No plans for youth? Let’s recycle an announcement

Published: Tue 24 Nov 2009 02:18 PM
24 Novmber 2009
Media Statement
No plans for youth? Let’s recycle an announcement
The Government’s desperation to be seen to be doing something to combat youth unemployment appears to be the only explanation for the Education Minister’s recycled statement on polytechnic funding today, says Labour Tertiary Education spokesperson Maryan Street.
“On the same day as we have the Social Development Minister suggesting over twice the number of youth have got jobs through the Job Ops scheme than they actually have, Education Minister Anne Tolley recycles a 2 August press release announcing an extra $8 million for polytechnic places for students.
“This cynical behaviour from senior Government ministers shows it is perfectly well aware of how little it is doing to solve the problem of soaring youth unemployment – and how desperate it is to try to pretend otherwise.
“But that’s no excuse for making the same announcement twice. It’s plain dishonest,” Maryan Street says.
“Youth unemployment is currently sitting at over 25 per cent and expected to increase as more and more students begin hunting for jobs.
“Despite this, the Government has refused to allow tertiary institutions to lift their enrolment caps so they can enrol more students – offering a paltry $8 million extra to polytechnics for just 700 more places.
“Neither this, nor Job Ops will make a dent in the bucket when you consider there are 62,000 young people under 24 who are unemployed in New Zealand.
“Anne Tolley’s impoverished Tertiary Education Strategy offers little prospect of any relief and has received a pasting from sector groups. And now we have her recycling her one good news story,” Maryan Street says.
“Is that it? It’s just not good enough. Labour has said all along that the best thing the Government can do in a recession is to invest in upskilling and training our young people.
“If the Government wants a real good news story with good news results, it should lift the cap on tertiary enrolments for next year.”

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