Press Release – New Zealand Government

21 September 2012 In this issue: Encouraging signs from GDP growth Backing LSV graduates into work Reforming welfare The Chathams 21 September 2012 In this issue: Encouraging signs from GDP growth Backing LSV graduates into work Reforming welfare The Chathams

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Encouraging signs from GDP growth Economic figures out yesterday confirm that New Zealand is well placed economically, despite uncertainty in other parts of the world. In the three months to June, our economy grew by 0.6 per cent. This takes annual growth to 2.6 per cent – the highest rate since 2007, which is great news.

While I was attending APEC last week, I spoke to other world leaders, and got a sense of the on-going economic uncertainty in many parts of the world. In the first half of 2012, New Zealand has grown faster than the United States, Japan, Canada, the UK, and the Euro area.

New Zealand’s rate of GDP growth, which is the highest we’ve seen since before the domestic recession and the Global Financial Crisis, confirms our economic plans are having a positive effect on New Zealand businesses and households. We expect solid growth to continue over the next few years.

Our plan to put the right economic conditions in place that will give businesses the confidence to invest, take on new staff, and compete in the global marketplace is even more important in the face of on-going uncertainty. We are continuing to make good progress towards building a more productive and competitive economy – one of our four priorities for this term in office.

Backing LSV graduates into work Yesterday I visited the Limited Services Volunteers (LSV) course at Trentham Military Camp in Wellington. LSV is a six-week course provided by the Defence Force for 18-25 year olds, who have been on a benefit for six months or more.

The Government has invested $36 million over the past four years to provide 6940 more places in LSV, because we believe it does help our young people turn their lives around, and they come out motivated and ready to work. The LSV programme is similar to basic military training, and provides a unique mix of fitness, personal presentation and other employment-focused activities.

The next step for LSV graduates is to find work, and I want to encourage more employers to take on a young person and give them an opportunity to prove themselves in a job when they graduate.

To help with this, this week I’ve written to around 175 employers asking them to take on an LSV graduate. I’ve spoken to employers across the country who have been delighted with the LSV graduates they’ve hired. I’m also reminding employers that subsidies are available through the National-led Government’s Job Streams initiative to help them employ someone.

You can read my press release here.

Reforming welfare This week, the Government has introduced a Bill to Parliament which will enable the next phase of our Welfare Reforms. We campaigned on redesigning the welfare system at the last election. We believe those who can work should work. At the same time, support is still there for New Zealanders in need.

Our changes alter the obligations we have for beneficiaries. And we’re simplifying the current seven main types of benefit into three – Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support, and the Supported Living Payment. These changes to the benefit system will come into effect in July next year.

Did you miss these important stories?New Public Protection Orders will keep the highest risk offenders behind bars if they are considered a threat to the Public.I announced the first details of the visit to New Zealand by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in November.New Zealand will host the next round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. From my diary Today I’ve been in the Chatham Islands for a great visit to this very special part of our country. This is my first visit to the Chathams, and I’ve enjoyed the chance to meet locals and discuss some of the issues they are facing. I’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to sample the delicious crayfish the Chathams are famous for.

This weekend I am in Auckland. It will be good to catch up with the United States Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta. Next week I’ll be back in Wellington for another week in Parliament. Regards,

John Key Prime Minister www.johnkey.co.nz

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