Topics: BUDGET, Employment

TAHUA 2018: Regional economic development on the horizon

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

The Government has committed to investing $1 billion over three years in regional economic development.  However, at the grassroots level in the Bay of Plenty people are not picking up the 1,200 seasonal kiwifruit jobs available because they are calling out for full-time employment.

Full-time employment has risen to 67.8 percent in NZ but there are those that continue to fall through the gap.  James Albert, who has been looking for employment says, “That's all I look for, just something to put my hands on, work...that was back then a few years ago but now I don't have work and I've tried many places [and] get turned down”.

Unemployment is expected to remain steady for 2018 but Kathleen Honey Isaac who has recently found full-time employment says money needs to be invested into our youth to get them into employment.

“There's some young ones that want to be mechanics but their downfall is education because some of them don't go to school and all that- but there are talents in all our young ones but our young ones just need a chance,” she says.

The $1bil Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)  is set to play a huge part in providing job security as well as building regional economic growth. 

However, $75 million of the fund is already set aside for Tourism Infrastructure and $13 million to plant a billion trees.

Mrs Isaac says, “at the end of the day it's up to ourselves to go out there and look for them not stay at home and moan about it”.

Wage growth for those in full time employment is on the horizon and is said to gradually rise to 3.4 percent in 2022.