The Government has turned its attention to getting more youths, refugees, Māori, Pasifika and people with disabilities into long-term work, saying some groups are still struggling amid low unemployment.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Employment Minister Willie Jackson on Monday unveiled the first of what will be six action plans to help specific demographics by co-ordinating work across the training, education, welfare and immigration sectors.
Statistics New Zealand last week announced the unemployment rate had fallen to 3.9 per cent in the March quarter – the lowest level since 2008.
But Ardern said some people were benefiting less than others.
"We also have unemployment rates that are too high for Māori and Pasifika and we have persistent unemployment among our young people who drop out of school or training." she said.
The six plans would each aim to set goals for various government departments for improving opportunities for a different group, starting with youth employment.
That report proposes goals such as getting the Ministry of Education to reduce early school leaving and getting the Government to improve access to vocational courses, among a series of others.
It said that at any one time there were about 9000 youths who had not been in school, training or work for more than six months and the loss in productivity was estimated to be $400 million.
"Young people who experience a long-term spell of unemployment and non-participation in education or training are at a far greater risk of poorer outcomes later in life," it says.
Cabinet will receive regular reports about progress.
Subsequent reports will look at refugees and new migrants, those with disabilities, and Māori and Pacific peoples.
Ardern said that after the Christchurch mosque attacks employment was one of the concerns raised by the Muslim community.
"They raised the issue of making sure that they're given the opportunity to give more fully to New Zealand and employment is a huge part of that contribution and dignity to them," she said.
The overall strategy was intended to complement work the Government was doing with its reform of vocational education, immigration policy and welfare, Jackson said.
"The reality is there's bits and pieces here, there and everywhere … we have to bring the different strategies together, immigration, social welfare, our industrial strategy, so we have one point to kick off," he said.
"It confirms what we're doing and we'll be able to prioritise things and hopefully get more things come Budget time."
The work will be overseen by Jackson, with ministers Megan Woods, Chris Hipkins, Carmel Sepuloni, Iain Lees-Galloway and Tracey Martin.
The National Party has questioned whether the employment situation is improving, saying the number of people on the job-seeker benefit had risen by 14,000 in the year to June.