web analytics

Make-work don’t work

Written By: - Date published: 2:15 pm, October 15th, 2008 - 24 comments
Categories: economy, election 2008, maori party, wages, welfare, workers' rights - Tags:

The Maori Party wants the dole abolished to be replaced by work schemes. It’s a bad idea but it’s not too far from being a good one.

Make work schemes are bad in several ways. They distort the market for low-skill work. The State with an army of cheap, semi-involuntary labour ends up undercutting the normal labour market, pulling down wages for workers or forcing them out of a job (and into the work schemes). When unemployed people are stuck in work schemes they don’t get the opportunity to look for proper work. It’s likely that workers in work schemes will be poorly used, we remember the stories from the Great Depression of one work gang digging a hole, which another filled in.

The Maori Party is right about the demoralising effect long-term dependence on benefits can have but it is wrong to think forcing people against their will to do useless work is the answer. Instead, the Government should look to get them into proper jobs. The Government should create more ordinary jobs by expanding its infrastructure construction, which is exactly what Labour is proposing to do. 

Let’s remember, too, that there are very few long-term unemployment beneficiaries in New Zealand. Only 5,300 people (0.2% of workers) on the UB now have been on a benefit for longer than a year. That’s down from 45,000 in 2003 and over 100,000 in the 1990s. Most people are on the UB for very short periods. We don’t want to be unnecessarily diverting those people out of the normal job market into make-work schemes. Yes, we should continue the good work that is being done to eliminate long-term unemployment but we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Rather than make-work schemes, the Government should also help unemployed people find work in the private sector – WINZ should go into competition (and, ideally, replace) the labour hire companies by putting unemployed workers and businesses in need of short-term labour together. WINZ could offer decent work rights to these workers, as well as better rates to the workers and the businesses than the labour hire companies do at present by operating on more reasonable margins.

I do worry that there is starting to be a trend of the Maori Party blurting out poorly considered ideas. If they want to make serious gains for their people, they have to get more serious.

24 comments on “Make-work don’t work ”

  1. vidiot 1

    …replaced by work schemes. It’s a bad idea but it’s not too far from being a good one. Make work schemes are bad in several ways….

    Wasn’t this make work scheme Helen’s answer last night to the ‘hard’ question, something like we shall engage in (excuse the pun) Labour intensive projects to help NZ move out of this depression/recession.

    Now was it Eden Park or Auckland Grammar sports fields that were done this way, way back then… the work was finished, things still weren’t economically right (excuse the pun again) and they were told to redo them again, this time 1″ lower.

  2. No, it wasn’t Clark’s answer. Read the post.

  3. vidiot 3

    SP – suggest you watch last nights debate again, she clearly inferred on more than one occasion, that she would introduce infrastructure schemes that tied up (employed) large amounts of people vs having them on the unemployment books, if the economy tanked badly. That’s not work for teh dole, but it’s very close to it.

    [ no, she said they would bring forward infrastructure scheme providing employment and stimulus to the economy. These are projects that are worthwhile in their own right simply being accelerated, that’s quite different from creating work schemes for the purpose of having unemployed people doing something. Stimulating employment economic activity in a downturn is great, work schemes are not. I’m sorry if you can’t understand the difference. SP]

  4. randal 4

    make work schemes are just chain gangs for tories to work out their underlying psychological fantasies on semi-slaves. nasty

  5. Scribe 5

    Hmmm,

    I would think the Maori Party would have advisers who know a thing or two about what the best strategy is for their people, who are grossly over-represented in these statistics.

    IMHO, Sharples/Turia and co are in touch with the majority of Maori and are — despite policy disagreements I’d have with them — people of character who want what’s best for their people.

  6. Tane 6

    Scribe. From my experience the Maori Party are all over the place on policy. They’re an empty brand looking for a political ideology.

    Did you see Hone on Agenda the other week? Going on about how he’d like to cut this tax and that tax, then when asked how much it cost he had no idea.

    Anyone know if they’ve actually costed their plans to cut GST, corporate tax and create a tax-free threshold?

  7. Does The Standard have a cesorship policy? I wrote a comment last night arguing against this blog’s analyis of the debate and by morning it was gone. No expletives and nothing prurient. What’s the problem?

    [lprent: Nope – not unless you’re banned or moderated or the anti-spam engine recognizes you. The most likely reason is that it simply didn’t save at the server.

    That is usually because people get the recaptcha required to enter comments incorrect. The reason you have to do that is because we don’t require logins and it is the most effective way to stop spambots.]

  8. Tane 8

    I can’t see why it would be gone Ron. As you can see from the posts over the last 24 hours there’s a fair bit of disagreement even amongst ourselves.

    Feel free to post it again, could have been an error or the spam trap.

  9. randal 9

    ron hanson..bad luck…write it again and stop bleating!

  10. bobo 10

    This is all part of a predeal with National coming through back to work for the dole.. Labour means real jobs in regards to building roads and state assets in the quiet times , do you think that a laborer on the roads is going to do a full week for the dole +20 dollars a week which I remember was the old policy. The Maori Party are badly advised to go down this road when unemployment only drops with real jobs not token ones below the minimum wage.

  11. Aj 11

    It’s about time someone asked if the M Party will support changes to Kiwisaver if National try to form a coalition

  12. Ben R 12

    Although there is the crowding out problem with these schemes, I think it’s good that they recognise the self destructiveness of having nothing to do. It’s a good idea apply the basic principle of reciprocity to the benefit system so people feel they’ve done something to earn their money.

  13. Thanks, just wanted to check, good to know.

    cheers

    Ron

  14. simon 14

    There is an easy solution to long term dole bludgers. The dole will only be available for 12 months, after that you’re on your own. To clean up the mess, build enough prisons for 4-5000 new inmates, which will stimulate the economy and create jobs thus no more long term unemployed.

  15. Bill 15

    Anyone ever thought of paying the unemployed for the work they do?

  16. Bill – only someone who didn’t realise it was a privilege to provide your labour to capital would say something silly like that…

    Arbeit Macht Frei, old chap…

  17. Quoth the Raven 17

    What an amanzingly simple plan simon, why didn’t anyone think of that before, that’ll solve all our problems. If the dole bludgers don’t get work after 12 months they can starve to death. 4-5000 new inmates we’re have to make new laws for that. No problem. How about if you don’t wear a tie on sunday, we put you prison. The economy will go swimmingly the billions and billions of dollars to build the prisons will be got from leprechauns. And then to keep them running and administer them don’t you know there are pots of gold at the ends of rainbows. We’ll get the scientists working on finding them. All will be well.
    I guess you’re voting ACT, Simon. Right?

  18. Alexandra 18

    Scribe
    the Maori party do not represent most Maori on all issues. Our politics are as diverse as non maori. I for one do not agree with work for the dole schemes because everyone has a right to be paid a decent wage for a decent days work. I do however support full employment though the creation of real jobs.

  19. Pascal's bookie 19

    “The economy will go swimmingly the billions and billions of dollars to build the prisons will be got from leprechauns. ”

    Could be, but it’s risky. Those little feckers are mean.

  20. Dom 20

    I’m with Tane – until the Maori Party learn how to put budget numbers beside their plans then they’re not plans but musings. I’ve noticed this same failing from them for years now. Unless its a costed policy then its just an interesting thought.

  21. Bill 21

    SOd

    “Arbeit Macht Frei, old chap ”

    Silly me right enough. Potatoes anyone?

  22. Bill me old mate I think that might have been over their heads… What a fuckin fiasco…fiasco after fiasco after fiasco…

  23. Felix 23

    “The economy will go swimmingly the billions and billions of dollars to build the prisons will be got from leprechauns.”

    So…
    Phase 1: Build prisons
    Phase 2: ?????
    Phase 3: Profit!

    Really does sound like ACT plan when put like that.

  24. Scribe 24

    Alexandra,

    the Maori party do not represent most Maori on all issues. Our politics are as diverse as non maori.

    Well, who’s a more representative voice for Maori on a range of issues? Who’s more in touch with Maori?

    If the Maori party says something that affects their people heavily should be handled in a certain way, I’ll listen. Just as if the Greens say something is best for the environment, I’ll listen to them.

    (Not that I agree with many policies of either party…)

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago