Strong interest in $3,000 to move to Christchurch says Paula Bennett
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says in its very first week, 50 people have taken up the Government’s $3,000 to Christchurch offer.
“There has been strong interest in the $3.5 million initiative which provides beneficiaries with a one-off payment of $3,000 if they take up a full time job in Christchurch.
“The rebuild is creating thousands of jobs in the city and we are providing unemployed people with the means to move and set up there if they have firm job offers.
“So far, 40 men and 10 women have gone off benefit and into work in Christchurch under the scheme. They have been employed in a range of industries including construction, transport, healthcare and retail.
“We are deliberately targeting young people as the rebuild work provides them with a great opportunity to gain skills that will set them up for live. I’m pleased that 21 of the 50 are under 29 years.
“Concerns about accommodation for these workers are proving unfounded to date. They are finding places to live using their own networks. Some have moved into flats while others are staying with relatives and family.
“Work and Income case managers are providing ongoing in-work support to those who’ve been employed under the scheme. There’s also additional financial assistance to help with work start-up costs for things like equipment and clothing.
“More than 2,000 job seekers around New Zealand have indicated a willingness to move to the ara if they could get jobs, 22% of these are under 25 years.
“As at 25 June 2014 there just under 1,000 vacancies in Christchurch region being managed by Work and Income. With an unemployment rate of 3.4 per cent, there is strong demand for workers in construction, hospitality and retail.
“Budget 2014 has allocated funding to cover 1,000 workers under the scheme. We will be monitoring the up-take and will consider extending the programme if it proves successful in helping with the rebuild while getting people off benefit and into work,” says Mrs Bennett.
· The 3K to Christchurch scheme, which came into effect on 1 July 2014, is open to beneficiaries of all ages, but a particular focus is placed on young people aged 18-24 years.
· To qualify, the job offered must be for more than 30 hours a week, and for longer than 91 days. The payment will be non-taxable, and exempt from an income and asset test.
· If the recipient goes back on benefit within three months of the payment without a sufficient reason, then the payment must be repaid.
· This initiative covers jobs within the geographical areas of Ashburton, Hurunui, Selwyn, and Waimakariri District Councils, and the Christchurch City Council.