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The Standard

Dole figures at 28-year low

Written By: - Date published: 10:16 am, December 11th, 2007 - 32 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

From the Beehive site:

Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson said that in December 1999, when Labour came to power, there were 161,000 people receiving an unemployment benefit.

“Over 141,000 have come off this benefit since then, with just over 20,000 people receiving it now,” she said.

“These numbers haven’t been this low since 1979. In addition, this government has radically reduced youth unemployment numbers.”

32 comments on “Dole figures at 28-year low”

  1. Benodic 1

    But…but… welfare dependency is destroying our communities… ?

  2. lemsip 2

    What I find interesting is in Sep 2002 344,709 received one of the main benefits whereas in Sep 2007 the figure was 263,234. Looking at theunemployment figures given above and these figures suggests there has been an increase of approximately 60,000 people receiving a “main benefit.” What benefit(s) are these people receiving and why?

  3. Robinsod 3

    Ben – this is just a sign all those people have been shifted onto the sickness and invalids benefits. Oh no, hold on, the stats show they haven’t.

    Well then it’s a sign the gummint is just riding a boom that it has nothing to do with. Shit no that can’t be it ‘cos we’ve got the lowest unemployment in the OECD and they’ve been having comparable booms.

    Well maybe it shows we need higher unemployment to stop inflation, I mean with wage-inflation out of control and all we’re heading to hell in a handbasket…

    Or maybe the right will just come out and say what they mean – they need more people on the so they can make themselves feel better about their own house-slave jobs…

  4. PhilBest 4

    Rob Muldoon was good at this sort of thing too. Creating non-jobs in the public sector.

    That’s apart from what lemsip refers to above. It is interesting to look at total PAYMENTS to welfare beneficiaries.

    Goodness knows what other creative accounting these squeaky-clean honest people might be up to.

    I look forward to the East Coast underclass all being in productive employment.

  5. jeez, crime down, unemployment non-existent, budget surpluses – what’s a neo-con hopeful without an original thought in his head to do?
    oh i know…”bureacrats and red-tape…”
    guess we won’t hear much of the WTO report that puts NZ in the top 3 most business friendly, least red-tapey first world economies. (up there with Singapore no less, just minus the dictatorship).

  6. Billy 6

    Makes the unpopularity of this government hard to explain, doesn’t it? The people are so ungrateful even after all that’s been done for them.

  7. Matthew Pilott 7

    Sprout – easy on the facts luv!

  8. Matthew Pilott 8

    I mean you don’t want to take away a factual basis behind the perception that every business in NZ is drwoned in red tape, sprout…

    Like that cafe in Wellington that was closing down because of the council red tape, or was it the government red tape, or was it their evil landlord… :)

  9. Policy Parrot 9

    People have moved beyond the era of high unemployment – it has faded from memory on the part of many, and some younger voters have yet to experience anything but good pragmatic governance – with respect to all three bottom lines – economic, social, and environmental.

    The government provokes and leads the public discourse on political thought, rather than follow it blathely. The Labour-led government is at the cutting edge of politics.

    The government is proud of being a leader in international and domestic affairs, not afraid to make the tough calls and put in the hard yards. Talk of being a “fast follower” is exactly the kind of residual problem we still have with many in this country. These people, who support a government formed by the current opposition, invest insufficient resources in staff (especially in the low-paid service arena) and infrastructure, and then deplore the government for the low-wage economy, and for lack of investment in infrastructure.

    Talk about hypocrites.
    When it is in fact their intransigence that is keeping wages lower than Australia. When in fact it was their privitization to ex-pat emigres that then proceeded to run down infrastructure while avoiding their tax obligations, that meant the government has to “save” former state assets by re-nationalising them and making them function for public benefit at economic cost.

    Excessive taxation – this government is paying for the problems of a decade of public negligence. The private sector model of key infrastructure has failed.

    Bring back these things at your peril.

  10. The Double Standard 10

    “crime down”

    Taken a look at the violent crime stats lately?

    Try explaining to residents of Sth Auckland that crime is down.

  11. The Double Standard 11

    PP – So 8 years of this “cutting edge” Party and we still can’t approach Oz in labour productivity? Why not?

  12. Dean 12

    Policy Parrot said:

    “Excessive taxation – this government is paying for the problems of a decade of public negligence.”

    Yes, the government is certainly doing a lot about it’s surplus, isn’t it. And hasn’t public infrastructure done so well with all the extra money?

    “These people, who support a government formed by the current opposition, invest insufficient resources in staff (especially in the low-paid service arena) and infrastructure, and then deplore the government for the low-wage economy”

    Because it’s obviously NOT the governments fault in any way is it? It’s all the fault of the employers, right? Tell me, do they still wear top hats and send young boys up chimneys to clean them?

    “The government is proud of being a leader in international and domestic affairs, not afraid to make the tough calls and put in the hard yards”

    For instancem cuddling up to the Chinese regieme despite its human rights abuses.

    Honestly, PP. You could at least pretend to not be such a hack.

    If you could at least admit you’d rather think that it was the governments responsibility to spend the peoples money for them on their own behalf then that would be fine. But to pretend that you have the answer to the countrys economic and social issues when your ideas are already both tried and tired is just, well, kind of sad.

    I’m not saying the government shouldn’t be in charge of these things. But when you look at the record of the Labour party in the last 8 years, it’s nothing but a complete bloody shambles propped up by a few small success stories and a whole lot wasted in the interim.

  13. Tane 13

    PP – So 8 years of this “cutting edge” Party and we still can’t approach Oz in labour productivity? Why not?

    One reason given in the latest report by the National Party aligned Centre for Independent Studies was NZ’s low wage economy. It doesn’t make sense to make capital investment when it’s far cheaper to just hire another warm body. The fault for that can be laid pretty squarely on National’s Employment Contracts Act.

    To lift productivity we need higher wages, which means stronger industrial law. And as we already know, National has no answers there:

    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=527

  14. Dean 14

    “To lift productivity we need higher wages, which means stronger industrial law. And as we already know, National has no answers there”

    You’re forgetting availability of capital.

  15. Kimble 15

    Tane, 8 years of the Labour party and what the fuck have they done about it?

  16. Kimble 16

    Dean, availability of capital isnt a problem, neither is the return on capital. It is simply the availability of things to invest in. That is the crux of the CIS report, even though Tane only read and retained a single line.

  17. Kimble 17

    What Tane was refering to was factor substitution. Essentially, the argument goes, if labour costs more then capital becomes relatively more attractive. More capital is used per worker, and productivity increases.

    That this substitution could lead to higher unemployment doesnt matter.

  18. Pascal's bookie 18

    There seems to have been plenty of capital gone into, say, housing over the last ten years Dean.

  19. Phil 19

    Wow PP, what an emotionally stirring sermon. Almost bought a tear of patriotism to my eye.

    Pity a lot of it is bollocks…

    You’re absolutely right, we have moved on from an era of high unemployment, the only problem is we started moving on in 1991; well before your beloved Labour Party came to power.

    While we’re on the topic of the 90’s, perhaps you would like to remind viewers that the present economic glow surrounding our nation has very little to do with the current administration, and very much to do with the ‘cutting edge’ politics of our painful rebirth as a modern forward-thinking economicly motivated nation during the 80’s and 90’s.

    I would sugest that is you who has a faded memory of the centrally managed, hopelessly mired, misery that was our nations depressing economic past.

  20. Tane 20

    Dean, the CIS report argued the availability of capital was not an issue, and I’m inclined to agree. But if it is then you’ll want schemes like Kiwisaver to increase the pool of capital for local investment. That’s something National has refused to back.

    Kimble, not enough is the answer. As you’ll see from the graphs in the article I linked to wages are increasing faster than they did under National but I agree it’s still not enough. The ERA has proven too weak in a number of areas, especially the lack of proper industry bargaining, and that’s something I’d really like to see changed.

    There are a couple of other issues too. National’s neglect of industry training has caused major skills shortages in key industries, which holds back productivity, and there’s also the issue of the number of unskilled people entering the workforce as unemployment declines.

    It’s a complex issue, and while I’d like to see Labour do more I’m not sure National has any answers.

  21. Tane 21

    That this substitution could lead to higher unemployment doesnt matter.

    It’s possible it will cause unemployment in a particular job, but as the theory goes the increased efficiencies across the economy should create new more productive jobs for those who are turfed out of employment.

    That’s where strong redundancy protections and a decent welfare system come in – to look after those who are the collateral damage of a dynamic capitalist economy.

  22. Kimble 22

    Quick points,

    – a “strong redundancy protections” increases he cost of labour. We already have a workable welfare system.

    – if industry wants skilled workers, industry can pay for their training, it isnt the governments job to subsidise that

    – It WAS a National coalition that had a referendum on compulsory superannuation

    – National will keep Kiwisaver, but they will probably alter it

    – any national superannuation saving scheme should have the vast majority invested overseas.

    – as the CIS said, availability of investment opportunities is what is holding NZ back

  23. The Double Standard 23

    Did you miss this part of Rennie’s analysis Tane?

    Perhaps the single biggest policy difference between the countries is the level of tax. New Zealand is now the highest-taxed English speaking country in the OECD with taxation making up 37% of the entire economy, whereas Australia is at 31%. Australians have had five years in a row of tax cuts, and once the next round is implemented (under a Labour government) a worker on the average wage will be paying twice as much tax in New Zealand as they would across the Tasman.

    All of this undermines the myth that New Zealand is some kind of laboratory for free market reforms. That may have been case 20 years ago, but what was once considered radical is now standard practice. Australian policy has caught up and overtaken us, without stopping for a tea break.

    This is most obvious in the language used by new Labour Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. He calls himself an “economic conservative” and is proud of Australia’s historical reforms, which he says are the basis of prosperity. He is promising large tax cuts, a tighter rein on government spending and a continuation of economic reform. By contrast, Helen Clark dismisses similar ideas in New Zealand as “failed policies of the past”.

    Therefore, it isn’t by accident that Australia is enjoying such good times – it’s from a national commitment to growth and a realistic view on what actually works. Australians recognise that politicians can’t create growth by themselves, but through good policies they can make the entrepreneurial environment as fertile as possible.

  24. Dean 24

    “Dean, the CIS report argued the availability of capital was not an issue, and I’m inclined to agree. But if it is then you’ll want schemes like Kiwisaver to increase the pool of capital for local investment. That’s something National has refused to back.”

    Because Kiwisaver delivers capital into the hands of those employing people, therefore making them able to pay workers more?

    And don’t for a moment try and tell me that Kiwisaver will allow Mr or Mrs joe Average to employ people.

  25. Dean 25

    “There seems to have been plenty of capital gone into, say, housing over the last ten years Dean.”

    There’s plenty of capital gone into alternative health remedies too, but you don’t see that having any long term advantage do you.

  26. Pascal's bookie 26

    That was kind of my point Dean.

  27. Dean 27

    “That was kind of my point Dean.”

    I know it was. I just thought it needed some backing up.

  28. Draco TB 28

    TDS said: So 8 years of this “cutting edge” Party and we still can’t approach Oz in labour productivity? Why not?

    Well, it’s been estimated that Aus pays their workers 1/3 more than NZ and that they get 1/3 more productivity out of them. Perhaps the employers in NZ would get 1/3 more productivity if they paid 1/3 more than they do now. Tax cuts won’t do it because people won’t actually be paid anymore.

  29. Dean 29

    “Tax cuts won’t do it because people won’t actually be paid anymore.”

    You’ve got to be a wind up. You’re brilliant.

  30. Lampie 30

    Ben – this is just a sign all those people have been shifted onto the sickness and invalids benefits. Oh no, hold on, the stats show they haven’t.

    Hey Robinsod, give me a link man, need this kind of ammo

  31. Lampie 32

    Thanks for that Robinsod, that MSD site is sure to kick some arse. Ha people also forget things as inflation and population growth. Pretty good results one would say.

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