National's $72m plan to get unemployed youth into work

Bill English. Photo: Getty Images
Mr English said only about 10% of young people on the unemployment benefit stayed on it for more than six months, but many of those who did ended up on it for years. Photo: Getty Images

National has announced further plans to get more young employed people into work, including training and help to get off drugs but those who refuse it will have their benefit cut by half.

National leader Bill English set out the plan in Invercargill.

The $72 million plan would guarantee work experience or training for under-25s who had been on the benefit for more than six months and rehab for drug users who could not get a job because of drug testing.

Those without children who did not take up offers of training, work or drug rehabilitation would have their benefit docked in half after four weeks.

Those who had their benefits cut would also only be able to spend it on essentials such a rent and food, as happened with the payment cards for 16-19 year olds.

Mr English said only about 10% of young people on the unemployment benefit stayed on it for more than six months, but many of those who did ended up on it for years.

He said the sanctions were an effective tool - currently 95 per cent of those who received a warning of sanctions would act to meet the requirements.

National's social development spokeswoman Anne Tolley said it would begin from July next year. Each young person would get one-on-one help to place them in work experience or training.

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