Personal statement from Garry Moore, Mayor of Christchurch
If there is one issue which crosses over all others in our society it is that of 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. We will have to redefine the meaning of work. 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.
I have become involved in the Mayors for Jobs 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. We live with those who wander our streets searching for their opportunity to experience the dignity of work. Can we sit by any longer?
I believe that we have a leadership role towards employment issues which is quite important. This role is to create a vehicle which promotes strong partnerships between central and local government. Between community groupings (which are down on their knees at the moment) and the private sector. I believe that Mayors for Jobs could be this vehicle.
We all need each other in our towns and cities throughout NZ and our leadership role is to get everybody talking and, to the best of our ability, co-operating. This will mean bringing unusual groupings together from time to time. We will have to challenge our lateral thinkers throughout the country. We will have to encourage both private and public entrepreneurs to be courageous. Without courage our economy will not grow.
Without leadership that courage will not be fostered.
That leadership role is partially ours.
That’s why I'm involved.
Personal statement from Jenny Brash, Mayor of Porirua
I do not want to see unemployment at any level as a permanent feature of NZ society. It devalues the worth of people.
Porirua City has a Strategic Plan that focuses city-wide on goals that involve Council working closely with government agencies and community organisations etc on eight goal areas including employment & economic growth. Other goals include education & training, health, housing, environment, young people etc.
We need increased employment opportunities particularly for young people. Unemployment rates vary widely across the city (similar to most other cities)from less than 6% in Porirua North suburbs to 27% in two Porirua East suburbs) Of concern to us is the disproportionate level of unemployment in our Pacific Island population - 21.8% as compared to national average of 12.8%. As the unemployment rate is significantly higher for youth (27% under 20 and 18% 20-24) we have a very real problem for young Pacific Island people regarding unemployment and under-employment.
The Maori unemployment rate in Porirua is now better than the national average for Maori - but still below the national rate. Unemployment and under-employment will not go away applying a any single solution eg education and/or training, improving economic growth etc. I believe we need to develop long-term creative and innovative strategies at local, regional and national levels.
I look forward to sharing information with other Mayors on what works and what doesn't and doing some lateral thinking on this issue. We are in unique situations as Mayors in knowing the make-up our cities and districts in ways that few others do - the needs, strengths weaknesses, opportunities etc.
Work will still continue here in Porirua City and the region regarding business investment, employment creation, improving economic growth etc. However I look forward to explore the big picture and longer term issues - where are we heading in ensuring employment opportunities for our young people and the whole area of the interrelationships between income generation, the value of employment to the individual and society and the changing nature of work in the 21st century. It is a very much a local and national leadership issue.
Personal statement from Tim Shadbolt, Mayor of Invercargill
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.
Although there is growth in the four main cities (and Queenstown) most of provincial New Zealand is in decline. Having been a Mayor in West Auckland for six years I know the millions of dollars that Auckland required to develop its infrastructure, yet here in Invercargill we have a brilliant infrastructure that is totally under-utilised. It just seems such a waste.
I hope the Mayors Taskforce will also examine the job situation from an international perspective. I am very impressed for example with the way France is dealing with the issue of unemployment.
As a result of the first meeting, it seemed that the great success stories in terms of job creation happened when a city or community focused on a local situation that was absolutely unique. Kaikoura has its whales, Hurunui has its hot pools, Dunedin was the first city in New Zealand to build a University, Queenstown developed as the adventure capital, and I thought, what has Invercargill got that is absolutely unique? What have we got that no other town or city in the South Island has? My conclusion was Stewart Island. We are the only city with a major off-shore Island right on its doorstep. I believe Stewart Island will play a major role in our future. I don’t quite know how, but discussions have already started.
Personal statement from Yvonne Sharp of The Far North
In my role as Mayor I am an advocate for my district promoting the interests of our many rural and urban communities. I have a deep concern for the work opportunities available in the Far North, particularly for our young people. For me, being involved with Mayors Taskforce for Jobs is a proactive approach to dealing with issues of employment and training for youth at both a local and national level.
Locally I hope to work in partnership with Government, Government Agencies and the private sector to create and bring about change that will benefit the young people in our district. Nationally I am committed to working along side my colleagues, sharing ideas and developing initiatives to support the Taskforce’s mission “working towards the zero waste of New Zealanders”. Unemployment isolates people and seriously affects their confidence and general well-being. Having a job is an important way for people to participate in society and to build positive relationships. This helps to promote a sense of belonging, well-being and self worth which makes for healthy communities. Investment in employment and training for our young people will breathe life and vibrancy into our communities.
The leadership role we have as Mayors gives us the endorsement by the people we serve to champion local employment action for our communities. The collective approach of the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs gives us a strong national voice to address employment and training for our future generations through developing partnerships with people and organisations that care as much about our young people as we do.
I have a strong youth focus and am committed to finding positive pathways for the future. Our youth are a resource we cannot afford to lose and we must supply them with opportunities to build productive lives.
Our Mayors Taskforce for Jobs is committed to achieving its stated outcomes and I am confident that the Far North projects currently under way and those planned will lead to a better future for the young people of the Far North.