No plan, no worries?

Written By: - Date published: 12:55 pm, April 5th, 2011 - 9 comments
Categories: benefits, disaster, jobs, john key - Tags:

A unemployment disaster is slowly unfolding in Christchurch. For now, the tide of job losses is being partially held back by wage subsidies supporting nearly 70,000 workers, but those will be phased out by June. Then, all hell will break loose. The Government has no plan for this and, according to Key, hasn’t even bothered to understand the scope of the crisis.

From today’s Dom:

Latest figures disclosed last night show Christchurch businesses had taken cash grants to support 69,533 workers whose jobs were under threat.

Support to those businesses, so far worth $161.7 million, will be phased out by the end of next month, and the Council of Trade Unions says as many as 20,000 will then be forced on to the unemployment benefit.

“This would be a disaster,” CTU spokesman Marty Braithwaite said. “We will see many leave Canterbury, confidence will evaporate, and there will be considerable hardship for a long period.”

Prime Minister John Key dismissed the CTU figures on Christchurch, however, saying he had not seen any projections about the number of people who would stay out of work.

“The challenge for the Government isn’t to sit around navel-gazing about how many people might go on an unemployment benefit or not. I think the focus of the Government should be on how we can keep as many people employed as we practically can,” Mr Key said.

Is Key seriously saying that that he has no advice on the job losses expected from the earthquake and that he doesn’t care to find out? How can he understand the problem and formulate solutions if he has no idea of its scale? I don’t actually believe that there has been no official advice on likely job losses but I do believe Key when he says he doesn’t care about what they may be.

How can you govern like that – without any evidence of what the future holds to base your decisions on?

Well, I guess that’s the point, isn’t it? You can’t govern well like that.

9 comments on “No plan, no worries? ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Is Key seriously saying that that he has no advice on the job losses expected from the earthquake and that he doesn’t care to find out?

    That’s exactly what he said. More proof that he’s completely out of touch and just doesn’t care.

    How can you govern like that – without any evidence of what the future holds to base your decisions on?

    By pure faith in your ideology and/or disbelieving reality and/or psychopathy where you only govern for your own personal benefit (and that of your rich mates).

    • Bright Red 1.1

      In the House right now, Bennett is confirming they know that businesses will collpase when they withdraw support but they haven’t bothered to project how many jobs will be lost.

      • RobC 1.1.1

        I am looking forward to the written transcript of question time. When Cosgrove asked what advice Government Agencies had given Bennett, she turned and attacked Cosgrove for basically pulling figures out of his arse.

        When forced to answer the question she had to admit there was no advice and she had no idea herself.

        • Bright Red

          here’s part of it from the parliament website:
          “Hon Clayton Cosgrove: I will repeat the question absolutely. Has any Government agency provided her with advice as to how many Cantabrians will end up on the unemployment benefit once the current support package ends; if so, what is that advice and what are the numbers?
          Hon PAULA BENNETT: No, I have not had advice on how many will end up on the unemployment benefit. We have certainly had advice on how many employers may not be able to relocate, and we are certainly seeking advice on where we are moving skills training. But it is not a matter of concentrating on how many are going on the unemployment benefit; it is about supporting those businesses and those employees-those people who most need it.
          Hon Clayton Cosgrove: Can she tell the House why she has not proactively sought advice from her Government agency or any other as to how many people will end up on the unemployment benefit once the business support package ends, given that she is the Minister for Social Development and Employment, and given that the impact of the termination will create a major problem for earthquake victims and business owners desperately trying to survive? Why has she not even asked her agency to do some projections-or do her job?
          Hon PAULA BENNETT: Our concentration has very much been on supporting the businesses and employees that need us most. The member may not understand the social security system. That support is there for however many need it, whether that figure is 1,000 or a few thousand. The reality is-[Interruption]
          Hon Clayton Cosgrove: Why don’t you ask your department?
          Hon PAULA BENNETT: If that member stopped picking numbers out of thin air and actually looked at what needed to be done, which is supporting the employees who need us most, he would see that the system is there for those who need it, however many do.”
          She’s so goddam pathetic. And hundreds of thousands of families rely on her.

  2. Afewknowthetruth 2

    Move along. Nothing to see here, Government has been on the basis of personal whims, rorts, backhanders and false information for at least 30 years….Think Big, privatisation by the Labour traitors in the 80s, the dithering years of more of the same under Bolger, the monthy scandals under Shipley, the pro-globalisation, pro-corporate, more of the same years of Clark.      

    Where is Labour’s plan for Peak Oil, unravelling of fiat cyurencies and collaspe of the environment?

  3. Bored 3

    Useless useless useless….there will be idle hands in Chch who should be turned to building the new city as opposed to giving them the dole. It might cost more but it has retained value. Whilst the planning of what to rebuild, and the insurance moneys are recieved work could be begun. As minister this would be my plan:

    1. Keep the subsidies running whilst the below job creation is enabled.
    2. Announce immediate tenders to the private sector to build emergency housing.
    3. Expand the recovery administration to soak up unemployed administrators / office workers.
    4. Put as many unskilled and semi skilled people as possible on clearance activities, team them with the private sector where necessary at public expense. When clearance is complete they will be ready to help rebuild houses etc.
    5. Announce and begin public works that aim at long term renewable resources that will be used in the reconstruction and ongoing maintenance of NZ cities such as State forestry projects.
    6. Seed fund and gaurantee capital for industries that are needed for rebuilding infrastructure.

    It is at this moment we should be relying upon the state services to take the lead . Instead the fools we call Nact are running them down, and relying on some “market miracle” to occur. Useless and clueless. Anyone got more ideas? We might have to donate them to Nact for the benefit of Chch.

    • Tiger Mountain 3.1

      While normally against ‘work for the dole’, there is a shared goal here-jobs and infrastructure plus a future. Add applicable training to the above, ensure proper pay rates and union involvement, it could be a good opportunity to introduce say 4 day weeks to include as many people as possible.

      But don’t hold your breath, Key looks so out of his depth and is resorting to public snarky comments about Labours affairs.

  4. 4

    This issue has the unfortunate potential to be far bigger than a Prime Minister who has no plan (or interest?) to cope with the aftermath of a disaster or a Minister of Unemployment who is not aware enough to get basic projections of joblessness.

    If jobless within Christchurch runs into tens of thousands of people or more, the impact will be felt throughout the city. A significant portion of the city is currently in ruin or only slightly better. People are facing a winter with damaged houses and inadequate infrastructure. Thats all bad and potentially depressing enough. Think then what the effect of losing your job or your livelihood will be on top of that. Living in substandard conditions AND on the dole AND without the steady routine of employment AND a liveable income. 

    For many people, I would pick, the trauma of seeing your city broken apart will be compounded by the loss of security, dignity and routine that work offers. Their city has been shaken up whereas losing work will cause dislocations with their society and community. I will be surprised if it does not have an effect on the morale and motivations of many people in Christchurch.

    We can probably list some of the flow on effects. A fairly large diaspore from the city either through the rest of NZ or across the Tasman. Familial stresses will rise and the psyche of the unemployed will take a battering. Peoples connection with their community, which must be so important given what has already occurred, will be weakened. Take a look around some of our provincial towns and cities where unemployment is high. That’ll give you some idea. Good people living in those places but hope and expectation isn’t high for many of the inhabitants.

    John Key and Paula Bennett have 2 options. Let people drift onto the dole and let them cope as best possible. There is much to do in Christchurch and some people will seek to make a difference in their city even when losing their job. That however will be down to the character of the individual and, frankly, chance and hope. Or, Key and Bennett can get real and get a real plan of action into place that keeps people in Christchurch employed – either current employment or reconstruction work – and in touch with their communities. If they screw this one up the effects on Christchurch have the potential to last a long time.

  5. Bunnykinz 5

    No plans! Who says they have no plans?!
    Just ask the ever loquacious, erudite, and articulate Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett, who says :
    “The benefit system is there and can sort of get as big as it needs to to look after those that need it if they go on to a benefit.”

    Yeah, their sort of plans can be expanded to look after anyone who needs it. As long as they can get on a benefit of course. Their plans do not seem to extend to those who can’t.

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