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1000 more jobless each week

Written By: - Date published: 2:17 pm, May 3rd, 2012 - 28 comments
Categories: national, unemployment - Tags:

The unemployment rate has jumped to 6.7%.  Even the quarter before has been pushed up from 6.3% to 6.4%, as the picture the government has painted gets constantly less rosy.

National promised us 36,000 new jobs by last March in the last Budget, but only 20,000 jobs eventuated – far less than the increase in those seeking employment.

In the last quarter jobless rose 12,000 – basically 1,000 on the scrap heap each week.  First Union say their industry has had a “jobs massacre”.

Steven Joyce offers excuses: “These figures continue to reflect a challenging job market as the country continues to deal with the impact of the global financial crisis and Canterbury earthquakes.”

But a diagnosis comes from Cunliffe: “Poorly executed economic development is a recipe for a longer, deeper recession and growing social misery.”

David Parker charts the consistent failure: “Rising unemployment is joining the list of examples of this Government’s economic policy failures – along with a worsening current account deficit, growing international debt, and a growing wage gap with Australia.”

And Metiria tells us of a bleak, not brighter future: “Unfortunately the upcoming zero Budget is likely see an increase in unemployment and lead to more hardship and inequality in New Zealand.”

Where’s our recovery John?  Have you sold that off too?

28 comments on “1000 more jobless each week ”

  1. Newt 1

    “Where’s our recovery John? Have you sold that off too?”
    That would imply they had one in the first place…

  2. Sam Hill 2

    Unemployment hits provinces hard. Manawatu – Wanganui (8.9%) Northland (8.7%), Waikato (8.6%), BOP (8.5%) Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay (8.5%)

    Non-seasonally adjusted data (Real) shows unemployment is 7.1%. 6.7% is the seasonally adjusted total.

    Real data shows this is the highest unemployment rate since Jenny Shipley was Prime Minister

    In only five quarters in NZ’s recent history has there been more jobless than right now: 1991Q3, 1991Q4, 1992Q1 1992Q4, 2009Q4

    National Governments have never had an employment rate above 65%

    • rosy 2.1

      And for comparison – the Eurozone unemployment figures, while worse overall, show practically no change in the unemployment rate from 10.8 a year ago to 10.9 (hard to get worse in Spain without a total meltdown, I guess).

      Note well though the lowest unemployment rate – Austria at 4%. Austria operates a full employment policy and economic policies must explicitly take into account the need for work. As part of this the Advisory Council for Economic and Social Affairs, a cross-party initiative from way back in 1963 looks at economic and social policy and makes recommendations based on the effects on employment amongst other economic criteria:

      The Council’s tasks include the following:

      examining economic and social policy issues as they affect the national economy; issuing recommendations for achieving stable purchasing power, steady economic growth and full employment; putting forward proposals for improved coordination of economic and social policy measures and dealing with basic questions in these areas. The Council has to take account of the need to work through economic policy issues by drawing up economic reports; it is therefore an institution which adopts an objective approach to political discussions by working out common bases and compiling facts and information in a non-conflictual manner

      The low Austrian rate was omitted in the Herald comparisons and Steven Joyce is relying on

      The Government’s business growth agenda was focused on providing opportunities for competitive businesses to establish and grow to create more jobs and higher wages.

      “Nothing creates sustainable jobs and boosts our standard of living better than business confidence and growth.”

      I beg to differ on that point Mr Joyce. It’s time to look at other models or at least bring in other players to assess the policy mix.

      • Carol 2.1.1

        Thanks for that Austrian comparison, rosy. I have long thought that economic policy should be developed to serve and help produce the kind of society that is desired, and not the other way round.

        • rosy

          Yes, I well remember the ruthonomics people saying they wanted to change the way people think about society. It’s been an overwhelming success for them. Too many New Zealanders cannot see an alternative to the neo-liberal or market model.

          Being the political junkie I am, I’m having a great experience living in a social-democratic society right now, and doing the compare and contrast thing.

    • mike e 2.2

      Dunedin 11%

      • rosy 2.2.1

        From saving bankrupt stadiums to starved railway workshops instead of creating jobs. Some time in the future Dunedin will be the example of all that is wrong with the financial decision-making of the last few years.

  3. NickS 3

    And those that are finding work are mainly finding part time work:

    • Vicky32 3.1

      And those that are finding work are mainly finding part time work:

      Part-time casual in my case! I’ve had four days work in the 4 months and 2 days of this year….
      So, who do 3 News interview about the experience? An 18 year old white guy. Who is more likely to be unemployed? Hint – not white males…
      I am a woman  in my fifties. Of the people I know in NZ who are over 50, men and women, only a fraction are employed, and only 2 of them full time.

      • NickS 3.1.1

        Ouch, the attitude towards older workers in NZ is still pretty shit sadly :/

        And yeah, I’m not looking forward to try and finding some temp work, when I go back on the sickness benefit as I had to drop out of uni again due to having a second depressive episode. And I’m now tempted to go do a bike mechanics next half of the year course because all those fulltime labouring jobs that were meant to be part of the Canterbury rebuild have seemingly dried up for all but those with trade qualifications or long term experience.

      • Uh, young people also face issues. We can get employment but usually only if it is casual or part time. Very few employers are willing to invest in training and will instead try to outbid each other on advertising. (ironically they probably lose out doing this) Really this economy is a loser for anyone who’s not a 30-40 year-old professional straight-passing white male.

        An 18-yearold white young man is not a bad person to interview, if you were also interviewing older workers, women, and people of various races. Which is a laugh, this is TV news, you rarely get interviewed if you’re not white.

        • Vicky32

          An 18-yearold white young man is not a bad person to interview, if you were also interviewing older workers, women, and people of various races. Which is a laugh, this is TV news, you rarely get interviewed if you’re not white.

          However, he was the only one they interviewed… which is why I was so annoyed about it. I see that 3 News will interview white people usually, and Maori or Island people if it’s an item about poverty, pokies or education. Almost never do they interview women in a ‘vox pop’, unless they are focusing on ‘girls’, which it seems are women between 18-30 years of age. (All that time I spent in the 1980s, trying to persuade people that girls are under 18, and that females over 18 are women, was wasted, it seems.)

      • Vicky32 3.1.3

        And yeah, I’m not looking forward to try and finding some temp work, when I go back on the sickness benefit as I had to drop out of uni again due to having a second depressive episode.

        You have my best wishes NickS! I hope things improve for you…

  4. Carol 4

    I also should imagine that the majority of job losses in the public sector were for women.

    And when public sector jobs are cut, people’s needs often get met by unpaid workers who are largely women. Maori men and women also do more unpaid work than non-Maori, with Maori men doing a higher proportion than both non-Maori men and Maori women.


    The New Zealand Time Use survey (Statistics New Zealand, 2001b) demonstrated how economically valuable the contribution of this work is to the nation’s economy. ‘In a year, the time spent on unpaid work in New Zealand as a primary activity equates, at 40 hours per week, to 2 million full time jobs. This compares with the equivalent of 1.7 million full time jobs in time spent in labour force activity.’ On average, 60 percent of men’s work is paid, but almost 70 percent of women’s work is unpaid. Women spend more time in each of the four categories of unpaid work: household work, caregiving for household members, purchasing goods and services for own households, and unpaid work outside the home. Maori men recorded more time in informal unpaid work hours than both non-Maori men and Maori women. Maori women spend more time caring for household members than do non-Maori women.

    And the women left working in the public sector do loads of unpaid overtime, as shown in a PSA survey last year:


    The survey of 7292 women Public Service Association (PSA) members, conducted by Victoria University’s industrial relations centre, found more than 50 percent of respondents worked more hours than they were contracted for, but only 14 percent of those were paid to do so.
    A fifth of the PSA’s roughly 40,000 women members responded to the survey last June, making it the most comprehensive study of women public servants in New Zealand to date.

    And still the official figures on the economy (GDP etc) don’t measure the value of this unpaid work to the economy.

    • fatty 4.1


      Nice link Carol…its time to view employment through a human rights lens. As far as I am aware, all human rights legislation the world over considers employment, plus protective welfare, to be a human right. NZ has never considered employment to be a human right.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        NZ has never considered employment to be a human right.

        It did tacitly in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

        Then neoliberalism came along and decided that having too many people employed in society was inefficient for corporations and big business.

        • fatty

          “It did tacitly in the 1960′s and 1970′s.”

          Kind of, but not really if you were female or Maori, their unemployment is invisible in out statistics and history.
          Not until 1977 did it became unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sex / marital status / family status.

          “Then neoliberalism came along and decided that having too many people employed in society was inefficient for corporations and big business.”

          True, that’s the difference today compared to pre-1984, rather than being a social concern, unemployment has become a tool / weapon for the upper class to drive down the average wage.

          • rosy

            Kind of, but not really if you were female or Maori, their unemployment is invisible in out statistics and history

            To a degree you’re correct Fatty, there might be a bit of nostalgia creeping in. But despite racism and sexism at the blue collar end the jobs were there in the ’60s and ’70s.

            In the street I lived in every father was employed, and quite a few younger mothers (the street I lived on was predominately Maori). I walked out of school in the 70s, at 15, into a factory job, and I can’t remember any of my friends having difficulties in finding jobs – male and female, Pakeha and Maori.

            I’ve a feeling things might have been different in the white collar world. I do remember one friend (male and Maori) leaving school with U.E – a huge achievement in our world – and ending up a road-worker and that was probably my first lesson of institutional racism. Or even then it may have been class – no-one else tried to break the working class ceiling – but I suspect it was racist.

            Teara seems to suggest it was the late 70s and early 80s when Maori unemployment rose dramatically. I’m not sure if that was favouring Pakeha workers or the destruction of blue collar jobs in general with the recession.

            Good point… “True, that’s the difference today compared to pre-1984, rather than being a social concern, unemployment has become a tool / weapon for the upper class to drive down the average wage.”… and take job destruction to another level.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            We were right to consider remuneration for work a right then, and wrong not to consider equality in the equation. I’m not sure that’s a good argument that we didn’t consider people to have a “right to work”. (writing those words feels wrong now that they’re a euphemism for union-busting in the USA)

          • Carol

            As I recall in the 60s Maori and Pacific Island peopledid the factory and other manual work.

            I think there was an immigration campaign to recruit Samoans etc to do the manual jobs – the ones least desired by Pakeha Kiwis.


            In the 1950s the New Zealand government began actively recruiting labourers from Pacific countries to work in its rapidly developing industrial and agricultural sectors and from the late 1960s formal work-permit schemes were introduced…

            There was work for middleclass Kiwi women, but largely in teaching and nursing. I got UE, and in my 6th form class at a girls’ school, those were the jobs about the whole class was looking at. Most saw it as a job to do til they got married.

            I didn’t know what to do as a career and went to a careers adviser in the Auckland CBD. It was depressing and demoralising. Everything I thought I might like to do (mainly journalism and law), I was put off – mainly by saying it required someone who would do A LOT of years higher education (somehow they thought I wasn’t up to that, but I later proved them wrong) and that these jobs would be too hard for me to get into.

            It took me a while to really get into teaching. I did some library work, some office work etc. And it was a while before I went to uni.

            The jobs were there for most people, but the inequalities were in the KIND of jobs people got, the amount they paid, the possibilities for promotion and status, and the requirement for uni education, which was a difficult thing to do full time if you didn’t have parents with money to spare.

            I think Maori and Pacific women also work in factory and manual jobs.

            We continue to live with this legacy in our employment and education structure, even though many women and Maori and Pacific people have made it to higher paid jobs and higher education.

            • Vicky32

              There was work for middleclass Kiwi women, but largely in teaching and nursing. I got UE, and in my 6th form class at a girls’ school, those were the jobs about the whole class was looking at. Most saw it as a job to do til they got married.

              Here’s bizarre for you! When I was in the 5th form in 1968, our school arranged for people to come from Rotorua Hospital, and from Waikato Teachers’ College, and every girl was scheduled for interviews for nursing and teaching, regardless of what she wanted and regardless of race or class! I attended of course (my parents wanted me to be a nurse) but was rejected for both – nursing, the principal told me, because “you look too frail” and teaching because I couldn’t swim! (Every teacher had to be prepared to teach PE, seemingly.)
              I ended up doing what I wanted to do, and went to work at Rotorua Public Library. That was the equivalent of University, as everyone was sent to the Library School in Wellington, for classroom blocks. I immediately earned twice as much in a week as all my fellows who were also working class. I wish I could have stuck with it, but a family crisis intervened.. 🙁

      • DH 4.1.2

        “..its time to view employment through a human rights lens.”

        It’s all very nice talking about rights but the real issue with employment is how to achieve it. You can’t order employers to hire more staff and the state can only hire so many workers. Even if employment was a right how would you enforce it?

        We had full employment in the ’60s and ’70s because the state acted as a sponge, mopping up the leftovers. When there was a labour shortage we brought workers in from the Islands on work permits. That all fell apart under the Labour Govt of Lange & Roger Douglas, Ruth Richardson put the boot in.

        Clarke’s vision for fixing unemployment was to eradicate the blue collar worker in a generation through education; the blue collar jobs were hardest hit so get rid of the blue collar worker. That worked well, now we have unemployed white collar and blue collar workers.

        National’s vision is to create a more big-business friendly environment so they can expand and take on more staff. We can all see where that’s headed.

        So how do we provide jobs for all?

  5. mike e 5

    Nats are numskulls promises promises and more BS thats their policy

  6. Dr Terry 6

    Stephen Joyce, supposedly intelligent, resorts STILL to the same worn out old excuses of the global situation and Christchurch! He speaks lamentably of a “challenging job market” (mark that stern word “challenging” – my, oh my!). Christchurch surely is by now weary of being used as a national “scapegoat” (probably the slow recovery serves this government well – as a convenient and on-going excuse for its ineptitude).
    Key , as usual, tries yet again to deflect attention away from the immediacy of our problem. Other vast economies in the world are sure to find the going immensely tougher than does a lowly populated and insular little country (the government of which persists in promising “a brighter future”). Because things are worse elsewhere does not excuse the specifics of what is very much awry here!
    Fortunately other speakers do focus on the “here and now” with wisdom and warning (Cunliffe standing out as usual).
    I wonder what, specifically, the new figures tell us about youth unemployment? Key absolutely gives it away when he resorts to the foolish fantasy of “full employment” – which puts in the limelight nothing less than a desperate leader already fallen into dreamland.

  7. Tombstone 7

    When the hell are people going to wake up to this bunch of clowns and get to grips with reality – National are an absolute joke and the people are paying an all too hefty price for their incompetent management of the economy. And to think they still have plenty more time in which to do even more damage – question is – can the country afford to allow this bunch of clowns to govern any longer because I sure as hell can’t see how we can. It’s getting worse not better and Key doesn’t seem to give a shit the smug bastard!

  8. Rodel 8

    Heard some important Bank economist on Radio NZ today who said we have 160,000 unemployed because there were were too many people chasing not enough jobs. That basically was his analysis.Brilliant!

    Less amusing tonight was the the TV3 news first item -a boring sleaze story about John Banks room discount saga in a Hong Kong Hotel.
    The second minor item on the news tonight..almost an afterthought, was the new 160,000 unemployment figure.
    When Clark and Cullen were in charge we (NZ) has the lowest unemployment in the OECD. .South Korea was a close second.
    English, Key and co’s fiscal strategies are newsworthy as tragic incompetence but the media and we are obsessed with tabloid sleaze about a ditzy old politician and an obese German.
    I give up!

    • Sanctuary 8.1

      On TVNZ the coverage of the unemployment figures – a national disgrace that is blighting the lives of tens of thousands of New Zealanders – was even more disgraceful, with the story being relegated to “below the fold” after the first advertising break.

      Seriously, how fucked up does your news gathering values have to get to treat a story that is (in terms of under-employment and unemployment) impacting on 200,000 plus New Zealanders as less important than yet another finance sector shyster being sentenced for fraud?

  9. There is no evidence that a plan for a recovery existed in the first place. National came to office because John Key reasonated with voters, but he and his ministers had given little thought to a long-term recovery plan when they were in Opposition and certainly haven’t done much since taking office.

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