The Aussie First Party

It seems like John Key has got a big thing for supporting business – Australian business, that is!

First there was National’s neither confirm nor deny position on its campaign relationship with Aussie attack politics consultants Crosby Textor.

Then Key was forced to admit that a National-led Government would want to privatise ACC – despite privatisation supposedly being off the National Party’s agenda.

ACC claimants certainly don’t want privatisation, and even the Employers’ and Manufacturers’ Association was less than enthusiastic. So who benefits? Funnily enough, it’s not New Zealand business, but the big Australian insurance companies.

Hot on the heals of National being forced to confirm its Aussie business friendly plans for ACC, Scoop’s Gordon Campbell has now revealed there are strong indications the National Party intends using Mission Australia, a large corporate style Australian NGO, in a public-private style contracting arrangement between the state and the community sector.

Mission Australia is no ordinary, friendly, grass-roots driven Australian NGO. It is a huge business in Australia, feared by smaller NGOs as it gobbles up available contract monies and starves smaller NGOs of funds. It also acts as an enforcement arm in relation to income support and Aussie work for the dole schemes. [pdf file]

John Key’s affinity for Aussie business seems to be such that the National Party may need to consider relaunching itself as the Aussie First Party.

Meanwhile, John Key front up to New Zealand NGOs and let them know just what National’s plan for the community sector here actually is. Privatisation of the Government’s relationship with the community sector would be a huge step backwards for New Zealand. Contracting out services like this through big corporate players is very reminiscent of the Wisconsin model which the National Government of the late 1990s touted so strongly.

9 thoughts on “The Aussie First Party

  1. greengeek asked: What would be wrong with a ‘work for the dole’ scheme?

    Well, this is the first thing that is wrong with work for the dole schemes – from Hilary Sawer’s thesis re Australian Work for Dole schemes that frog linked to:

    “However, more than four in ten survey participants did not enjoy doing the program overall, and a fifth actively disliked taking part. Further, the program’s impact on employment prospects appeared to be either negligible or negative—which was not surprising given the scheme’s focus on the unemployed discharging their ‘obligations to the community’ and overcoming a ‘psychology of dependency’, rather than on job outcomes for participants.

    However, this thesis argues that there is very limited value in a program which provides benefits at the time of participation but does not help in achieving the main aim of the unemployed: gaining work. However, more than four in ten survey participants did not enjoy doing the program overall, and a fifth actively disliked taking part. Further, the program’s impact on employment prospects appeared to be either negligible or negative—which was not surprising given the scheme’s focus on the unemployed discharging their ‘obligations to the community’ and overcoming a ‘psychology of dependency’, rather than on job outcomes for participants. However, this thesis argues that there is very limited value in a program which provides benefits at the time of participation but does not help in achieving the main aim of the unemployed: gaining work.”

    That is, they do not work to help unemployed people gain work, and may even be counterproductive in that regard. That was also found to be the outcome in a Ministry of Social Development assessment of the 1990s work for dole schemes in New Zealand:

    “Participating in Community Work Experience programmes with no wage subsidy decreases the probability of becoming independent of W&I assistance in the first two years after starting a placement. After two years there is almost no difference in the probability of participants and non-participants being independent of W&I assistance.?

    That is, work for the dole decreases a person’s likelihood of finding work.

  2. Is it evil to do business with Australia?
    they are our neighbors after all.
    I thought trading with your neighbors was a good thing

  3. Joy

    If that person was of ill health then they should quite rightly be on the sickness benefit.
    Of course the problem we have is that this govt has shifted thousands of perfectly healthy people onto the sickness and invalids benefit to make the numbers look good thereby giving the few genuine sickness recipients a undeserved bad name.

  4. Hm-m-m. A tricky one that. Probably not a very bad idea for the fit and healthy younger people. However I certainly would not wish to see a 60 yr old, in failing health, be expected to work for the dole.

  5. What would be wrong with a ‘work for the dole’ scheme??

    Not much if it was proper pay. I worked on PEP schemes in the eighties and they were great! Good money for doing reasonably menial work of community benefit. We were clearing scrub for a pony club. It did not escape my attention that the rich people who owned horses got the benefit of the free labour…

    But these days “work for the dole” is usually cast as lots of menial work of benefit to the community for *the dole*. Ie., crap money.

    This is all theoretical right now with such low unemployment, after 9 years of Labour. But if National get back in power and move the unemployment rate to “economically efficient” levels….

    peace
    W

  6. greengeek

    “What would be wrong with a ‘work for the dole’ scheme??”

    Nothing….absolutely nothing at all.

  7. I agree. The more opportunity he is ‘given’ to answer unscripted questions, the more the public learn about John Key’s vision. Not a vison that interests me.

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