Budget Day plus four – and more millions flow from the Beehive for job training and early education

Budget 2020 is a package that just keeps on giving.

More millions emerged in the education domain yesterday, for early childhood and for job training.

The package of Budget press statements last week included an announcement in the names of the Ministers of Agriculture, Education, Employment and Social Development regarding funding for trades training to support New Zealanders into work.

“Our $1.6 billion Trades and Apprenticeships Training Package will provide opportunities for New Zealanders of all ages to receive trades training,” Education Minister Chris Hipkin said. “It will continue to be added to as part of our ongoing work to rebuild the economy.”

Continue to be added to?  Does that mean there’s more money to come for this programme?

It seems so – and we haven’t had to wait too long for it.  This time the announcement was that $14.79 million is being provided from the Provincial Growth Fund for more pathways to jobs through training and education programmes in regional New Zealand “to support the provinces’ recovery from the economic impacts of Covid-19”.

It was released in the names of Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson.

“New Zealand’s economic recovery will be largely driven by the regions and they need a well-trained workforce and sustainable employment opportunities to get their economies moving,” Shane Jones said.

But didn’t the government recognise this on Budget Day and did the Budget Day announcement short-change the regions, which has called for the money announced yesterday?

Education Minister Hipkins popped up yesterday, too, to announce the reintroduction of a higher funding rate for services that employ fully qualified and registered teachers.

The price tag?  Budget 2020 provides $278.2 million for this element of the early childhood education funding that we did not hear about on Budget Day.

New Zealand Herald education writer Simon Collins reminded his readers that higher subsidies for preschools with 100 per cent qualified teachers, promised in Labour’s 2017 election manifesto, had been expected in last week’s Budget but was not mentioned in the Budget documents. He noted:

Instead, Ardern and Hipkins have confirmed it at today’s post-Cabinet press conference. It is the latest of a series of Budget initiatives which appear to have been approved after the main Budget documents were prepared.

The only other statement to emerge from the Beehive yesterday – from Veterans Minister Ron Mark – had no obvious price tag.

You can be sure there are costs, however. It’s simply that they were not spelled out when Mark announced

“ … the launch of a national conversation that aims to find out whether New Zealanders think there should be a formal agreement between service people, the Government, and the people of New Zealand.”

This flows (he says) from research which indicates that service can have negative impacts on veterans’ health and wellbeing, and some face difficulties in transitioning to civilian life.

This has given rise to the concept of a formal agreement, or (as Mark wants us to call it) a Kawenata.

“Prominent examples of a Kawenata or Covenant, in overseas jurisdictions are the Armed Forces Covenant in the United Kingdom, and the Australian Defence Veterans’ Covenant, and I believe they have demonstrated significant benefit for veterans and their families,” said Ron Mark.

“Cabinet agreed that the Veterans’ Advisory Board undertake a national conversation with New Zealanders about the possibility of establishing such a Kawenata here.”

“A Kawenata could provide additional recognition for the service our military personnel have given our nation, or support for their wellbeing and that of their whānau,” said Ron Mark.

More information around these announcements can be found by visiting…

Latest from the Beehive

Release

18 MAY 2020

$14.7m for jobs training and education

The Government is funding more pathways to jobs through training and education programmes in regional New Zealand to support the provinces’ recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson have announced.

Hon Shane Jones Hon Willie Jackson

Employment

Regional Economic Development

Release

18 MAY 2020

Is it time to further recognise those who serve in our military?

Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced the launch of a national conversation that aims to find out whether New Zealanders think there should be a formal agreement between service people, the Government, and the people of New Zealand.

Hon Ron Mark

Veterans

Release

18 MAY 2020

Paving the way for a fully qualified early learning workforce

The Government’s drive to improve the quality of early childhood education (ECE) is taking another step forward with the reintroduction of a higher funding rate for services that employ fully qualified and registered teachers, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced.

Hon Chris Hipkins

Education

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