Worker redeployment exceeds employment targets in Northland

Published: 19 January, 2021

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  • Northland/Te Tai Tokerau

The successful Northland worker redeployment scheme has exceeded its target and employed just under 270 people – many of who will continue to be employed into the New Year.

The programme, which started in June, set its original re-employment target of 165 people. Nearly 100 of those employed on the programme had lost their jobs due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

The six-month work programme is estimated to finish in late February 2021, which is later than expected due to adverse weather conditions experienced this year.

"Work was stalled by extreme rainfall which thrashed Northland in the middle of the year, causing significant slips, road closures and home evacuations. The teams were unable to continue working outdoors with resources diverted to repair work immediately after the storm," says Nicki Sutherland, Provincial Development Unit’s Regional Director, North.

"As a result of the adverse weather, an additional $4 million was provided to do storm damage and maintenance work so the programme will continue for a while longer. A significant number of those employed in the programme will be able to continue working well into the New Year," Ms Sutherland says.

Northland received just over $9.5 million for its worker redeployment programme from the Government’s $100 million nationwide allocation to help workers affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 into alternative employment.

The $9.51 million has been used for various roading and parks projects, which includes roadside vegetation clearing, maintenance and construction work across the Far North, Whangarei and Kaikohe District Councils’ area.

"By redeploying workers to short-term projects, we have been able to keep money circulating in areas where it is needed the most. Those in jobs will also gain valuable training and skills that they can take onto their next jobs," says Ms Sutherland.

"A tremendous amount of work has been done which might not have been done otherwise without this funding. Self-seeding and hazardous trees and unwanted vegetation has been removed from the side of roads, parks, rivers and beaches, spot spraying of noxious weeds, and construction work on cycle trails, footpaths and unsealed walkways has been undertaken.

"On the Northland State Highway network alone roadside clean up removed about 20 tonnes of litter, as well as significant volumes from local council roads and illegal dumping in waterways. Twenty-one anti-littering signs were also installed at litter hot spots through the Northland region," she says.

The Provincial Development Unit administers the Government’s Worker Redeployment Package.