The Herald reports today that TVNZ fired 90 employees following a letter from Broadcasting Minister Johnathan Coleman demanding that it raise its profitability.
This follows similar cuts at the Ministry of Social development, Ministry for the Environment, Tertiary Education Commission. There look likely to be hundreds or thousands of job losses as a result of the Government’s Supercity plans, and 250 or so redundancies at the IRD. There are scores of jobs gone at the Ministry of Justice, Fisheries, Department of Labour, Transport Agency, Qualifications Authority, State Services Commission and NZ Post. These are just the ones I could find with a quick search.
In the private sector there have been thousands more through the building industry (like Carter Holt), manufacturing (LWR and Cavalier), Banking (ANZ, BNZ, National), and real estate sectors. The Herald recently reported that a fifth of our large used car dealerships have closed in the past six months – perhaps 10,000 job losses.
What about the government’s response?
The nine day fortnight has saved perhaps a couple of hundred jobs. A welcome relief no doubt to those workers affected, but really only a drop in the bucket. We have yet to see anything much (at all?) materialise around the Jobs Summit’s on-again off-again cycleway. To top it off we’ve seen tax cuts that clearly favour the highest income earners rather than those at the bottom or in the middle.
The upcoming budget is this government’s chance to take real action – to invest in stimulating the economy and to show a genuine commitment to protecting workers and their jobs. We’ve seen enough firing. It’s time for some hiring.