He Poutama Rangatahi will get 'neffs' off the couch - Willie Jackson

By Bronson Perich

Employment Minister Willie Jackson says that He Poutama Rangatahi will help get 'neffs' off the couch and into mahi. He says it will be community driven where whānau on the ground get behind youth to support them into employment.

“He Poutama Rangatahi is about the ‘tough’ side of our youth, I suppose. Some of them who’ve been involved with gangs, some of them who never got an opportunity.  Some of them who have come from inter-generational employment," Willie Jackson says.

He promised that his government and the Māori Labour Caucus will never forget about these rangatahi. Jackson added that he had been with his 'mate', MP Shane Jones to help rangatahi get into work. The government has allocated $121 million for this initiative. 

But He Poutama Rangatahi is not the only training kaupapa that the government has funded. There has been $50 million budgeted for Māori focused trade training. Jackson explains the impetus behind a Māori targeted programme.

“Old Māori tradies are telling me how wonderful that trade training was for them. So we have some of the veterans now in their seventies who have pushing me for the last couple of years to bring the kaupapa back."

The employment minister says that he would like to work with Māori organisations across the board to deliver this training in the regions. Whereas the old scheme involved Māori moving into cities, the difference is that the apprenticeships, where possible, will occur as close to hau kainga as possible.

“They might come from the general apprentices too … but here’s a chance for targeted Māori trade training," Jackson says.

This is why Jackson says that although these two initiatives account for about a fifth of the total training spend, Māori will benefit regardless.