-growth areas, to enable housing supply to be brought forward.
The long-term goal is to change the market for infrastructure provision in New Zealand. CIP will fix this problem by establishing SPVs. The role of the SPVs will be to invest in roading and water infrastructure assets in the place of Councils. In return the SPV will receive a stream of revenues from developers or the households that use the infrastructure. In the case of developers, that revenue may be in the form of a one-off payment. In the case of households, the cost of the infrastructure will be recouped over the life of the asset through a targeted rate or volumetric charging.
The advantage of the SPV model is that it allows land owners and developers to bring forward the infrastructure projects that would otherwise not have started for a number of years due to councils’ financial constraints. This is because a key feature of a SPV is that the debt it takes on is reflected on the SPV’s balance sheet, not the council’s. As such it does not affect councils’ debt limits, and frees up the local infrastructure funding bottleneck.
Why look for private capital instead of traditional rates funding?
Rates are tax levied against property owners to pay for the goods and services they receive from their local council. As such there are affordability and equity considerations that councils have to take into account when setting rates. For instance, it is not equitable to ask ratepayers to fully pay for long-term infrastructure today when it will be used by multiple generations. Most councils overcome this by accessing long-term debt, spreading the costs over the life of the asset. However, some Councils’ ability to do this is constrained by their debt limits and limited borrowing capacity.
By accessing private capital, councils sidestep this financial constraint and provide the necessary infrastructure their growing communities need.
Is this just a tool for Auckland to use?
No. This model will be scalable and used in other fast-growing centres across New Zealand.
However, as most population growth pressures are concentrated in Auckland, the first SPV being explored will be within in New Zealand’s biggest city. Other Councils will be eligible to apply to set up SPVs provided their projects meet certain criteria.
What are the SPV criteria?
CIP will develop these criteria over the next few months, but at a high level projects must show an ability to generate sufficient revenue to cover their own costs over time, including the cost of capital in most cases. They must also include an exit pathway to allow the Crown to recoup its capital within a reasonable time period. Projects should include a mechanism through which external providers of capital can invest in infrastructure.
What investment opportunities are there in Auckland for CIP?
As part of the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), two proposals were put forward by Auckland Council for an additional investment in roading and water infrastructure so as to accelerate the pace of house building in Auckland. The North project encompasses the Wainui area, and the South project encompasses the areas of Paerata, Pukekohe, Drury West and Drury South.
These projects did not receive HIF funding as they did not meet the specific criteria set by the Government, such as falling within the current 10-year planning period, and they couldn’t be funded from within the Council’s balance sheet using HIF funding. The characteristics of these projects make them highly suitable to fund roading and water infrastructure through and Special Purposes Vehicle (SPV).
Should projects proceed to completion, it is expected that combined they will open up sufficient land for the construction of 23,300 additional houses, taking total housing capacity in these areas to 28,300. The total infrastructure investment being sought is $588 million.
Additional housing enabled
How big is the opportunity to the North of Auckland?
New urban areas in the North, including Silverdale, Wainui and Dairy Flat have been identified by Auckland Council as areas where greenfield housing development can be significantly expanded over the next 30 years, provided the necessary infrastructure is in place to support the expansion.
What infrastructure investments are needed in the North?
The North project focuses on Wainui, where the existing infrastructure can only support the construction of 2,000 new houses in the area zoned for residential use in the Auckland Unitary Plan. It is estimated that an infrastructure investment of $201 million ($149 million for transport; $52 million for water) could sufficiently increase infrastructure capacity to service up to another 5,500 houses in Wainui.
What water infrastructure developments would this cover in the North?
The estimated $52 million infrastructure investment in the North would pay for a number of water developments including the:
- New Wainui service reservoir ($15 million)
- New water supply booster pump station ($10 million)
- New Wainui sewer and pump station ($25 million)
- Wainui Storm water ($2 million)
What transport infrastructure developments would this cover in the North?
The estimated $149 million infrastructure investment in the North would pay for a number of arterial transport developments, including the:
- Wainui Arterial Road ($60 million)
- Curley Ave Bridge ($89 million
What is the opportunity in the South?
The greatest opportunity to create new urban areas in Auckland is to the South of the city, where around 5,300 hectares of land has been identified for urban development. The areas of Paerata, Pukekohe, Drury West and Drury South offer the greatest opportunity to fast track the supply of housing as they are the most ready to develop.
What infrastructure investments are needed in the South?
Although areas in the South have significant potential to expand greenfield housing capacity in Auckland, only 3,000 additional houses can be supported by the existing water and roading infrastructure.
It is estimated that an infrastructure investment of $387 million ($215 million for transport; $172 million for water) could increase the supply of new houses by 17,800 across Paerata, Pukekohe, Drury West and Drury South.
What water infrastructure developments would this cover in the South?
The estimated $172 million needed for water infrastructure in the South would pay for a number of developments including (but limited to) the:
- New Paerata water main ($30 million)
- New Paerata sewer ($40 million)
- Drury West wastewater reticulation ($20 million)
- Drury South pump station ($25 million)
- Bremner Road sewers ($2 million)
- Bremner Road pump station ($20 million)
- Paerata storm water ($1 million)
- Pukekohe storm water ($26 million)
What transport infrastructure developments would this cover in the South?
The estimated $215 million infrastructure investment in the South would pay for a number of transport developments, including the:
- Rail stations at Paerata and Drury West ($60 million)
- Paerata rail crossing ($20 million)
- Bremner upgrade ($38 million)
- Mill Road, Great South Road/Spine Road ($97 million)
Why is Drury South being considered for the first SPV?
Drury South is one of the four areas (including Drury West, Paerata and Pukekohe) situated to the South of Auckland that has been identified as having the greatest opportunity to create new urban areas. Out of the four areas it is the most developed and is in near ready-to-go status, having already obtained planning permission, with the design and consenting expected to be complete in 2017. Should major civil works commence in October 2017 it is expected the project will be ready for the first occupants in 2019.
What will be built in Drury South?
The Drury South project being developed by Stevensons Group is an integrated development that will provide for more than 700 houses as well as an 180Ha business and industrial development adjacent to the Stevenson Drury Quarry. The business park will facilitate 15,400 jobs across the Auckland region, 5,000 of which will occur within the business park, which is expected to contribute $2.3 billion to the regional economy every year.
What transport infrastructure is needed in Drury?
To facilitate and accelerate development within the southern sector of the city, Auckland Council and NZTA are investigating the southern section of the Mill Road Corridor, a Primary Arterial Road/Expressway that will link Mill Road in Manukau with Pukekohe.
The Drury South project proposes that a Mill Road Arterial be constructed that will intersect and connect to SH1 within the bounds of the Drury South Development Area and Great South Road in the West. This interconnection via the spine road will provide important network resilience to both the Mill Road Arterial and SH1.
What water infrastructure investment is needed in Drury South?
The project requires new wastewater and freshwater connections. This includes a 4.5km trunk sewer between the project and Hingaia pump station north of Drury, and a new connection to the Waikato water pipeline in Drury. This infrastructure will be designed to integrate with other developments in the area and could service in excess of 10,000 households.
How much will it cost?
Civil works to deliver the land ready for development will total $300 million, of which an estimated $68 million in road and waste infrastructure will be assessed for CIP funding.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the number of people dependent on welfare continues to drop, with sole parents and young jobseekers leading the way in moving off benefits.
“At the end of the quarter there were 276,331 people receiving a main benefit, a decrease of 3,846 (1.4 per cent) in the last 12 months. This puts the proportion of the population (9.6 per cent) at the lowest it’s been in a June quarter since before the Global Financial Crisis,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Sole parents had the biggest reduction in numbers, with 4,791 (7.3 per cent) fewer people now receiving Sole Parent Support compared to this time last year. All regions saw a fall in this benefit type, with the biggest decreases in Bay of Plenty and Nelson, down 12.7 per cent and 9.4 per cent respectively.
“The Government’s focus on intensive support and training, alongside growing the economy to deliver more jobs and higher wages is making it easier for sole parents to find and stay in work.
“More young jobseekers are also moving off benefits, with the number of 18-24 year olds on Jobseeker Support falling by 1,005 (4.2 per cent) compared to last year.
“We know those who go on a benefit at a young age are more likely to stay on welfare for longer. By investing in initiatives such as Kaikohe Grow in Northland and Project 1000 in Hawke’s Bay, we’re helping more young beneficiaries into employment, education and training.
“The Government also recently invested $50 million to help at-risk young people with complex needs into jobs in regional New Zealand.
“Targeting support to young people and sole parents has been a priority for us because helping them off benefits will allow them and their families to thrive.”
The latest benefit data is available at https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/statistics/benefit/index.html
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy today visited Edgecumbe to see how the recovery is progressing.
“The Government is committed to ensuring the Edgecumbe community and Bay of Plenty has the support they need to recover from the April floods,” says Mrs Tolley.
“This includes $1 million in funding to enable Enhanced Taskforce Green teams to clear debris from towns, rural properties, and parks and reserves in Edgecumbe, Whakatane, Taneatua, Ruatoki, and other affected areas.
“It’s estimated that a quarter of the clean-up has been completed, and the three teams are expected to continue operating until October. Feedback on the teams from the community and council has been really positive.
“MSD has also made around 3,000 civil defence payments totalling over $850,000 to help people with food, clothing and bedding.”
“The Whakatane District Recovery Office has developed a draft recovery programme for the next six months. It is the foundation for a jointly-owned Recovery Plan with community,” says Mr Guy.
“The Government continues to ensure local businesses and farming communities have the support they need. We’ve provided $900,000 to help businesses, farmers and growers get back on their feet so far.
“The Rural Support Trust continues to work with 65 farmers needing support. The MPI Bay of Plenty Primary Sector Flood Recovery Grant fund has now closed after having distributed 43 grants, totalling $200,000.”
Up to 30 temporary homes will be built at the Whakatane Holiday Park in partnership with the Whakatane District Council, with the costs being shared.
In addition MBIE has leased 21 one-bedroom cabins to transport to flood damaged properties, and contracted the construction of an additional 17 one-and two-bedroom cabins.
MBIE and Te Puni Kōkiri have agreed funding of more than $2.6 million to start constructing the first five houses in a Papakainga development at Kokohinau Marae.
Construction will begin immediately with support from the Whakatane District Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to expedite planning consents.
Up to 20 homes are expected to benefit from the Liveable Homes project which is designed to help people without the means to repair their flood-damaged homes to a liveable standard.
The Government previously announced the Earthquake Commission has been authorised to clean-up all affected properties, including homeowners without insurance. Inland Revenue waived late payment fees and penalties for those prevented from paying on time due to the floods.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley welcomes today’s expansion of the Red Shirts in Community programme where around 1,000 young jobseekers will gain work experience and earn NCEA credits.
“It’s great to see MSD partner with The Warehouse to expand a programme which will enable around 1,000 young Kiwis to gain valuable work experience,” says Mrs Tolley.
“I’d like to thank The Warehouse for taking on a leadership role to help young Kiwis get a foot on the job ladder. This is one of the largest employer-led youth employment programmes in New Zealand, and we’d like to see other businesses take up similar initiatives.”
The Red Shirts in Community programme was piloted with 20 young jobseekers, aged 16 to 24, in Northland, Whanganui and Wellington. It is targeted at young jobseekers with an interest in customer service roles.
“The pilot was first expanded earlier this year, and since then almost 250 young jobseekers have gone through the work readiness programme,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Seventy per cent went on to gain employment within 91 days of their 15 day in-store experience – that’s a fantastic outcome.
“Feedback from participants has been positive. Not only do they learn new skills such as working in a team and communicating with customers, they also have to develop self-confidence and step out of their comfort zone.
“Participants receive training in customer service, communication skills, personal presentation, stock management, as well as credits towards a National Certificate in Retail. Work and Income provides support for jobseekers, and connects them with prospective employers.
“MSD and The Warehouse are now working together to develop a similar model for other large New Zealand employers so they can provide tailored programmes to help a range of jobseekers.”
Minister Tolley attended today’s launch of the expanded Red Shirts in Community programme at The Warehouse, Lyall Bay, Wellington.