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Christchurch City Council Media Release 5 February 2002

Mayors taskforce forges jobs link with business group

New Zealand’s local body leaders and businesses are joining forces to create more jobs and training for young people.

On Thursday afternoon in Christchurch the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs and the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) will launch the Youth Employment Project. Steve Maharey, the Minister of Employment and Social Services, will also attend Thursday’s launch (from 3.30pm in the council chambers).

Through the project the council, which includes companies such as Fonterra, Telecom and the Warehouse, plans to encourage businesses to do more to ensure all young New Zealanders have work or opportunities to train for work.

About 25 of the country’s mayors will be at the Mayors Taskforce forum in Christchurch on Thursday and Friday. The main goal of the taskforce is to eliminate youth unemployment by 2005.

“To involve the business sector means that the third leg of the stool is now in place for our taskforce,” says chairman Garry Moore, the Mayor of Christchurch. “We now have got business groups, community, and central and local government all working together for our youth employment goals.

“Too often, so many similar initiatives are put in place without the involvement of the business sector.”

The NZBCSD will produce an industry guide to show businesses how they can help stimulate youth employment, and will encourage member companies to support the scheme.

Urgent Couriers is one of the Business Council member companies that will push the scheme. Its managing director, Steve Bonnici, says the council’s aim in any project is to benefit society and business.

“If the youth of the country is unemployed, it doesn’t bode well for any of us,” he says. “They are going to be a drain on the government tax take ... and it’s not going to help with crime or any of those things. If there is anything we can do by working with the Taskforce, then we will look at it.”

The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs began in April 2000. Included on the agenda for this week’s meeting is a panel discussion which will be attended by the heads of Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry for Social Development, Skill New Zealand, the Labour Department’s labour market policy group, and a senior representative from the Economic Development Ministry and the Community Employment Group.

For more information about:

Photo/news video desks
The Thursday afternoon session (from 3.30pm in the council chamber) launching the Youth Employment Project with Employment Minister Steve Maharey is open and photographers and crews are welcome.

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