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Epic fail

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, August 16th, 2011 - 64 comments
Categories: class war, national, unemployment, welfare - Tags:

Fran O’Sullivan before the Nat conference

John Key is primed to take an axe to welfare when he fronts his party faithful in Wellington tomorrow. As an election plank it will go down well with hardline National Party members, who believe beneficiaries should stand on their own feet. …

The latest labour force survey shows the unemployment rate is still flat-lining at 6.5 per cent of the workforce. … In New Zealand, youth nihilism has frequently turned inwards, as evidenced by the soaring suicide rate. But many members of Britain’s lost generation were at the forefront of the wave of riots that wreaked so much damage there this week.

If Key’s announcements do not contain measures to help the jobless young, they should be written off as an “epic fail”.

Fran O’Sullivan after the Nat conference? Watch this space…

Update: Nothing from Fran but the Herald editorial says – “there is also nothing in the Prime Minister’s announcement that creates jobs for young people … it is not enough for John Key to place the onus for job creation on a private sector that will respond confidently to Government policy”

64 comments on “Epic fail”

  1. Carol 1

    Key does have a plan (of sorts) privatise the welfare system, with bonuses for businesses that get jobless young people into work or education: i.e. he’s looking to provide a way for businesses to profiteer from the lack of sufficient productive jobs, and the misery of young people. Instead of lining the pockets of the few, why not put the money into developing the real production, real jobs, and training/education fore the benefit of the many? – cut out the middle-man.


    Further privatisation of the welfare sector will be part of the Government’s plan to get beneficiaries into work.

    National will offer cash bonuses to private organisations that reduce the tally of about 13,500 young people aged under 18 who are not in work or education.

    Prime Minister John Key said the use of community groups and companies was likely to be extended to other areas of the welfare sector.

    PS: Anthony must have been updating his original post on this, as I was typing the above comment & link.

    • jackal 1.1

      Organizations like Destiny Church are going to love National’s commercialization of the poor and outsourcing services to “help” them. It opens up avenues to more public money. That’s what the motivation behind Hannah Tamaki’s takeover bid for the Maori League is.

      What National doesn’t understand is that outsourcing and maintaining a lack of a career path for these young people is far more costly, and not only in financial terms. The fundamental flaw is that any scheme still requires the creation of jobs, which National is not addressing in any way shape or form.


      • joe90 1.1.1

        Expect more of this where, following the accusation of misconduct, the church went into damage control and closed ranks, shipped the alleged offenders out of the region, l**d in unison and accused complainant of lying.

    • Peter 1.2

      The plan is to give the Private Sector every opportunity to make money from the Public Sector by supplying goods and services or taking control of certain functions. Extra jobs are an after-thought.

  2. vidiot 2

    Bringing back “Youth Rates” should have an immediate impact on those figures.

    • Blighty 2.1


      If anything, ending youth rates encourages young people to work more, as the Herald notes:

      “work from the same source and by overseas researchers suggested the withdrawal of the rate actually resulted in 16- and 17-year-olds increasing their hours worked by 10 to 15 per cent. Indeed, youngsters had been encouraged to leave school earlier than usual in pursuit of the higher wages on offer.”


      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        If anything, ending youth rates encourages young people to work more, as the Herald notes:

        Imagine that. You increase the price of youth labour, and they want to supply more of it.

        Classic neoclassical price/supply curve.

        Why do the Righties doubt their own medicine??? :)

        • Lanthanide

          Which if you follow “lump of labour” logic actually means fewer jobs.

          We get 6 people working 15% longer hours at the expense of creating a 7th job that someone else could have filled.

          I also don’t think people leaving school early is something we should want to encourage (unless they were achieving nothing at school anyway).

          • Draco T Bastard

            Nothing wrong with leaving school early just so long as they have the opportunity to go back to school/continue learning after they leave without having to lose everything they’ve worked for already.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Why do the Righties doubt their own medicine?

          You should know by now that the RWNJs only use statements/theories that seem to support their beliefs. They really don’t care if it’s true or not.

    • mik e 2.2

      Vidiot Spain has youth rates it has 65% youth unemployment .We can’t carry on having low wage workers and low wage jobs, even John Key disagrees with you .It will just shift the unemployment some where else,lower the amount of money going into the economy increasing overall unemployment.We need to look to countries that have low youth unemployment .Like Germany where youth are skilled trained from an earlier age and employer matched before leaving school .Also most European youth are required to stay in school till they are 18 skewing our terrible figures!

    • freedom 2.3

      vidiot, which figures will be affected ? the increasingly large numbers of unemployed or the ever growing profits of the business owners

  3. “there is also nothing in the Prime Minister’s announcement that creates jobs for young people”

    I think many people are expecting too much from one narrowly targeted policy. The announced policy targets early school leavers. The Green Paper on Vulnerable Children is targeting the youngest age group. So I think we will have to wait and see National’s whole range of policies rather than fuss over isolated bits.

    We know that the blanket benefit approach is very expensive, can result in many people getting benefits they don’t need (eg WFF), and creates a lot of general disgruntlement. Addressing specific problem areas makes sense if the targeting is done well, it’s impossible to “fix” everything but we need better results for the massive amount of money poured into social policies. If done well the people to benefit the most will be those that most need benefits.

    • felix 3.1

      What we know is that the answer to this particular problem is jobs.

      If the policy doesn’t address this, then it simply doesn’t address the problem.

      And if it doesn’t address the problem, why the fuck should anyone give it the time of day?

      • Pete George 3.1.1

        There are far more problems than jobs.

        Unless you have a way of creating an unlimited number of productive jobs that everyone wants to do and that require no education or experience.

        • felix

          1. I said “this particular problem”. Duh.

          2. We don’t need an unlimited number, just a number that matches the working-age pop. Duh.

          3. Experience comes from having a job, not the other way around. Duh.

          Where we agree is that a focus on education is needed. Don’t hold your breath though, apparently the more pressing 20 million dollar issue is that 1600 kids on the dole have too much beer money.

          Hence my earlier comment. Duh.

          • Canter

            If the answer to this problem is jobs, why is it when we had near full employment in 2007 before the recession hit New Zealand, did the numbers in this category not go down? Because the government was giving them a bit of money every week and then just abandoning them to look after themselves. 90% of these people will graduate to long term welfare. Simply saying “we need jobs!” isn’t the silver bullet, they need to learn the life skills to hold down a job.

            It’s a pity Labour didn’t pick up this policy, it would have helped win back some of the middle.

            • jackal

              Could you link to the data you’re basing your comment on please?

            • Pete George

              There’s no reason why Labour can’t support this policy.

              Except for political bloody mindedness, which seems to be the default position.

              • freedom

                that and it is a vehemently heavy handed authoritatrian approach to the situation which will further alienate and stigmatise kids who are not the ones causing the issue in the first place

              • felix

                Pete finds it inconceivable that Labour doesn’t support this policy because he thinks every party in parliament should just get behind the government and back them or keep out of the way and keep quiet.

                He insists that this line of thinking doesn’t lead directly to a one-party state, and we just have to take him at his word that he’s stupid enough not to realise that.

                • Deliberate misrepresentation – again. You won’t back up your lies because you can’t, and you know you’re likely to a free pass by moderation.

                  Re the one party state you seem obsessed with:

                  National aiming for just 48pc of November’s vote

                  National has also indicated that, should it be in a position to rule alone, it will still strike post-election deals with compatible minor parties and make them part of its governing arrangement.

                  Epic fail felix.

                  • Campbell Larsen

                    ‘make them part of it’s governing arrangement’
                    The part that comes up with racist radical neo lib nonsense (act) so that the Rats can cherry pick the bits they like and distance themselves from the rest and still claim to be moderate.
                    The part that has one of it’s flagship policies (the Maori parties Whanau Ora) highjacked and used to roll out the privitisation of social services.
                    An offer to partner up with the Rats is about as appealing as an offer of an STD

                  • felix

                    Who said anything about National’s position, Pete?

                    I was talking about your position. You’re not speaking for National, are you?

                    Are you backing away from your previously stated desire for all parties in parliament getting behind the govt or getting out of the way?

                    If so, that’s a start. Bet you’re not though.

                    • Are you backing away from your previously stated desire for all parties in parliament getting behind the govt or getting out of the way?

                      I’ve never stated that.

                      All parties are already actively involved in governance in parliament. And I’ve always supported opposition parties – and coalition parties and MPs of the main governing party – to hold ministers and government to account.

                      You’re either erroneously or deliberately confusing statements against too many negative political attacks and attempts at destabilising government, which is quite different.

                      I want all parties to be more positively involved in parliament – and when they do speak up against crap that really matter (as opposed to perpetual auto-opposition) they will be taken seriously and will be far more effective.

                    • felix

                      Here you go retard:


                      It’s a thread you ran away from mid discussion (which never happens of course).

                    • Epic fail felix.

                      You seem more shitty that usual today, and resorting to name calling doesn’t make your bullshit look any less splat.

                    • felix

                      Stick your fingers in your ears all you like, it’s all there in black and white at the end of that link for all to see.

                      Your argument in that thread as it stands supports a one-party state.

                    • Epic fail felix. My last comment was:

                      If the voters see that opposition parties are dredging up endless trivial crap:
                      – they get the perception it is being done by a trivial crappy politicians
                      – important issues that really need opposing risk being lost in the noise

                      I was highlighting how ineffective Labour have been in opposition. Nothing to do with one party state, I argue the opposite – the more strong parties and independent MPs the better.

                  • AAMC

                    Nationals Fascist roots…

                    “Nor were all those involved in the creation of the National Party necessarily imbued with the parliamentary spirit of moderation and compromise. Many of those who attended the party’s foundation conference had been, like National’s second leader, Sid Holland, members of the proto-fascist New Zealand Legion.

                    Presumably even less familiar with the democratic process was a clutch of former senior army officers: Colonel H.G. Livingstone, Colonel James Hargest and Colonel S.C.P. Nichols. They, too, played a prominent role during the National Party’s formative stages.”


              • mik e

                PG keep up your pathetic spin its nearly as bad as Nationals Jobs record. Especially under bill english 1998 -99 100,000 more on the dole cue 2008 -11 100,000 more on dole cues – the ones going to Australia in record numbers.

                • freedom

                  i will say this for the various National Governments we have had, they are consistent at producing results, usually regressive socio-economic catastrophies, but they are results.

            • Colonial Viper

              If the answer to this problem is jobs, why is it when we had near full employment in 2007 before the recession hit New Zealand, did the numbers in this category not go down?

              Because this category is in the most difficult individual circumstances out of the 58,000 currently unemployed under 20.

              They need individualised attention and support not the pressure of John Key’s Food Stamps.

              It’s a pity Labour didn’t pick up this policy, it would have helped win back some of the middle.

              That’s a laughable suggestion.

              I’m personally pushing the Labour party left.

              And the “middle” income earner in NZ earns $28,000 p.a. You got shit show of having them support this initiative as they know that its their kids and grandkids who are going to get slammed and that National is coming for them next with Food Stamps.

            • Ross

              We had near full mployment in 2007? Could you provide me with the stats to support this, ta.

              • Colonial Viper

                A slight exaggeration methinks. 3.0-3.5% unemployment.Still too high.

                Google is your friend.

          • Mark M


            less of the duh
            you sound to much like homer simpson

        • Ross


          What would those problems be?

        • jackal

          Rubbish Pete George. Ensuring there are jobs has the same policy aspect as ensuring people are trained to fill them. National has cut funding for training in many areas and ensured the economy does not recover by implementing huge tax cuts for the wealthy. This has created more inequality and social ills as well as unemployment.

          It’s not about creating an unlimited amount of jobs, it’s about creating enough jobs so that the young can become employed, learn the benefits of working and budgeting instead of having the state pay. We should not be expected to pay for the policy failures of National.

          It’s unacceptable that National has ensured a certain amount of unemployment to keep wages low. That reasoning goes against their promise to close the wage gap with Australia.

          John Key thinks a low wage economy creates investment and therefore jobs. What a load of bullshit! A low wage economy and a lack of jobs creates social disintegration. Wake up to that fact, vote accordingly and perhaps your house wont get robbed in the future.

        • freedom

          yes pete,there are 13,500 problems just in the age group this little bit of policy that has been announced dutifully ignores

    • mik e 3.2

      WFF is a targeted benefit at low income working families, not universal. it was started by peter dunne and national 1997.Australia has a similar policy pushed by the Howard government but they pay families up $140,000.Targeted policies have a very poor track record as opposed to universal benefits which don’t create huge tax hikes .The reason these days why targeted benefits are more common is we just don’t have enough money .But we are quiet happy to subsidize the damage alcohol and tobacco does to our society while neglecting poverty a $10 billion loss to our economy as a result of these substances abuse.A user pays tax on both of these substances would give us more than enough to get rid of poverty for ever but the booze barons have got Key and co in their back pocket!We are subsidizing the problem every tax payer we could universlize WFF and cut out the poverty and the poverty trap .

    • FFS Pete, don’t you ever listen? The Green paper is a smoke screen to get Family First and Destiny on the payroll – there is copious international research evidence of what works and what doesn’t (e.g. boot camps don’t work – like they have found out) – but ideology driven drivel wins votes – another fact!

    • Deadly_NZ 3.4

      But they don’t vote so Key is on safe ground, well that’s what he thinks, But what about the other part of this insidious policy where they are going to change the privacy rules (they must be inconvenient (like the labour law)) and hunt down all the other teens who are not in a recognised school or training programme(done make me laugh) And then come and tell them how to live their lives with this nice little bit of plastic NO ciggies alcohol chippies coke etc etc just good wholesome food on the Bennet approved starvation list.

      • Pete George 3.4.1

        They are not saying “NO ciggies alcohol chippies coke etc etc ” – just saying what most of the state money should be spent on. There will be some discretionary spending money, and there’s always the option to earn some money if they want to choose for themselves.

  4. Blue 4

    Fran O’Sullivan is a National insider who gets all the scoops in advance. I was amused by her column when it came out, being such a radical departure from her usual fare (Fran suddenly caring about the impact of neoliberal policies on children?) and waited for the other shoe to drop.

    Predictably, it did. Fran said that the measures should focus on youth unemployment or they would be an ‘epic fail’, and then, surprise surprise, it was declared later that day that Key’s bene-bashing announcement was going to focus on youth.

    It was a nice set-up, and I expect Fran this week to declare Key’s announcement manna from heaven.

  5. Ross 5

    To be fair, full employment has been off the agenda of both major political parties for many years. What policies did Labour introduce in its 9 years of office that were designed to create jobs?

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Labour understood how an economy works with both the private and public sector playing a role. Today, Labour would not be laying public sector workers off adding to unemployment queues even as the private sector is proving unwilling or unable to hire.

      Labour would not have been as callous as to cut training and apprenticeship programmes for youth even as youth unemployment soared close to 30%.

      National on the other hand…

      My personal view is that the true unemployment rate must be kept under 3% by whatever innovative means necessary, and the long term unemployment rate kept at less than 1.5%.

      In essence I agree with you that both parties have not had full employment policies for a long time, and that is because both parties have fallen for the neoliberal bullshit of a “natural rate of unemployment”.

  6. randal 6

    National cant deliver anything.
    their policy since taking ofice has been micro incrementalism and dithering.
    Basically they are the kiwi version of the tea party with all that implies about doing nothing in case it costs.
    That is unless someone of their cabal personally benefits.

    • mik e 6.1

      Randal they have made sure they and treasury get plenty of kickbacks from the major banks thats keeping a few people in the wellington barista business in jobs.

      • aerobubble 6.1.1

        Public and Private sectors. National believes in the private sector, and government should get
        out of the way, then it finds its ideology has problems, that government does need to have
        public sector policies and in rushes Key to the policy vacuum that has been right wing
        politics for the last thirty years. For thirty years cheap and cheaper high density energy (oil) has made it easy for governments to ignore public policy and let the private market provide
        solutions (since the public citizen body had lots to spend and everyone was paid too much or
        borrowed too much). That jig is up, the world has changed and the last to change, the
        first to change, boardrooms. The last to change the most conservative economic politicians.
        Key does not know what to do, so he just pulls nonsense out that appeals to those conservative
        voters who are too slow to change. we need change, we need a progessive not a regressive
        party in government.

    • KJT 6.2

      National does not have to do anything beyond get elected for another three years.

      Once they have taken anything which is not nailed down

      They will go collect their payoffs while we have to rebuild the country.

      So they can come back for another round of thieving in 9 years time.

      Every thing is succeeding well from their point of view. The theft of the wealth of yet another lot of ordinary people is proceeding nicely..

  7. jackal 7

    Here we see National’s policies in effect. It is clear that a low wage economy just causes impoverishment. Subsidizing that low wage economy with corporate welfare costs the taxpayer dearly. A low wage economy does not create jobs, it just maximizes profits. Much of that goes off shore as most companies employing low wages are owned by international corporates.

  8. Afewknowthetruth 8

    A point of grammar. It is not a good idea to put an adjective with a word which is normally used as a verb. Epic failure.

    NZ has endured the poltics of failure since the 1970s, when it became abundantly clear to anyone who was even slightly informed about energy and the environment that NZ was on a path to catastrophic failure via the squandering of resources.

    We have not quite hit the buffers at the end of the line yet but we are approaching them mighty fast, and no maintream political party is prepared to even discuss the fact that we are on a path to catastrophe. Instead, they continue to parrot the same old platitudes and fantasies that have been around for decades.

    These times are both interesting and scary.

      • Afewknowthetruth 8.1.1

        Thanks for that.

        Phrases to describe things come and go but fundamental truths remain.

        Incidentally, I looked the most recent Time magazine today. Unpalatable truths are leaking out all over the place now.

    • neoleftie 8.2

      um well thats not quite accurate – its accepted in my labour electorate by the high ranking MP that the end is nigh i.e peak oil, global warming but more pressing matters at the time where to get the most bang from the health ministry monies.
      Frankly those who accept the uncertainities and volatile nature of the coming dark period of the next fifty years are biding their time and waititng for the stars to align and shine on the NEXT WAY.

      • Afewknowthetruth 8.2.1

        Does that mean they are waiting for the die-off and hope that they won’t get lynched when the people they have been lying to for so long wake up and turn into an angry mob?

  9. randal 9

    yeah well ok. When its gone its all gone and it wont come back.
    We still riding on our credit but that wont last forever either.
    dont want to be a jeremiah about this but this world aint going to continue like this forever.

  10. Bored 10

    Point of order on epic failures Jokey Hen. Where is my f***kn cycleway? Is real world production too difficult after living in the casino Jokey?

  11. freedom 11

    some light relief ,
    still in the thread theme of Epic Fail and not in anyway condoning criminal behaviour,


    apprentice? in what i wonder, blundering & pilfering

  12. Abhi 12

    Thanks God for “the Standard” and it’s critic of the center, and making people aware that there is an alternative ways to the the perceived crisis.

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