Home > Dollars & Sense, Social Issues, The Body Politic > Bennett confirms: there are not enough jobs!

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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  1. 4 May 2012 at 7:44 am

    Minister of Souffle Waffle.

    • SpaceMonkey
      4 May 2012 at 11:13 am

      Smothered in large amounts of PR syrup

  2. Deborah Kean
    4 May 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Wow, although I already knew it from colleagues, it made my blood run cold to see that jobs in education and training dropped by such numbers! (I work, when I can get work, as an ESOL teacher.) I have had only four days work this year, and the principal told me he is closing a class – so one teacher loses her job! Thank God for ‘flu, or I’d have had no work this year… One thing this has done for me – I’ve finally stopped blaming myself!
    Deb

  3. Gary
    7 May 2012 at 9:50 am

    Paula Bennett. Hypocrite. End of story.

    She should never have been re-elected.

    • Deborah Kean
      7 May 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Absolutely right, Gary. Remember, it was very close!
      Deb

  4. 7 May 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Indeed, Debbie. A busload of voters could have ensured she lost her electorate…!

  5. 8 May 2012 at 2:45 pm

    When they mention training, as in “There are more people in training” it’s also unmitigated bullshit.

    Training in Paula’s warped world entails one of four choices: learn English, learn Textile making, learn how to write a CV or go to boot camp.

    No matter your skills. Or, you don’t get state support.

    You are then: prevented from going on anything that might lead to work, such as voluntary work, which places you back into the workforce, to my thinking a VERY legitimate pathway to finding work, as it a) puts you back into an area that you can utilise skills, and b) allows employers to see . You see, if it is longer than two weeks, you need to prove it will lead to a definite job. It then gets classified as “work experience”. And this work experience MUST lead to work to get the green light.

    For the reasons I explained, I fail to see how volunteering, even beyond the miserable two weeks, won’t at the very least help keep ones skills current, certainly be of help to those who want to provide meaningful employment even if voluntary because hey, it could help the business anyway having skilled people who actually want to work (despite not being paid), and also allow one to use skills to contribute to the productivity of this country – and as a result help a business earn that revenue to generate the necessary funds to turn a voluntary position into a paid position.

    I got my last two jobs in exactly that way. This is most definitely not allowed though.

    If someone cites that the WINZ website says you can – and I’ve gone through it with a fine toothed comb – it’s a lie. If you talk to them, their reply will be: “Yes, well, we have to reinterpret that as we see fit really. So we’ve been instructed that these courses are the only way we see as reasonable. So although we agree that it may say this is allowed, and we used to, we found there was no way to track and trace people properly so we do NOT allow this anymore, no matter the circumstances.”

    So here I am, double degree, 2 advanced Diploma’s, fifteen years work experience in Gov depts, private business, and overseas – and in need of an “attitude change” according to WINZ. I should add that at the time I was at a Gov dept, 3 major Managers quit in response to the prospect of an incoming National government, citing that it would be seriously getting in the way of their helping people in a truly objective and helpful way. They have since set up a consultancy themselves…

    In my case, hey, I just see that getting out there, applying for jobs and possibly volunteering for work at businesses that will keep my skills relevant is kind of helpful to both them and myself, but apparently this won’t be a meaningful way to get work at all, learning how to write CVs and turning up to “training” that I’m more qualified to oversee than the trainers, by about a couple of degrees and a decade of experience will apparently be just “what you need we think, given you are quite a difficult case.”

    Okay, I get it, the difficulty is that I actually want work and you’re doing your level best to prevent as many avenues as possible to get it…. but it’s okay, WINZ gets to tick the box that says “See, that unemployment figure is falling, because we are getting these people into training…” I should be happy that they’re happy.

    Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks, bollocks Paula.

    After all, having held management positions and overseen staff, your staff reckon I might have a problem I didn’t know I had, which is, to quote, “A confidence problem perhaps?”.

    I was then further instructed to “dumb down” my CV, and “appear a little stupid” when going for interviews. oh by the way, there are “heaps of cleaning jobs out there you know. Is there anything there you might like to do?” Yep, I’m aspiring to clean toilets having spent thousands upskilling myself and having managed significant Projects worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past. Great place to put my skills to use.

    Welcome to National’s fantasy world… and as a result, here is one highly skilled worker definitely planning to get the hell out of here.

    NZ the country has now been turned into NZ Inc. and is headed by a CEO, adhering to policies that other countries have rejected long ago for the simple reason: they did not, and never will, work. Ever.

    • Deborah Kean
      8 May 2012 at 3:30 pm

      Alan, I definitely relate to what you have said! I finished an 11 week contract as an ESOL teacher in December 2011, and was chatting to a woman putting posters on the walls, while waiting for my ‘case manager’ to get organised renewing my benefit. Then, blow me down, the case manager repeats back everything I said in my chat to Teena, followed by ‘temporary contracts aren’t good enough. Why can’t you get permanent work?’ My answer had to be and was “you tell me!” Then I explained that the language teaching industry is a very difficult one, as most schools are teetering on the brink of collapse!
      That’s when they told me that I was too prideful, and that I need to lower my sights. Had I thought of looking for work in a rest home, or McDonalds?
      It is to laugh, as Bugs Bunny used to say. McDonalds won’t hire anyone over 18, and as I have discovered, rest homes now require an HCA qualification. I can’t get that (one semester at Unitec) because being over 55 I can’t get a student loan. My daughter in law works at Selwyn Village for a pittance, and she thinks I am as decrepit as one of her ‘ladies’! 🙂
      That’s almost true. Thankfully, WINZ have left me alone for a while…
      Deb

  6. 6 August 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I asked paula Benett to find me a job with a neck injury in which i have a small metal disc inserted this happened at work. I have paid my taxes for the safety net that now provides me with a subsistance amount. I take up to 15 painkillers a day , i do not see myself as a bludger as i have contributed my bit over the years. The real dirt bags are the super rich who evade paying tax via tax havens around the world. All 21 trillion of it no wonder europe is in melt down. These people are the real parasites alone with mps who have junkets overseas during parliaments recess and also give their rich mates a tax cut while telling liesn regards the world economy, so0me of us are not fooled by the hot air and no substance that comes from paula benefit and Donkey.

    • 6 August 2012 at 2:31 pm

      I have worked in excess of twenty years.

      • 7 August 2012 at 1:23 pm

        Indeed James, definitely.

        My mate at study link just told me of 3 more people only last week, clearly WAY above the threshold for receiving an allowance, complain about “Why can’t I get an allowance?!?”

        “Because you earn too much”
        “But the IRD doesn’t count that income…”
        “No, because you hide it from them, but we count REAL income, that is, what’s coming into your bank account, that’s called INCOME. Not the technicality of how the IRD counts that as investments”

        In other words, there are people out there, clearly way past the threshold, and STILL complaining. They often try to get their parents to intervene by the way, and after explaining to the parent that their son/daughter can’t get an allowance because the parent is dumping money into their account which is more than the allowance (one had $300 put in there every week, believe it or not), then it was explained to them in fairly blunt terms that allowances and emergency grants were for people “who actually needed it… it’s not free money just because your son/daughter happens to be a student.”

        A disgruntled “Well … I suppose that’s fair” is often the reply.

        No matter how much they’re getting on the side, hidden under some specious thing like “investment” some still want EVEN MORE.

        He gets an average of 1 of these people a week trying it on. And they all pretty much start crying on the phone… unbelievable.

  1. 13 May 2012 at 9:28 pm
  2. 18 May 2012 at 12:36 am
  3. 23 May 2012 at 5:37 pm
  4. 9 January 2013 at 5:33 pm

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