Labour proposing to offer unemployed young Kiwis paid volunteer work for six months

Labour would offer unemployed young people paid volunteer work - such as pest control and maintaining walking tracks - for six months.

The $60 million a year scheme would give community and Department of Conservation jobs to those claiming Job Seekers allowance.

The Labour Party slammed the government over high levels of youth unemployment. Source: 1 NEWS

They would get minimum wage and gain work experience and new skills.

Leader Andrew Little said: "Think of the talent we are wasting. Young people with 40 years of their working lives still ahead of them, but who aren't getting any skills, who aren't getting any experience."

"Think of the thousands of young people with no prospects, with no hope, who feel like everyone's given up on them. Well I'm telling you this: we are not going to give up," said Mr Little.

Labour are targeting the 74,000 young people not in education, work or training.

Mr Little made the announcement at Labour's annual conference in Auckland, where around 600 gathered to hear his keynote speech.

He said the participants could work for a charity or non-profit organisation and would be paired with a mentor.

Mr Little also slammed National's "legacy of failure on education" and says the government has underfunded health by $1.7 billion.

In a rallying call, he told delegates, "New Zealand…it's time for a better way… let's change the government and then let's make this an even better country together."