Government defends record on jobs

John Key
John Key
The Government hit back yesterday at critics of the number of jobs that have disappeared from New Zealand by supplying a list of "significant jobs" created from its public infrastructure programme.

Finance Minister Bill English, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce combined to provide a united front on the Government's Building Infrastructure progress report, which set out 67 projects being undertaken. Mr English said the infrastructure projects were helping build a more competitive economy.

"For businesses to invest in plant and facilities in New Zealand, they need to be confident that they have access to infrastructure that supports their businesses - transport, energy, water and telecommunications."

The Government had committed significant investment in infrastructure over the past four years as part of its wider programme to put the economy on a more competitive footing and support jobs, he said.

The projects included: $5.5 billion for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Fund, $1.6 billion for ultrafast broadband and faster rural broadband, $5 billion for the national electricity grid and $12.2 billion for roading between 2012 and 2015, Mr English said.

However, figures included in Mr Joyce's announcement of a further $28 million for expanded training in Christchurch showed that most of the jobs created were in the North Island.

Wigram MP Megan Woods said Labour was encouraged by the extra funding the Government was putting into skills training into Christchurch but she hoped it would translate into real action.

The Government needed to think on a different scale. Up to 30,000 workers were needed for the rebuilding, yet another "big" Government announcement was about a scheme that hoped to recruit just 900 workers.

"There are some 84,000 young New Zealanders not in any form of training work or education.

They want to be working and they are exactly the people Mr Brownlee and his colleagues should be providing opportunities for," she said.


Jobs created

• Nearly 2000 in roll-out of ultrafast broadband.
• 2700 in the construction of hospitals in Auckland and the Waikato.
• Estimated 1000 over the next four years on the Waterview Motorway connection.
• 1000 on the Waikato Expressway.
• Up to 240 on the Tauranga Eastern Link1585 on the Transpower grid upgrade.
• 255 on electrification of Auckland rail.
• An expected 13,200 for rebuilding horizontal infrastructure in Christchurch.

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