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4 May – Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march - wellington - 4 May 2012

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The morning of 4 May, and people began to asemble outside Te Papa museum,  to complete the Hikoi to Parliament. On the agenda: opposing National’s planned (part-)privatisation of several state assets,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march  - wellington - 4 May 2012

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Police, conferring amongst themselves, around the corner from the main assembly,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march   - wellington - 4 May 2012

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For many, it was a family event,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march  - wellington - 4 May 2012

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The protest signs were all mostly handmade, varied, and creative. Regardless of origin, their message was clear and simple,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march  - wellington - 4 May 2012

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And the hikoi set of. These folks brought up the rear of the march,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march   - wellington - 4 May 2012

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And cheered on by many supportive  well-wishers, who looked on from buildings and footpaths  along the route,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march   - wellington - 4 May 2012

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And three of Peter Dunne’s constituents, in Ohariu – they were most unhappy at their MP supporting National’s asset sales programme,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march   - wellington - 4 May 2012

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The media was correct to estimate the crowd at over 5,000. (This blogger estimates at least 6,000.) Parliament’s grounds were filled with people,

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Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi - anti asset sales march   - wellington - 4 May 2012

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This is the first ‘batch’ of pics to be posted.

Continued at:  4 May – Aotearoa is not for sale hikoi – Part Rua

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Copyright (c)  Notice

All images are freely available to be used, with following provisos,

  1. Use must be for non-commercial purposes.
  2. Where purpose of  use is  commercial, a donation to Russell School Breakfast Club is requested.
  3. For non-commercial use, images may be used only in context, and not to denigrate individuals.
  4. Acknowledgement of source is requested.

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That was Then, this is Now #11

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Sources

Peters unacceptable in a National-led Government

Key stands by embattled Banks

Previous Blog post

That was Then, this is Now #10

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Bennett confirms: there are not enough jobs!

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Paula Bennett Q+A Shane Taurima

Source

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Last Sunday (29 April), Shane Taurima interviewed Welfare Minister, Paula Bennett, on National’s proposals to “reform” welfare in this country. Taurima also questioned Bennett on National’s track record on job creation, and the availability of jobs for the unemployed.

The results  were disappointing, if not a little startling.

First up; the explosive rise in youth unemployment.

Youth unemployment is defined as anyone between the ages of 15 – 24.

Shane Taurima asked,

SHANE
83,000 young people aged between 15-24 not in education, employment or training. Now, that’s roughly the population of Palmerston North doing nothing. What are you doing about it?

Bennet immediatly defaulted to Politicians Defence Posture #1 – she tried to ‘fudge’ the figures,

PAULA
… We’re seeing the unemployment rate of benefit go down, so we sort of peaked in January 2010, 23,500 young people 18-24 on benefit. We’re now at about 15,500.

No, Minister, the  number is not 23,500, nor 15,500, nor 7 dwarves – it is 83,000. Focus, woman, focus!

Last year, Duncan Garner wrote on his blog,

Where are the jobs? Seriously. Where are the real jobs for these young people and sickness and invalid beneficiaries? The only way to really stop the number of beneficiaries going through the roof, is jobs, jobs and more jobs.” – Duncan Garner, TV3 journalist, 16 August 2011

See: Unemployed youth would fill Eden Park

That dramatic statement was made in regard to the scandal of 58,000 young people, between the ages of 15-24, who were not in any  education, training or work.

That was eight months ago.

The figure now, is 83,000. The number has increased by 25,000 since Duncan Garner wrote those imploring words, demanding to know  “Where are the jobs?”

Shane Taurima questioned Paula Bennett on the rise of out of work young people,

SHANE         
So when are we going to see some results, though, Minister? When will we see the reduction in these numbers? Go back to the 83,000 figure. 83,000 young people doing absolutely nothing. When will we start to see results? When?

PAULA         
Yeah. So what you see is those that are on the unemployment benefit-

SHANE         
When will we start to see results?

PAULA         
They’re the ones that are the hardest hit, yeah? We are already seeing results for them.

SHANE         
We’re not seeing results…

PAULA         
We are. We have fewer…

SHANE         
We are not seeing fewer people doing nothing, Minister.

PAULA         
We are actually seeing more young people in work now than there were two years ago, and that, Shane, is a fact.

So point one: National Ministers excel at doublethink. For them, going from 58,000 to 83,000 is a decrease – not an increase. Why couldn’t that nice Mr Taurima see that?

Next; when Shane Taurima asked,

SHANE         
Can I ask you about work, though? Do you think that there is a job out there for all these young people who really really want a job? Is there a job out there for young people who really want a job?

Bennett’s reply was jaw-droppingly honest. In fact, she was frankly speaking when she said,

PAULA         
No. There’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do.

There’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do.

In which case, Minister Bennett and Prime Minister Smile & Wave – what is the point of spending millions on welfare ‘reforms’, when it’s not welfare that is broke – but the availability of employment, FFS?!?!

What is the point of the insane idea of issuing debit cards to 16 and 17 year old beneficiaries; to prevent them buying booze and tobacco – when it’s already illegal for retailers to sell them booze and tobacco?!?! If that’s a real problem – shouldn’t the police be prosecuting those retailers?!

What is the point of blaming beneficiaries and claiming that they are on welfare because of lifestyle choiceswhen there’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do???

In effect, it is not welfare that needs  “reforming”. Welfare is working perfectly fine as a life-support mechanism for people out of work. So we don’t have to step over  cold,  stiff corpses on our footpaths because they had no shelter, food, warm clothing, medical care, etc, to stay alive.

Yet, blaming welfare beneficiaries is precisely what National is doing. At every opportunity they refer to beneficiaries as the problem, instead of the lack of jobs,

This week I announced a ministerial group to lead work on improving New Zealand’s welfare system.

I want this country to have a welfare system that encourages personal responsibility, helps people into paid jobs, and protects our most vulnerable.

The independent Welfare Working Group’s recent report shows our welfare system isn’t working as well as it could.

We have to do better for hardworking taxpayers, for beneficiaries who are falling far short of their potential, and for children growing up in welfare-dependent households.

Long-term welfare dependency robs people of confidence, motivation and aspiration. Ultimately it can rob their children of these things, too.

This Government is not prepared to leave this large group of New Zealanders behind. I’m ambitious for what we can achieve in this area, and I look forward to announcing our welfare reform policies before the election.” – John Key, 3 June 2011

Key’s  June 3rd statement above makes not one single reference about any job creation policies whatsoever. It refers once to helping “people into paid jobs“. Nothing else.

So where are those jobs, Mr Prime Minister?

And why did John Key announce a “a ministerial group to lead work on improving New Zealand’s welfare system” – when it ain’t the welfare system that is broke – but the availability of jobs?!?!

Isn’t that rather like running out of fuel in your car and then telling the mechanic to fix the car’s engine???

This has been part of the problem: National continuing to blame beneficiaries for being on welfare. The question is,

Why doesn’t National implement job creation policies, apprenticeships, and skills training?

Why doesn’t National invest in projects such as building 10,000 new state houses – which would not only ‘soak up’ unemployment and reduce the welfare bill – but would stimulate the economy and provide desperately needed homes for many families in this country?!

The reason is very simple. And mind-numbingly stupid.

Further into the interview, Shane Taurima asks Bennett,

SHANE         
Are you proud of the 20% increase, though?

PAULA         
Of course I’m not, but I actually – it’s business that makes those jobs out there. We’ve been supporting them. We’ve seen that the number of youth unemployed come down.

Bennett said it: “… it’s business that makes those jobs out there“.

Gerry Brownlee, the Minister for Earthquake Recovery said precisely the same thing recently, when Cantabrians were trying to convince him that there was a desperate housing/accomodation crisis developing in Christchurch. Brownlee said that “the solution is best left to the market”,

The idea that the Government would set up a big work camp somewhere in the city I think is just a little bit too much of a stretch.  You’ve got contractors who are coming into town … to make money.  And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think you would have to ask the question, ‘Where is the obligation for the Crown to provide accommodation in that event?’

National is fixated on adhering to the neo-liberal, market-driven ideology.  As such, it does not believe in state intervention – it believes that business should be providing solutions.

Employment and housing are two examples where National is waiting for private enterprise to take the lead.

In which case, they will be waiting for a very long time,

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Full Story

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The report goes on to state,

The number of people employed in construction fell to 174,600 from 178,800, while education and training fell to 192,900 from 199,300.”

We are going backwards in construction!?

At a time when an entire city needs to be re-built – we are going backwards in construction?!

On top of that, those in training and education fell from 199,300 down to 192,900???

The problem is not with welfare nor with beneficiaries.

The problem is with National, refusing to engage  and implement programmes to address these problems. Instead, by relying on the private sector, it washes it’s hands of any meaningful solutions – and when those solutions fail to materialise, they talk of “welfare dependency” and “welfare reforms“.

Anyone holding out for National’s promises of 170,000 new jobs and rising wages will be sorely disappointed. As Minister Bennett admitted on 29 April – “there’s not a job for everyone that would want one right now, or else we wouldn’t have the unemployment figures that we do“.

Unfortunately, going by John Key’s comments today, when he responded to the report of rising unemployment – our Dear Leader is seriously out of touch with reality,

The number of people on the benefit’s going down. Just the feedback we have from employers is that they are feeling more confident. Part of that creation of part time work I think is just then taking our first tepid step towards actual full time employment for people.”

No help there.

It seems we will have to wait for a new government to fulfill National’s pledges.

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References

TV3 Duncan Garner:  Unemployed youth would fill Eden Park

TVNZ Q+A: Guyon Espiner interviews Bill English

TVNZ Q+A: Transcript of Paula Bennett interview

NZ Herald: Unemployment rate lifts to 6.7pc

Yahoo News: Failed economic management drives up unemployment

John Key:  Speech to National Party Northern Region Conference

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