Government acts quickly to Keep New Zealand Working

  • Hon Carmel Sepuloni
Social Development

Extra support and resources to ensure as many New Zealanders as possible are in work or preparing for work, have been announced by Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

“People want to stay in work – and the Government delivered a $10.4b wage subsidy to ensure employers and employees stay connected. But due to the impacts of Covid-19 restrictions, unemployment will rise before it improves. “

“In response we need to act quickly and proactively, and Keep New Zealand Working.”

“MSD is delivering a suite of employment service initiatives to ensure they can effectively engage with more New Zealanders in this unprecedented time. These include:

  • A Keep New Zealand Working online recruitment tool that connects job seekers directly to the employer making it quicker and easier for people to find work. The tool, now live, also provides online training courses.
  • 35 new employment centres across the country working with employers and job seekers under Level 3, over the phone and online. Under Level 2 face to face engagement with clients, employers and providers will begin.
  • A Keep New Zealand Working employment service for those directly impacted by Covid-19 who are not on a main benefit.
  • A Keep New Zealand Working fast-tracking service for those benefit applicants who need to re-engage quickly with the job market.
  • Working in partnership with industry to provide ‘quick upskilling solutions’, for example the new free online Community Health course with NZQA Unit Standards.”

Carmel Sepuloni said that MSD have already been ramping up employment efforts as part of the Welfare Overhaul.

“Last year we budgeted for 263 more MSD work-focused case managers, and invested significantly in programmes that support both employment and upskilling, and training like mana in mahi.”

“Before New Zealanders went into Alert Level 4, the Government worked quickly to stand up Rapid Response Teams from MSD across the country to work in regions immediately affected like Tairāwhiti. MSD has continued to place people into work under Alert Level 4 – by phone – including redeploying people to essential services.”

Ninety percent of the weekly increase in main benefits has been for Jobseeker Support with 7,694 more people coming onto a benefit – 6,991 for Jobseeker Support.

“The increase in benefit numbers was expected. It’s a global phenomenon. Countries that we compare ourselves to like the US, UK and Australia are experiencing dramatic increases in unemployment during Covid-19. We are not alone,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

She adds that New Zealanders should go online or phone MSD if they need support getting back into work.