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McJobs

Written By: - Date published: 11:13 am, June 25th, 2009 - 82 comments
Categories: benefits, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags: , , , ,

brighter-future

John Key, 20 May 2007:

My legacy will be a strong New Zealand economy with higher wages, lower taxes and greater competitiveness. My legacy will be a country that young New Zealanders want to stay and work in.

The Press, 25 June 2009:

Thousands of beneficiaries could soon be flipping burgers under a deal between Work and Income and McDonald’s.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett revealed the agreement during a select committee meeting at Parliament yesterday. The agreement will provide up to 7000 unemployed for the fast-food chain’s restaurant expansion plans over the next five years.

82 comments on “McJobs”

  1. So Bored 1

    Whats this? Some kind of economic metaphysics OR an attempt to get subsidised slave labour?

  2. Pj 2

    Now we know why the rules on unhealthy food and drinks in schools had to be removed. Think about it. The perfect captive audience. A private-public partnership. Put McDonalds in every school throughout the country and get beneficiaries to staff them. Use prisoners to construct them, using the skills they have learnt from constructing their shipping container cells.

    How many jobs will this create? What an amazingly visionary and successful scheme from the job summit..

    • So Bored 2.1

      Can we connect the Macker resupply routes using the Jonkey cycleway?

      • Pj 2.1.1

        Instead of funding DHBs to take action to reduce obesity, McDonalds will be given corporate welfare by the government to supply bicycles so that obese beneficiaries, single mothers and the elderly can be used to bicycle up and down the Sir John Key memorial cycleway with the necessary supplies.

        • So Bored 2.1.1.1

          “Sir John Key memorial cycleway” implies he is dead…..I had always thought he was really an avatar or cardboard cut out.

    • Richard 2.2

      Glad you mentioned this Pj. Removal of rules on healthy food in school canteens has to be ane of the most stupid, myopic knee jerk reactions of this government (and there are a few to choose from).
      And who was responsible for this? Anne Tolley – the very woman who on National Radio this morning failed pathetically to explain why up to 6000 young people might be turned away from Polytech courses over the next year. Well now we know the real reason – why pay for their education when Macca’s needs them.
      Is this what John Key means when he says he is “ambitious for New Zealand”?

    • the sprout 2.3

      and think of the growth potential for the coronary care and undertaking industries too. John’s on to a winner with this one.

    • BLiP 2.4

      This is just the beginning of the McDonalds public/private partnership with John Key et al. As an already government-approved provider of education, McDonalds will soon be opening primary schools where students can be prepared for a life in the fast food industry – and, for those not suited to such pursuits, John Key’s government public/private partnership in relation to prisons will see the company opening its own correctional facility.

      I’m lovin’ it.

  3. Helen 3

    Finally, finally, finding something productive for Labour-voters to do.

    • Chris G 3.1

      you really make a great case for the right-wing plight. Plus build on my stereotype of a typical right-wing voter – good stuff.

  4. Yikes this is a strange one. Of course people would have the choice between the unemployment benefit and working for McDonald’s. What is this going to do other than look to take away that choice to reduce the face value number of unemployed?

    A few years ago McDonald’s had about 6000 staff across the country. I can’t see how they’d need another 7000.

    • Daveo 4.1

      Will they have a choice? WINZ doesn’t tend to look kindly on people refusing work. Does anyone know how this would work?

      • jarbury 4.1.1

        Daveo, what I meant is that people CURRENTLY have the choice between the unemployment benefit and McDonald’s. Although people do get turned down for jobs at Maccas you know (occasionally).

        This move seems like all it does is look to take away that choice.

      • Swampy 4.1.2

        If you don’t like the terms of being on the dole then don’t go on it, simple as that.

        It is all perfectly reasonable for Winz to be doing something like this. They have similar schemes going with other employers. I think it is quite a cheap shot to attack McDonalds just because you don’t like their business activities. They are a major employer and provide a livelihood for a large number of people, many of whom are students who need to work part time while they do their studies.

    • So Bored 4.2

      Up the national fat intake, good policy using current economic model as the increased requirement for health provision (heart surgery, diabetes etc) adds lots of dollars to the GNP total,

    • Lanthanide 4.3

      Exactly.

      However the key weasel words are “up to” and “over 5 years”. They’re not suggesting that all of those 7000 people will be employed permanently for the full period, just that sometime over the next 5 years, “up to” 7000 people referred to WINZ will end up with a job at Maccers for some period of time.

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    A georgie pie in every school.

  6. infused 6

    The jobs WINZ offer are usually shit anyway. I don’t see how this is any different. They had partnered with LABOUR (labour hire) etc. What’s the big deal?

    What are you trying to say here? No wonder you used The Standard instead of your own nickname.

    • George D 6.1

      Yep. WINZ destroy productivity, by forcing people with productive skills into shit jobs that a well trained monkey could do. It also lowers productivity because people will rightly cling to their job despite it not suiting them, because going on the dole means instant poverty. A lot of employers are more reluctant to offload staff because they don’t want to put their employees into a position of hardship.

      If you asked Labour or National about it, the standard response was: ‘quit complaining lazy dole-bludger, unemployment benefits are a privilege not a right’. Which ignores the thrust of the criticism, that this is in no way helpful in making a decent society where people actually do useful things.

      I’m not pretending this is necessarily easy, we can’t be Denmark tomorrow, but acceptance is the first step in the process.

      • Rex Widerstrom 6.1.1

        Well said George. That’s a factor that’s overlooked in this debate… WINZ actually downskill their “clients” by forcing them to accept menial work. Indeed if you dare to protest to the just-passed-Year-10 “case worker” that you have, say, a postgrad qualifcation and burger flipping really isn’t your thing, you’re likely to be greeted with a triumphant sneer rathert than any sympathy.

        And, as you’ve rightly pointed out, both National and Labour have never given a shit about the demeaning way the neo-Rankinites treat their “clients”.

        • Swampy 6.1.1.1

          Work is work, and work is good, regardless. That will be 7000 fewer people in the dole queue. Most jobs including I am sure this one pay more than the dole which is also good. There is of course nothing to stop anyone working in one of these jobs from looking for another job at the same time, a better one paying more money and fitting their skills etc.

          It is far better for these 7000 to be working than not working. Both of Labour and National have directed Winz to focus on long term unemployment.

          People who are signed on with Winz are at the bottom of the feeding cycle for employment, if they were really good they would be in another job without the taxpayer’s help so they shouldn’t complain about being referred to a job at McDonald’s. Ultimately it cannot be the taxpayer’s responsibility to pay people to live on the dole as a kind of lifestyle choice, or if they pass up reasonable expectations like retraining with new skills to fit the needs of the employment market where they live.

  7. Pat 7

    Horomia and Jones have promised to give this cross party support – so long as one of the branches opens on their floor of the Beehive. It’s bloody hard work having to go down the lift to find a snack.

  8. Tim Ellis 8

    I suspect that until recently, due to the low number of unemployed, most of the people receiving an unemployment benefit were largely unemployable. With more people moving onto the dole due to the recession, it makes sense that many of the people joining the dole queue will have the basic skills to hold down a job and it makes sense that WINZ will form relationships with large employers to transition them into work.

    I don’t know what the point of this post is. Just yesterday a poster at the Standard wailed that the Government isn’t doing anything to protect jobs or provide employment opportunities.

    • infused 8.1

      Exactly. Not only that. You’ve also implied anyone working at Mc D’s is an idiot.

      • jarbury 8.1.1

        Which actually isn’t true. Lots of people work at McDonald’s part-time whilst studying for post-graduate degrees.

        I did.

      • Pat 8.1.2

        Of course, if these jobs are deemed beneath the station of we NZers, I am sure they will be eagerly taken up by immigrants who possess that obscure trait known as work ethic.

    • So Bored 8.2

      Sad comment Tim, quote “largely unemployable”. So how does that account for those employed when I first went to work in 1973? We had full employment and demand for more labour from employers.Everybody had a job. “Unemployable” seems like right wing code for scrapheaping a lot of marginalised people.

      • Swampy 8.2.1

        There were quite a number of make-work schemes being run by the government back in the 70s to give the illusion of “full employment”, some of these were in government departments

    • Merlin 8.3

      due to the low number of unemployed, most of the people receiving an unemployment benefit were largely unemployable

      45,000 on the dole today, 17,000 a year ago. implies most people on the dole had a job within the last year. fail.

      • Tim Ellis 8.3.1

        Merlin, you seem to have a problem with reading comprehension, or else are being deliberately dishonest with my quote. The telling part you missed out was “until recently”.

        I was clearly referring to the 17,000 people on the dole a year ago.

        Fail.

    • George D 8.4

      What a waste of skills.

  9. Anita 9

    WINZ refers unemployed to employer, film at 11!

    Seriously, how is this new (or news)?

    • Pascal's bookie 9.1

      Maybe that the minister thought it a big deal?

    • Pat 9.2

      Anita – it’s a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The government has been roundly criticized for doing nothing about jobs, so they are now making sure that all job initiatives are being publicized.

      Despite the predictable faux outrage and criticisms, I think it is good for the government to make job initiative announcements, since it helps foster confidence in the economy. That elusive confidence factor can make the difference between whether a business lays off, retains, or hires employees,

      • Anita 9.2.1

        It’s not an initiative tho, it’s business as usual. WINZ has always talked to employers, identified areas of demand, and referred people.

        Pretty much this is an announcement that WINZ hasn’t stopped doing what it always did.

        • Pat 9.2.1.1

          Maybe the message should be “talk to WINZ, jobs are available”. If WINZ are placing 1600 people per week in employment, then it seems they are working bloody hard to find as much work as possible.

          A lot of people losing jobs may not be used to having to look for work. Not all jobs are advertised on Seek or Trademe, so people need to know they have options.

        • felix 9.2.1.2

          Just a hunch, but I suspect that the goodhardworkingmainstreamkiwitaxpayers™ might be footing the bill for a bit more of this than usual.

        • Pascal's bookie 9.2.1.3

          Pretty much this is an announcement that WINZ hasn’t stopped doing what it always did.

          …maybe that is a new initiative for the Nats. ;)

          felix, yep, WINZ is ‘helping’ with the training.

  10. Tim Ellis 10

    No, So Bored. It’s not right wing code. It’s a simple description of people who do not have the life skills to hold down a job in an economy with significant labour shortages, as we had until recently. I would say that most people who were unemployed for more than six months until a year ago were most likely unemployable.

    That isn’t the case now.

    • So Bored 10.1

      Working on the principle that people are willing to work who is unemployable? Lacking the skills is a rectifiable issue. Are you actually saying that employers have skills shortages but cant fill them because the willing unskilled cant be upskilled? Or is it just that the cost of upskilling does not justify the investment?

      A little honesty here Tim, does unemployable to the right mean “we dont want to invest in them”?

      • Tim Ellis 10.1.1

        So Bored, I don’t speak for the right.

        There were previously skills shortages. Over the last few years, many immigrants came to New Zealand to fill those skills shortages. If you go to a McDonalds you will see that there are many recent immigrants performing relatively low-skilled work.

        This occurred despite 17,000 people on the dole queue until a year ago.

        Unemployable in my view doesn’t mean employers don’t want to invest in them. It means there was a group of people who simply didn’t have the life skills, let alone the work skills, to hold down a job.

        No amount of investment from an employer can encourage a would-be employee who doesn’t know how to get out of bed regularly and turn up to work to suddenly do so.

        Many of the new people joining the dole queue now are people with actual life skills, with employment experience, who have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own. It is good that there are opportunities for them at WINZ, and yes, even at McDonald’s.

        • So Bored 10.1.1.1

          Tim, You may not speak for the right, just sound like it to me.

          Your simplisitic “simply didn’t have the life skills” and “cant get out of bed” commentary sounds suspiciously like blaming the victim, or justifying their position on some spurious social Darwinisn.

          • Tim Ellis 10.1.1.1.1

            So Bored, I don’t blame the victim. Equally spurious would be for you to blame the employer when people don’t have the basic life skills to hold down a job.

            We know that there is a small group of people in dysfunctional situations, who don’t have the life skills to hold down a job. I live in Auckland City. As an example, there are at least a hundred homeless people who sleep rough, who I suggest don’t do so by choice, and I suggest simply aren’t capable of holding down a steady job. I don’t blame employers for not giving them a job or for not increasing their skills.

            In my view, it is the state’s responsibility to ensure that people leave the compulsory education system with a minimum of life skills to get at least a minimum wage job. Sadly, far too many people leave school without even basic literacy and numeracy skills. You can’t blame the current national government, or even McDonald’s for that.

  11. toad 11

    Might have something to do with the Minister’s new partner!

    • Tim Ellis 11.1

      What a strange post, Toad. Do you have a problem with WINZ encouraging people with little work experience and/or work skills from getting a job? Is it preferable to wallow away on the dole than have no job at all?

      • Pat 11.1.1

        Yes, Toad:

        “I can’t imagine how it would take more than half a day to train someone to work in a fast food restaurant”.

        “So Bennett sends 7000 people off to work in dead-end, menial, low-paid jobs at McDonalds…”

        Pardon me, your pomposity is showing.

      • cocamc 11.1.2

        Tim
        Good point.
        I do wonder about the double standard here – pun intended.
        Here is a political blog that hammers the current government on not creating enough jobs – yet sends it’s web site offshore rather than supporting NZ owned company to do the same hosting.
        Yes – everyone step up to plate and hammer McDonalds who not only employs 6,000 people (demand driven) but employing another 7,000. McDonalds exports a lot of NZ produced products offshore and supports other industries.

    • jarbury 11.2

      Sorry Toad but you are quite wrong in it only taking half a day to train someone to work in a fast food restaurant.

      I have done fast food work, I am now doing “highly skilled” consultant planning work. In some ways the fast-food work was actually more difficult: due to time constraints and the physical exertion and the pressure of having to keep customers happy.

      It can takes weeks or even months for someone to be ‘fully trained’. In terms of management, it can take years.

  12. toad 12

    Tim Ellis and Pat: I just don’t get you. Bennett has cut access to the Training Incentive Allowance that could have helped people get the qualifications to obtain secure and well paid employment. But she enters into an arrangement with McDonalds to facilitate people moving into insecure, low-paid work. Her Deputy Chief Executive Patricia Reade even talks about giving people a “career path”. At McDonald’s! Ha!

    • cocamc 12.1

      Toad : you do know McDonalds has training programs leading to NZQA qualifications in hospitality industry.

      • Chris G 12.1.1

        great so we’re going to first become a giant maccas outlet, then when everone gets their NZQA qualification – a giant motel/bar/cafe.

        ooo the ambition is just bursting at the seams.

        • cocamc 12.1.1.1

          Chris G – Rather simplistic view, how about all the opportunities that presents – Wine Industry, Hotel Management.

          Great to see the negativity shining through again – not

        • Tim Ellis 12.1.1.2

          Chris, I don’t think anybody has suggested anything remotely of the sort, except you.

        • Chris G 12.1.1.3

          Obviously its hard to tell but there was exaggeration for effect in there. Maybe my deadpan delivery got you fooled Tim. Snap!

          My point was highlighting the scale… 7000 staff? how many would be in one maccas? 40? thats a fuck load more maccas!!

      • jarbury 12.1.2

        Indeed. A lot of the people at McDonald’s head office started working ‘on the floor’ at McDonald’s stores.

        Of course it’s a pretty long grind to get there, but there is definitely a career path at McDonald’s.

    • Tim Ellis 12.2

      Toad, I realise you like to sneer at anybody who is in low paid work, but the fact is a job at McDonalds, with a regular income is far more career-enhancing than life on the dole queue.

      Are there any other workers you’d like to offend, toad? How about workers at Burger King? Star Mart, perhaps? Dairy workers at Fonterra?

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the best skills upgrade a person with no work skills can get is an entry level job.

    • Swampy 12.3

      “McDonalds has a reputation as a poor employer paying low wages, providing insecure hours, and being vehemently anti-union.

      They also have a poor sustainability record, a poor animal welfare record, target their advertising to children, and while their nutritional standards have improved somewhat in recent years, much of their food is still crap.”

      Sure mate, let’s close down McDonalds. 6000 people out of work. Why stop with them? There are supposedly a lot of companies that socialists tell us the same about. Close them all down. Let’s just turn our country into hippyland and sit around smoking dope all day long.

      Really this is just like the Roger Awards. A group of hard core lefties like attacking all the big employers because of their ideological beliefs. These employers provide us with a lot of economic wellbeing in New Zealand. That’s why most people take the above statements with a grain of salt. They know that the people making these statements are for the most part people who do not really care if unemployment was much higher because a lot of businesses were closed down.

      The fact that McDonalds is doing reasonably well, as are other employers that are subject to such vehement criticism from socialists, is because most people ignore the criticism and just go and buy stuff off them or whatever, all that rhetoric is a waste of time

      If you want to attack then offer to provide employment for the same number of people at at least the same wage as are working for that company, otherwise it really just looks like an attack on success, buying and selling, paying people wages, and any thing that is to do with business.

    • Swampy 12.4

      There is a cut to only part of the TIA. I got it for a few years and would still qualify because it still exists, just in a lesser form. People could still get meaningful qualifications at a polytech with it.

      Some people do make a career out of McDonald’s. Others don’t, it is just a stepping stone to something greater, like being able to show a work record to an employer and get references from their McD’s manager as someone who works hard and has the right attitude regardless.

      One of the images which sticks in my mind and which I recall from time to time is that big lockout down in the Deep South, the woollen mill in Mataura or somewhere like that. The management told workers they were getting pay cuts, it was a recession not even half comparable to now. Some of the workers went on strike, formed a picket line and sat out there for months, maybe even years while the work went on at the mill. In the freezing winter they sat round a 44 gallon drum with a fire burning to warm their blue hands.

      See Toad, you sound like the sort of unionist who would tell workers to stay on a picket line, to make a political point. Why should anyone be prepared to sacrifice their future or their family over such futility? Political point scoring, leave that to the professionals, don’t drag ordinary people into it. When I go to the supermarket it is very noticeable to me that the majority of people there are young, there are very few older people except for managers. Clearly working in a supermarket is just a stepping stone to a better paid career for a lot of the people who work there. These are low paid jobs but that should not be the issue, it is not realistic to expect supermarkets to pay high wages for these low skilled jobs. Some of the people in them are not worth paying more anyway.

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    That pic seems about right. When I worked there they demanded loyalty (wtf, I was there for the money and the management training) and they treated the workers like crap.

  14. Chris G 14

    Ambitious for New Zealand and Ronald. excellent.

    So maccas are going to expand big time? dont get me wrong, I love a double cheeseburger every now and then. But do we really want kiwis chowing down on maccas more than at present? to appeal to righties – think of the tax bill to help the resultant fatties!

  15. roger nome 15

    Tim:

    Very few people are actually “unemployable”. If you dig in to the stats, when there was very low unemployment (3.6%) about 18% of the unemployed had been unemployed for over 6 months – so less than 1% of the “workforce”. This proves that nearly everyone (not on the sickness or invalid’s benefit), under the current framework is willing and able to work.

    So I put it to you that this scheme can have no other purpose than to increase the supply of labour in low-skilled labour market, thus lowering wages for those already struggeling to pay the bills, and provide extra leverage for employers in these sectors to erode working conditions (i.e. do as i say/work extra unpaid hours) or you’re fired.

    So the rich and powerful gain and the poor and dispossesed lose out. Is that a good outcome in your book?

    • Swampy 15.1

      7000 people working instead of being on the dole is a good outcome, they are paying taxes instead of receiving them. And they can always look for another job.

      Simple answer to your question: the poor and dispossessed are there because of who they are, It’s not the government’s fault or employer’s fault that some people are in low paid jobs because they don’t have the ability to gain the skills that will get them into higher paid work. I wish people would stop trying to blame the government or businesses for this.

      I’ve just started a job that pays $23,000 either I can spend all day whining about it or just get on with my job which I love.

  16. the sprout 16

    This is such an inspiring and aspirational plan that it’s well worth National’s fundamental interference in the market :)

    • So Bored 16.1

      Hang on a moment, is this not “distorting” the market, using public funds or assistance to slant what should be a “level playing field” in the fast food market. Where are the howls of protest from KFC etc?????? Rodders, Dodgy Roger, get your heads up from the Super City, defend the virtues of the free market from those Nat revisionists……

      • Chris G 16.1.1

        they’re all free-marketers when convenient, they show this time and time again.

  17. Tim Ellis 17

    Roger wrote:

    Very few people are actually “unemployable’. If you dig in to the stats, when there was very low unemployment (3.6%) about 18% of the unemployed had been unemployed for over 6 months so less than 1% of the “workforce’.

    And that’s how many people, Mr Nome? 10,000? Using statistics like this is pretty meaningless in my view. That’s like saying only 1% of the population die on the roads, therefore the road toll is not a problem.

    So I put it to you that this scheme can have no other purpose than to increase the supply of labour in low-skilled labour market, thus lowering wages for those already struggeling to pay the bills, and provide extra leverage for employers in these sectors to erode working conditions (i.e. do as i say/work extra unpaid hours) or you’re fired.

    No, Mr Nome. It is increasing unemployment that increases the supply of labour in the low-skilled labour market. These are minimum-wage jobs. The Government hasn’t advocated lowering the minimum wage. In fact, most recently the Government has increased the minimum wage.

    So the rich and powerful gain and the poor and dispossesed lose out. Is that a good outcome in your book?

    A nice and pithy conclusion if your argument actually supported it. But it doesn’t.

    • So Bored 17.1

      You say “It is increasing unemployment that increases the supply of labour in the low-skilled labour market”. So its only the low skilled? FYI last week I laid off a highly skilled very experienced engineer because we had no work for him. He may now be on the dole having trouble getting out of bed. Now how do you account for that?

      Before you go accusing people of being unemployable I would suggest you do the empathy test, put yourself in their shoes and work it out.

      • Tim Ellis 17.1.1

        No, So Bored, I didn’t say it was only the low-skilled who are losing their jobs. I enjoy debating with people here at the standard, but please don’t put words in my mouth, or you will end up debating with yourself because people get bored arguing silly straw-man arguments. I didn’t argue that everybody previously on the dole has trouble getting out of bed.

        What I said was, and I think this was reasonably clear, that when unemployment was low, a significant proportion of people receiving an unemployment benefit, who were long-term unemployed, had few life skills and were not an attractive source of recruitment for large employers. Now that we have a recession, there are more people with actual recent life and employment experience, and the WINZ line is a much more appropriate source of recruitment for large employers.

  18. toad 18

    Tim Ellis said: Toad, I realise you like to sneer at anybody who is in low paid work…

    Tim, I’ve spent quite a lot of my life working for unions and NGOs trying to increase the pay of the low-paid.

    What, pray tell, have you done to that end?

    • Tim Ellis 18.1

      Toad, I haven’t worked for a union, but I don’t believe that gives you a monopoly on caring. It apparently doesn’t prohibit you from sneering at people who work in minimum-wage jobs, such as at McDonalds, which is a surprise to me.

      As for what I do do, I regularly donate to charities that deal with the most underprivileged and least forunate, including City Mission. My daughters have grown up now and I’m a widower, so I spend my Christmas helping out the City Mission on Christmas Day. I don’t sneer at or patronise the least fortunate or feel superior to people on the minimum wage, as you seem to do.

      If you want to maintain credibility, then you might speak of people who “flip your burger” with a little more respect.

  19. toad 19

    Tim Ellis said: If you want to maintain credibility, then you might speak of people who “flip your burger’ with a little more respect.

    Tim, I’m not being disrespectful to the workers who have to work for those wage – I am being disrespectful to the employers who pay wages at that level. Becasue they deserve it. I’ve actually been active in the Unite Union’s campaign to unionise McDonalds and improve their staff’s wages.

    Oh, and by the way, I don’t actually eat food from McDonalds – for all the reasons in my post I linked to above.

    • Tim Ellis 19.1

      I take your word for it, Toad, but saying things like:

      Exactly what the “training’ Work and Income will be providing is beyond me. I can’t imagine how it would take more than half a day to train someone to work in a fast food restaurant.

      in my view is derogatory towards people who work in fast food restaurants, and it really does significantly undermine your demands for higher wages for fast food workers. If there really are so few skills and so little training for fast food workers, as you say, then there really isn’t much justification for paying fast food workers significantly more than the minimum wage.

      Surely this debate is not about whether you enjoy eating at McDonald’s, or whether you approve of its business model. It is about whether a minimum wage job is better than no job at all, and whether the Government should be forming relationships with large employers to ensure that they are offering employment in minimum wage jobs as an alternative to receiving the unemployment benefit.

      If you have a problem with McDonald’s, then campaign to either get consumers to exert pressure to have McDonald’s change its business practice/employment practices/menu, or have the Government ban it.

      There might be good reason why a Unite activist might be disgruntled at the move from WINZ to form a relationship with McDonald’s. In a labour shortage, unions can activise and become more powerful and increase the wage demands on employers. They have less power to do that if there are ready sources of labour, as in a recession.

      Captcha: “fevered Ellis”. Oh dear. How prescient!

      • Swampy 19.1.1

        The dole = $160 per week paid by the taxpayer.

        Minimum wage job = $450? per week of which the taxman gets $80 or so.

        Now, I’d like to suggest that Toad or anyone who attacks minimum wage, try living on the dole for 6 months. Tell us that it’s better than being in a minimum wage job. Go on. Prove it.

        Now, I have lived on the dole for years at a time, I also work now in a “minimum wage” job. Getting more than twice in the hand than the dole. I’m not going to have any unionist who probably gets paid a lot more than the minimum wage looking down at me and attacking my employer because they don’t pay what the union thinks they should.

        Minimum wage jobs exist because the jobs are low skilled ones. People can live on the minimum wage and have a meaningful life. New Zealand is a First World country. We have a very high standard of living. That puts us in the top ?20%? of people in the whole world. But the way that some people go on, you’d think that was not the privilege it actually is.

        I don’t really get it, there is a group of lefties who on the one hand attack people in the First World because they consume so much of the world’s resources, yet when it comes down to people being paid a minimum wage they are not getting enough.

  20. The Voice of Reason 20

    Interesting debate so far, guys. Like Toad, I don’t eat at MCd’s, haven’t done so for decades. The only other business I avoid is Shell petrol, ever since they had that poet hung.

    Tim, you are dead right that a job is preferable to the dole, not just for the cash, but for self worth, societal standing etc. But these are not a replacement for jobs of real value. For me that means doing work that I enjoy, that I am qualified for and with pay that reflects my skill and efforts. I assume your bank job meets similar criteria for you.

    A job at Macca’s is a career path only for a few. Most who work there see it only as a stopgap, not as an outcome. And these 7000 jobs don’t actually exist. Like the Key John il memorial bikeway, it is just a possibility for the future. And I would personally prefer a future with less Macca’s and more real jobs. We don’t need more Macca’s, Starbucks and the likes. We need more exercise, less crap food and jobs that lift national productivity, increase our exports and give people a working life that does not involve flogging fries.

    • Tim Ellis 20.1

      VoR, I appreciate your well-reasoned argument.

      We are in the middle of the worst economic recession in several generations. High skilled, sustainable, long-term, highly productive jobs aren’t going to suddenly emerge from thin air. Labour haven’t come up with any solutions as far as I can see. We do need some stop gap solutions to tide us through the next couple of years.

      National has come up with quite a number of these stop-gap solutions so far. The cycle way is one of them. Not a major one, but it’s not the only one. Home insulation is another. Bringing road-building plans forward is another. The ninety day trial period gives incentives to employers to take a chance on people they wouldn’t otherwise be prepared to risk hiring. The 9 day fortnight scheme helps protect jobs.

      All of these initiatives have been panned by writers here at the Standard, but I haven’t seen any solutions come from them.

      It does seem significant to me that National is proposing small-ticket items as part of the solution, rather than big-bang, “jobs-machine” style proposals that we heard from the last government that were big on rhetoric but small on results. I think a wide range of small-ticket solutions is consistent with New Zealand’s economic make-up, primarily composed of small and medium businesses.

      It’s all very well for Labour to try and ridicule National’s proposals, but they haven’t advanced any solutions of their own.

      • IrishBill 20.1.1

        “High skilled, sustainable, long-term, highly productive jobs aren’t going to suddenly emerge from thin air.”

        No they don’t, in a recession they should be created by the government alongside expanded training opportunities. That way when you come out of recession you have more productive infrastructure and a more productive workforce.

        A good start would be the government fast-tracking the broadband spend and setting rules for funding that included all bidders agreeing to minimum employment standards and training obligations.

        Another good idea would be to offer free education and training to anybody that loses their job with a focus on positions in areas we have major skills shortage and/or areas that are likely to be major growth areas for NZ in the future (such as sciences).

        After that it might pay for the government to extend the insulation fund into an energy fund that provides grants for passive solar hot water heating and other energy reduction initiatives while also incrementally tightening regulations to increase the efficiency of new housing stock.

        Add a business package into that with tax incentives for businesses to upgrade plant and machinery and increase energy efficiency and carbon credits or something similar as a stick and we’d be getting nicely set up to seriously enrich our economy in the near future.

        Recessions are brilliant for those who have money (and despite the spin our government has access to quite a lot of cheap money) because everything gets cheaper and easier to get hold of and it’s not hard to find labour. What pisses me off most about the government’s “belt-tightening” model isn’t so much the fact they are making the recession worse (although that drives me nuts too) but that they are pissing away a really good opportunity to make NZ a stronger and more productive nation over the next few years.

  21. Craig Glen Eden 21

    Paula Poo and Ronald McDonald should consider swapping jobs, while not making good on their promise to improve our children’s literacy levels it would at least improve the literacy levels in the National Cabinet.

    • Rex Widerstrom 21.1

      Have you ever seen them in the same place at the same time, Craig? Think about it… both clowns… both with big feet (hmmm… there’s one clue – the Minister usually has one or both of her planted firmly in her mouth)… both plastic creations of a evil right wing empire… both lacking substance… both very bad for KIwis, especially those on low incomes.

      I think you could be on to something here.

      Quick, check Bennett’s disclosure documents. Does she list a very tiny car and collection of orange wigs?

  22. irascible 22

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6571510.ece

    This UK press comment from the CEO MacDonalds in the UK sounds just like Paula Bennett’s NZ press release. Who is puling her strings then?

  23. Harold 23

    All the chatter and diatribe concerning the value of performing work at mcdonalds, and the possibility of hospitality training simply obscure the exclusively low skilled, low wage nature of the positions offered.

    It is probably true that some of mc donald’s managers started on the cutting room floor; and good for them. The vast majority of mc donald’s workers, however, probably never progress past flipping burgers. On this premise, it is particularly difficult to see how this will increase New Zealand’s productivity or encourage innovation amongst its labourforce

    Rather, the government has simply decided to pass its problems off on to the department of McWelfare, the result of which isn’t likely to do terribly much good beyond the production of a generation of low wage workers who have certainly learned to take orders, but will probably never progress to the point where they will be in a position to give them.

    I genuinely cannot see this as anything less than a mistake of the most abhorrent variety imaginable.

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