Ardern visits Tokoroa’s Kinleith Mill
The election race heated up briefly in Tokoroa last week as Labour leader Jacinda Adern and sitting Taupo¯ MP Louise Upston clashed over policy differences.
Training and job opportunities were hot topics when Ardern visited Tokoroa’s Kinleith Mill on Wednesday.
‘‘The fact that we are talking here [at Kinleith] about not having enough fitters and turners coming through to take on roles that exist says to me that we could be doing much better,’’ Ardern said.
‘‘We have got 70,000 young people who are not in employment, education, or training. There are some real skills gaps we have that we could be filling.’’
‘‘That starts with us lifting the profile of those roles. We want to do that in schools and we have announced the Prime Minister’s Vocation Excellence Awards where in every secondary school we will give a prize of $2000 to lift the value of vocation training of trades,’’ she said.
Ardern also spoke about her dislike of National’s plan to impose tougher sanctions on beneficiaries.
That followed National’s announcement that if re-elected it will take half or all of jobseekers’ benefits off them if they fail to meet drug rehabilitation, work experience or training obligations.
Ta¯ upo electorate National MP Louise Upston, who was in town the following day to present awards for Adult Learning Week, defended the plans.
She said National was working hard to connect young people with employment opportunities and was pledging $72 million over four years, $18m a year, to put in place programmes aimed at getting beneficiaries, particularly those under 25, off drugs and into work.
That includes guaranteed work experience or training for those who had been on a jobseeker’s benefit for six months or longer, and financial management training.
‘‘It is about saying actually we want to support you and support your future. If drug and alcohol issues are one of the barriers to you being employed then we want to help you sort that out,’’ she said.
‘‘We just want to make sure young people are connected with opportunities so we are absolutely investing funding [to combat] things that are getting in the way.’’
Kinleith Mill selfie