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.