Prime Minister John Key has announced a package to create new work, education and training opportunities for unemployed young people.
In a speech to the annual conference of the National Party in Christchurch on Sunday, he described high and rising youth unemployment as a particular challenge facing New Zealand.
Mr Key announced a $152 million package, which includes $52 million for a youth guarantee scheme for 16 and 17 year olds who are not at school.
They will have access to free training in polytechs, wananga or private training establishments.
The scheme will start in January. A wage subsidy of $5000 is being offered to employers over a six-month period to take on low-skilled young people.
And 1200 places are being offered in six-week, military-style training programmes in 2010 and 2011.
Mr Key said the Government will also provide $4 million for new places in summer research scholarships for university students.
He said he expects almost 17,000 young people to benefit from the youth opportunities package.