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National’s policy working – under-employment at record high

Written By: - Date published: 6:06 pm, February 4th, 2014 - 36 comments
Categories: employment, national, unemployment - Tags:

Roy Morgan survey reports on total real unemployment and underemployment in New Zealand:

In total 19.8% of the workforce (519,000, up 69,000) New Zealanders were either unemployed or under-employed.

Simon Bridges’ policies to create precarious employment seem to be working. Roy Morgan comments:

New Zealand under-employment – those working part-time but looking for more work – has jumped to a record high 11.3% (up 2.7%). Total New Zealand unemployment and under-employment is also significantly higher than when Prime Minister John Key won the 2011 Election (19.0%). Key clearly needs to reduce unemployment and under-employment during 2014 to have a strong chance of winning re-election to a third term in November.

The “rocket economy” space-ship is leaving way too many people behind. Time for a change.


36 comments on “National’s policy working – under-employment at record high”

  1. Sacha 1

    How is 19.8% “significantly” higher than 19%?
    (both numbers suck)

    • adam 1.1

      tell that to the extra 69,000 under employed

      • KJT 1.1.1

        And the many thousands more who have to wait by the phone for their “guaranteed” 12 hours a week at minimum wage. some even zero hours a week.

        Knowing that if they refuse, even once, they will never be contacted again.

  2. Ad 2

    Which is what I quite like about the last poll. One the one hand, all the bank economists telling us we are in for the ride of our lives.

    On the other hand, put a policy out there which helps the great majority of families, and those families respond. People understand the economic reality better than the banker economists seem to.

    This is the election when the media-reified boosterist economy is revealed for the sham that it is, and people tell the truth right back, with their vote.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Bank economists are only interested in the state of the financial economy i.e. the oversized parasitic money system where fewer than 5% of the workforce is actually employed.

  3. thechangeling 3

    That 519,000 figure is an abomination. Why aren’t there riots on the streets and violence, death threats and bombings against the NACT Government for this terrible travesty of our people? And those working part time within that figure will be on minimum wage or thereabouts anyway.

    As a side note, I got rung up by Winz today and loudly informed that I should apply for a job working 1am to 5am cleaning to which I refused. Waiting for my benefit to be doctored now.

    Are we all living in the land of slaves and serfs now I think?

    • Will@Welly 3.1

      Generous. 1 – 5 am cleaning, well you’d be “seeing” the sun coming up. Just part of John Key’s brighter future, but not as you or I imagined it.
      Just tell WINZ you suffer from a “fear of the dark”, and can’t go out at night.
      Suggest to them that their policies are pretty dark as well !!

    • McFlock 3.2

      transport, safety and childcare are the biggees for getting rid of them.

      I almost got stuck in private security patrol routes (low income, but long hours at random times so you’re asleep for any job interviews you get). Fortunately I didn’t have a full licence so was ineligible. That meant I could wait 2 weeks for the job I was pretty sure would come up, and actually got me out of the lowIncome+longHours+fucksYouUpForAnthingElse cycle.

      • thechangeling 3.2.1

        Winz just does my head in every time i have to go in which is monthly. It’s just psychological abuse. One time i came out of the office and my blood pressure was extremely high and my anger was almost uncontrollable. I was ready to kill. Anyone else have the same experience?

        • Tiger Mountain

          Many many others have this experience thechangling. This is part of the reason why there is a large gap between the numbers of unemployed and those actually in receipt of a benefit.

          Auckland Action Against Poverty http://aaap.org.nz has held several actions where they blitz WINZ offices with trained advocates for a couple of days with seats out on the street to interview people. Hundreds turn up and many get their full entitlements and say it is the first time a case officer has spoken to them in a semi decent manner when they are accompanied by a AAAP member.

          A friend of mine with severe diabetes got called into WINZ and ordered to be available for work, he can barely walk and has a permanent surgically installed fitting for dialysis. He broke down in the office and from now on has a family rep with him at all times during any contact with these fleas that used to provide Social Security with a caring attitude.

          “Underemployment” is another piece of the puzzle and why so many kiwis are doing it very hard at the moment.

        • rhinocrates

          Yes. It was obvious that my case officer was only looking for an excuse to cut numbers, not help people. I laid a formal complaint and it was obvious on my next meeting that that had had some effect.

          Name and shame. If you deal with anyone at WINZ, ask their name, note it and inform them that you’ll report on them – and then do so.

          In my own case, “Camille” at WINZ on Willis St Wellington is to be monitored, if she still works there. She’s one of Bennett’s little arselickers.

          • KJT

            Yep. I go in with many of the aforesaid young people. It is amazing how the story changes, and how helpful they get, when an old white guy in a suit comes in.

  4. xtasy 4

    Employment policy ties in with WELFARE and ACC policy!

    See this article that was in Stuff.co on 19 Jan. 2014:

    “Your ACC claim: It’s govt policy”



    “A leaked internal ACC document claims successive governments have manipulated the scheme for their own political ends.

    Produced for former chief executive Ralph Stewart , the document contains a chart showing a correlation between the government in office and the inflation-adjusted payments made by ACC.

    According to the document, Need for Change, ACC is “demonstrably inconsistent” and claimants are treated differently according to “political cycles”.

    A former ACC director aid the swings in policy were achieved through governments appointing the ACC board, which instructs chief executives what is required of them.

    The message was then sent to case managers through targets, policies and directives.”

    “The public was less likely to make claims if they thought ACC would give them a hard time.”

    So all those out there, there is truth to what Matt McCarten wrote in the Herald also:

    “Matt McCarten: Rose-tinted view cruel fairy tales”


    I recommend reading the nearly 200 comments!!!

    National have a lot to answer for, but so does Labour, I am afraid!

    • rhinocrates 4.1

      National have a lot to answer for, but so does Labour, I am afraid!

      Indeed. Maharey, Vice Chancellor of Massey University – where I used to work – and former Labour cabinet minster and supposed champion of the workers has presided over appalling employment practices, lethal safety violations, financial “irregularities” and the most cynical manipulation of contracts and work conditions imaginable.

      I had to resign because of a life-threatening injury directly attributable to cost-cutting and continuing work conditions that were literally illegal. Fortunately for me at least, they paid me a year’s salary to keep themselves out of court.

      Two lessons:

      “Academia” is not safe, physically or financially, and Labour has become a party of hypocrites and opportunists, barely less corrupt than National.

  5. Skinny 5

    Key-National are following the American model, which is no surprise as they are so far up uncle Sam’s arse that Key’s vision of a new flag would have stars & stripes on it.

    Many American workers have to hold down 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet. Tragically we have the curse of the ‘zero hours’ concept creeping into New Zealand working society. It must be stopped fullstop.

     This lousy lot in power and their so called moderate employment law changes, upcoming, are going to make zero hours ( no guaranteed hours) the norm if a fight back isn’t forthcoming.

     Unions need to step up jointly and condone this terrible trend, backed up by Labour & the Greens who need to release a ‘same policy’ curbing the use of zero hours.  

  6. Tracey 6

    Economists blithely accept that full employment is not good for the economy and make their “on high” statements accordingly. With full employment the full force of supply and demand in relation to wages takes off and suddenly the free-market champions don’t like free markets anymore. Best solution? Never work toward full employment.

    • Tiger Mountain 6.1

      Why is it those corporate bean counters and academics that prescribe a permanent level of unemployment to keep downward pressure on wages themselves always seem to have a job!

  7. One Anonymous Knucklehead 7

    More evidence of the National Party’s human rights abuses. Now the BoRA doesn’t apply to 11% of the population. Onward and downward until everything is dragged down to their level.

    Or entrench the BoRA and make it clear that individuals (looking at you Dr. Bratt) perpetrating further abuses will be prosecuted whether they were just following National Party orders or not.

    Otherwise, “opposition” parties, what the fuck use are you?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.1

      “11% of the population” should of course be 19.8% of the workforce. Goodness knows where the 11% came from!

  8. captain hook 8

    MEMO to JOhn Key: Where are the jobs?

    • Wayne 8.1

      Unemployment has fallen again in the latest stats. And more jobs are being created. And wages are growing faster than inflation.

      But strangely enough, nothing on The Standard about that.

      • KJT 8.1.1

        More teenagers, and young people, have given up going to WINZ. Don’t you mean, Wayne?

        I can tell you about several of them. I have three living in my basement.

        Then there is the one who committed suicide last year.

        The “success” of Bennetts policies.

        I don’t have the words for how angry I feel about the smugness and lying of your mates in Parliament.

        If things are so much better, why are so many worse off?

        • srylands

          “More teenagers, and young people, have given up going to WINZ. ”

          Why the hell should teenagers be anywhere near WINZ? They should either be in school, university, or some form of training.

          • fender

            Many teenagers just want to get out and start earning a living. By age 18 I was the same and was lucky to pick up an apprenticeship after a couple of years of dead end slavery work. Telling them they should continue to study doesn’t really get results if their heart isn’t in it. Opportunities are scarce today for the young and many don’t want huge student loans around their neck, they just want and deserve the opportunities their parents had when they left school.

          • freedom

            Now you’re getting it Srylands 🙂

            But please remember
            National ripped the guts out of every programme you scream teens should be occupied with

          • KJT

            Well, many of them would be if the great neo-liberal fuckup hadn’t cut those opportunities as well.

      • McFlock 8.1.2

        Indeed. We’re constantly being told how much better off we are in the Brighter Future.

        Maybe you’d better write a post about why the latest stats are right and roy morgan are wrong.

        • Wayne

          I do not think anyone seriously questions the accuracy of Stats NZ work. They are a much bigger and more professional organization in this field than Roy Morgan.

          No govt would risk damaging the independence of Stats NZ, it is a bit too much like the Reserve Bank. And I don’t see Labour, or the Greens for that matter, questioning their integrity.

          It is not just local politicians and commentators who rely on the accuracy of Stats NZ. So do international organizations. And I suspect that they would think that NZ was the last place that Stats are rorted – unlike Argentina!

          So while each person will have their own experience, the reality is that more people in New Zealand are in work, and they are mostly full-time.

          • McFlock

            fair cop, wasn’t having a go at statsnz, more just the granularity of the data. The current govt seems to be moving through the cracks – wages rise because managers are better off, not workers, and unemployment seems to discount people who are in single-hour jobs to supplement their benefit. I think the Roy Morgan supports that interpretation.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Skirting the question, throwing red herrings out by the dozen, Dr. Mapp. Nothing you have said negates Roy Morgan’s findings. Nothing.

            I doubt that the party that is doing its best to destroy ACC and defraud its “clients” out of their legal rights, that has the worst human rights record in recent NZ history, that promotes ideology over pedagogy in schools, that wants to see wages fall, would leave statsnz alone, but I’m not challenging your figures: I’m pointing out their lack of relevance.

      • freedom 8.1.3


      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 8.1.4

        Wayne, what about wages as a percentage of gdp? Rising, or falling, Mr. Weasel?

        PS: all of the measures you cite are consistent with falling household incomes. Per hour wages say nothing about gross dollars earned.

      • Wayne, how do you define “employment”?

        This isn’t a silly-bugger question – it’s a valid one.

        Especially when according to the HLFS, by Stats NZ, employment is described as the following;

        About the Household Labour Force Survey

        The Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) provides a regular, timely, and comprehensive portrayal of New Zealand’s labour force. Each quarter, Statistics NZ produces a range of statistics relating to employment, unemployment, and people not in the labour force.

        The survey started in October 1985 and the first results published were for the March 1986 quarter.
        More definitions

        The labour force category to which a person is assigned depends on their actual activity during a survey reference week.

        This section includes definitions used in the HLFS release. These conform closely to the international standard definitions specified by the International Labour Organization.

        Employed: people in the working-age population who, during the reference week, did one of the following:

        * worked for one hour or more for pay or profit in the context of an employee/employer relationship or self-employment

        * worked without pay for one hour or more in work which contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business, or professional practice owned or operated by a relative

        * had a job but were not at work due to: own illness or injury, personal or family responsibilities, bad weather or mechanical breakdown, direct involvement in an industrial dispute, or leave or holiday.

        Source: http://www.stats.govt.nz/methods/classifications-and-standards/classification-related-stats-standards/hours-worked-in-employment/definition.aspx

        So, if you “worked for one hour” – even without pay! ” – you are automatically classed as employed by this country’s statisticians.

        No wonder a recent Roy Morgan poll has unemployment as welkl as under-employment higher than the official government stats.

  9. millsy 9

    This all started under Helen Clark’s Labour. Her government was able to trumpet low unemployement by dumping thousands of young people in dead end polytech courses, and presiding over an explosion of casual and part time work.

    Not for nothing did AWF list on the NZX during that time..

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