The Nats’ muddle, your job on the line

Written By: - Date published: 6:43 am, October 3rd, 2011 - 43 comments
Categories: jobs, national, unemployment - Tags:

As National muddles through, refusing to reexamine its economic plans after the shock double-downgrade on Friday, the job losses are starting to pile up again. It’s very reminiscent of the last recession, which we will haven’t recovered from thanks to 3 years of muddling. Can we afford 3 more years? Here’s a list of job losses in the past month.

Up to 12 jobs may be lost at Port Otago as the company looks to reduce its workforce to meet an expected drop in the container trade. – Port Otago looking to shed workers

Department of Conservation (DOC) staff today learned 96 jobs will go within the next six months. – DOC reveals 96 jobs will be lost

Nearly 900 people have applied for 90 positions at a Kaiapoi supermarket being rebuilt after being destroyed in last September’s earthquake. – Hundreds chase Kaiapoi supermarket jobs

Earthquake-shattered Christchurch is set to lose at least 250 jobs from the closure of the Alliance Group’s Sockburn meat-processing plant. – 250 jobs to go as Sockburn shuts

Housing New Zealand is consulting its 1100 staff over changes which will see about 100 jobs lost as it changes the way its tenancy managers operate. – Govt job cuts may hurt ‘at-risk’ people

Another twenty two jobs have been axed at the Tangiwai Mill near Ohakune because monetary policy makes our export sector uncompetitive – More jobs lost in Rangitikei – ‘law needs to change

The number of public service jobs has been slashed by 2400 in the past three years. Another 1000 jobs are set to go in the next two years. – ‘Timebomb’ set as jobs slashed

A major player in the Government’s home insulation scheme has gone into liquidation, leaving more than $1 million in outstanding bills. Wellington-based EnergySmart’s liquidation has thrown suppliers into turmoil, with Christchurch company Terra Lana having to lay off five of its 20 staff. Liquidator Chris Dunphy said all but four of the company’s 79 staff were offered short-term contracts. The business was advertised for sale last Wednesday.Another supplier, Auckland-based InsulPro Manufacturing, which employs more than 50 staff, is owed about $500,000. – Insulation firm fails, jobs lost

During the recession 75,000 jobs were lost in hospitality, construction, and manufacturing. In manufacturing alone, there are now 37,000 fewer jobs than three years ago. – Help the jobless, help us all

Wanganui Mayor Annette Main and the Wanganui Employers’ Chamber of Commerce have added their voices to those calling for the Government to stop cutting provincial jobs. Fifteen jobs were lost earlier this year when the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) closed its Wanganui office, and the Department of Conservation (DoC) is also set to lose 13 jobs in Wanganui. – Mayor implores Govt to stop cuts

Some staff at the Canterbury Museum are likely to lose their jobs because the museum is short of money. – Job losses loom at Canterbury Museum

National Distribution Union general secretary Robert Reid says wood processors in particular are being hit hard by the dollar and high log prices. He estimates 200 jobs have been lost in that sector alone in last two months. – Manufacturing sales fall in June quarter

A Government plan to axe nearly 170 fulltime teacher jobs in Christchurch will be a “huge loss”, principals say. Education Minister Anne Tolley said yesterday that government funding for the equivalent of 167 fulltime teachers – or 4.5 per cent of the Christchurch teaching work force – would be cut from next year. – 167 Christchurch school teachers to lose jobs

Department of Conservation (DOC) staff today learned 96 jobs will go within the next six months. – DOC reveals 96 jobs will be lost

Over 1,000 jobs had been lost in the industry since 2008, more than a hundred jobs have gone in the last few weeks – Minister’s approach to wood processing industry criticised

Maintaining previous rates of funding will not, for instance, be enough to prevent hundreds of jobs cuts at tertiary institutions around the Canterbury region. – Canterbury Uni cash-strapped

The high New Zealand dollar is being blamed for 55 job losses at Canterbury Leather International. – 55 jobs cut at Canterbury Leather

The Labour Party has accused the Government of destroying jobs but National says there have never been more people in work than now. Labour quoted the National Employment Indicator when it argued that 47,000 jobs have been lost since National came to power. – Labour accuses Government of destroying jobs

43 comments on “The Nats’ muddle, your job on the line”

  1. Job losses and unemployment levels are a real problem. It’s difficult to remedy quickly at all let alone quickly, but National need to show they have realistic plans to address this.

    What affect would raising minimum wages to $15 have on an already stressed employment environment?

    • tc 1.1

      Confusing 2 issues there petey boy, what’s a livable wage once one finds a job to be able to live on is not the same as job losses…..nice attempt at diversion and save the line about low wages means more jobs…..we’re there now and it ain’t creating dick matey.

    • The Voice of Reason 1.2

      A $15 ph minimum wage would significantly improve the economy, Pete, particularly in smalle towns like Dunedin. More spending and more economic confidence is exactly what we need. Ask Dunne, he’ll tell you how this business stuff works.

    • Zetetic 1.3

      funny how the righties used to say that Key is the ultimate economic manager. Now, there’s nothing that can be done.

      There’s heaps that the government can do to create jobs. It’s the biggest employer. It’s the biggest spender in the economy. It raises the taxes. It pays the subsidies. It sets the rules.

      $15 an hour min wage would inject hundreds of millions in the poorest economies. That money’s not going on luxury imports or trips overseas. It’s staying in the economy.

      • Pete George 1.3.1

        Yeah, rich employers can afford it of course. They just make heaps of money off workers and spend it all overseas.In a Labour PR bubble.

        In the real world many businesses are struggling to make headway right now – I know, I work with many of them. If government force them to increase one expense they will have to reduce another expense – by reducing employment numbers, by reducing investment in their business – and in particular in building employment levels back up after a tough few years.

        Increasing wage costs will put further stress on business viability, on employment levels, and on wage and price inflation. In the real world that is.

        • mickysavage 1.3.1.1

          Yep I see it all the time.  Captains of Capital lining up outside foodbanks so they can feed their families.  Meanwhile DPB slappers and unemployed bludgers drive BMWs AND play Playstation all day. 
           
          But Sriously PeteG the economy is a complex thing and making it even easier for business owners, shock horror, does not improve the economy.  This is the equivalent of trickle down justifying tax cuts for the wealthy.
           
          And business is owned so much by overseas.  All you do by making it easier for them is increase the trade deficit as more profits are sent overseas.
           
          Appreciate this is a bit of a headfull for you.  It is not as simplistic as “more money for employers therefore more jobs”, it is “spread the money around so more people can spend” and “give the wealthy too much and things just get worse”.
           
           

        • vto 1.3.1.2

          Putting wage costs up will assist in pushing more of the nation’s income and wealth into the hands of the workers, as a proportion of the total, which has dropped significantly over recent decades, to the detriment of the entire nation.

          Of course this may affect the viability of some businesses but not that very many at all. Certainly not those who operate within the domestic economy, which is the vast bulk. Costs of goods and services, as well as profit and wealth of the business owners, will go through an adjustment period whereby the prices may rise a little and business owners profit and wealth may drop a little.

          Wasn’t it Henry Ford who said that raising wages was good for the economy?

          • jem 1.3.1.2.1

            No…what will happen is that NZ produced goods will become more expensive to manufacture due to higher minimum wages, as the things we export are generally produced by our “cheap” labour force.
            So make our manufacturing more expensive and we become LESS competitive internationally…resulting in our key exporters loosing market share and resulting in downgrading, off-shore manufacture and inevitably JOB LOSSES.

            Come on Left…get a clue.

            • vto 1.3.1.2.1.1

              no Jem, too simplistic. And anyway if you read what I wrote it referred to those operating within the domestic economy. And as for the exporters, yes lets follow your logic and compete with the Chinese on 20cents per hour – ha ha ha ha ha ha

        • Zaphod Beeblebrox 1.3.1.3

          Fair points there, but doesn’t this just show the weakness of our economy at the moment.

          The 1930s recession lasted until WW2 and the effects were seen even after ww2. I’m guessing we will start to see the real effects of the GFC during the next term of parliament. How can you have tax cuts at the same time as continuing to borrow. It simply cannot last.

          How do you think Bill is going to deal with his $18B annual deficit? Especially now that our credit ratings are under pressure. Its inevitable that money is going to be pulled out of the economy- how low should wages be to counteract that?

        • mik e 1.3.1.4

          No wonder we have no jobs plan. their are very few employers these days paying less than $15 dollars an hour.Coming out of the great depression one of the major factors in NZ was the increasing wages increased economic activity.

    • McFlock 1.4

      Nice – even Pete George is committing to the statement that after 2.5 years in govt, the Nats still haven’t presented a realistic plan to deal with the economy.

    • Deadly_NZ 1.5

      So lets get this right you want to get into parliament, and you want to do it on the backs of underpaid teens and students, and then cut their already low wages even lower. Just so you can stick your snout in the public trough for about 120-150k a year. Yeah typical sleaze don’t give a rats arse as long as YOU don’t have to do any real work, except plot on how to screw your fellow man. Lets hope you Mr Pete Secret Squirrel George don’t get in. Oh and why the name change??? the SS not a good look for the Nacts??

  2. marsman 2

    Bill English the Dipton Double Dipper gets a Triple D rating. FAIL.

  3. Carol 3

    And meanwhile Stuff is spinning it for the government, claiming people are happy with public service job cuts are see no difference in services. The headline on the main page of their website says,

    Unfazed by state cuts

    More voters believe public services have improved despite thousands of jobs being slashed from the state sector.

    But click on the headline link to this, and the title for the article is slightly more circumspect:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/5721447/Few-see-downside-to-state-cuts

    The lead paragraph and headline support the governments view, making it the dominant view on the issue:

    Thousands of jobs have been slashed from the state sector during the past three years, yet more voters believe the standard of public services are better under the National-led Government, a new poll shows.

    But the next paragraph shows there are alternative views, especially from those actually working in the public sector. And, for many it means there is a smaller number of workers trying to deliver the same services, but without any pay rise for the extra hours:

    The Government says that it is evidence cutbacks have not impacted on core services, but the Public Service Association believes only the goodwill of civil servants working extra hours has maintained standards and cracks will start to show.

    But even to voters polled in the Fairfax poll think that cuts are having a negative impact on schools. Opposition spokespeople identify education and hospitals/health as areas where many voters see a worsening of services.

    So, in spite of the pro-government line on the Stuff main page and at the top of the article, there’s evidence of alternative views and concerns about the impact of the cuts on workers who are doing more work, with no more pay. Near the bottom of the article we get this:

    A recent survey of the Public Service Association’s 40,000 female members found that half were doing extra hours, with only one in 10 being paid for them.

    “That is $54.5 million of donated hours annually just from that group alone.

    “So that indicates to us there is a lot of people out there working extra hours to cut that slack.”

    And there’s little information on what questions were asked in the Fairfax poll, so we can’t judge the objectivity. We just get this:

    The Fairfax Media-Research International poll of 1000 voters asked how they would rate overall standards in five key areas: public transport, policing, public hospitals, preschools, and primary and secondary schools.

    • bbfloyd 3.1

      amazing that those who probably don’t have to deal with winz on a regular basis think it’s improved it’s performance….among others… in the real world however…. you only need to ask those who have no choice but to deal with them what is really happening…… not that anyone would ask them… it wouldn’t suit the agenda to get an accurate assessment….

      the fact is that the agencies charged with dealing with(to) the unemployed, and disabled/disadvantaged have lost so many staff that they are having to manage themselves as well as provide frontline services… this has led to widespread incompetence that is forcing beneficiaries to have to spend hours a week sometimes, coaxing staff to do what used to be simple tasks that they were performing as a matter of course a year ago..

      i have a friend who has been cut off four times in the last three months because winz keep getting things wrong.. each time, he has had to go in and force them to correct the mistake, and reinstate his benefit…and each time, that incident has gone on HIS record as a strike against him…to the point where he was informed that if another failure to meet his obligations would have him cut off permanently… he was forced to threaten them with getting the local labour mp involved, and make noises about laying an official complaint against the particular center in order to get the files rewritten accurately…

      THIS is the reality of job cuts in the government services….my friends experience isn’t an isolated case by any means….

      and while on this subject… i would ask where the five hundred people that winz have been processing the last fortnight come from? they have had to temporarily stop the weekly work seminars in order to clear schedules for this…

      i havn’t seen anything in either the herald, or on tv, but somewhere in the city there has been a large closure… you don’t get 500 people in one hit like that applying for unemployment without that happening….. so ,, are the job loss numbers now being suppressed?

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        so ,, are the job loss numbers now being suppressed?

        Wouldn’t surprise me. If bad news starts coming out now then people would start to realise that National are bad for NZ and not vote them back in. Nationals pet media will do everything in their power to keep the populace uninformed.

      • Vicky32 3.1.2

        i have a friend who has been cut off four times in the last three months because winz keep getting things wrong.. each time, he has had to go in and force them to correct the mistake, and reinstate his benefit…and each time, that incident has gone on HIS record as a strike against him…to the point where he was informed that if another failure to meet his obligations would have him cut off permanently… he was forced to threaten them with getting the local labour mp involved, and make noises about laying an official complaint against the particular center in order to get the files rewritten accurately…

        My giddy aunt! I hope your friend is keeping careful records… he should invoke the Minister as well as the MP, “going ministerial” really put the wind up them when I worked there, happen it still does! (He ought not to have to actually contact the useless woman, the threat should do it.) I wish him good luck!

        • Deadly_NZ 3.1.2.1

          I had to go to my local Labour office when WINZ told my then 38 week pregnant partner who was classified as a high risk Pregnancy due to Diabetes to “just jump on the shuttle” that goes from Levin to Palmerston North. Needless to say they were a little more accommodating after the big boss got a rark up. All is good now he is a very healthy boy. Pic is the icon. But I ask you…

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      “So that indicates to us there is a lot of people out there working extra hours to cut that slack.”

      And I so wish they wouldn’t as them supporting NActs cutting of the government isn’t good for the country in the long term. Hell, even in the mid term.

    • RobM 3.3

      Good analysis Carol. Pathetic massaging of the stats. This is the only paragraph that contains figures:

      “Primary and secondary schools was the only sector where more voters believed standards were worse than three years ago. However, in all five categories most voters, from 35 per cent to 46.5 per cent, believed there was no difference in the quality of services.”

      So where’s the justification for the front page comment:
      “More voters believe public services have improved despite thousands of jobs being slashed from the state sector.”

      or the evidence for this comment:
      ” . . . more voters believe the standard of public services are better under the National-led Government, a new poll shows.”

      More voters see no change. Of those that see a change, presumably (the article doesn’t make this clear) more believe standards have improved than worsened, but what’s the split? If I’m reading this right, 54% to 65% of those polled believed standards had improved or worsened. Given the information presented 2/3s of voters could see no change or a lowering of quality. Hardly a reason for Ryall to be crowing.

  4. Afewknowthetruth 4

    Since none of the comments I have read so far is in any way connected with reality, I suppose I need to do what I do every other day, which is point out reality, so that the majority of commentators can ignore it.

    1. The peak in global extractiion of conventional oil was around 2005-2006 (as admitted by the International Energy Agency in November 2010).. Unconventional oil, which is increasing difficult to find and increasingly difficult to extract, has been propping up the system for the past 5 years as conventional oil slides down the depeltion curve -just as expounded by M.King Hubbert in 1956.

    2. Without an increasing supply of cheap and abundant oil ALL longstanding economic and ALL longstanding social arrangements in NZ will collapse, just as we are witnessing throughout most of the developed world.

    3. We are not in recession. Recession is the mainstream culture euphemism for depression. There has been NO recovery since the global economic system hit reality in late 2007 and started to go into meltdown in 2008: all that has happened is that the fundamental predicament has been concealed (and made worse) through ‘the printing of money’. Hence food, and energy (and practically everything else) are significnatly more expensive than just four years ago. Even the bulk of the crap that comes out of China and the useful stuff is more significnatly expensive. No more electric drills for $16. No more angle grinders for $8.95. No more Chinese canned strawberries for 50c.

    4. We are in the early stages of a reversal of the Industrial Revolution, a process which is unstoppable. ALL current mainstream thinking is geared to futile attempts to sustain the unsustainable.

    5. No amount of tinkering with interest rates, exchange rates, wages rates, taxes, subsidies, creation of money out of thin air etc. will alter the direction we are headed in. In Japan the US, UK etc, interest rates have been below 1% for years and nothing helps… they continue to fall off the cliff. Meanwhile Greece cannot pay the interest on its looans, let alone any of the capital.

    6. The entire economic/political system is corrupt and inefficient, and vested interest groups manipulate the public into thnking everything is just dandy for their own ends.

    7. The ONLY strategy that may be of benefit is the rapid introduction of permaculture and powerdown. We can be absolutely certain that such REAL options will not be pursued because western societoes were hijacked by money-lenders and industrialists centuries ago, and they are only concerned with short term profit at the expense of everyone else.

    8. The bulk of the populace resist becoming informed about the fundamental issues, and therefore become architects of their own demise.

    9. Those who disengage from the madness early and become connected with humanitiy’s proper place in the grand scheme of things should stand a better chance of getting through the mayhem which is on the horizon than those who spend thier time thinking of ways to fix a system which is inherently unfixable.

    10. Unfortunately, recent data confirms that industrial activity (along with population overshoot) ‘killing’ the planet we live on at an accelerating rate, and there is a very real prospect of the Earth overheating by as much as 3oC by mid-century (that is THIS century). Such a temperature rise would make most of the Earth uninhabitable for humans.

    Okay, now you can carry on talking about creating jobs, altering wage rates, changing tax rates, thinking of new ways to burn fossil fuels and all the other stuff which will make no difference to the health and well-being of most people but will bring about a faster collapse of the natural systems that make the Earth habitable.

    .

  5. Tombstone 5

    What the hell is wrong with this country?! Since when has the loss of thousands of jobs, with even more losses yet to come and 2 credit down grades been a sign of good governance? Are we living in Mexico? Get real NZ. The ship is sinking.

  6. gary 6

    but aren’t we expecting 170,000 new jobs this year?

    • Blighty 6.1

      lolz.

      No. we’re meant to expect 170,000 new jobs over the next 4 years – except that 170,000 includes the new jobs created last year – and it’s only 35,000 as year, which is the long-run average rate of job growth, only enough to match population growth.

    • According to BHP the jobs are in Australia.
       
      Remember, if you’re the last one to leave NZ, turn off the light and put out the cat.

  7. randal 7

    We been crosbytectored to death. fair is foul and foul is fair. National say they are the party of business but there are no jobs

    • Jim Nald 7.1

      party of business for them, but not for you!

      • mik e 7.1.1

        The business of partying Key on one long celebrity party look at me don’t worry about the economy .Next appearance on home and away Hawaii edition .

  8. Nicola Vallance 8

    Hi all,

    I’ve been focusing on the DOC cuts in particular. The cuts come at a time when the agency charged with protecting our ‘clean green’ image (and according to Pure Advantage – Rob Fyfe, Stephen Tindall and Co, the key economic driver to our competitive edge globally), is currently managing all of our national parks and reserves, marine reserves, network of huts, tracks, bridges etc, pest control (from possums to pine trees), not to mention endangered species, on around the same budget as the Hamilton City Council.

    The DOC cuts will hit us all hard, not just because things like kiwi will go extinct in the wild in our lifetime, but because it hits our economic backbone. it’s our thin green line.

    I wrote a piece in the Herald on this issue here:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10754786

    And let’s not forget!!! while the Govt is busy slashing public service jobs, they’re more than happy to double the mining jobs in Crown Minerals (MED).

    why would you cut an agency already run on the smell of an oily rag (i.e. you can’t squeeze that much more out of it) and then double mining advocacy staff in Crown Minerals? not very transparent, or forward-thinking, or innovative.

    • Afewknowthetruth 8.1

      Anyone with a brain that still functions properly knows that it is ‘loot the till’ time…….last acts of desperation to prop up rapdily failing systems, and the last opportunity for corporations to make a quick profit before it all goes down. It is the job of Crown Minerals (MED) to facilitate the looting. As I have said many times, we are government by psychotic sociopaths.

      When you are ready for reality watch the video embedded in this:

      http://guymcpherson.com/2011/09/couchsurfing-with-my-soapbox/

      Alternatively, ignore it and get wiped out financially, as will happen to most people. A little later, depending on where you live, then look forward to starving to death or fighting over what food is available.

      Of course, if the temperature projections for ‘disaster as usual’ (it used to be called business as usual) eventuate because the globalised industrial economy doesn’t collapse fast enough, there won’t be any humans living on this planet by the end of this century.

      Food for thought.

  9. Afewknowthetruth 10

    I have repeatedly indicated that present economic arrangements will be ‘toast’ by 2015 but there is now mounting evidence there will be a major jolt within a year:

    http://www.fedupusa.org/2011/09/theres-no-way-in-hell-were-making-it-to-nov-2012/

    • anarcho 10.1

      Interesting read. But other stuff was cheering for the Tea Party – is this a site position or individual contributors?

    • Afewknowthetruth 11.1

      maui

      What a laugh!

      ‘On Thursday, the federal government will host a Future Jobs Forum where Australian-born businessman Andrew Liveris, the Dow Chemical Company chief executive who advises US President Barrack Obama, will be the international keynote speaker.

      Mr Liveris, who co-chairs Mr Obama’s advanced manufacturing partnership, had a wealth of business and manufacturing experience, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.

      He would provide “a unique insight” into the global trends affecting the Australian economy and how those trends were being addressed in the US.’

      Liveris’ advice to Gillard: Close all you factories and move them to Vietnam or Myanmar (China is getting a little expensive). Introduce a Food Stamp system. Close libraries. Sack teachers, firemen and policemen (privatise ‘security’). Stop repairing the roads. Find another nation to bomb.

  10. randal 12

    the ad at the top of this page says 40% of gym memberships paid for by fitness new zealand. So sit back and nosh up on the grease and the government will find the money for you to go and fight the flab. How innovative is that?

    • mik e 12.1

      Randel It would be cheaper to give everyone a bicycle so everybody can use the cycle way!

  11. maui 13

    AFWKTT: very good. I am glad you have not lost your humour.

  12. These job losses show that yet another policy rationale of National’s philosophy is bankrupt.
    If the rich are the job creators, and we have given them billions in tax cuts, then where are the jobs?
    This idea belongs in that same rubbish heap in which other statements of ideology should be disgarded….
    e.g. markets are rational, markets are self-regulating, wealth trickles down.
     
    Only trouble is National hasn’t got it yet – either because it suits their self-interest or they are afraid that an admission would reveal their nakedness.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      Only trouble is National hasn’t got it yet…

      They’ve got it alright but those tax cuts benefited them and their rich mates and so they’ll ignore the reality that their policies produce extreme poverty for everyone else.

      • tc 14.1.1

        Here here DTB…. watching Beatson pummel Blinglish over the absence of any analysis of the impact of GST on lower and middle incomes and then seeing him lie his arse off about it being fiscally neutral…..they know exactly the impact and don’t five a F.

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