Thursday, 1 September 2011

Labour Party Policy Analysis: Youth Employment

OK, it is a new season. Well, yes, it is the first day of Spring but it is also hunting season for dopey politicians as we are just under 3 months from the November 26 general election.

I will from today relaunch Political Animal and comment with much more frequency - as I did in 2008 - on the comings and going of those that have been brave or foolish enough to put themselves up for public office.

Unlike the previous incarnation of this blog though, I will focus mostly on party policy rather than who has slept with who, who is sticking the knife into Phil Goff or the latest nonsense that comes from the mouth of Murray McCully or Hone Harawera. I will leave that to the guys and girls at Whaleoil, Tumeke, The Standard and the other blogs that focus on Wellington rather than how these dropkicks affect the man or indeed woman on mainstreet.

I will rank the policy out of 10 in terms of its usefulness and all importantly the cost to the taxpayer.

With that bollocks over with we will start by looking at the Labour Party and the policy they released today in respect to "youth employment".

"Labour would turn dole payments into apprenticeships subsidies to tackle youth unemployment rates, leader Phil Goff said today.

Mr Goff unveiled a $251 million package aiming to leave the 24,000 currently unemployed teenagers either earning or learning within three years.

The four-year plan follows youth from school into education or the workforce.

It suggested converting dole payments into an $8700 subsidy to fund 9000 apprenticeship placements.

"Our package will convert dole payments into incentives for employers to take on additional apprentices. We will match skill training within and outside of schools with real job opportunities," he said.

The package also suggests introducing 5000 new training places for 16 and 17 year olds and 1000 new group and shared apprenticeships.

Mentors would be set up for at-risk school leavers, so they could be encouraged into a job or employment opportunities.

"We will build on proven programmes such as Gateway, the youth transition service, tertiary high schools and trades academies, and the Conservation Corps," he said.

Mr Goff said the four-year package would be paid for from revenue from Labour's proposed tax plan.

"However we will reprioritise $80 million from existing schemes, with $58 million going to the apprenticeship subsidy instead of dole payments, giving a net total cost of $171 million over four years." NZ Herald, 1 Sept 2011

All good stuff but this has been tried by Labour and other political parties before and failed. In the previous Labour Government they turned out thousands of individuals trained in much needed skills such as scuba divers and media personal just to name a few. When politicians get involved in things like this they have always failed. Training has never met demand in the market and millions have been lost in the process.

The kicker for this policy though is that it would involve borrowing at least $170 million to fund it and as we know the country really cant afford this kind of borrowing and Labour say they will pay for this eventually from new taxes that they will introduce.

Not an original idea but Labour at least are getting some policy out there instead of concentrating on rolling their leader and they should be respected for that.

Their Youth Employment policy gets a 4 out of 10 from me.

Download the full policy

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Darren Rickard 2011

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