Press Statements

    15 May 2000


    Employment Minister Steve Maharey and Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton met with representatives of the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs to discuss how local and central government can achieve a better partnership in addressing employment issues.

    The Mayors at the meeting included Garry Moore (Christchurch), Frana Cardno (Southland), Jenny Brash (Porirua), John Chaffey (Hurunui), Sukhi Turner (Dunedin), Graeme Ramsey (Kaipara), Tim Shadbolt (Invercargill), and Derek Fox (Wairoa).

    The Mayors report that there was "complete commitment" from the Ministers to the objectives of the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs. The Ministers acknowledged the need for strong local leadership as a way of strengthening regional communities ... and said that central government is committed to working collaboratively with the local government sector, probably with joint ventures.

    Specific points arising from the meeting included:

    — there will be a requirement for all government Chief Executives, and their departments, to consult with local communities.

    — there is a review planned of all money currently spent on industry development, with the aim of ensuring investment is being put in the right places.

    — all government employment and economic development initiatives will look at closing the gaps with regard to Maori disadvantage, and also be focussed on turning around rural decline.

    — the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs could be involved in providing a "compact" with the economic development and employment sector similar to the "compact" with the voluntary sector, which is due to be announced shortly.

    — there was agreement on the importance of a national debate on the future of work. The Department of Labour reported to the meeting that they will be working on these issues within the Labour Market Policy Group (LMPG).

    The Mayors have also asked the government to consider supporting a programme of public works to create local jobs. Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore says that while economic growth will be fundamental for the jobs of the future ... it will not deliver the jobs that we need immediately. Moore: "There will have to be a public projects element put in place ... which will probably be local government projects."

    Moore describes such public works projects as "appropriate intervention", and says they can be achieved without displacing existing jobs.

    3 April 2000


    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:

  • To provide a national focus of leadership on the jobs issue by co-operation among mayors.

  • To share best practice on what can be achieved on employment at local level.

  • To create local and national forums that address trends on income and work.

  • Link with imaginative private-sector initiatives that are addressing unemployment.

  • 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

    22 February 2000


    Nearly a dozen New Zealand mayors are calling for a rethink on finding long-term jobs.

    A group of mayors from throughout New Zealand met in Christchurch to establish a "Mayors Taskforce for Jobs." The taskforce will be a national focus for Mayors concerned about the future of work and livelihood in their communities, and they will meet regularly to co-operate on employment initiatives.

    The Taskforce will be launched at a special meeting in Christchurch on 6th-7th April, and all Mayors throughout New Zealand are being invited to attend.

    The core group of the taskforce is: Garry Moore (Christchurch), Derek Fox (Wairoa), Sukhi Turner (Dunedin), Jenny Brash (Porirua), John Chaffey (Hurunui), Tim Shadbolt (Invercargill) and Jill White (Palmerston North). Other mayors to give support are Claire Stewart (New Plymouth), Mark Blumsky (Wellington), Bob Harvey (Waitakere) and Don Riesterer (Opotiki).

    The mayors say that New Zealand has passed the year 2000 deadline for many of the goals set in the report of the 1994 Prime Ministerial Taskforce on Employment. Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore says that the 1994 taskforce described unemployment as "New Zealand’s greatest challenge" … "and felt that by the year 2000 it was entirely feasible for us to ensure that no-one in New Zealand would be out of work or training for longer than six months."

    Garry Moore says: "Six years later, unemployment is still very much with us, with nearly 200,000 people still jobless in our communities. The call for people and organisations to become more effective over these issues continues to be one of the key demands of this new century. The Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs is a way that we are renewing our public commitment to addressing these issues."

    "The Mayors are most concerned about the long-term trends on work and income in our communities. Our communities are based on livelihoods … yet we seem to be creating a society that continues to have no need for the work of a large number of people. We are saying that there is no justification for the waste of New Zealanders through unemployment.

    "We believe that the jobs of the future will certainly be coming from new business opportunities. And future employment will also be driven by our collective choices to value the new work that needs to be done. Mayors can play an important governance role in leading these choices on behalf of our communities," Garry Moore says.

    The objectives of the Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs are:

  • to provide a national focus on the jobs issue by co-operation among Mayors concerned about employment issues in their communities,

  • to share best practice on what can be achieved on employment at the local level,

  • to create local and national forums to address the "big picture" of trends of the issues of income and work.

  • To link with imaginative private sector initiatives that are addressing unemployment.

  • "Every New Zealander should have the opportunity of livelihood in our communities"

    Further information:

    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