Home > Social Issues, The Body Politic > Jobs Summit: 2012

Jobs Summit: 2012

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1. Problem

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If we’re going to have to wait for National’s policies kick-in and create the 170,000 new jobs they promised us last year, the  rate of progress will be so glacial that continental drift will  propel New Zealand to crash into the Australian sub-continent before anything happens.

Oh well, at least we won’t have to fly to Australia to find jobs. We’ll just be walking across the beach to Sydney.

Unfortunately, that may take the better part of 50 million years, give or take.

All hilarity aside, the point that should not escape us is that National’s policies are simply not growing the economy and not delivering the jobs we need to reduce  162,000 jobless numbers.  Their obstinate  reliance on ‘The Market’ to deliver job-growth has ham-strung National’s ability to address growing redundancies and unemployment.

Bullying the unemployed – as Bennett has been doing with her bizarre “social obligations”, compulsions, and sanctions  – is little more than a vote-grabbing exercise for rednecks and low-information voters, but otherwise of no practical value in creating even one single job.

John Key’s much-vaunted “Jobs Summit” in early 2009 appears to have  generated only limited success, with John Key’s “darling” project – the Cycleway – not living up to hype for job creation,

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Source

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National clearly has no inkling of how to generate jobs.

Indeed, their own neo-liberal doctrine demands that all job-creation be left solely up to ‘The Marketplace’,

Nothing creates jobs and boosts incomes better than business growth. For New Zealand to build a more productive and competitive economy, we need more innovative companies out there selling their products on the world stage.” – John Key, 24 August 2012

Although when it suits Key, he can be  unashamedly “Janus-faced” when it comes to whether or not the State has a role to play in job-creation,

We agree with you, it’s the government’s responsibility to do everything within it’s powers to try to get people jobs.” – John Key,  17 November 2011

Indeed, Mr Key.

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2. Solution

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It is patently obvious to all but the most partisan neo-liberal National/ACT disciple, that the last 30 years of  “orthodox” market ideology has not delivered the ‘goods’.  Rogernomics/Market economy/crony capitalism  – call it what you will – has failed at nearly every level.

Only a few have benefitted,

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Full pathetic story

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The EPMU (Engineer Printing Manufacturers Union) is not waiting around for John Key and National to get of their chuffs and act.

They have called for a summit, to be held this Friday (12 October), in Auckland.

EPMU national secretary, Bill Newson, said,

No one who has seen the mass redundancies of recent months or the numbers of Kiwis heading to Australia can be unaware of the deepening jobs crisis in this country and the need for a new approach.

“Every day we’re seeing redundancies and the impact these have on communities all over New Zealand. At the same time we’re talking to employers who tell us they don’t want to lay people off and are looking for any support they can get to keep people in jobs.

“The common thread through all of these redundancies is the hands-off approach of the last 30 years, which says the Government should keep out of the economy, leave our exchange rate to be set by speculators and accept the decline of manufacturing in this country as somehow inevitable.

“Our union is part of a growing consensus that the hands-off approach to the economy is broken and we need the Government to step up and support our manufacturing sector and the jobs it provides.

“There are alternatives, and as a country we need to discuss them. This summit is about bringing together the new consensus and we welcome anyone interested in the future of our country to join us in planning a new way forward.”

See: EPMU calls summit to tackle jobs crisis

See: EPMU call urgent meeting to tackle job crisis

Those invited to the Summit include,

  • Russel Norman, Green Party co-leader
  •  David Parker, Labour’s finance spokesperson
  • Winston Peters, NZ First leader
  • Peter Conway, NZ  Council of Trade Unions
  • Nick Inskip, Heavy Engineering Research Association
  • Selwyn Pellett, technology entrepreneur
  • John Walley, NZ Manufacturers & Exporters Association
  • Hugh Whitaker, University of Auckland

This is a good start and is something that the next incoming government should take on board and run with.

But rather than a “talkfest” and propaganda exercise, such as National’s 2009 exercise-in-futility, a real New Zealand Summit should include representatives from all industry groups, Iwi, trade unions, and other community, business, and activist representatives.

A real New Zealand Summit should have firm targets to address, with a committment from a new government to find solutions.

Such a Summit must have, as it’s priorities,

  1. Jobs, jobs, jobs.
  2. Elimination of child poverty
  3. Economic growth with entrenched  environmental conservation

As a society we  need to reappraise our values, our goals, and what sort of nation we want for ourselves and our children.

Do we want to live as a highly individualistic “society” of  minimal taxation; minimal social and state services; a greater degree of user pays; and where those left behind rely on struggling charities to survive? And where jobs and services are left purely for Market Forces to deliver?

Or do we want a more cohesive society where we pay sufficient taxation to deliver comprehensive social and state services; where we do not tolerate child poverty and adopt a collective responsibility to assisting those who need it? And where the State, Business, and Unions work together to deliver jobs; good wages; a productive economy with sensible investment/monetary policies; and where the environment is considered our #1 wealth asset?

We need to ask ourselves ,

  • Why is it acceptable to provide vast amounts of electricity to the Rio Tinto/Tiwai aluminium smelter at vastly subsidised prices – and yet our nation opposes subsidised electricity to New Zealand families and retirees?
  • Why is it acceptable to give the movie industry a $100 million tax break to produce fantasy films here – whilst at the same time objecting to a $4-$20 million dollar programme to provide healthy meals in schools for our children who face the harsh reality of poverty?
  • Why is it suddenly necessary that we need overseas investment and foreign “expertise” in our farms – when we lead the world in dairying and agriculture? Why are New Zealanders investing in housing speculation – forcing farmers and businesspeople tro look overseas for investment?
  • How is it we can produce the cleanest, safest food in hygenically maintained factories – and yet we foul our riverways and lakes to the point where many are no longer safe to swim in?
  • Where is the logic of allowing our Dollar to be speculated on by overseas money traders; investment bankers; and outright crooks – and it’s our workers who have to pay the price by losing their jobs when our exporters are no longer able to sell their goods overseas?
  • Why do we have a crisis in housing in this country, and then to top it off, our skilled tradesmen and women head off to Australia?
  • Why are our young folk not in education, employment, or training – with rising joblessness and hopelessness – and then 1 million of us vote for a government that has no solution except to use sanctions to take away what little money they have? And then we wonder where crime, poverty, and lack of hope springs from?

These are a few critical problems (I refuse to call them “issues”) , and it is high time we addressed them instead of opting for soft-options such as unaffordable tax cuts and blaming the unemployed for daring to be unemployed.

Being adrift on the vast sea of ‘Market Forces’ and “muddling through” is no longer acceptable.

Electing inept governments that rely more on ideology than common sense will no longer be of any benefit to us.

Personally speaking, if National wants to participate in a new New Zealand Summit, then so be it.

But in my view, I consider them part of the problem, and their ideology of more-of-the-same is simply a waste of time and energy.

National is part of an unfortunate economic experiment in market liberalism and raw Individualism. They are as much a failure in outcomes as was the great marxist-leninist experiment in the former-USSR.

It took our Russian cuzzies 72 years to realise that their grand experiment in State collectivism was unworkable and failing.

Let’s hope we can make that same determination in only half the time, when it comes to neo-liberal capitalism.

I applaud the EPMU for taking the first steps in beginning a conversation that is long over-due, and which we can no longer avoid.

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= fs =

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  1. 11 October 2012 at 1:14 am

    This is sounding like a positive move in the right direction, orsom news frank, goodon EPMU …all we can do is hope for things to get better, thanks again orsom post :)

  2. 11 October 2012 at 10:44 am

    Right on the button something has to change.

  3. 11 October 2012 at 4:41 pm

    What we need are fewer job summits where business leaders, politicians, trade union bureaucrats, party leaders and other motly self-appointed swine of that nature who yap endlessly about how unemployment is a very serious problem then propose solutions that ignore the fact the reason why we have unemployment is because employers don’t want to hire the unemployed as they see us as lazy, stupid and uneducated. Until that basic attitude amongst employers changes or they are compelled to give priority to the unemployed when hiring staff it doesn’t matter who is sitting around the Cabinet table: nothing will change for the unemployed.

  4. Noel F
    12 October 2012 at 9:44 pm

    I hope they come up with more than a bike track!

  5. AT
    25 October 2012 at 10:51 am
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