Christchurch Launch 6-7 April 2000
Thirty-one Mayors from throughout the country gathered in Christchurch to discuss a collective Mayoral initiative on jobs. The energy level was high as Mayors outlined their reasons for attending and the issues facing them in their communities.
While acknowledging the diversity of the various areas in the country, common themes emerged from the gathering.
- more Mayors and councils are beginning to take a proactive and local leadership role in addressing the issue of livelihood in their communities.
- there are huge expectations on the new government at the moment - and this will require a more active partnership with local government for the objectives to be achieved.
- these partnerships will also need the involvement of the not-for-profit sector – and to be effective, this sector requires extensive rebuilding.
- economic development and employment initiatives need to recognise the importance of community economic development and community ownership.
- employment initiatives need to build on the existing fabric of local communities to ensure the retention of what we have as well as the growth of new initiatives.
- there is an urgent need to devise programmes which address Maori and Pacific Island participation in our communities.
- we need to give our young people assurances about the future and retain them in our communities.
- we need a long-term vision for sustainability and stability – there must be a commitment to a robust long term partnership with central government.
- the loss of government departments and regional offices has depleted the skill level in rural communities.
- many rural areas are declining rapidly.
Throughout the two days Mayors discussed ventures they were involved in and ways of increasing the capacity of their communities to develop new initiatives. Some of these suggestions included:
- Investigate new ways of doing things acknowledging the changing nature of work in our society
- Support the setting up of a Future of work Unit in the Department of Labour with good partnership links to the Mayors Taskforce for jobs and the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.
- Set up joint committees of councils within regional boundaries for delivery of employment initiatives in partnership with central government. The committees could have 5 Council representatives, 5 Central government representatives and 5 community representatives.
- Look at co-operative ventures with neighbouring councils (eg tourism ) rather than individual competitive initiatives.
- Take leadership in ensuring the co-ordination and co-operation of employment initiatives across sectors at the local level.
Vivian Hutchinson, editor of The Jobs Letter spoke to the meeting and made some suggestions for future action. These included:
- Setting clear goals for young people in our area: that no young person under 25 years is out of work or training
- go to your local charitable trusts and get the top up money to use WINZ schemes to employ young people
- look to the non-profit sector for jobs for young people: give a young person a job at every not-for-profit organisation in our district
- Being entrepreneurial about how we use benefit money – turning the dole into an investment in someone’s future
- let young people take the dole with them when they get an apprenticeship
- Promoting local works initiatives. These could include:
Te Araroa, The Long Pathway, from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island (as a unification project for the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs).
topoclimate surveys, such as happen in Southland, as an investment in future enterprises in the rural sector.
- Promoting the employment outcomes that come from Councils signing up to a Zero Waste strategy and diverting the local waste stream into recycling and reuse of recovered materials.
There was general agreement in principle on the core group’s Suggested Strategy as outlined to the meeting. It is important to clarify, with respect to the suggested goals that the Mayors role is to take leadership to help our communities achieve them. The Mayors will not be creating these jobs.
The core group has now expanded to also include: Frana Cardno (Southland), Alan Dick (Napier), Mark Blumsky (Wellington), Claire Stewart (New Plymouth), Pat O’Dea (Buller), Basil Morrison (Hauraki) and Graeme Ramsey (Kaipara).