Reports that 15,000 migrants may be needed to rebuild Christchurch while thousands of Kiwis are losing their jobs shows the Government has no desire to upskill New Zealanders who want to help Canterbury, says Labour’s Youth Affairs spokesperson and MP for Wigram Megan Woods.
"Gerry Brownlee said yesterday that 30,000 short-term workers would be needed to rebuild Christchurch, yet reports suggest half of those are likely to be migrants. That’s 15,000 jobs that Kiwis could do if they had the skills.
"There are 84,000 young New Zealanders not in training or work and job losses are occurring every week. This is a golden opportunity for those people to learn new skills, feel some pride in knowing they are helping rebuild a city and gain some valuable experience that will see their career prospects improve.
"Instead the Government - which has had two years since the earthquake to put the measures in place - has dropped the ball, and 80 per cent of the $42 million it set aside for training is sitting untouched.
"Migrant labour will only drive wages and conditions down, and that won’t benefit either Kiwis or those foreign workers. It is not the path we should be on.
"I have a member’s bill in the ballot that will get young New Zealanders off the dole and into apprenticeships by converting their benefit payments into a subsidy for employees willing to take a chance on these kids.
"In rebuilding Christchurch we are also building a future for our young New Zealanders. The Government can help do that by adopting the Bill," Megan Woods said.
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