More effort, energy and resources should be put into tackling Hawke's Bay's youth unemployment, says Tukituki MP Lawrence Yule.

In June 2018 17.6 per cent of Hawke's Bay youth aged 15-24 are not in education, employment or training (NEET), the second worst rate in the country behind Gisborne at 21.8 per cent.

Yule said he would like to see a return to the National Government's social investment approach to combat the issue, an approach using information and technology to target funding to families.

"Social investment strategy, in my view, is the way that this has to be solved."


"Ultimately, without that level of action, you're not going to fix the problem."

"What you will generally find is the people not in education, employment or training, is because of a whole lot of other, underlying issues in their lives."

"Whether that is education quality, driver licensing, the home environment or drug and alcohol abuse."

"Intervention in those spaces are the key."

In Hastings, the NEET rate was 18.3 per cent and in Napier it was 17.1 per cent.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the council was committed to getting young people into employment, education and training.

"We have a team of youth connectors who work hard every day to get more of our young people into training and employment."

The approach has worked with 271 youth, aged 16-24, over the past 18 months to get them into long term, sustainable work.


"The connectors have engaged with 271 young people, 135 of whom have been placed in work in a variety of sectors from primary industry to trades, construction and retail."

"Others have been encouraged to return to school or to seek further education or training."

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said any time youth were not in employment or education it was a problem for society.

"I certainly would support any measures, that ensures as many youth as at all possible, are in, if not in work, that they are in education training."

"It's something society can tackle, it needs everybody to pull on the same end of the rope."

"It needs central government assistance, it needs local government and it needs society to ensure that we give our young people the best opportunities in life we can."

The September quarter has shown a significant improvement to NEET rates for Hawke's Bay and Gisborne combined, decreasing for 18.4 per cent in June to 14.9 per cent in September.

However, they remain the highest levels in the country, with the National NEET rate 10.1 per cent.

Overall, the Hawke's Bay/Gisborne unemployment rate is 4.1 per cent, close to the national rate of 3.9 per cent.

Minister for Employment Willie Jackson was not immediately available for comment.