Labour's final Future of Work report and its 64 recommendations underpinned the policy announcements at its annual conference in Auckland over the weekend.
Andrew Little announced a Labour Government would introduce a 'Ready for Work' scheme to employ young people who have been unemployed for six months. They would be given full time work at the minimum wage for six months and also have a mentor to help with training and preparing for work, similar to the ones employed by the Government to help teen mums back into work.
Labour costed the policy at NZ$60 million, with an estimated 10,000 of the current 74,000 people who are Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) taking up the voluntary scheme, which Little suggested could involve work with Department of Conservation and Councils.
Elsewhere, Little said in this Lisa Owen interview that Labour was considering a Skills Shortage Levy on businesses that did not train staff or imported workers from overseas. Little denied it was essentially a tax on firms that imported immigrants.
In other political news...
Gareth Morgan announced on Friday the formation of The Opportunities Party (TOP) with a press conference in front of Parliament and The Beehive and this interview with Kathryn Ryan. He plans to release his first policy on housing on December 8. He initially compared himself to Donald Trump rather than Kim Dotcom in the news conference, although downplayed the idea later in the conference. Here's a column I wrote for Radio NZ on why I think Morgan is no Donald Trump.
Roy Morgan reported its October 23 poll found support for National rose 6.5% to 48%, while Labour fell 7% to to 26.5% and Green support fell 0.5% to 11.5%. New Zealand First rose 1.5% to to 10%.
John Key is scheduled to hold his weekly post-cabinet news conference later this afternoon. US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Key and Murray McCully in Wellington this week before visiting Antarctica.
Parliament resumes on Tuesday for the second week of a three-week session.
The Reserve Bank is expected by all economists to announce a cut in the Official Cash Rate by 25 basis points to 1.75% at 9 am on Thursday, although most now think this will be the last in the current cutting cycle.
Have a great day and look out below for my weekend column on the jobs market.