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On Planet Key, the market always provides

Written By: - Date published: 10:16 am, October 1st, 2012 - 16 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, disaster, jobs, Steven Joyce - Tags:

We’re told 36,000 workers are needed for the Christchurch rebuild. But since the earthquakes began 2 years ago, 9,000 people with the skills needed for the rebuild have left New Zealand – including 2,500 bricklayers and 1,000 electricians. The net loss of people with the required skills is 3,000. We’re making no effort to keep the skilled workers we have but the Government thinks those 36,000 workers will just magically appear when needed – thanks to the markets.

The obvious thing to have done, when facing a situation where a) there was a lack of demand for certain skills in the present b) there is large youth unemployment and c) there is a huge future demand for those skills on the horizon would have been to take the skilled workers that were surplus and use them to help train up those unemployed people to have the needed skills when the rebuild began.

The obvious way to do that would have been with a major state housing building/upgrading scheme in places other than Christchurch for the past couple of years.

But National didn’t do that. They did nothing. They just assumed that when the rebuild began, the people would turn up. It speaks to some fundamental about how the Right misunderstands humans – it sees us just as cogs, tools to be pulled out of the box when needed and discarded when not needed. It also shows what fucken morons they are.

When (if?) the rebuild begins, the people needed aren’t going to magically appear. They’re going to have to come from overseas – and how will we attract them? Will we end up having to pay huge wages to foreign workers because we let our own workforce go overseas?

Here’s what a smugly grinning Steven Joyce had to say about the record exodus of people with the skills to rebuild Christchurch at exactly the time when we should be building up the numbers of those people:

Short of stopping them at the airport and taking their passports off them, obviously when the jobs become available people have the opportunity to take them up,” says Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

David Cunliffe slapped useless Joyce down:

If this Government had a plan for Christchurch and a plan for jobs that worked, they wouldn’t need to be at the airport,” says Labour Economic Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.

16 comments on “On Planet Key, the market always provides ”

  1. BLiP 1


    So, in a market ecoomy, wouldn’t a scarcity of labour drive up wages? Are Christchurch employers offering decent money yet?

  2. ianmac 2

    “Short of stopping them at the airport and taking their passports off them,…”
    That was a very stupid response from that strange chap Joyce.
    Joyce stood at the open stable door as they bolted and sniffed, “Not my job to make the stable more attractive! Good riddance I say.”

    • felix 2.1

      It’s a good illustration of the paucity of right-wing thought.

      Their only possible settings are 100% hands-off laissez faire or 100% totalitarianism.

      Anything else would require far too much work.

  3. Kotahi Tāne Huna 3

    On Planet Key, you provide for the market. Apologies to Yakov Smirnoff.

  4. bbfloyd 4

    The answer is easy….The market will provide chinese workers for three months at a time, to be replaced by more chinese workers for another three months…..

    That is exactly how the bulk of what little building is going on here in auckland….. Anyone taking a slow drive through Botany nowadays would be hard pressed to find a white face on a building site there…

    How hard is it going to be to “think up” the same solution for christchurch?

    A hell of a lot cheaper too! And they work 12-14 hour days, seven days a week….

    Of course, the bulk of the money these workers make will go back to where they came from, but hey, at least we are supporting ordinary people…. just not our ordinary people…..

    • Gee those houses are likely to built too NZ specs ….. not.
      Nothing wrong with bringing them in, Just have to spend 50,000 per so they can get a Trade Cert first

      (I wonder if we could charge them for it? says Johny Sparkles)

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      A hell of a lot cheaper too! And they work 12-14 hour days, seven days a week….

      With the results that you can expect – poor quality.

  5. Bored 5

    Why we would think either National or Labour would think / act in any other way after 30 years of neo liberalism? Especially when they can avert their gaze because we are so used to losing our trades people to the Gold Coast because Oz has the $s from a hole in the ground.

  6. Augustus 6

    Nearly every building contractor I talk to mentions Fletchers as at least a thinking point when considering Christchurch work. EQC’s project manager is doing quite nicely.

    Fletcher has gained 20 percent this year, closing at NZ$9.19 yesterday and valuing New Zealand’s largest publicly traded company at about NZ$6.2 billion ($5 billion).


    For contractors, they’re less willing to pass on the windfall. Many contractors are experienced specialists in their field and see that as sponging and a disincentive. There is no “market” for them to compete in. \Cheap overseas labour will be the ticket all right. The lack of action on a skills shortage anticipated from day 1 attests to that.

  7. Poission 7

    There are two emerging trends here. The difficulty in the ability to find skilled labour,and the increase in the difficulty to find unskilled labour.both which have increased in the last couple of years.


    A number of fundamental or structural changes have appeared,the reluctance of employees to change employers after the introduction of the 90 day rule.

    The ability of the ” market” to vote with their feet,such as Australia.

    The fast deleaveraging of skilled human capital,by business meant many became self employed contractors,often increasing the cost of business inputs.

    That there was little predictive skill in the outcomes at present,is clearly evident if we compare Japan which has a number of the same problems with NZ.one of the response was to utilize factory closure workers during the cleanup,and provide transferable skills training in the construction sector.

    There has been an interesting side effect,using the well developed production techniques of Japanese industry there is fast build techniques such as factory constructed modular housing (transportable) with subsequent reduction in building costs.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      The fast deleaveraging of skilled human capital,by business meant many became self employed contractors,often increasing the cost of business inputs.

      I’m constantly amazed by the people who don’t realise that that must happen. Go back 30 years and a business would have enough tools for everyone who worked there. Today each contractor needs to supply the full range of tools which means that the number of tools has increased by a multiple which means more overall cost.

      There has been an interesting side effect,using the well developed production techniques of Japanese industry there is fast build techniques such as factory constructed modular housing (transportable) with subsequent reduction in building costs.

      And the factory produced stuff is usually better as standards are easier to maintain.

  8. fatty 8

    I hope builders like living in tents

  9. tracey 9

    Didnt mr joyce tell us in 2008 he wld stop people exodusing to oz. Did he have a plan,,, rhetorical

  10. Jokerman 10

    The market provides for the economic harvesting of the caterpillar by the Ichneumonidae

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