Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Young people get a bad rap in New Zealand and it is undeserved. New Zealand First believes investment in our youth is investment in all or our futures. Our youth will face up to the future if they are given the tools and opportunity. We have an exciting policy for students, but not everyone is made for university. New Zealand First is embarking on a ground-br4eaking programme, new learning, new trades, new apprenticeships, new skills and new competencies for the digital age. You know we look after our grandparents, but we are going to look after our grandchildren as well.


Technologies constantly change, but the need for skilled adaptable people stays the same. New Zealand First will pull back on the practice of bringing in workers from overseas, while untrained New Zealanders stand in dole queues. Our long term economic plan invests in our manufacturing sector to provide more jobs and most importantly, apprenticeships. But it doesn’t end there. We will consult manufacturers about the skills they require to complete on world markets. And we will start training people in these skills. Many young people have asked to make trades training a condition of receiving the unemployment benefit. New Zealand First agrees. Basic reading, writing and numerical skills will be included. Skills levels will be lifted and employers will be given incentives for ‘on the job training;. We will increase the number of places available at polytechnic trade training.


Student debt amounts to billions of dollars, and it has to be sorted out. We will face up to it before it inflicts more damage on yet another generation of young New Zealanders. We will introduce a scheme where Government makes a matching dollar-for-dollar payment on student debt for students staying and working in New Zealand. So if a student with a student loan of $20,000 pays back $10,000, the Government would match that sum to extinguish the debt and remove a big incentive for young Kiwis to go overseas. A generation of our young Kiwis are effectively economic exiles because of student debt. We want them to bring their stills and ideas home. In the long run this will save New Zealand money.

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