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Paula Bennett

28 January, 2013

Labour still lagging behind with ideas

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says while Labour rehashes its own underwhelming policies from last year, the Government continues to make a real difference.

“Labour is a bit late with its scheme to effectively pay the Unemployment Benefit to employers to take on beneficiaries, when the National Government has been helping beneficiaries into work through job subsidies for years.”

The new flexible, business-focused Job Streams was announced last June and prior to that there was Job Opportunities and Community Max.

More than 19,500 young people benefitted from Job Opportunities and Community Max and already more than 9,000 young people have started Job Streams.

“We have been doing what works to make it easier for businesses to hire young people,” Mrs Bennett says.

“Rather than spread employment support thinly across all groups, this approach targets those most at risk of remaining on welfare long term.”

Job Streams includes:

  • Flexi-Wage: flexible wage subsidies up to a maximum of $21,060 per year for those at highest risk of staying on benefit long-term. Employers can use some of the funding for training, mentoring or in-work support.
  • Skills for Industry: short, job-focused training for specific employment opportunities. Subsidy of up to $7,000 per person.

“Work and Income tailor the package to employer’s requirements and an individual’s needs ensuring that the funding is used where it can make the most difference,” says Mrs Bennett.

“And it works 90 per cent of those who have completed the flexi-wage contract remained in work,” says Mrs Bennett.