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The Government must work with regional New Zealand to develop a plan for jobs development and wage growth to ensure kiwi workers are treated more fairly. The Salvation Army’s Mixed Fortunes report out today highlights parts of our country where a significant group of people are struggling to achieve social and economic wellbeing. CTU secretary Sam Huggard said that many regional areas in New Zealand were characterised by jobs with insecure working conditions and in some cases very low wages. “The West Coast has been hard hit, with job losses in mining and cement.  Dunedin missed out recently through a lack of support for local rail manufacturing.  And in many parts of the North Island, a Talleys-owned meat works is the main employer in town, and these jobs are insecure and low paid.” “Government has a big role to play in ensuring our regional areas are not missing out. “Active job creation initiatives both in government and not-for-profit sectors, development of local industry and services such as through industry clusters, better use of government procurement to support local jobs and properly funding key local human infrastructure such as regional polytechnics are all areas where we can do better.” “We also need to better support workers who face dislocation through redundancy.  Being out of work is not the fault of the worker, and workers shouldn’t be substantially financially penalised for the loss of their jobs.  Replacement income, similar to current ACC weekly compensation, subject to active job search and training and for a limited period, should be considered,” Huggard said. – –  ]]>