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Previewing the jobs summit

Written By: - Date published: 5:50 pm, February 26th, 2009 - 19 comments
Categories: employment, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

Tomorrow, John Key’s much anticipated jobs summit will take place. It’s a big deal, it’s got a logo and everything.

Unfortunately, John seems to have left The Standard off the invite list along with all but a few unionists, the unemployed, women’s groups, and any party left of centre. If you’re going to be there, feel free to let us know your thoughts and impressions as it happens, contacts here.

Here’s what I think you’ll find. The businessmen (and they will be nearly all men, only 35 of 200 invitees are female) will outnumber the workers and workers’ representatives massively. So, the sessions in the different work-groups will be dominated by pro-business, anti-union ideas. The appearance will be of strong agreement that the way to protect workers is to favour business. There won’t be a real platform for other ideas – most of the people who have them haven’t been invited and the unionists who are there will be out-numbered.

Oh, sure, you’ll get a chance to speak and people will nod their heads, just don’t expect them to listen. But, then, don’t fear any radical anti-worker stuff either. The anti-union provisions of National’s election promises will not be part of this summit. The agenda is already set – Key as uniter, feel-good populism, small favours for business, none for workers. This is just a PR occasion to ratify that agenda by showing how everyone is behind the Government’s ideas. For that to work, no group can be made too angry.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be outcomes from the summit, we can’t have this do-fest be nothing more than a talk-fest. But it will be things like the other banks following ASB’s lead and announcing a business loans fund directed at job creation, which looks impressive at first but is really just a reshuffling of existing loan money. In a long-shot, we might even have Business New Zealand head Phil ‘my only concern is the workers’ O’Reilly and the Council of Trade Unions’ Helen Kelly announce some kind of joint working party on job protection. There will probably be an announcement of a government policy, maybe some kind of small subsidy for employers, but don’t expect anything that might make a real difference. Big job creation schemes will take lots of government money, and Bill English has ruled that out.

Every participant will call the summit a success, unless something very ideological is sprung on them. But the desire to keep everyone happy will prevent any significant action from resulting. This won’t make the slightest difference to jobs in the real world. In a year’s time, the outcomes of the summit will be as ripples from a pebble dropped in a storm-tossed sea.

19 comments on “Previewing the jobs summit”

  1. Rex Widerstrom 1

    But the outcome of every summit is barely a ripple on a pond, Steve. And resorting to them when bereft of ideas (or with ideas but lacking the courage to implement them and so hoping to manipulate participants into believing they devised them) is by no means confined to National. Or even the right. Rudd’s “summit” just after he was elected, which was little more than an excuse for photo ops with film stars and Aboriginal leaders, is just the most recent example.

    So while I agree with you, I think it’d only be fair to point out that Key is hardly the first politician to resort to this ruse.

    Incidentally, I take your point about the ASB’s move. But again, if it’s shifting money from the purposes they used to be happy to fund (speculative share purchasing, for instance) to backing real, productive, employing business activity then it’s surely to be commended?

  2. I wonder if Aunty Helen would of invited the folks at kiwiblog if she had a conference?

  3. Janet 3

    Anyone remember the big economic summit of 1984? Lange’s Government had just been voted in and there was a big talk fest. Being 1984 very few women were invited (probably none) so a bit later the women had their own summit, and the Ministry of Women’ Affairs came out of that.

    But no one saw the real enemy lurking in the shadows that was to soon to hijack the whole feel good progressive mood of the era and destroy jobs and infrastructure and much of the welfare state – Rogernomics.

    So what is lurking under this summit?

  4. AS the Crisis deepens in severity in countries like France, Ireland and Iceland, the previous neoliberal consensus has been swept away in a tide of mass protest. Unions in many countries are now leading the struggle against this failed economic model, and not by seeking partnership by the discredited parties of the right.

    Socialists active in the trade union movement in Auckland do not believe that we have anything in common with these exploiters of low pay, these greed engorged bankers or these sad feel-good snake oil charlatans enjoying a brief honeymoon before the dark clouds of economic depression rip this country asunder. We think that Aotearoa will also see the rise of a people’s movement that questions the priorities of the bankers and the bosses, as 70,000 people lose their jobs this year.

    For any members of Labour, Greens or the wider Left who agree with us- we’d invite you to join with us tomorrow on the picket outside. Capacity building and wound licking aside, Its time for an Opposition to become visible on the streets again, as the Global left rises to the challenge of this maelstrom.

  5. vto 5

    I thought the unions were invited..? Silly not to given that its about jobs and employment. Seriously. Those doing the actual work most definitely have ideas about the work. The business folk have ideas about the business side. But you need both don’t you? I mean.. how many businesses don’t need the workers? And vice versa?

    Don’t take it personally though. It is clearly just politics.

    Though it will be very interesting indeed to see if Key can pull of another move to the centre and snaffle some left support.

    Re ‘socialist aotearoa’ and some of rave’s recent musings and the like … this will not catch on like some big movement. There may well be more protests over the next period and some minor social unrest, but this is NZ, not France. We all have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, rellies down the road and kaimoana over the hill. The average take on things will be ‘f..k all that finding work shit and stress, lets just take some time off with the kids instead’.

  6. rave 6

    So this is NZ, VTO. Well welcome to the real world where life is not one of glorious harmony disturbed only by the sound of distant gunfire.
    Were not that far away from the action. French colonies like Guadaloupe and Martinique are striking, this could easily spread to the French territories in the Pacific, like New Caledonia (Kanaky) and Tahiti. They are all facing the rightwing arsehole Sarkosy who tells them the same thing you do – go fishing.

    These countries are feeling the impact of dramatic rises in cost of living. The same in Eastern Europe as well as the countries mentioned by Socialist Aotearoa. This is a global crisis and NZ is not immune.

    This Job summit is about how to force workers to work despite price inflation and job insecurity. The 90 day Act is designed to create a pool of cheap labour to keep industry running. WINZ will be on our tail to front up regardless. Key will cut the Super fund and use it to rescue iconic firms like F&P and Air NZ if necessary.Its all about keeping capitalism alive and to hell with the workers.

    Not all workers can survive on kaimoana as you and Sarkosy so charmingly picture it. They have homes to pay for, kids to educate, health systems to access etc. We are not a bunch of back to the earth peasants calmly vegetating to your instructions.

    What you will find is that workers spontaneously take control of the things they need to survive. In Latin America when workers are starving they ransack the supermarkets. Of course that will trigger the next rightwing plan to call everyone who breaks the law terrorists and slam them in jail or shoot them on sight as they did to Alexandros Grigoropolis in Greece before last Xmas and to a unionist in Guadeloupe the other day, and to union leaders in Colombia virtually every day.

    Key is laying the foundations for criminalising social resistance taking the advice of Lord Ashcroft who specialises in advising the megarich on how to avoid tax while at the same time forming vigilante gangs to target petty criminals who have a drug habit or need food. Key has Sharples on board to contract out the new jails to iwi to manage the sensible sentences.

    Criminalising the resistance will cause it to escalate so better get ready for the bosses when the put out the call to swear in special constables to take on the workers when they riot for food and ransack the supermarkets. You will have to decide if you are going to protect private property while workers starve or side with them against the Keys and Ashcrofts of this world.

  7. vto 7

    rave, I hear what you’re saying re the international stuff and see it myself. And know it. And even its effect on NZ, but not to that extent. Your Key and 90 day stuff though is wobbly. It’s just my opinion, but that’s what it is.

    Special constables and all that sure, maybe, as one-offs. But even Maurice Shdbolt didn’t see them as sustainable. And despite germans and russians and japs getting to our shores within the last 100 years. Which many of us are blind to.

    I just disagree on your take on the nz nature.

    Anyway, who are they gonna call as the ‘special constables’? You? Me? Your neighbour? The next suburb or town? Nightcaps? Paeroa? Thorndon? Mob? Road knights? Gizzy?

    And who is this prick Ashcroft anyway. Sticking his nose in and getting time on the radio and shit. He should just fu.k off.

  8. vto 8

    And two more random things…

    1, Many, if not nearly all, NZers can in fact ‘survive on kaimoana’. Or similar. Just take a look out your back door or over your back fence or paddock ffs.

    2. Many of those ‘controlling’ the means of support etc are in fact, or have been, ‘the workers’. There will be no need to ‘ransack the supermarches’ because the owners will simply open the doors! Wanna lay a bet on it?

  9. bobo 9

    At least it will give caterers a job for the day if nothing else, will Lord Ashcroft be guest speaking, is he still in the country?

  10. Tane 10

    Some unions are invited, they’re just heavily outnumbered by business. I think that’s what Steve was getting at.

    Captcha: $6.95 Wagstaff – creepy.

  11. rave 11

    My point VTO is why should we listen to Sarkozy and you and go fishing? Guadeloupeans don’t, what makes us that stupid?
    FIsh oil only does so much good for the brain it doesnt actually provide an education or a health system.
    If the Supermarket franchisees side with workers good on them. That won’t stop the cops from making arrests. Its called law and order. Just look at Greece.
    I used because of the significance in NZ history of dividing the farmers, students and backward workers from workers struggles and break strikes. In Latin America they are usually called paramilitaries or even fascist gangs because they are drawn from the small business types and lumpen workers and are used to intimidate and murder the leaders of the workers movements.
    If this crisis lives up to its early reputation then don’t think we won’t see a similar situation as we did in 1912-13 and the 1930s. Liberals like Shadbolt like to think NZ has left that sort of history behind. They are in for a shock.

  12. rave 12

    I’m in moderation for using the “fa***st” word.
    Here is a correction to the second to last para.
    ——
    I used the “special constables”because of the significance in NZ history of dividing the farmers, students and backward workers from workers struggles and breaking strikes. In Latin America they are usually called paramilitaries or even fa***st gangs because they are drawn from the small business types and lumpen workers and are used to intimidate and murder the leaders of the workers movements.
    ——-

  13. BLiP 13

    Why are you even bothering? Do you even for the least second expect that John Key and the National government care?

  14. Seti 14

    Why would the unions be invited? I thought it was about creating jobs not obstacles.

  15. lprent 15

    Personally I think that the whole thing is pointless. It looks to me like it is a way to use taxpayers money to PR a set of previously decided NACT policies.

    What those are is pretty obvious

    I think that the main reason for having the PR-fest is to allow some bad legislation to be undemocratically shoved through the house without going through select committee. ie the NACT’s are looking for a tame ‘mandate’.

  16. randal 16

    this is the country of little people
    they have no economies of scale and spend any profits immediately on pointless goods and services but anyway the only people they can exploit is their families or their casual workers and funnily enough they are psychologically disposed to do this anyway
    so
    this is just a bunfest for the little people to feel important
    it wont make any difference to the trough we are in at the moment
    they think they are going to re run the nineties but there is no propitious cocatenation at the moment only a jarring disjunction that may last longer than some people think

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    4 days ago
  • Screen Sector recovery package protects jobs, boosts investment
    Thousands of Kiwi jobs and investment in New Zealand productions will be protected through a screen sector support package announced today by Associate Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford and Minister for Broadcasting Kris Faafoi. The package also includes investment in broadcasting ...
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    4 days ago
  • New fund to help save local events and jobs
    The Government has established a new $10 million fund for the domestic events sector to help save jobs and protect incomes as it recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, Minister of Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. This funding from Budget 2020 follows talks with the event sector designed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Bill to improve fuel market competition
    The Government has taken another step in its commitment to making sure New Zealanders get a fairer deal at the petrol pump with the introduction of legislation to improve competition in the retail fuel market, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods. “The fuel market study that this Government ordered ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand joins global facility for pre-purchase of COVID-19 Vaccine
    New Zealand has joined a global initiative that aims to enable all countries to access a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. The COVAX Facility was recently launched by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The Alliance includes the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank ...
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    5 days ago
  • Right to legal representation in Family Court restored today
    From today new legislation takes effect to both restore the right to legal representation at the start of a Care of Children (CoCA) dispute in the Family Court, and allow parties to those proceedings to access legal aid where eligible. During a visit to the Family Court in Auckland today, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Transitioning to a fully-qualified home-based ECE workforce
    Home-based early childhood education (ECE) subsidised by the government will transition to a fully qualified workforce by 2025 to ensure better and more consistent quality, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “Quality early learning helps provide children with a strong foundation for their future,” Chris Hipkins said. From 1 January ...
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    5 days ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission gets to work
    The new Criminal Cases Review Commission | Te Kāhui Tātari Ture (CCRC) has started work and can now independently investigate claimed miscarriages of justice. “Even though we have appeal rights and safeguards against unsafe convictions, from time to time our justice system does get things wrong. The design of the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha, tēnā koutou Ki a koutou Te Āti Awa, Taranaki Whānui, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei, tēnā koutou Ko Te Whare Wānanga o Aotearoa ki ngā take o te Ao (NZIIA), Ko te Rōpū Tohu Tono ...
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    5 days ago
  • Six months with baby and $20 more a week for new parents
    The Government’s increase to paid parental leave kicks in today with another 4 weeks taking New Zealand up to a full 6 months (26 weeks, up from 22 weeks) leave for new parents, and the maximum weekly payment will increase by $20pw, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. ...
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    5 days ago
  • Infrastructure investment to create jobs, kick-start COVID rebuild
    A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones today outlined how the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today expressed the New Zealand Government’s deep disappointment at the passage by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee of a national security law for Hong Kong. “New Zealand has consistently emphasised its serious concern about the imposition of this legislation on Hong Kong without inclusive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • July 1 marks progress for workers, families
    More jobs and more family time with newborns are the centrepiece of a suite of Government initiatives coming into effect today. July 1 is a milestone day for the Government as a host of key policies take effect, demonstrating the critical areas where progress has been made. “The Coalition Government ...
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    5 days ago
  • Auckland water consent referred to Board of Inquiry
    Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses.  The call-in means the application has been referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand to host virtual APEC in 2021
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced today that New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms. Mr Peters said the global disruption caused by COVID-19, including resultant border restrictions, had been the major factor in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Matakana Link Road construction kicks off and drives jobs
    The start of construction on a new link road between Matakana Road and State Highway 1 will create jobs and support the significant population growth expected in the Warkworth area, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff announced today. Transport Minister Phil Twyford said construction of the Matakana Link ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • PPE supplies secured as COVID-19 response focuses on border
    The Government is prioritising its latest investment in PPE for frontline health workers, including staff at managed isolation and quarantine facilities, Health Minister David Clark says. “With no community transmission of COVID-19 our response now has a firm focus on keeping our border safe and secure. “We must ensure that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • PGF funding for Parihaka settlement
    The Parihaka Papakāinga Trust in Taranaki will receive up to $14 million for a new visitor centre and other improvements at the historic settlement that will boost the local economy and provide much-needed jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Protections for workers in triangular employment
    Protections for workers who are employees of one employer but working under the direction of another business or organisation have come into force, closing a gap in legislation that  made the personal grievance process inaccessible for some workers, says Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “This Government is working hard to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government strengthens managed isolation system
    A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify and understand current and emerging risks to ensure the end-to-end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Whakatāne to go predator free with Government backing Ngāti Awa led efforts
    The important brown kiwi habitat around Whakatāne will receive added protection through an Iwi-led predator free project announced by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. “The Government is investing nearly $5 million into Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa’s environmental projects with $2.5 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Growing Goodwood: Expanding wood waste recycling plant in Bay of Plenty, Waikato
    An extra 4,000 tonnes of offcuts and scraps of untreated wood per year will soon be able to be recycled into useful products such as horticultural and garden mulch, playground safety surfacing and animal bedding as a result of a $660,000 investment from the Waste Minimisation Fund, Associate Environment Minister ...
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    1 week ago
  • Scott Watson’s convictions to be referred to Court of Appeal
    The Governor-General has referred Scott Watson’s convictions for murder back to the Court of Appeal, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. Mr Watson was convicted in 1999 of the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. His appeal to the Court of Appeal in 2000 was unsuccessful, as was his ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Protecting Kiwis with stronger financial supervision
    A new five-year funding agreement for the Reserve Bank will mean it can boost its work to protect New Zealanders’ finances, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand has a strong and stable financial system. Financial stability is an area that we are not prepared to cut corners for, particularly ...
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    1 week ago
  • Forgotten funds and missing money
    A law change has been introduced to make it easier for forgotten funds in institutional accounts to be returned more easily to their rightful owners. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash has introduced an amendment to the Unclaimed Money Act 1971. It will update the rules controlling forgotten sums of money held ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago