Andrew Little attacks media over youth unemployment policy questions

Andrew Little attacks media over youth unemployment policy questions

Labour leader Andrew Little became defensive and hit out at media today over questions about his youth unemployment policy.

Two days after the $60 million policy was unveiled at his party's annual conference in Auckland, Mr Little is still having to defend it, and isn't take kindly to questions about the details.

"When you show me the opportunities you've taken to challenge the Government on programmes it has put together, with its conventional modelling, and try to unpick it and demand more money be spent on it, then I'll take your question seriously," he said.

"Some of you demand a level of detail from me that you never, ever demand from a Government with thousands of public servants behind it."

Labour's youth unemployment policy would see 10,000 Kiwis between the ages of 18 and 25 who are on the Job Seekers benefit paid minimum wage for six months to work for charities and non-profit organisations.

Despite the six-month time frame, the policy is only costed for four months, with Mr Little saying that's the average time people would spend on the scheme.

Calculated at six months, the scheme would be cost $87 million.

"Anyone who goes into that scheme is guaranteed six months. Practise here and overseas in comparable schemes means that not everybody does the 6 months, and in fact a large number don't," said Mr Little.

"The probability that all 10,000 will stay in the scheme for 6 months is so remote, as that's not the way you model a policy."

Mr Little claims there are comparable programmes being run in New Plymouth and Whanganui, funded by the Ministry of Social Development - but couldn't name any of them, or how they work.

"They are very good programmes," he said.

"I'm not going to go into a whole heap of detail about this and a range of other programmes".