Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha o te motu whānui, tēnā koutou katoa.

Ka hoki I ngā mahara ki ngā mate huhua o te wā, haere, haere, haere atu rā.

Ki a tatou e te hunga ora tēnā huihui mai tatou katoa.

I am pleased to present the Cross-agency response to the Regional Skills Leadership Groups’ (RSLGs) first Regional Workforce Plans (RWPs).

Throughout 2022 I had the pleasure of attending several events to launch the RWPs prepared by the 15 Groups. On each occasion, I was impressed to see evidence of the rich engagement RSLGs have started to foster with their regional partners and stakeholders, including iwi/Māori, as they put their first plans together.

The people I spoke to at these events welcome the leadership RSLGs are bringing to local labour market and skills planning. They appreciate the opportunity to work with the groups to gain traction on solutions tailored to the nuances of each region’s workforce and skills needs.

We know that regional solutions are often not only more nimble than national solutions but more targeted and enduring as they are grounded in local knowledge, experience and relationships. The local relationships between iwi/Māori and RSLGs, for example, are reflected in the strong te ao Māori lens across the RWPs.

RSLGs have laid a strong foundation for more coordinated and focused activity on regional workforce priorities. The Groups play a vital role connecting regional actors to help them develop solutions that address local labour market and skills needs.

RWPs are one way that RSLGs can communicate their regional priorities to government decision makers and provide regional insight on labour market challenges and opportunities.

This response provides an opportunity for central government agencies to engage with RSLGs on the priorities identified in their thoughtfully developed plans and the themes that emerge when the plans are considered collectively. Opportunities will increase as RSLGs continue to build close connections with agencies.

In this response, central government agencies provide an outline of the work they are doing in areas prioritised by RSLGs and suggest pathways for collaboration with RSLGs. They take the opportunity to highlight specific programmes and other pieces of work being done or developed by agencies at a national level that focus on the issues raised by the groups. This response provides RSLGs with a catalogue of agency programmes that are relevant for their mahi.

As a core element in the workforce planning and vocational education reforms this Government has introduced, RSLGs have an important role in making sure the regional voice on skills and workforce issues is heard by central agencies and national workforce entities. My wero to the regional leaders on our RSLGs is to use the national work highlighted in this response as an opportunity to amplify the importance of regional perspectives.

I look forward to seeing the relationship between RSLGs and agencies develop as we all work together to build strong, sustainable regional economies and a thriving regional workforce.

Ma whero, ma pango, ka oti te mahi.

Hon Carmel Sepuloni
Minister for Social Development and Employment