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Christchurch City Council Media Release 3 April 2000

Mayors To Gather For Jobs Taskforce

More than 30 New Zealand mayors will meet this week to look for solutions to national unemployment. 

The MAYORS TASKFORCE for JOBS will hold workshop meetings in Christchurch on Friday 7 April. The Taskforce was formed in February on the initiative of Christchurch’s Mayor, Garry Moore.

The mayors who formed the core group with Mr Moore were Sukhi Turner (Dunedin), Jenny Brash (Porirua), John Chaffey (Hurunui), Tim Shadbolt (Invercargill), Derek Fox (Wairoa), and Jill White (Palmerston North).

Mr Moore said today that the one issue that crossed over all other in New Zealand society was the right to employment. "I consider it to be the social justice issue of our time. All the work is not done and we must find new methods to find people meaningful occupations," Mr Moore said. He believes the meaning of work had to be re-defined. "It will be different from what we have known in the past. That is our challenge. If we shift our employment figures we move a lot of other negative statistics in our society," he said.

Dunedin’s Mayor, Sukhi Turner says: "Unemployment and under-employment is a plague of our times. It wastes talent and energy and saps the strength and optimism of our future generations."

Mayor of Wairoa, Derek Fox, says his district has about 45 per cent unemployment. "I am not looking for handouts." He said he was looking for partners to foster employment possibilities.

Jenny Brash, Mayor of Porirua, says unemployment devalues the worth of people, and the Mayor of Hurunui, John Chaffey, says unemployment was causing family stress, breakdowns, and youth crime, and ill health.

Tim Shadbolt, Mayor of Invercargill, says: "I am delighted to be part of the MAYORS TASKFORCE for JOBS so that we can find out how other cities are tackling this problem, and also develop strategies for national campaigns that will initiate more work for all New Zealanders.

Jill White, Mayor of Palmerston North, says she does not believe that "we can afford to waste the potential of one single member of our cities or districts."

Mr Moore said the MAYORS TASKFORCE for JOBS was formed because "the time has passed for us to sit on our hands at local government and wait for central government to come up with all the new ideas on employment initiatives."

The mayors involved were renewing their public commitment to addressing these issues and pledging to co-operate on future initiatives.

The Taskforce objectives are:

Mr Moore said one in 16 people was officially unemployed. "We need to challenge our lateral thinkers. We have to encourage both private and public entrepreneurs to be courageous. Without courage our economy will not grow," he said.

The sessions will be closed to the media but the mayors will be available to answer questions from 3.15pm on Friday 7th April at the City Council offices.

Further information: Linda Manco, Mayor of Christchurch’s office: 371-1559, or core group Mayors:

Garry Moore 03 371-1559
Derek Fox 06 838 7309
Sukhi Turner 03 474 3855
Jenny Brash 04 237 1400
John Chaffey 03 314 8816
Tim Shadbolt 03 218 1959
Jill White 06 356 8199

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