Rotorua locals from a range of industries and interests sat down last night to hear about "The Future of Work" in the region, a two-year research project led by Labour's Grant Robertson.

Mr Robertson, the Labour Party spokesman for employment and finance, told a meeting at the Novotel Rotorua the future of work in the region was changing fast.

"In industries like horticulture, wood processing and manufacturing, automation is set to change the experience of work radically," he said.

"We need to prepare ourselves for these changes, to ensure there is decent work for generations to come. That is the focus of Labour's Future of Work Commission. It is a two-year project to develop the policies and plans needed to give all New Zealanders the confidence to face the rapid changes ahead and take the opportunities arising from them."


The talk also served as an invitation for the meeting to have their input, contributing a uniquely Rotorua perspective towards what will create the Labour policies of the 2017 general election, Rotorua Labour Party spokesman Tamati Coffey said.

"With today's employers, employees, students and teachers no longer best served by policies written in the last millennium, The Future of Work flips the coin on an opposition party's default stance of 'attack', with fresh new thinking and positive directions," he said.

"What Labour is doing is starting with a blank piece of paper, looking at the technological workplaces of tomorrow and asking how we can meet their needs.

"How can we skill our children to benefit from tomorrow's arrival, and how can we protect, support and retrain those workers threatened by the fact 46 per cent of jobs are expected to be automated within two decades."

Mr Coffey said having community feedback, regardless of political belief, as exciting as the ideas and questions presented on the night.

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