.... just a few months after Upston told us the scheme is a flop
RNZ earlier this year reported a National critique of the government’s Flexi-wage scheme and the claim it was well off track if the government wanted to get 40,000 people off a benefit and into a job in two years.
Revamping and expanding Flexi-wage was a key 2020 election promise for Labour, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern giving the policy pride of place at her campaign launch that August.
“It is aimed at supporting real jobs that have a real chance of lasting. It’s an investment in our people, their future, and it’s about working together,” Ardern said at the time.
But National’s Spokesperson Louise Upston in April said numbers obtained through written questions to Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni however showed the policy was failing.
Flexi-wage had been expanded in February last year, aiming to support 40,000 New Zealanders over two years at a cost of $311 million, but a year later just 13,194 jobs had been supported.
Upston said if that trajectory continued it would support just 26,388 jobs by the February 2023 deadline, more than 13,000 short of the scheme’s target.
Fresh data has been posted on the Beehive website today: Sepuloni says 20,589 people have been supported into jobs through Flexi-Wage.
The press statement is triumphantly headed Govt’s economic recovery continues with 20,000 Flexi-Wage placements.
It has been posted along with news of the PM’s achievements overseas –
The Prime Minister has wrapped up meetings in Cambodia with her Indo-Pacific counterparts at the annual meeting of the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the Second ASEAN Global Dialogue on Post-COVID-19 Com
New Zealand’s new free trade agreement upgrade with the Association of South East Asian Nations and Australia has been announced today by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The upgrade to AANZFTA further boosts our already significant economic and trading ties with ASEAN, cutting red tape and costs on businesses and providing greater economic security to New Zealanders, she said.
Minister of State for Trade and Economic Growth Phil Twyford, who earlier last week negotiated the final outcome with his counterparts, said the deal would help to further deepen New Zealand’s trade ties to the ASEAN region.
The upgrade is expected to be signed and enter into force in 2023.
Back on the home front, we learn –
Carmel Sepuloni is hooting:
The success of the Government’s Flexi-Wage expansion continues with over 20,000 people supported into jobs.
Flexi-Wage continues to be an important plank of our economic recovery plan. It’s been one of the many ways we’ve supported people into jobs, and employers to scale up their businesses, as we build a stronger New Zealand and continue our economic recovery,” Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said.
She bandies these figures:
* 20,589 people supported into jobs through Flexi-Wage
*37 per cent of participants identified as Māori, 13 per cent Pacific
* 88% of those on benefit for 2+ years at referral are current, completed or finished early and are not currently on benefit.
* 2478 participants (12 per cent) have a health condition, injury or disability
* Over 3,000 people with children have been supported by Flexi-wage
We await National’s assessment of the update.
Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton