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Key’s long-term unemployment record

Written By: - Date published: 3:32 pm, February 9th, 2011 - 38 comments
Categories: benefits, jobs, john key, unemployment - Tags:

John Key has taken a swing at Kiwi workers who have lost their jobs thanks to the bankers’ recession and his economic mis-management. Key claims people are choosing to be long-term beneficiaries “even though work is available to them”. But the jobs aren’t there and that has caused long-term unemployment to explode under his watch.

Stats breaks down unemployment (different from the number on the dole, remember) by how long the person has been looking for work.

As you can see, there’s a sort of unavoidable low level of unemployment, about 3%, from the churn of jobs being created and destroyed, people joining and leaving the workforce, seasonal work. It’s the longer-term unemployment – 26 weeks or more – that’s really interesting.

Since the low point in mid-2008, the number of people unemployed for more than 26 weeks has more than quadrupled from 10,300 to 44,400.

And it gets worse: the number of people unemployed for longer than a year was just 2,400  in the middle of 2008 (only 1 in a 1000 workers!). It is a staggering, and heartbreaking, 15,000 today. That’s a 500% increase in two and a half years. That’s John Key’s record on employment.

We know that long-term unemployment is incredibly destructive – it has been shown that a young person who is long-term unemployed is likely to be earning significantly less decades later than someone who wasn’t long-term unemployed. Not to mention the associations with crime, suicide, and ill-health.

It’s self-evident that people aren’t choosing long-term unemployment. If they were, it would have always been high, not just have suddenly shot up like that. Long-term unemployment is rising because the National government is letting it. And, now, they want to punish the victims of their neglectful governance.

Rather than letting tens of thousands of people rot in long-term unemployment and then attacking them for it, any government worthy of office should be investing in real job creation – it would save the government money and give opportunity to Kiwi families who find themselves mired in poverty through no fault of their own.

38 comments on “Key’s long-term unemployment record ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    My dad was unemployed for about a year, possibly a bit under or a bit longer.

    He’s now casually employed, doing much less work than he would really like, but there simply wasn’t anyone else interested in hiring him. He applied for lots of jobs and got interviews for a few, but no offers. Eventually he gave up applying. No one wants to employ someone over 60 in technical/sales roles (even if they’ve been in the field for over 30 years and know it like the back of their hand).

  2. tsmithfield 2

    If jobs are in such short supply then why are we bringing in 7500 workers from overseas for our fruit-picking season?.

    BTW Lanthanide, good on your Dad for having the motivation to get out and do something even if it is temp work. I know several people who are doing far better than on the dole with temp work, and there is plenty around at the moment. Especially here in Christchurch with the earthquake.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      It’s not temp work. Also he’s not eligible for the dole.

      He’s employed by a company from Auckland who are in his field of business/expertise, and he works on a casual basis for whenever they get enquiries from CHCH or the rest of the south island. There’re plenty of sales opportunities available and my dad knows most of the customers very well because he used to be the salesman for the previous company (that made him redundant and paid out $95,000 because they’d rather have a clueless 26 year old doing the job), the problem is the people in Auckland don’t want to take the risk of properly expanding the business.

    • KJT 2.2

      They need to bring in workers from overseas for fruit picking because New Zealander’s cannot afford to work for a net $4 /Hour.

    • MrSmith 2.3

      Fruit picking Tsmithfield’ now there’s a job with prospects, your response is typical next you will be telling us you saw a lot of aluminum cans in the gutter this morning and why arn’t people out there picking them up for a living.

    • handle 2.4

      “temp work, and there is plenty around at the moment. Especially here in Christchurch with the earthquake.”

      *Only* in Christchurch, and the rest of the country’s taxpayers and premium-payers are supporting you. As it should be.

    • The Voice of Reason 2.5

      Could it be the hands, TS? Or the toilet training?

      Lets see what the experts say:

      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/lockwood-smith-comments-cause-angry-reaction-36805

    • ron 2.6

      …for two reasons. One – the work is actually beyond a 17 year old unemployed kid. They ndon’t have the strength or the skills to stay the distance.
      With ther imported workers the orchadist knows he’s getting strong, hard workers who will stay for the whole season and know how to do the work
      and Two because the systems and contracts for bringing in those workers have been in place for a long time now and the workers, their communities and their countries rely on it. Given the appallinmg stae of this government’s overseas aid programme it seems the least we can do

      • kriswgtn 2.6.1

        and orchardists DO pay them less
        I worked in Hastings and Nelson 15+ yrs ago and found work quite easily
        Hastings act Havelock North to be precise-

        There were 2 work gangs

        1- was the kiwis-Pakeha and Maori

        the others were Fijian Indians working for close to $5 less than what we we getting
        Guess who got most of the work?

        I say send them home

        The price of a apple bin hassnt gone up much either
        $35 2 years ago

        we were gettin 20-25-per bin and you only get paid for what you pick and select picking) not strip picking) ,the orchard owner gets more money paying contract and the worker dont

        i am all for helping and developing poorer countries but not at the expense of NZ’ers

        • Colonial Viper 2.6.1.1

          NZ clearly needs a system of indentured labourers to help business owners. How can you hope to run a profitable business model without indentured labourers.

        • Bill 2.6.1.2

          So you should have bust the employers arse. Piece rate or whatever cannot drop below the min wage per hour or it’s an unlawful wage. If it took you 4 hours to fill a bin that pays $35, then you still get paid 4 hours worth of min wage rates. The min wage is a default minimum, if you see what I mean.

          Far be for me to suggest that that the minimum wage for an hour of work is a useful lever for those working piece rate. You can all work slower and settle for the min wage if the piece rate is crap. Won’t take long for the piece rate to increase to ‘incentivise’.

          I believe that copper nails also work wonders on the attitude of bastard apple orchardists!

          • KJT 2.6.1.2.1

            That’s why they like Fijians. They know if they complain they cannot get a job next year.

            The orchardists are not so silly as to as blatantly pay less than minimum wage. They get the money back off their labour by rorts like $100 a week rent for a corner of a shed.

            Some were caught running double books with contractors not long ago.

            • Bill 2.6.1.2.1.1

              Yup. Aware of some of the jiggery-pokery. Which is where a union presence would go a long way. But are any unions in NZ set up to deal with a situation involving, what are essentially itinerant workers? Nope. And are any willing to look seriously at organising pickers etc? Nope.

              • Deadly_NZ

                True, they are too busy being ineffectual for Kiwi’s..

              • KJT

                Unions have great difficulty getting onto sites where employers let it be known that if you join a Union you will no longer have a job. US based franchise companies are good at this also.

    • Justin Mitchell 2.7

      By employing so many people from the Pacific Islands we are giving them a hand up (paid work) as opposed to a hand out (aid). I personally work with about 20 to 25 chaps from the Cook Islands and Tonga I find them happy, hard working and proud. Their economies have been hit harder than ours and we either provide them with this work or we watch their countries slip further into poverty. We also employ local workers when they are available, but the poor wages, high cost of living in the Nelson region and the sheer hard graft of the work put many off.
      Suffice to say I am lucky, I am not one of the many poor souls out there looking for work as I am well aware there is not much available.

  3. hobbit 3

    Why would more people on the state tit worry the loony left; it’s their main method of survival..

    • The Voice of Reason 3.1

      It’s a worry if it’s a multi millionaire film director (and proven liar) taking tax dollars to make his mates richer and the rest of us poorer, my hairy footed friend.

    • daveo 3.2

      Hey a rightard who can’t use a semicolon!

    • Marty G 3.3

      See the second paragraph where, especially for you, I point out that these are unemployment numbers not unemployment benefit numbers? You righties keep getting dumber.

      Now, how about defending your hero Key’s jobs record?

      • NZGroover 3.3.1

        Marty, do you have the same graph with unemployment benefit numbers?

        • Deadly_NZ 3.3.1.1

          Wouldn’t that just be a line going from a low number, and heading into orbit?

          And judging from the look on ol’ Smiley’s face when Bennet dropped him in it was priceless. As someone else said Smile and wave turned into Turn and Run.

  4. Harry 4

    From the comments of Key and Co they do seem to be taking an approach based on ideology. Don’t plan for employment, wait for the market to take up the slack after you have reduced the public sector. I guess the question is when will the private sector kick in?

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    I see Key was correct. New Zealand did see a reasonably aggressive recovery. In bigger numbers of long term unemployed.

    • KJT 5.1

      I remember a few years ago millionaire Kiwi fruit growers in the Bay of Plenty were wingeing they could not get pickers.
      Then one of the previous years pickers told everyone why. The effective rate (Because they got around the minimum wage by paying per box) after paying expenses was $3 per hour.

  6. Chris Harris 6

    What worries me is that those who own New Zealand’s land and resources basically don’t have any interest in providing jobs, it’s neither here nor there to them whether raw logs are made into furniture in NZ or shipped off shore. So what’s going to happen long term if we have a million or so surplus people?

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      On the whole, NZ business owners don’t think about creating innovative new products or implementing new technologies to add to the bottom line. Cutting jobs and cutting pay seems quicker and faster to them.

      Cut another staff member out, wow that’s another $700 profit per week just like that. Fire an experienced staffer and hire a kid, that’s another $100 profit per week, just like that.

      Off load private expenses as business costs on to the community or the tax payer, awesomesauce!

      Brilliant business skills, these guys should be rewarded with tax cuts.

  7. Uncle Helen 7

    ..who have lost their jobs thanks to the bankers’ recession and his economic mis-management.

    “..who have lost their jobs due to the deliberate stagnation of the economy by the Labour Regime during the boom years through over-taxation and the flushing of the tax-take entirely down the welfare toilet.”

    • Marty G 7.1

      we don’t usually let Uncle Helen’s stuff through because it’s filth but this is clean and a perfect example of how false premises can lead to false conclusions:

      “deliberate stagnation of the economy by the Labour Regime during the boom years”

      I mean, that’s just self-contradictory – they stalled the economy at the same time as it was booming?

      “flushing of the tax-take entirely down the welfare toilet”

      Welfare spending fell under Labour because the number of beneficiaries fell. Under National, the bill is a billion dollars a year higher because there are 100,000 more beneficiaries because the jobs are gone.

      See, it’s easy to blame Labour for higher unemployment two years into a National government, if you make up the facts.

      • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1

        Yeah, I guess he thinks it would have more sense to stimulate the economy during the boom years so that the aspirational set could have leveraged themselves even deeper into shit than they already did, and then when the bubble done bust the govt books would have started out already in the crapper, there’d be no wff assisting demand, and we could have, I dunno, gone to the IMF or something.

    • KJT 7.2

      Whoops. Someone escaped from Kiwibog.

    • Colonial Viper 7.3

      Did it occur to Uncle that a dollar the Government gets in tax is a dollar that the Government does not have to borrow from China and pay back with interest?

      • Craig Glen Eden 7.3.1

        “Did it occur to Uncle” CV this would imply Uncle has insight, from reading his post insight he definitely does not have, I suspect he is also is not familiar with Government debt repayment or the Cullen super fund either.

  8. Deadly_NZ 8

    Well I suppose we will find out how bad the cuts to the Public sector are on election night. I wonder how long it will take them to count all those votes with no staff?

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