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.