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National supports efforts to get hard to reach young people into work but believes they must also be held accountable for that extra support and to get their lives on track, National’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment spokesperson Paula Bennett says.

“National had a real focus on getting those young people not in employment, education or training into work and had many successes in tough times. We know they are often the hardest to reach and face real challenges around getting into work and staying there.

“Many need intensive support and wraparound services to deal with issues like a lack of role models, education, mental health and drug and alcohol issues. And while many employers want to help these young people it is these issues which also stand in their way, and they will need support to deal with that.

“But these young people must also bear some of that responsibility, as well as obligations for the extra support and there are questions around this that the Government needs to answer.

“For example will there be repercussions for young people who refuse to take up the scheme or who start it then fail to continue? Will they be able to go straight back onto welfare? What about for those who repeatedly fail to turn up and what sort of checks will be in place to ensure they do?

“This Government is already removing fair sanctions for beneficiaries who fail to meet reasonable obligations and that’s not fair to those who need more support or to taxpayers.

“We already know the Government is struggling to understand the issues – it woefully underestimated the cost, with the budget blowing out from an estimated $13.2 million to up to $64 million a year.

“How can taxpayers have any faith they’ll get the rest of the detail right?”

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