WINSTON PETERS: Young Kiwis just need a fair go


Reasoned debate doesn’t happen much in New Zealand these days.

In an age of instant news, click bait, and the explosion of often times junk information on the internet, too often common sense goes out the window.

View and opinions are not thought through.

We’ve seen this over immigration. The picture painted by some sections of our media is that New Zealand First hates immigrants.

That’s a lie. New Zealand First welcomes immigration.

When immigration works for our economy and society.

We say bringing in more than 70,000 immigrants net a year, most of whom are heading for Auckland, is far too many and is not working for New Zealand.

The stresses and strains are apparent everywhere you look - we have a housing crisis, clogged roads, hospitals under huge stress and Kiwis born here struggling to get jobs.

We have 92,700 young Kiwis aged from 15 to 24 who are not working, in training or education.

The Prime Minister Bill English is quick to write off young Kiwis as being “pretty damned hopeless,” and he even ludicrously remarked “we can’t find them.’  

Last year he said you can’t rely on them and in parliament this week he gave the impression they won’t take up opportunities that exist for them.

That’s not how the Salvation Army sees things. They prepared a study of youth unemployment which stated the balance between training and recruiting young Kiwis and just importing skilled and unskilled labour needs to change in favour of young Kiwis.

This is not happening. The Salvation Army said between 2008 and 2012 under National, apprenticeship training collapsed due to poor planning by the government and by industries.

As a result, around 20,000 Kiwis missed out on becoming skilled tradespeople. Numbers have recovered slightly since then but we are still going for the cheap option of approving 16,000 visas for migrant tradespeople every year and not providing enough pathways to get young Kiwis into these skilled jobs.

Don’t slag off young Kiwis, Mr English.  They’re not hopeless; most of them just want a fair go – which you and your government are not giving them.