City fighting recession
Good on you Palmerston North!
I take my hat off to the people of Palmerston North for fighting to keep jobs secure in a context in which the nation is facing the challenge that comes with unemployment at a six-year high.
The international impacts of the economic recession are rapidly being felt in our corner of the world, including Palmerston North.
The will of Palmerston North folk to go forth with hope, to persevere with the job search and taking up every opportunity that presents itself is to be commended. It is attitude like that which will make all the difference until the tide goes out on the economic recession.
While unemployment figures are sky rocketing throughout the country, Palmerston North can take pride that the number of unemployed beneficiaries it has are dropping. And enrolments for tertiary training courses are rising.
I am particularly pleased to hear that the Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is offering all those workers who have been made redundant free tuition for all programmes delivered at its three campuses, including, those in Whanganui and Wairarapa.
Mostly I am pleased workers who have lost their jobs are choosing to be optimistic in these tough times.
Last Thursday, I was advised that 5 per cent of all New Zealanders or 115,000 people were unemployed.
Unfortunately, the groups most affected by unemployment are Pasifika and Maori.
My research shows the reason why many Maori and Pasifika peoples are affected to such a degree is because the majority of them work at the front-line of many factory-based companies that have been going under as a result of the financial crisis.
Other cities throughout New Zealand can learn a thing or three from Palmerston North.
The first is that the strength and resilience of our communities must encourage us all, to face up to the challenges of this time and invest in our future.
It's important that those who have lost their jobs use this time to upskill, to train, to take advantage of the free and low-cost polytechnic programmes on offer.
When the recession ends, I'm sure those people who took up training will reap the benefits as they will be returning to the labour market armed with more skills, more know-how and no student loan to repay.