Ashburton councillors blame 'entitled young people' for labour shortage

Some Ashburton councillors have had a crack at "entitled young people" in response to the district's labour shortage headaches.

The offensive was sparked by a reported swell in the number of people receiving employment support in Mid Canterbury, despite employers throughout the district crying out for staff.

A glaring disconnect between a rise in the number of people receiving job seeker support and the numerous open vacancies sparked questions at yesterday's Ashburton District Council meeting around the transition from unemployment into work.

A report on Ashburton's economy was presented at the meeting, held via Zoom, which attempted to unpack the district's labour market issues, with a 33.8 per cent rise in the amount of people on benefits recorded over the past quarter.

Eastern Ward councillor Lynette Lovett believed the issue centered around the poor attitudes of youngsters who were ill-equipped for the realities of the work place.

"Today they're the entitled group some of these young ones," she said.

"Schools need to talk about work ethics and what's expected.

"You only need to go out and talk to the farming community who are employing these young kids...they're only there for a week because they go out boozing midweek and then want time becomes too hard."

Western Ward councillor Rodger Letham added that it was a "parenting and education" problem and not a matter for local government.

Urban ward councillor Carolyn Cameron disputed the remarks and said council was obliged to scrutinise the problem.

"We have to acknowledge the Local Government Act which suggests we look after our four wellbeings including social and economic which is obviously impacted by youth unemployment."

Recent figures from Stats NZ outlined about 1100 people in the district between the ages of 16-24 who were not in any form of employment, education or training.

Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown suggested that the amount of young people in this category who were unemployed was about 20 per cent.

Nearly 750 people in Mid Canterbury are registered as job seekers by the Ministry of Social Development.

- By Adam Burns
Local Democracy Reporter












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