Young people in Hawke's Bay will be richer in employment, education and training opportunities thanks to an $82.4 million Government funding boost.
On Monday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the creation of a new skills and employment initiative – Te Ara Mahi (Pathways to Work) – to support workers and employers in regional New Zealand.
The money will come out of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), with $60m set aside for five regions, one of them Hawke's Bay, which Ardern said faced challenges including high unemployment, low wages and lower productivity compared with the rest of New Zealand.
"We will be investing in two specific programmes that support Māori and Pasifika – He Poutama Rangatahi and the expansion Ministry for Pacific Peoples' successful Pacific Employment Support Service [PESS]."
Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio said between 6000 and 7000 people in Hawke's Bay were most at risk of long-term unemployment.
"This scheme is about tackling long-term challenges and making sure that we're working successfully with their families and placing them into sustainable employment which includes training," Sio said.
"This proposal is about expanding a very successful programme that my ministry has been doing in Auckland and Hamilton and expanding it into the regions, including Hawke's Bay."
The scheme would be rolled out region by region. Sio was uncertain of when it would reach Hawke's Bay.
"Health is an issue, housing is an issue and jobs are an issue," he said.
"Some of the jobs are seasonal and we have people moving from Napier all the way down depending on the season.
"What we have to decide is how do we make sure that the jobs we place our Pasifika people in can be kept long term so they can support their families."
Sio said he would be visiting Hawke's Bay in March/April to liaise with Pasifika communities, local government and businesses about the scheme.