Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Zealand: Christchurch keeps working

Source: Government of New Zealand

Government support for Cantabrian workers has now topped $200 million says Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett.

“That support helped employees remain connected to their workplace and gave employers the breathing space needed to get back on their feet.”

The Government announced a support package days after February’s quake.

The first round of the Employer Support Subsidy went to 8,000 employers for 47,000 employees. It also supported nearly 11,000 sole traders.

The two week extension from 4 April, had the same eligibility criteria but was opt in. Just 4,000 employers did so for 21,000 staff and 6,000 sole traders.

‘Many employers told us point blank that they didn’t want or need to continue receiving subsidies, as they quickly relocated and got on with business.”

The second round of the Employer Support Subsidy has gone to 800 employers so far, supporting 4,000 employees.

Employers who received the first round of ESS have until 31 May to apply for the final round.

“There was much expectation that unemployment would rise dramatically in Canterbury, so far it hasn’t.”

Since the February earthquake, the number of Cantabrians on an unemployment benefit has risen by 900.

Last week more than 340 Cantabrians went off benefits into work. There are currently 6,000 people on the Unemployment Benefit in Canterbury.

“We looked to see if an unusual number of people had been declined for benefits in Canterbury because they were ineligible, perhaps because of their partner’s income or assets, but that hasn’t been the case.”

“We also know thousands of people have left and not yet returned to Christchurch, so we looked at benefit levels in nearby areas to Canterbury but none have increased dramatically.”

“Government departments and agencies including CERA have been working to pinpoint the movement of Cantabrian workers and businesses and while we don’t have all the answers, there are positive signs of recovery.”

There are currently 700 jobs for Canterbury listed with Work and Income and around 1,500 on the Trade Me website.

The Ministry of Social Development is one of a number of government departments working with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) on rebuilding Canterbury and supporting the welfare of its residents.