Excuses excuses

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, July 2nd, 2009 - 15 comments
Categories: national/act government, unemployment - Tags:

First, it was ‘we’re going to do everything we can to keep Kiwis in jobs’

Next, it was ‘yeah, OK, we haven’t done anything significant to keep people in jobs (we borrowed a couple of small programmes from the Greens and the unions, though) but who cares? Look, other countries have more unemployed, so, um, hope that makes you feel better when collecting the dole… if you are eligible… which you’re probably not’

Then, ‘yeah, OK, so jobs are going but have you considered that during the last major recession jobs also disappeared and Phil Goff was Minister for Employment at the time?’

Finally, it’s ‘jobs losses? What job losses? It’s Labour’s fault for creating so many jobs in the first place and they weren’t even real jobs, despite the fact that they were providing real livelihoods to real people’:

Hon BILL ENGLISH: New Zealand is dealing with two recessions. One is the coordinated global recession. The other is the New Zealand recession that started in early 2008, which was caused by 10 years of unbalanced policy under the last Government. Many of the people who are losing their jobs today are the unfortunate victims of policy that built economic growth on borrowed money and big Government spending. Those were never sustainable jobs, and it is unfortunate that those individuals and families are now feeling the pain of losing jobs that were not sustainable.

Excuses excuses. If the Nats spent the energy on a jobs package that they have on making excuses and digging up old Goff quotes for their laughable smear campaign we might not be seeing 1100 people a week going on to the dole.

-Marty G

15 comments on “Excuses excuses”

  1. Tigger 1

    I’m declaring that due to the economic crisis we can no longer afford so many MPs. These positions were never sustainable jobs and simply a creation of big Government spending in the past. Well it’s not the past now, kiddos and we need to tighten our belts. I’m asking a third of the MPs in Parliament to resign immediately. Given English’s remarks here I expect him to be first on the list.

  2. I can’t quite understand what National are trying to achieve by attacking Phil Goff in this way. I don’t think it’s going to turn voters off Labour to hear National saying “hey Phil, you’ve got some great ideas”.

  3. Ianmac 3

    In attacking Goff in this way it is meant to show that in the 80’s Labour/Goff had no answers to rising unemployment.
    But that was then. Now we would expect the Government to have ideas to demonstrate action, creativity, initiative. Or even an illusion of doing so. So Mr Key, demonstrate leadership. Please?

  4. The economic incoherence- and the political expediency – embodied in the quote from Mr English should embarrass even the most sympathetic neo-classicist. Two recessions? False jobs? ‘Unbalanced policy’? Desperate stuff.

  5. “Excuses, excuses” you say?

    That would avoid Labour having to take any responsibility for their actions, and to appreciate the irony of their criticism.

    But hey, the typical flippant answer of the day is “if you don’t like what the government’s doing, you can always vote them out”

    Better hope National aren’t as good as Labour at managing the press.

  6. ghostwhowalks 6

    Unbelievable !!

    English and Key this time last year ( before the financial pot boiled over) were saying that NZ needed more borrowing and that was the answer to’ low growth’

    So the labour government which used the surplus to pay down debt ( not increase it) was the cause of the ‘other recesssion’

    Some serious bullshitting is going on here. See all the right wing noise machine run with this

  7. indiana 7

    “despite the fact that they were providing real livelihoods to real people’:”

    I presume you are referring to all the public service roles/job that have been cut by National. Can you justify any government creating jobs just for the sake of providing real livelihoods, especially public service roles that do not directly contribute to the front line services as required?

    • Maynard J 7.1

      “Can you justify any government creating jobs just for the sake of providing real livelihoods, …”

      Keynes certainly did.

      “…especially public service roles that do not directly contribute to the front line services as required?”

      Who says a public service role must contribute directly to the ‘front line’ – from whence do you derive this ‘requirement’? How do you define ‘directly’? What is wrong with ‘indirect’ support, or even more remote ‘guidance’ or ‘policy’? How do you separate the ‘front line’ from the rest?

      Justify all that first, and I will elaborate for you.

      • indiana 7.1.1

        This is a good debate, so here goes:

        Direct Jobs/Front line, for example telephone operators to handle the expected volume of calls for a public service
        Indirect jobs/Support/guidance, for example management and HR roles to hire the telephone operators.

        If you only need x number of telephone operators to provide the desired service levels, why hire x + y, where y are jobs created just for the sake of it.
        Similarly, why have more HR people than you need to efficiently manage a recruitment program, or excessive levels of management?

        And I say, along with perhaps many other NZers that haven’t received quality service from the likes of WINZ, ACC, IRD etc that public service roles must directly contribute to the front line.

        Clarke – “Real livelihoods” are not my words, they are Marty G’s.

        People wouldn’t have been dumped on the scrap heap if surplus jobs hadn’t have been created in the first place.

        To me employment is like supply and demand, at present we have excessive supply and low demand, a few years back it was the other way around. Is it wise for any government left or right wing to dry up supply just for the sake of it?

        • Maynard J 7.1.1.1

          Great stuff.

          Now this is where it is going to get (or remain) subjective, I suspect. I do not think that any Public Service jobs were created for the sake of it, or for the sake of increasing employment alone, or to increase the size of the public service itself.

          A lot of the pre-election arguments focused on quantity, not quality, stating that there were too many bureaucrats, and not enough on the front line. The obvious counter-argument was raised that the per-capita expenditure on the public service, and per-capita employment level was below that of the late 1990’s, so the growth seen under Labour was merely a correction for the inadequate resourcing of the previous decade. Both, again, are subjective, without detailed analysis of outputs from the Public Service, and you can not do that with some areas where the focus is not on service provision but, for example, mitigation or prevention efforts – negative externality reduction.

          How do you measure ACC’s safety campaigns, pre-primary healthcare efforts, IRD’s upgrade to online (not to mention the very existence of .govt.nz), or road safety campaigns? These are all back-office, bureaucrat-driven efforts, if you wanted to use that terminology. Have they not saved us money, freed up doctors and nurses from dealing with preventable health problems, improved direct access to services and information, reduced accidents?

          There are some statistical measures but what you are measuring is incredibly complex, so to show an increase or a drop in numbers would not really suffice. Those are the more obvious types of examples. What about research into policy and direction that might not see implementation for years? Is that a waste of money?

          If you say that all of those efforts are just job-creation and a poor use of resources, you are consigning Government to a reactive and stagnant fate. That is a poor use of taxpayer dollars, if ever there was one.

          To counteract this you would need to either focus on benefits realisation which is good if you are in business and need to justify expenditure to shareholders and stakeholders, but not good when you are in it for the long haul; or you will need to explain in more detail what the government does, a difficult task given its size; or hope that enough of what is delivered is tangible. (incidentally, does the latter explain the increasing use of PR? That generates a problem in of itself!)

          I do not think that the last government hired and expanded for the sake of it, but I look for value, not waste. I am sure the latter exists, but am yet to be convinced it is worse than in any organisation of a similar size.

    • Clarke 7.2

      Can you justify any government creating jobs just for the sake of providing real livelihoods

      Are you suggesting that even though society has the ability to create jobs that are real livelihoods (your words) we should dump people on the scrap-heap instead?

  8. Clarke 8

    Those were never sustainable jobs, and it is unfortunate that those individuals and families are now feeling the pain of losing jobs that were not sustainable.

    Is that Bill English effectively saying that during Labour’s reign these people should never have been employed – in other words, they should have been on the dole instead of being in these “unsustainable” jobs?

    Is he serious?

  9. rebelrocker 9

    Is that Bill English effectively saying that during Labour’s reign these people should never have been employed in other words, they should have been on the dole instead of being in these “unsustainable’ jobs?

    NO he’s saying that if broader policy settings had been different these people could have been employed in DIFFERENT types of jobs that were more sustainable in the longer term. In his opinion this would have resulted in less people being employed as a result of public funding (eg communications staff in Govt Departments) or from excessive borrowing (eg, service industry people employed at places like the Warehouse). Where he expects people to be employed I’m not sure probably export led industries but given the significant drop in global demand those jobs wouldn’t be safe either.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      A rather round about way to say that Bill English doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Which isn’t surprising – he believes in capitalism which is a failed system because it needs poverty for it to work.

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