Unemployment rises to 6.8%

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, August 5th, 2010 - 96 comments
Categories: Economy, unemployment - Tags: , ,

Statistics NZ has just released the Household Labour Force Survey for June 2010 and it’s grim reading, with an astonishing increase in the unemployment rate from 6.0% to 6.8%.

Maori unemployment is now up to 16.4%, Pacific unemployment is at 14.1% and there’s been a 70% increase in long-term unemployment to 37,600.

It’s clear from these figures that the economic recovery National promised isn’t a reality for most workers. We have a government that’s asleep at the wheel, unable to think of economic policies beyond just leaving it all to the market and hoping things work out for the best.

They have no interest in helping workers because that’s not who they serve. Everything National has done – from cutting the top tax rate to removing work rights to attacking beneficiaries – has been about making working Kiwis suffer in order to reward their rich mates.

The result has been 53,000 more New Zealanders unemployed since National became government. Meanwhile, those of us fortunate enough to still have jobs can look forward to stagnating wages as the twin pressures of high unemployment and fewer work rights put downward pressure on our pay packets and leave us even further behind Australia.

There comes a point when empty rhetoric and spin hits up against cold hard reality. With GST increases, rising interest rates and 5% inflation on the way John Key has a rough few months ahead of him – with or without an effective Labour opposition.

96 comments on “Unemployment rises to 6.8%”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    We have a government that’s asleep at the wheel, unable to think of economic policies beyond just leaving it all to the market and hoping things work out for the best.

    Actually, their economic policy is give it all to the rich and everyone else can suffer. Why else the 90 fire@will bill, the top tax rates going down while everyone else’s goes up due to GST, ACC levies etc. They really have been giving all our wealth to themselves and their rich mates and putting all the costs of doing so on the poor.

    [Yeah, first edit left out a crucial par – have fixed it, and incorporated some of your wording. Marty.]

    • Exactly this stuff about national adrift, Key drunk, blah blah is parliamentary fetishist and diversionary.
      The NACTs know their class interest to the last blind trust.
      Just look at Carter (not Hone or meltdown man) forcing Fonterra to provide milk to the privatised milk startups in the name of holy cowshit.
      Guess who’s looking at his share portfolio while publicly mourning for the blood price of milk.

    • jack 1.2

      hi mate, john key did looked after a lot of people in the rich list, that’s how things worked and Helen has been doing nothing for too long…

      NZ would be in recession for 10+ years. The real inflation would probably be close to 10%.for the next 2~3 years and they will not take GST off food & essentials.

      So start a business mate, if you haven’t and start ripping people off and you’ll see.
      A typical kiwi’s attitude would not help, scrimp and scrape + sweep it under the carpet won’t help at all, have to go out and actually do thing, either good or bad.

      *Revolution is not the solution, the only solution is individual action.*

  2. Zaphod Beeblebrox 2

    That figure is in spite of the fact that we’re leaking workers to Australia in ever increasing amounts. If Tony Abbott gets elected anddecides to make NZers part of his send them all home lets put an absolute number on numbers migrants (170,000 was the figure he plucked from the air)- you wonder how bad this could get.

  3. tc 3

    The numbers don’t lie…..unlike Sideshow, Blinglish and crew.

    • Jim Nald 3.1

      donkeys talk asspirational but run down the country

      yours ambivalently ambitious
      jim macdonald

  4. Fisiani 4

    It’s called a recession. Gettit? It’s not over. That why there has to be caution and waste reduction. It follows on from 9 years of mismanagement and a distorted unhealthy economy. Thank goodness it never reached the predicted 11% unemployment mark. Budget 2010, it is estimated by Treasury, will produce approximately 170,000 jobs.
    $ 4 billion dollars of extra borrowing by Labour would have sank the NZ economy completely.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 4.1

      Is that the plan? Spending and waste reduction? Most governments talk about skills, industry development and investment. Obviously National have hit upon a novel strategy.

    • ZB 4.2

      Oh no not another National support who lost all feeling in their head. Another Zombie.

      Labour left us economic good memories and great government books. What would National have done, what were they saying they would have done, what did they do? They run up debt and give the top end of town tax cuts! That would have left NZ right up there with GREECE! Yes, National would have made our economy so riddled with holes that we’d have had a national economic collapse.

      What use is it to National to lie that English said Labour left the books in good order? I mean seriously who actually believes anything National says, they are hopeless liars.

    • bbfloyd 4.3

      fisiani… your grasp of economics is as sharp as your memory. it wouldn’t cut through soft butter. keep it up though. people can always use a reminder of what it is we need to avoid if we are ever going to mature as a nation to the point that we actually deal sensibly with serious issues facing us.

  5. randal 5

    national is the party of business.
    well.
    where is the business?

    • ZB 5.1

      Yeah. National keep letting the market offshore our business and then using profits to pay debt interest to foreigners!

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      National is the Party For Psychopaths. All the people who are only interested in getting as much as they can for themselves at everyone else’s expense.

    • bbfloyd 5.3

      randal…it’s hidden away in a blind trust

  6. roger nome 6

    There you go Nats – only 4% more untill you reach your record of 11% unemployment in 1991! Keep up the tax cuts for the rich, cuts to social spending, and free-market dogma approach and you’ll get there!

    What ever you do, do not re-instate proper funding for counselling and the enterprise allowance which have been shown to have excellent returns to investment.

    http://www.regeringen.se/content/1/c6/09/52/63/e9a4be51.pdf

    oh – and don’t increase benefits to the degree that people can live civilised existences – that may well result in higher levels of spending on goods and services, which will mean job creation, and ultimatly a tighter labour market with ….. gasp higher wages!

  7. tsmithfield 7

    A lot of that unemployment comes from displaced public servants who were a waste of space anyway. Cheaper to have them on the dole than drawing a taxpayer funded salary at many multiples of that.

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      Evidence is required, or I will assume you are just making up what you wish to be true. Again.

      • tsmithfield 7.1.1

        Surely I don’t need to provide evidence that the government is actively seeking to reduce numbers in the public service, do I? There have been plenty of rants here complaining about how the government had promised to keep public service numbers stable but is reducing them instead.

        Do you agree that the government is actively seeking to reduce public service numbers? If you agree with this proposition, then it logically follows that some of the unemployment is due to this deliberate government shrinkage the left despises so much.

        It logically follows that those the government deems to be “surplus to requirements” are by definition a “waste of space”. So I stand by what I said.

        • mcflock 7.1.1.1

          What you need to do is provide evidence for your claim that “a lot of that unemployment comes from displaced public servants”. I.e. numbers of former public servants as a proportion of the currently unemployed. Even numbers of how many public servants have been “displaced”.

          You see “some” can be a trace-element amount, whereas “a lot of” implies a significant, noticable proportion.

          If the numbers of “displaced public servants” is not a single-digit fraction of the increase in unemployment from when labour was in govt, I would say “a lot” is overstating the case.

          • Pete 7.1.1.1.1

            Can’t be much anyway, I swear Key campaigned on capping public servant numbers rather than drastically cutting them.

            It says so here: http://m.nbr.co.nz/article/key-rules-out-slashing-public-service-numbers-37820

            And, I think he also said to the PSA Congress in 2008 that:
            “Few problems are solved by significant reorganisations in fact, many more tend to be created. It is easy to underestimate the amount of energy and inspiration soaked up by institutional change, as well as the loss of personal and institutional knowledge.”

            So, he wouldn’t be breaking a promise and “actively seeking to reduce numbers in the public service” like ts says, would he?

            • tsmithfield 7.1.1.1.1.1

              As of March they had dropped by 1500 with a lot more in the pipeline.

              1500 with a more to come is more than just a trace element.

              Broken promise or not, I say right on. Get stuck in.

              • Pete

                So the election was about ‘trust’ after all.

                Good to know that promises by electioneering politicians count for squat (for those not politically astute enough to know the difference).

                • tsmithfield

                  I didn’t say it was a broken promise. Only that I really don’t care because I think reducing the size of the public service is the right thing to do.

              • mcflock

                1500 out of roughly 140,000 (http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/work_income_and_spending/employment_and_unemployment/householdlabourforcesurvey_hotpmar10qtr.aspx ) is about 1%.

                Is 1% of X “a lot of” X? Nope – it’s not even “a significant minority”.

                So your attempt to suggest that the unemployment rate is A Good Thing (TM) because it was the result of Cutting The Boorockrassy (TM) is utter crap.

                • tsmithfield

                  That article I referred to implies that there will be substantially more unemployed from the public service by now. It could well be up to 3000 or more judging by the plans of some of those departments.

                  If it is 3000, then that is a lot of people what ever way you look at it. The point of I made in the second part of my post was a fair one. If there are 3000 former public servants unemployed by now, and if their average salary was $50000, then that is $150,000,000 in public outgoings that has been reduced substantially.

                  • BLiP

                    And TS fucks up another thread. Under a post detailing the travesty of the National Ltdâ„¢’s economic policy in the face of rising unemployment, Tim wanders off into a la-la-land discourse on the government’s plans to reduce the public service. Despite being called on pulling figures directly from his arse, Tim persists and making up more facts. Must be taking the example of his leader the wonderful King John The Clueless of Charmalot who so loved his underclass he made more of them.

                  • mcflock

                    a lot of people, but a drop in the cup of unemployed, including your optimistic “3000” number.

                    If you double 1%, you get 2%. Still F*** all.

                    Put simply, your argument that the UR is high because the govt is culling department staff is bull. Trying to pretend that you really meant “some” or “1% is a lot” is just funny.

                  • The Voice of Reason

                    Or, as I prefer to look at it, the writing off of a public asset worth 150 million. These people worked for the taxpayer. I’m a taxpayer, but I can’t recall being asked if I wanted some of my employees dismissed. I’d prefer it if they still did work for me, but in the meantime, I’ll just wait for the dividend cheque. Should be about $40, on your figures, TS.

                    Oh, wait. I’m told there’s not going to be a dividend. So, um, why are we doing it?

                    • tsmithfield

                      I never said “majority”, “most”, “substantial percentage” or any such thing. 3000 is a lot of people. Especially if they all turned up for dinner. 🙂

                    • McFlock

                      A lot of that unemployment comes from displaced public servants […]

                      You weren’t talking about a lot as in numeric quantity of people, you were quite clearly talking about a lot as a proportion of total unemployment.

                      3,000 would be “a lot” of people coming for dinner. As a contributing factor to 140,000 unemployed people, it is not a lot.

                      “A lot” of people in NZ think Hitler was on the right track – enough to make your dinner party catering difficult. Fortunately there aren’t enough of them to significantly alter public policy.

                      Another example is to say you used “a lot” of braincells to consider your position before clicking “Submit Comment”. 3,000 is “a lot” of discreet units. However, compared to the number of braincells others used to consider what you wrote in plain English, it was f*** all.

                    • tsmithfield

                      So far as a percentage of total public servants 3000 is nearly 10%. So, it is “a lot” with respect to its impact on reducing the draw-down from the public purse, which was the main point I was trying to make.

                    • felix

                      Tim you’re a fucking liar. Here’s what you said:

                      A lot of that unemployment comes from displaced public servants who were a waste of space anyway.

                      You think you’re the only person on here with a scroll button? You know the words don’t disappear after you type them? What a moron.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Typical, Felix. Why didn’t you finish the quote. It wasn’t very long. Here is what I finished that statement with:

                      “Cheaper to have them on the dole than drawing a taxpayer funded salary at many multiples of that.”

                      And in a later post I said: “If it is 3000, then that is a lot of people what ever way you look at it. The point of I made in the second part of my post was a fair one. If there are 3000 former public servants unemployed by now, and if their average salary was $50000, then that is $150,000,000 in public outgoings that has been reduced substantially.”

                      It is quite clear from the context of what I have said through these exchanges that this was the main point. Notice, I didn’t say the only point.

                      I’d rather be called a liar than brain-dead. If you don’t actually start reading and comprehending what people write soon I will have to assume you are the latter.

                    • tsmithfield

                      The other point, Felix, is this:

                      In my last post there is clearly an implied but unstated comment which was a reply to McFlock:

                      “Even if I accept what you are saying about the meaning of “a lot’ that phrase can be viewed in another way ‘

                      Then I clearly qualified that “a lot’ could also be viewed in the context of the impact on state service numbers when I said:

                      “So, it is “a lot’ with respect to its impact on reducing the draw-down from the public purse,”

                      You simply are not reading and understanding. Instead you are just cherry-picking out the bits that suit the point you are trying to make, and then using that fragment of text taken out of context as ammunition to call people liars.

                      That says more about you than it does about me.

                    • McFlock

                      You absolute moron. The post isn’t about the public purse, it’s not about the size of the public service, it’s not about what number of people constitutes a crowd…

                      UNEMPLOYMENT IS AT 6.8%.

                      This was being viewed as a bad thing, until you chipped in with your claim that a lot of the unemployment was due to Key’s cutbacks in the public service. When it was pointed out that the public service cutbacks would have minimal effect on unemployment, you come up with oooo it saves so much freaking money ad pretend that’s what you said all along.

                      So either you’re a complete moron who comments before thinking then digs himself a deeper hole trying to look like he didn’t screw up, or you’re a complete moron who derails a thread with irrelevant comments, or both.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Nah. You’re doing the same as Felix and just focusing on one part of what I said.

                      Re-read my opening comment. It can be paraphrased as follows:

                      A lot of those on the dole are ex-public servants AND that is a good thing BECAUSE it considerably reduces the drain on the public purse.

                      I have made this argument from the outset. It is not something I just introduced later on. In the context of what I said I still say that 3000 is “a lot”.

                      If you choose to focus only on the first part of what I said, then I agree that 3000 isn’t “a lot”. However, by only focusing on the first part you are misrepresenting what I said.

                    • mcflock

                      Your entire opening comment in response to a thread that unemployment is rising under a national government:

                      A lot of that unemployment comes from displaced public servants who were a waste of space anyway. Cheaper to have them on the dole than drawing a taxpayer funded salary at many multiples of that.

                      Sentence 1: A substantial portion of unemployment is due to PS restructuring
                      Sentence 2: this is a good thing because it’s cheaper for the country.

                      Sentence 1 is patently false.
                      Therefore sentence 2 is pointless. Although it is extremely debateable as to whether having skilled public sector administrators collecting an unemployment benefit is an appropriate or even “cheaper” use of skilled labour.

                      Either you don’t realise sentence 1 is patently false, or your sole contribution was irrelevant to the discussion of national and demographic unemployment rates.

                      A bit like if you went to a seminar on agricultural free trade agreements and said “a lot of my farts smell like broccoli”.

                    • tsmithfield

                      I disagree with you. It is your interpretation that “a lot” has to mean a substantial proportion. Therefore you are only disproving your own interpretation not mine. Secondly you have created a false dichotomy. I have already said that the statement I made needs to be read as a whole rather than as two discrete sentences. Also, I disagree with what you say about the relevance of the second point because you are determining this by dividing my argument into two discrete points which it is not.

                      The point I made is actually quite simple, which can be stated in another way as follows:

                      That is that there is a silver lining to the unemployment figures because jobs lost from the public sector are a net cash benefit to the government finances.
                      This is quite relevant to the discussion. The argument stands whether its 3000 or 20000. So, the meaning of “a lot” is largely irrelevant to the point I was making.

                      Think about it. What would be the point of me making the statement I did if this was not the point I was trying to make.

                    • felix

                      Oh Tim you stupid arrogant cunt. Your problem is not that people aren’t understanding what you write, it’s that they do understand it.

                    • mcflock

                      Okay, let’s take your latest phrasing:

                      That is that there is a silver lining to the unemployment figures because jobs lost from the public sector are a net cash benefit to the government finances.
                      This is quite relevant to the discussion. The argument stands whether its 3000 or 20000. So, the meaning of “a lot’ is largely irrelevant to the point I was making.

                      Completely irrelevant – national unemployment figures are barely connected to the PS reforms, quanititatively or fiscally. Even your alleged $150mil benefit to the govt is outclassed by the benefits paid to 53,000 more unemployed people under NACT. Sorry, 50,000 (forgot to take out your “lots of” 3000 former PS workers). That’s what, $500mil (at $10000 each p.a.) ? Even the last quarter increase of 0.8% equates to around 18000 unemployed. By my rough math that’s $180Mil. So, not including redundancy payments etc, they’ve saved $150mil off this quarter’s unemployment increase only and are still paying out $30mil p.a. if all your ex-PS staff are currently unemployed. If they are not, your point is even less relevant.

                      Hell of a “silver lining”.

                      Think about it. What would be the point of me making the statement I did if this was not the point I was trying to make.

                      Was I not clear earlier in the thread? There is no rational connection between your comment and the wider thread, but your delusions tend to be localised towards supporting the NACTards. You are therefore most likely just a complete and utter moron rather than clinically insane.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Think about it. What would be the point of me making the statement I did if this was not the point I was trying to make.

                      Post: Unemployment is up to 6.8%. This is bad, the government is doing FA about it.

                      ts?: Who cares? A lot of the unemployment increase is from useless civil servants losing their so called jobs, so the increase isn’t actually bad.

                      Everyone else: There is no way that the civil service job losses can be called a ‘lot’ of the unemployed, at best a coupla percent. So even if your latter is true, you are an ass.

                      ts wibble.

      • bbfloyd 7.1.2

        lanthanide.. learn to read a newspaper slowly enough to actually absorb the information. the figures are public knowledge.or are you above all that sort of thing?

        • Puddleglum 7.1.2.1

          Bbfloyd, I think you’ll find Lanthanide was responding to TS’ figures not to those in the post.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 7.2

      Lets see 53K increase in unemployment- how many of those will be ex public servants? Thats the ones not employed on the cycleway.

      • Lanthanide 7.2.1

        Yes, so lets use ts’ number above, of 1,500. That works out to 2.8% of the growth in unemployment coming from public servants. That is hardly “a lot”.

        Further, that is assuming that all of those 1,500 are currently counted amongst the 53,000 increase in the unemployed, that is, none of those 1,500 managed to find a new job.

        In conclusion: your slack use of language doesn’t help your case, tsmithfield.

        • bbfloyd 7.2.1.1

          lanthanide.. actually , a lot of them did find work………in australia. they were the lucky ones. most can’t afford the price of a ticket.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.3

      You have to prove two things:
      1.) That the ex-public servants make up a large amount of the now unemployed and
      2.) That we didn’t need those public servants

      I doubt if you can do it.

  8. roger nome 8

    tsmithfield:

    ha? Is that good shit you’re smoking or what? Some people say that the gangs put fly-spray on stuff to make it seem stronger. Maybe you’ve been duped?

  9. Reality Check 9

    My Question is…

    Seriously, does anyone TRULY believe that if we had been blessed with Labour staying in power that unemployement would not have risen?

    Cos i sure dont. MAYBE it would have not got as high…MAYBE….but i do think that unemployment WOULD have risen.

    It was ALREADY on the rise BEFORE labour lost the Election.

    No party/government can stop people from laying off people if there is no way they can afford to keep their staff. This was after all a recession.

    Also, look at Australia. They had a Labour government, who had a stimulus package which DID keep them out of recession but DID NOT stop unemployment going up. Their unemployment figures for June were 6.9% and have come down in July to 5.9%. But it still is high.

    Yes, Nats could be doing more to try and create jobs and slash poverty, but every time they suggest something it is slammed.

    If we are serious about increasing employement and decreasing poverty then i think we need to stop playing ideological politics and work together to sort these to things out.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 9.1

      Current Australian unemployment is 5.1%. Its going down. Why do you think that is happening?

    • BLiP 9.2

      I’m not sure that “maybe”, “if” and “would have” are sound enough bases for an argument.

    • bbfloyd 9.3

      r,c..the one thing that can’t be argued is that a labour government would have done a lot more than this government ever intended to.
      the reason they(national) are getting “slammed” is that , so far they have not made any credible suggestions. punishing people for not being wealthy does not qualify as a serious suggestion.
      allowing business to make extra profits off the backs of their workers will not increase employment one iota. there actually has to be work for people to do in order for businesses to hire staff.
      instead of borrowing hundreds of millions every year to do no more than give wealthy people the opportunity to increase their investment portfolios, maybe that could have been used to fund capital works. the wages paid would have flowed right back through the economy immediately, so the profits generated from that day to day spending would have filtered through into the pockets of the wealthy anyway. or am i getting too technical for you?

      • Herodotus 9.3.1

        bbf Have a look at the increase in wealth these so called benefactors of Nat policies recieved under the 99-08 years. the top increased at a far greater rate than the majority, also how Lab (Cullen) were amiss in attacking the wealth with changes in tax laws and the continuation of protection towards the lardlords. No matter who is in power the wealthy will always benefit, it was just unfortunate that in 84-90 and 98-08 the wealthy got the turbo burst whilst the rest of us were left treading water. it was both Nat and Lab that failed us in strenghtening controls over 2nd tier finance coys, greater controls were recommended way back in the mid 80’s.

  10. roger nome 10

    RC –

    Employment rate is more important than unemployment rate anyhow. UR only shows the % of ppl who are looking for work, but can’t find any. It says nothing for what proportion of people are in gainful employment.

    i.e. if you have higher wages and good working conditions more ppl are encouraged into the labour market, which means an aggregate increase in unemployment, without any less people being employed. So if you only look at unemployment you get the perverse situation where higher wages (unionism) and good working conditions are seen as bad things becuase more people want to work!

    • Anthony C 10.1

      No surprise from me at those stats, you could tell from the feeling on the ground, I’m also noticing a lot of people underemployed or through wage stagnation and rising costs slipping out of the middle-class.

  11. tc 11

    Didn’t realise till now blinglish’s alter-ego is Fisiani…….that’s how he gets to repeat the porkys outside the house under an assumed identity. How’s Dipton these days Fis ?

  12. Jenny 12

    If there was anything to split the Maori Party from the Nats. this is it.

    From stuff.co.nz:

    The latest Maori unemployment figures have horrified Labour and the Maori Party.

  13. tc 13

    Yup good point AC….. that pay freeze has gone on around some of the stat bodies wodneys winding up for ‘I can’t believe it’s a supercity’ whilst the management get double digit increases, now those folk are being dis-established….thanks for the loyalty and more for the dole queue soon.

  14. gobsmacked 14

    Another Fisiani special:

    It’s called a recession. Gettit? It’s not over.

    John Key publicly announced it was over last year.

  15. Reality Check 15

    So what would have been our plan had we stayed in power?

    Would unemployment have risen under our watch? (it was already rising before we left office)

    And how would we be spinning it if unemployment had risen?

    Lets look in the mirror.

    (however, if my last post is anything to go by, no-one will respond to the questions and instead just attack. I am all for holding NACT accountable for their failed economic plans, but if we are going to do that we need to also offer what WE would do differently).

    • Anthony C 15.1

      I think that was covered pretty well at the time, initiatives such as insulating and energy efficiency in state houses to keep the tradys in work, actually investing in new infrastructure around public transport etc, not re-announcing old expenditure. Economic stimulus

      Take a look at the green new deal for instance: http://www.greens.org.nz/gnd

      I can see why so many people here are paranoid about RW trolls pretending to be lefties

      • Reality Check 15.1.1

        If you are implying that i am a RW troll you are grossly ill-informed!!

        You are displaying what i am talking about…instead of dealing with the issues/questions, you attack someone who is willing to question our own response to things.

        I was very involved in the union movement at a workers level (recruiting, bargaining with the employer for contract renewals, etc) and i saw the BENEFIT of self-assesment and the BENEFIT of being willing to stop attacking (as this only gets defenses up) so that there can be constructive talks to deal with the issues. This leads to the problem getting solved, rather than the just attacking the opposite side for the sake of point scoring.

        If this means that i am not considered a lefty, then this is indeed a sad indictment on us all.

        something we on the left have prided ourselves on is having many people under one tent, with the ability to have robust discussions without the fear of being labelled Right wing.

        • Puddleglum 15.1.1.1

          No need to respond defensively, RC. Let me take you at face value and explain – in ‘good faith’ – the reactions you might be receiving.

          Anthony C was probably simply noticing the surprising lack of familiarity you demonstrated with the policies and suggestions that have come from ‘left’ parties (and the ‘left’ doesn’t start and end with Labour and the Greens, as you’ll know). For someone who presents as a ‘leftie’ by extensively, even ostentatiously, talking of “our” and “we” and who goes to the trouble of commenting on a political blog it does seem odd that you don’t appear able to answer your own questions.

          To be ‘left’ you don’t have to support Labour, the Greens or any other political party but you presumably do have to support certain ‘leftist’ ideals, values and understandings of how individuals and society operate (there’s no comprehensive, totally agreed upon list anywhere, of course, but there’s a ‘family resemblance’ amongst those adhered to by ‘leftists’).

          Those ideals, values and understandings give most of ‘us’ a sense of the various ways to respond to a recession in policy terms – and we debate them. What was surprising was that you posed the questions and yet didn’t suggest answers from your base in those broad ‘leftist’ understandings.

          In fact, you didn’t even make specific criticisms of Labour or ‘us’ from a ‘left’ perspective. For example, you could have said that unemployment would have gone up under Labour because they still cleave to fundamental neo-liberal economic assumptions and policy settings – that’s a ‘left’ criticism of a ‘left’ party, all perfectly possible. You could have said that Labour would have spun the unemployment figures just as much as National because they are short-term political thinkers concerned only with retaining power and have ‘sold out’ on any progressive agenda – that would be a ‘left’ criticism. Others would then have responded to these criticisms of Labour, of course, but would probably have never doubted your ‘left’ credentials. Others still, would have agreed with you.

          All any of us have to go on is the content and style of each others’ comments (as you put it that is to be, at one level, “grossly ill-informed” about each other) but that’s the medium we’re in here. If how you commented drew a suspicious reaction that shouldn’t surprise you and, if you thought about it clearly, shouldn’t offend you either.

          • Reality Check 15.1.1.1.1

            Thanks for your thoughtful response.

            Just to clarify…

            The reason i did not answer my own questions is because, (as any of my friends and family would confirm if asked), i love asking questions that will provoke banter.

            Also, i guess my question should not have been what WOULD the left have done back in 2008, but more, what solutions are the left offering now. NOT because i dont know, but because i want to provoke discussion rather than just seeing attack styled talk.

            Just last night at a meeting of like minded friends i threw out some provoking questions (that i had the same answers as my like minded freinds) just to get a discussion going. instead of running with answers that were constructive, i was quickly pounced upon as though i was a sheep in wolf clothing. they totally missed my point, which was to have a good robust discussion, plus try and get people to see how our answers might look to our right wing counter parts.

            I am just wanting to advocate good discussion that doesn’t end in petty attacks rather than serious answers to serious questions.

            Further to my above mention of being a union man, i am devastated that rights to access are going to be undermined by the upcoming changes. But instead of attacking the NACT alliance, further entrenching their stance, i think we need to try our best to get them to reconsider. (probably unlikely, but at least if we act civil they can use that against us, where as if we go “feral” on them they will use it against us.) hope you get my gist?

            • Lanthanide 15.1.1.1.1.1

              ” (as any of my friends and family would confirm if asked), i love asking questions that will provoke banter.”

              Seems your first assertion doesn’t fit with your latter example:

              “at a meeting of like minded friends i threw out some provoking questions (that i had the same answers as my like minded freinds) just to get a discussion going. […] instead of running with answers that were constructive, i was quickly pounced upon as though i was a sheep in wolf clothing. they totally missed my point”

              I think you need to re-examine the way you communicate with people.

  16. kriswgtn 16

    So Proud

  17. Herodotus 17

    This may be a left wing(read Labour site) as I have seen very little commentary towards The Greens, or for that matter any other left leaning political parties. Just attack to Nat and defend Lab, the left is bigger than just a average opposition competing with an extremely good PR Prime Minister(until his MOJO gets lost, he looked great in the herald online site today!!!) and some of his Cabinet that like Labs time in Govt would struggle to get a job in the real world.
    Unemployment and economic activity occur to the most not because of the govt but because overseas conditions are favourable and some out there just get things done.
    Policies may add a greater obstacle to getting this country going, Nat is not freeing up things for most businesses but Lab was the same. For me NZ would be in a similar position had Lab held onto power. The stars are not lined up, and immigration will not save us like it has over the last 10 years, and dairy can only feed so many. Nat will not grow NZ but then Lab gave NZ any foundations to build on either, just look at our current account record, debt, where growth occurred ov erthe last 15 years or so. Nothing to build on. We have missed our opportunity to setup a strong foundation on what to base NZ future on.

    • Bored 17.1

      Im afraid that the strong base you are talking about is not likely to come from the central government, especially Nact or Labour. They are caught in the present paradigm of 40 hours, mortgage, 2 cars etc. The Greens are also heading for the middle ground of the current status quo, alternativism with middle class incomes and aspirations.

      For those who are unfortunately unemployed life is becoming decidely tough, prices are rising and these miserable NACT bastards are now playing the bennie bashing card, lifting taxes on the rich and starving the poor game. And Labour appear totally clueless, they want the middle vote.

      It may be little comfort to the unemployed but there is an alternative economy emerging, look at ooooby.ning and freecycle etc, do some guerilla gardening and trade hours for stuff. It will look like a piss poor way of doing things at first, but when this reaches critical mass as unemployment becomes hugely entrenched economic legitimacy may well belong to tangible trade as opposed to worthless paper.

      The message: dont look for salvation from central government or corporates, replace them.

      • Herodotus 17.1.1

        Ther are other organisations with the co-op that we could also copy. Like that of the Co-Op based in Scotland. I am amazed (or ignorant) that there has not been a post on this setup or of something similar. Especially as the template has already been setup. So those who shop here also get the benefits of profit distribution. For a socialist basis is this not what many here have been espousing as a business model?
        It also has affiliations to the scottish labour party (Or a similar leftish party)
        http://www.co-operative.coop/

        • Bored 17.1.1.1

          Good point, it all starts at ground level, beat the bastards at their own game and replace them at the same time.

          • Herodotus 17.1.1.1.1

            I hope that there is someone out there who is aware of this setup an editor(contributor) to this site and to dig deeper into it. i was made aware of this setup by a family member who works for this co-op. I was amazed with the scale of this they are the 5th largest food retailer. Now something like that would shake up Foodstuffs & Progressive, especially as the shoppers also benefit by gaining fro their loyality with dividend distributions based on that years shopping. So we get competition and community ownership. They also contribute to the local communities by way of financial support and pushing food safety
            “The Co-operative model
            Like any business, we want to be a commercial success. However, even more important to us is the way that we do business, and the way that we use our profits. We believe that we should offer our customers both value and values. Which makes us a bit different.
            It’s part of our model: as a consumer co-operative, we run our business for the benefit of our members. That means our members are involved in democratic decision-making, and we re-invest in our business share of the profits – sharing profits with our members. Our members also set a social and campaigning agenda that we support. In fact – because our members wanted it – we’ve become pioneers in areas such as fairtrade and combating climate change. Of course, the more commercially successful we are, the more we can do to give back to the communities we serve and to influence the wider world.”
            Now is that not a business model that we could all support?

            • Bill 17.1.1.1.1.1

              “I hope that there is someone out there who is aware of this setup an editor(contributor) to this site and to dig deeper into it.”

              You could jus go to the co-op website. http://www.co-operative.coop/aboutus/

              Or the John Lewis’s website http://www.johnlewis.com/Shops/DShome.aspx

              Better than the run of the mill company ventures that these endeavours are, they are still not co-operatives or collectives in the deeper democratic sense of the term.

              If you want other, perhaps more ethical examples then search out the history of the chocolate manufacturers such as frys, cadbury and boureville. These were major employers who tried, and failed, to provide for workers in a capitalist market set up.

              Or closer to home, it might interest you to know that there was a rope maker in Dunedin (company still exists but has been corporatised) that provided homes for its workers…

              Anyway.

              As I’ve commented before on this blog, I lived and worked as a part of a workers’ collective in the UK before moving here. And the legislation that allowed that collective to exist is available under NZ law.

              Unlike the examples above, the collective I was a part of was administered and run by us; the workers, in a direct fashion with no vertical division of labour.

              There are many examples in Britain…some better, some not so good…of cooperatives and collectives. Suma Wholefoods ( http://www.suma.coop/ ) and Green City ( http://www.greencity.co.uk/ ) are two that come readily to mind.

              And then there are printers and wood mills and shops…..

              What has be kept in mind is that some work places claim to be collectives or cooperatives but the day to day realities of the enterprises tell a somewhat different story. Can’t go by the label alone.

              • just saying

                Does the worker’s collective you lived and worked in still exist?

                I’m interested because I lived on a commune for a couple of years, and the power struggles, alliances, and bickering drove me crazy, despite the fact that, in many ways the community lifestyle was a wonderful experience. It doesn’t exist anymore.

                Can people ever give up the struggle for dominance and privilege? I’d like to think so, but that hasn’t been my experience so far.

                • Bill

                  The Collective is still there in physical form but is not the same as the one, nor a natural progression of the one I was a part of.

                  The ‘incarnation’ (for want of a better term) that I experienced eventually disintegrated due to a loss of institutional memory (long story) and reformed under different auspices to the ones I experienced.

                  The power struggles, alliances and bickering you mention can be effectively dealt with. Many negative dynamics are directly attributable to the structures utilised. So structures that do not reward, or make impossible any concentration of power does a lot on the power struggle and alliance front.

                  And bickering doesn’t happen when there are good, empowering and respectful decision making processes in place and when gossip…all gossip…is treated with zero tolerance.

                  Anyway, social coping mechanisms or safety nets to deal with fractious situations build up over time and subject to trial and error until ultimately they become a part of the culture or institutional memory of a place.

                  I’ve experienced dozens of communities/collectives to greater and lesser degrees over the years and I’d be the first to say that very few have ever paid enough attention to the structures that they use during their formative phase and so fall foul of utterly predictable situations and dynamics that permanently hobble them going forward.

            • jackthesam 17.1.1.1.1.2

              Heaps of info on co-ops in NZ and worldwide available at http://www.nz.coop/links

    • Draco T Bastard 17.2

      This may be a left wing(read Labour site) as I have seen very little commentary towards The Greens, or for that matter any other left leaning political parties.

      I think Puddleglum in 15.1.1.1 said it best with:
      To be ‘left’ you don’t have to support Labour, the Greens or any other political party…
      Perhaps the problem you highlight is that the present left-leaning parties aren’t supported by the majority of people on the left. I know I’m not particularly fond of them because, as Bored said,
      They are caught in the present paradigm of 40 hours, mortgage, 2 cars etc. We need to change the paradigm as capitalism has shown itself to be a failure and yet no left leaning party is advocating such a change.

      • Herodotus 17.2.1

        Yes agreed we are trapped by left=right in their perspective of how to shape NZ, both think within the same boundaries and are confined by the same academic thinking. that is why I added the co-op link. It is changing the basis of big corporations running businesses for their benefit. The co-op strategy attacks this big industry directly where it hurst, their bottom line and builds on a more socialist basis. Something like this is real socialism, thatthe people can see in action. Not this parading of central political parties playing their Beehive games without having any connection with the people. e.g. Andrew Littles reaction to cashing in the 4th weeks leave, sorry Andrew people need this added weeks pay sometimes owing to our great wage levels make it difficult to live on especially at Christmas. also this one off payment may be the difference to covering some bills or going to the pawn shop or those nasty corner finace shops.
        the co-op model is not THE answer but it gets us closer to a solution.

      • Outofbed 17.2.2

        I’m sorry to disagree but the Greens are certainly advocating the change you desire

        • Draco T Bastard 17.2.2.1

          Last time I looked the Greens were still advocating a growth structure based around profit. Which is within the same paradigm and is unsustainable.

    • Marty G 17.3

      There are a mix of contributors here, some of us support Labour, others the Greens, others don’t align with any particular party. If you check out our Greens category you’ll find plenty of supportive stuff about the Greens.

      From memory there was a fairly even split in who the writers supported before the last election, but there have been some comings and goings since then. The reality though is that Labour is the main opposition party, and this blog was founded as a blog reflecting concerns of the labour movement. It’s natural that Labour will receive more attention than the Greens.

      • Herodotus 17.3.1

        Thanks marty, but Lab vs Nat is like viewing the battle of Jutland, 2 large somewhat outdated war machines pitted against one another, and the Greens appear to me to be moving more to the ever crowded centre along with the reborn phoenix NZ1. All appearing to have similar answers to the same macro questions. atlest the greens put forward an alternative economic blueprint.
        From what I have seen and read regarding the recession, countries led by left and right winged govts have reacted in similar means. Govt stimulus, this has deferred facing up to the problem. The structural reasons for the failures of the banking world are still present, and all that has happened is that the big wigs heading banks have become increasing aggressive in regard to performance bonuses, and have returned to pre recession financial results. After all the Fed funds dished out to save the banking world, and US bonds for a 2 year term being about 0.6% p.a.!!
        http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/feb2010/bank-f09.shtml

        • loota 17.3.1.1

          So the political parties are all about the same, some give a bit more to corporates and the rich, some a bit more to the ‘ordinary people’, its mildly different flavours and the fans like to play identity politics between themselves but realistically its pretty much all the same kool-aid?

  18. bbfloyd 18

    herodotas… you need to cut back on your dosage.. or is someone dictating to you faster than you can print? although i must say, combining all those prejudices together with a breathtaking ignorance of what has been written on these pages culminates in a collage that i can honestly say is totally beyond my talent..

    • Herodotus 18.1

      So bbf show me where favourable commentary regarding Greens policy, there is a strong tendancy towards Lab, and Lab are displaying a slightly stronger opposition than English did, what is worse Nat have given Lab more targets than poor Bill was presented with by Helen and co.
      This is a political site with left leaning tendancies?
      The only green input I can see is from Frog (Or is this written under a group of Green Mp’s)
      But if you can show me where I am missing other commentary aimed at supporting other s than Lab I would be greatly indebted.

  19. coolas 19

    Key has some historic comment of wanting, ‘to get wages down … ooops … I meant in Australia.’

    The closest he ever gets to being honest is when he makes a slip.

    Higher the unemployment the more competition for jobs, which in Key’s marketplace of souls, forces the price of labour down.

    But first he fixes the legislation so people can be used like his toys. ‘I’ll play with you when I feel like it, and neglect you when I don’t need you.’

    John Key has won his Fruedian slip. The real value of wages will fall even more after 1 October and the GST hike, and a healthy 7.5% unemployment is the mark to drive down wages, especially if welfare suffer more cuts.

    set/game/match to weejohnnykee – he’s shafted workers big time

    He’s been spending much too much time in China with Jenny Shipley.

  20. Kleefer 20

    The dreadfully high unemployment rate among Maori, Pacific Islanders and especially young people is a helpful reminder of the damage the minimum wage can do to already marginalised groups. Even when unemployment is low overall these groups are still over-represented in the figures. The minimum wage was invented to protect white workers from competition from black labourers so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s having that effect in New Zealand.

    • Lanthanide 20.1

      “The minimum wage was invented to protect white workers from competition from black labourers so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s having that effect in New Zealand.”

      Evidence, please. That’s an extraordinary claim that I’ve never heard before.

  21. Armchair Critic 21

    AS Jenny pointed out in comment 12, Pita is horrified that Maori unemployment is up to 16.4%. Pita, you are part of a government that is responsible for this, and your party has supported policies that have helped to create this thing that horrifies you. What are you going to do, apart from issue press releases?
    Further down the article, an ANZ economist is also surprised:
    ANZ Bank economist Khoon Goh said the data “was much weaker than we or the market were expecting”.
    Perhaps he should consider asking Paul the Octopus what the next lot of unemployment figures will be.

    • Jim Nald 21.1

      Pita should very easily get the Academy Awards nomination for best political emoting
      What’s his salary? I can see better use of taxpayers’ money

    • Draco T Bastard 21.2

      Or perhaps a Magic 8-Ball

    • Rosy 21.3

      In the same article and on Te Karere he says “but when there are no jobs, there are no jobs”. Obviously he has been around the NACT table too long and is leaving it all up to the ‘market’

    • pollywog 21.4

      Pita,…What are you going to do, apart from issue press releases?

      put his blind faith in Whanau Ora navigators, like Blinglish with PEDA ltd, and farmout the hardwork to unproven entities hopeful of changing long held mindsets, then wash his hands of the whole mess and stay on the gravy train for as long as possible with a long term view of retiring to a mansion behind a big wall with a cupboard full of guns….

  22. johnbrash 22

    My Uncle lost his job the other day at the plant. John Key doesn’t have a clue what is happening outisde his posh parnell home

    • Jim Nald 22.1

      Remember John Key said please don’t be envious of the upcoming tax cuts for his high income earnin mates
      Don’t forget that dear

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