Govt goes into partnership (again), this time to better deal with young Maori offenders

Our Beehive bulletin

Has anyone been keeping tabs on the number of race-based “partnerships” established by the Ardern government?

Another one popped up today, proudly announced by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis. It’s an “innovative’ as well as new Youth Justice residence “designed in partnership with Māori” to provide “prevention, healing, and rehabilitation services for both young people and their families.

It was one of three new posts on The Beehive website since Point of Order last checked on what our Ministers are doing.

The others are

  • An accounting for what is being accomplished under the Construction Skills Action Plan (it has delivered early on its overall target of supporting an additional 4,000 people into construction-related education and employment, says Minister for Building and Construction Poto Williams).
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s expression of New Zealand’s sorrow at the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Ardern noted that The Duke of Edinburgh held several New Zealand honours and appointments.  She mentioned some of his NZ gongs along with some of the organisations – more than 780, the press statement said – of which he was patron or a member.

In his press statement, Kelvin Davis said Whakatakapokai, located in South Auckland, will provide care and support for up to 15 young people remanded or sentenced by the Youth Court, or in some cases the adult courts.

Whakatakapokai has a number of features (Davis described them as “unique”) that distinguish it from the other four Youth Justice residences in New Zealand, including:

  • Additional support for whānau engagement, including space to hold hui-a-whānau and Family Group Conferences, and enabling Hui Whakapiri.
  • Education and health services incorporating Mātauranga Māori.
  • * Mana whenua input at all levels, supporting all aspects of operations, strategic planning, and community engagement.
  • Specialist positions, for example Rangatahi Mentors, who work directly with young people.
  • Whakatakapokai is much smaller than the other four residences and the property includes “a whānau welcome area, native plantings, maara kai, and maara rongoa”.

If you don’t know what some of this means or entails, no matter. It is not intended for you or your offspring, if you are non-Maori.

Kelvin Davis said it is significant that Whakatakapokai has been designed in partnership with Waikato-Tainui as a Māori-based service.

“This is another sign of our commitment to working with Māori, who know what whānau in their communities need, and know how to deliver it,” Kelvin Davis said.   

The Construction Skills Action Plan to which Poto Williams drew attention was launched in 2018. Since then more than 9,300 people have taken up education or employment opportunities in the construction sector through cross-government initiatives, according to her statement.

“This is an important milestone and a positive step towards meeting New Zealand’s current and future construction needs,” says Poto Williams.

“Our priority is addressing New Zealand’s current skills shortage, so that we have the capability and capacity to meet increasing demand. By surpassing our overall target to get an extra 4,000 people into the sector, we are confident we are well on the way to creating the conditions for a high-performing construction sector in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

The Construction Skills Action Plan, managed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), addresses issues around size and skills of the workforce to ensure the construction industry is well placed to deliver the buildings that New Zealand needs now and in the future.

The Plan is a three-year programme of initiatives led by the Ministry of Social Development, Tertiary Education Commission and MBIE.

Three of the initiatives have met their three-year targets early – Mana in Mahi has achieved more than 2,200 placements in the construction sector, Skills for Industry has supported more than 1,600 participants, and Growing Careers and Credentials has supported more than 5,200 enrolments.

Further initiatives to grow the capacity and capability of the workforce are being supported through the Construction Sector Accord’s people development workstream via the Accord Transformation Plan. The workstream is focussed on attracting a more diverse range of people into construction opportunities, growing the size of the workforce and supporting the upskilling of people and businesses in construction.

Mana in Mahi

Mana in Mahi achieved their three-year target of 10 construction-placements in the first year of the programme. In 2020, Mana in Mahi was expanded in response to the changing labour market due to COVID-19. As at the end of March 2021, there has been a total of 2,281 placements in the construction sector.

Skills for Industry

Expanding Skills for Industry achieved their three-year target of 150 placements in the first year of the programme, and has supported 1,670 training participants to date. In 2020, this initiative was expanded with the intention of preparing up to 3,500 job seekers for construction roles.

Growing Careers and Credentials

Growing Careers and Credentials has supported an additional 5,220 enrolments into construction-related education and training (target of 2,300).

Establishing new jobs and skills hubs

At the end of March 2021, Northern and Manukau Jobs and Skills have placed 180 job seekers into construction-related employment and facilitated 22 of placed job seekers into construction apprenticeships. Two new Jobs and Skills Hubs in Manawatū and Dunedin have been established.

Leveraging Government Procurement

The new Construction Procurement Guidelines were published in September 2019, requiring agencies to include skills development and training in the evaluation of construction and infrastructure projects.

Changing Immigration settings

The Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL) was established in December 2018 to support the sector to address immediate skills shortages while long-term development of New Zealand’s domestic work force occurs. This initiative does not have a numerical target.

Latest from the Beehive

12 April 2021

Construction Skills Action Plan delivering early on targets

Youth Justice residence offers new pathway

9 April 2021

The Duke of Edinburgh

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