Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Of what is Paula Bennett proud.

Paula Bennett, the smug sanctimonious whale of the New Zealand Parliament, commented to the media that she was proud of how New Zealander's were turning up to job openings. On average the ratio is 20 applicants to 1 opening, but 70:1 even 200:1 ratios are also seen.
This is the product of the neo-liberal economic model which was billed as "creating competition in the job market". America has seen job market competition before, when foremen threw tickets into the streets and day labourers brawled to grab one so they cloud get enough work so the their didn't starve. In an environment like that the strong labour movement backed by communists and socialists and the political power to push Roosevelt to reform the system. Taxing high income earners at 94% on income above $25,000 (US$200 after inflation). The revenue was used to fund public infrastructure works. Elevated corporate taxes were use to fund innovation and business investment aimed at expansion.

1984 after the snap election called by Sir Robert Muldoon in a drunken stupor(I wish I were kidding about that), the 4th Labour government were "informed" of an impending financial crisis. First thing they did next was devalue the the NZ$ by 20%. After that they arranged the sale of Bank of New Zealand, Telecom New Zealand, and NZ Rail to foreign multinationals. A new Employment Relations Act weakened the unions.

After 1991, the Bolger Government continued the assault on the poor and low waged with Ruth Dysons Mother of all Budgets. This led to poverty almost doubling as a percentage of the population in the years since most directly by cutting welfare benefits by 15 to 20%. Though the fifth Labour government did make a small dent in New Zealand poverty in 2006/7. Since National came to power in 2008 Poverty has been on the climb again. Paula thinks it is not important to measure poverty. An odd position for a minister of social welfare, really. Or should we be calling her portfolio Minister for Unwelfare. Her Track record is appalling for someone in her office. Killing training incentive allowance, benefit used by young people and solo mums (like her self an she did use this allowance) to attend training courses.  The focus of Welfare is now to get work forget training, to be ready for work or to increase the likelihood of getting work, just turn behind the 69 other people who turned up for the opportunity to wade ankle deep in mercury at the tanning factory to take home a bowl of salted corn meal.

Looking a new job can be tough going, even in a good economy. So, how good is it.

There is no sign Kiwi's are lazy, indeed they are look for work by the the thousands, about 15% of them signed on seek.co.nz last week according to seeks advertisement.

Lets take a look at what is on offer for these tired poor huddled masses...

Yes, that is 6,161 jobs for 33,608 people, that's almost 5 1/2 people for each job. or put another way, assuming they were all full time jobs, there is enough work for last weeks applicants to all work one day week while 1 in 10 gets work Saturday mornings only.

It wouldn't matter if one day week gave people a living wage. but that only comes with management level jobs or highly specialized technical fields. Job growth is like in America in low waged service sector economy. But even cleaning companies have waiting lists of six months. I haven't herd back from the one to which I applied.

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