It’s a simple matter of choice.
With Labour’s release today, of their youth skills/employment policy, voters are now presented with the clearest choice yet between the two main parties. Aside from the issue of asset sales, where National has announced a programme of part-privatisation, and Labour opposes any/all privatisation, employment policy is the real litmus of both party’s essential core philosopies.
National prefers to step back and allow the “free market” to work it’s magic.
Labour has no hesitation in using the power of the State to address social-economic problems.
The National Business Review – hardly an organ for marxist-leninist groups – was moved to report on an opinion piece penned by Duncan Garner;
“In a lengthy blog post, Unemployed youth would fill Eden Park, Duncan Garner declares that ‘this government’s biggest failure to date is our young people’. With 58,000 youth not in work or education, ‘We are at crisis point. 27.6% of those aged 15-24 are out of work and out of luck. It’s even higher for Maori and Pacific youth’. And how has the Government performed on this issue? Garner says ‘there is a yawning gap between Key’s rhetoric and the reality’, and asks, ‘So what did Key do in the weekend to target the problem? Very little’. He suggests that ‘Key needs to be bold, he needs to take risks’.”
In stating that Key had done “very little” to target the problem, Garner was referring to the Prime Minister’s policy speech at National’s Conference on 13 August. Indeed, thus far National’s track record at addressing unemployment has consisted of the following;
- Building a cycleway. Anticipated new jobs: 4,000. Actual new jobs created: 215. (Source)
- Hiring an advisor for Finance Minister, Bill English, at $2,000 a day. (Source)
- A new payment card for 16,17, and some 18 year old beneficiaries that could not be used for things like alcohol or cigarettes; (though it’s already illegal for 16 and 17 year olds to purchase these products)
- … and… that’s it.
It is worth noting the seriousness of youth unemployment in this country. According to the Department of Labour;
“Youth aged 15–19 years have an unemployment rate over three times that of the entire working-age population. Young workers are more vulnerable to downturns in labour market conditions due to their lower skill levels and lesser work experience. The latest official figures show that 17.2% of youth aged 15 to 19 and 8.4% of those aged 20 to 24 years were unemployed, which represents a deterioration of the trends found in the report. Maori and Pacific youth had significantly higher unemployment rates.”
Ducan Garner seems in no mood to respond to John Key’s “smiles and waves” politics when he opens his piece with this caustic observation;
“58,000. This is the crucial number that should be ringing in John Key’s ears every night he bunks down in the refurbished Premier House.
58,000 young people between the ages of 15-24 are not in education, training or work. The majority of them are on a benefit.”
“Sure the recession has been tough on young people worldwide. 81 million youths are now unemployed around the globe, it was 71 million before the recession. It is a ticking time bomb. In London, it’s already exploded.”
- Problem: growing, lingering unemployment.
- Potential disaster: social unrest, exploding into mass-violence.
- Solution – ?
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At a time when New Zealand has 170,000 unemployed – of which 58,000 are aged 15-24; when we will be needing thousands of skilled tradespeople to re-build a broken city that has endured massive earthquake devastastion; the current government has done next-to-nothing during its three year tenure.
Except create 215 new jobs in building a cycleway; hire some very expensive advisors; and give tax cuts to some very rich people.
In doing so, we do not have the skilled tradespeople required to re-build Christchurch. Because we are currently losing around 20 skilled tradespeople a day to overseas destinations such as Australia. At the same time, people are losing their jobs in Christchurch and unemployment is rising.
To show how badly this government has failed, nothing better illustrates that failure than this;
Only the most die-hard National/ACT supporter will believe this this situation is acceptable. (And they usually come up with all manner of excuses why it is acceptable.) But I suspect – or at least hope – that ordinary New Zealanders who look at this situation and will ask the inevitable hard questions;
- Why are we not offering training for unemployed?
- Why are we not planning to put our people to work?
- Why are we hiring workers from overseas?
- How will this help unemployed New Zealanders to get back into the workforce?
On the 13 of August, at the National Party Conference, Prime Minister John Key stated,that “the current system “is not working and needs to change“.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t talking about job creation or training for unemployed. He was talking about not letting 16 and 17 year olds buy booze and ciggies.
Goff says it is ”crazy”to have high youth unemployment alongside a growing skills shortage crisis“.
Which one resonates with you?
A bouquet to Hutt Gas and Plumbing Systems Ltd , a Lower Hutt company that is one of the many thousands of small businesses in our communities, quietly ‘beavering’ away in the background, that make our economy work.
Hutt Gas & Plumbing featured on TV1′s evening news where Phil Goff released Labour’s youth skills and employment package.
Hutt Gas & Plumbing train several apprentices, giving young people an opportunity to learn a trade; earn a wage; and contribute to their local community. These folk are the real pillars of our society. Not the big, flash corporations and financial institutions that shuffle bits of paper around, and make their profits on speculation.
These are the small companies that deserve our support and encouragement. They are the ones that some of our children will rely on for jobs’ training to get into a trade.
Kudos to Labour for planning to increase apprenticeships. This is the hard policy planning that will create jobs and give our kids opportunities.
And a bloody big brickbat for Minister for Tertiary Education Steven Joyce, for saying that Labour’s proposal was just National policy dressed up,
“They’re basically doing what the government is already doing, they just want to throw more money at it.”
It’s rather revealing that National thinks that creating jobs for our young people is “throwing money”.
Because buying 34 new BMW limousines, for National ministers, is not “throwing money”?