What progress has there been for the Job Ops and Community Max programmes?
I am delighted to say that over 4,000 places have been created since the Job Ops and Community Max schemes began in August—that is, 4,000 already. New Zealand businesses and community groups are truly getting behind this scheme, and it is making a difference.
How are these initiatives supporting young New Zealanders through the recession?
Just this morning at a meeting with the Mayors Task Force for Jobs the mayors were saying how much of a difference it is making in their communities and that it is truly encouraging. We have a long way to go, but the situation for youth unemployment is not as bad as some were predicting this time last year. I think that unemployment will go up again over the summer period, but we are making a positive difference, and it is all steps ahead.
Does the Minister stand by the statement that National’s focus is on younger sole parents with dependent children because these are the families most likely to be in poverty; if so, why does her Community Max programme, which she has continued to trumpet, discriminate against young solo mothers, telling them that because they are on the domestic purposes benefit they cannot join that programme, even though young people of the same age on the independent youth benefit or the unemployment benefit are allowed to take part?
What outcomes has the Minister seen from the Job Ops and Community Max programmes?
We are seeing really positive outcomes. Our young people are being upskilled with real employment opportunities. They quite genuinely have a renewed sense of pride in themselves and in their community, and they are gaining skills that will help them into further employment as they move forward.
Does the Minister stand by her statement: “I will back those women into work and meaningful employment every time.”; if so, does she believe it is fair that, during a time when unemployment in New Zealand has peaked, her Government will force mums back into a workforce where meaningful employment, including opportunities provided by this Government, are clearly scarce?
I ask members to be fair and reasonable. When Carmel Sepuloni was asking a supplementary question a moment ago, the level of interjection from the Government backbenches was too great. I ask for a little more courtesy.
Is the Community Max programme in breach of the Human Rights Act on the grounds of family status and sex, in light of the fact that 16 to 24-year-old sole parents on the domestic purposes benefit are precluded from eligibility?
I do not have the capacity to get a legal opinion during question time, but, no, I believe not.
I seek the leave of the House to table a letter, dated 19 November 2009, I sent to the Human Rights Commission, asking that the Human Rights Commission examine the Community Max programme for breaches of the Human Rights Act 1993 on the grounds of—
Leave is sought to table that letter to the Human Rights Commission. Is there any objection to that document being tabled? There is no objection.
I seek leave to table chapters on education and economic security from a report entitled Children and Young People: Indictors of Wellbeing in New Zealand 2008, which highlights the positive impact of parental, and especially maternal, education and also the negative impact of family economic insecurity on children’s educational outcomes.
Leave is sought to table that Ministry of Social Development document. Is there any objection? There is objection.
I seek leave to table a report entitled The Complexity of Community and Family Influences on Children’s Achievement in New Zealand: Best Evidence Synthesis published by the Ministry of Education, which shows that parental, and especially maternal, education has a strong impact on educational attainment for children, that children—