The Labour Party says it will award $2000 to the best skills-based student in every secondary school, to try and encourage young people into trades training.
The Prime Minister's Vocational Excellence Award will be offered the top year 12 or 13 student at 500 secondary schools country-wide, costing up to $1 million.
It comes a day after Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was grilled by National leader Bill English about how she planned on building more homes while cutting immigration numbers, in Monday night's Newshub leaders Debate.
During the debate Ms Ardern said they'd allow for 5000 KiwiBuild visas to ensure they had the tradies, but added that some of them would be New Zealanders.
"So New Zealand builders will get a visa to work in New Zealand?" Mr English replied.
On Tuesday Ms Ardern denied they had only planned for 5000 of the 56,000 construction workers needed overall to complete the housing goals.
"Paddy last night used the number of construction workers expected to be required overall by 2022. That includes truck drivers. That includes labourers. He asked me for how many builders we need - that's 5000," she told The AM Show.
Ms Ardern hopes the award will encourage more schools to offer building courses for "pupils who show a preference for these topics over traditional core subjects".
"We know there's huge demand for trades workers, particularly in the building sector, where construction is now going into reverse due, in part, to a lack of workers.
"We need to do more to encourage pupils who have shown talent in vocational education to keep training and pursue a career, and to lift the profile and importance of the trades in New Zealand."