You can’t live on a precarious wage.

At the symposium on Precarious Work and the Living Wage in our Communities at AUT today Guy Standing – the author of the 2011 book The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class – talked about the way our labour markets have changed over the last few decades and the impact on workers.

The Precariat refers to the class of workers who have no secure work.  For some – well qualified professionals for example – contract work suits them, they can shift easily between well-paid projects – although apparently good management advice recommends that these workers devote at least 15% of their time to learning new skills to ensure they are attractive to their ‘market’.  He calls this the ‘commodification’ of workers.

Standing makes a distinction between them and other types of workers.  He notes that with increased globalisation and an international trend to force wages down more and more workers in low paid work are finding their work is becoming increasingly insecure.

In New Zealand we see it in many ways.  In reduced hours of work.  Or spasmodic work.  Or workers being permanently on-call. Or an insistence that workers become ‘self –employed’ and are subcontracted to work in their jobs – which is becoming a worrying trend in the home care sector for example – where the workers are responsible for their own health and safety, equipment and payment of taxes and ACC.

A classic example is the parliamentary cleaners.   Mainly women workers of Pacific Island origin, most of these night shift staff have been trusted to work in parliament for years but are still on pay-rates that are just above the minimum wage.  The contract that their employer holds with Parliamentary Services is fiercely negotiated to keep costs down and over time these cleaners have either had their hours reduced or their workloads increased.  As one woman noted in the NZ Herald there are now three cleaners responsible for the work that used to be done by six.

Standing calls precarious workers ‘denizens’ not citizens.  Their unsociable work hours and the requirement for them to work all sorts of hours to provide a decent standard of living are isolating.  They rarely have access to collective agencies or rights.  And the insistence that they are individuals – selling their labour for as much as they can get – means they have no ‘future shadow.’

Work relationships are transitory so there is no need to invest in them.  This has massive negative impacts in terms of how people participate in society and their levels of reciprocity.   Basically it can break down the social capital in communities – the ‘glue’ that holds people together.

Participation in our communities is a key strand for the Living Wage campaign too. The definition adopted by Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand is ‘…the income necessary to provide workers with the basic necessities of life.  A living wage will enable workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society.’

After a lot of research economists have determined the hourly rate that would allow a family of two adults (one working full time and the other part time) and two children to be $18.40 per hour.

We must lift New Zealand families out of poverty and into a decent standard of living.  This is a sensible way to do it.

Check out the full living wage report:

54 thoughts on “You can’t live on a precarious wage.

  1. So, you make the minimum wage $19 p/h.

    This will destroy every job that is viable under $19 p/h for all those businesses who can’t pass the cost on. For those that do, it raises the cost of everything, so punishes those on low fixed incomes even more. Be careful. Following this path will have the exact opposite effect you think it will.

    There is a way for people to enjoy both higher wages and higher spending power. You should focus on education and re-training.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3 (+8)

  2. Arana, the real motivation may be observed by the title ‘Living Wage Aotearoa [sic] New Zealand’

    It’s got NOTHING to do with the ‘poor’. It’s all about a Marxist inspired revolution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6 (-3)

  3. You know the problem – not the solution. And this is why I am so afraid of you Green guys getting into power. (Just when National is finally moving in the right direction).

    FIRSTLY, imagine the impact of releasing new land for development so that sections come down to around $50,000 a pop. Do you have any idea what kind of poverty-alleviating effect this will have, as rents and homes become so much more affordable?

    Also, it’s not about setting a higher minimum wage. That is not a solution in itself – just a way of creating higher unemployment if the minimum is above market rates, at any given time. (and in our context, will actually only be handed over to the land-lord. higher minimums = property inflation!)

    The solution, on top of proper land management, is to create a business-friendly environment that attracts start-up’s and expansion (which, again, releasing land will help hugely to do) and not saturate the economy with too much immigration too soon. This creates low unemployment as a result of high demand for nearly all kinds of workers.

    EVERYONE IN A FAIR-PAYING JOB WITH A LOW COST OF LIVING. Go figure.

    http://andrewatkin.blogspot.co.nz/2009/06/employment-law-for-fair-wages.html

    …But oh, no, the Green Party solution is *always* the government hand-out solution, and the government jump-into-bed-with-your-life solution. Which is not even a solution.

    Communists – not problem solvers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6 (+5)

  4. Arana – if it’s sudden jump to $19/hr, then your scenario is probable.
    A graduated and telegraphed rise over a period (say 5 years) then not so much.

    A lot of people forget that when the social contract is not/cannot be fulfilled by business (a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work), the taxpayer foots the bill (welfare).

    Everyone of a rightward persuasion should be promoting wage rises as an instrument of ensuring economic self determination and welfare independency!

    It’s also inaccurate to suggest that raising the lowest wages “raises the cost of everything”. Mimimum wages only apply to certain sectors (generally services) therefore any commensurate price inflation tends to be isolated.

    Further, raises in minimum wage will be expended not saved, as they tend to apply to people with limited discretionary income. A higher velocity of money is good for the economy.

    Lastly, while your final point is spot on, it needn’t be treated in isolation of minimum wage provisions.

    People who can’t afford to eat or pay their power bills don’t tend to be able to focus on re-training and education. They have more important things to worry about, living from paycheck to paycheck.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4 (+2)

  5. If you raise the minimum to $19, then it means the wages above $19 rise, too. The person with a few years experience and currently on $19 moves up to, say, $22. And so on. This is inflationary and destroys real buying power. Flooding the system with money is inflationary.

    Andrew has outlined a way to decrease costs and increase labour demand. Combined with retraining initiatives, it is a solution that will lead to higher wages and lower unemployment.

    Denise is not offering a solution that will work, merely restating the problem and encouraging the loss of jobs in all industry sectors that can’t pass the cost on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3 (+2)

  6. If you raise the minimum to $19, then it means the wages above $19 rise, too. The person with a few years experience and currently on $19 moves up to, say, $22. This is inflationary and destroys real buying power. Flooding the system with money is inflationary.

    Actually, it’s not. The proof is in the history of minimum wage increases in NZ as opposed to inflation.

    2000 – 2014 minimum wage increase: $7.55 – $13.50 (80% increase)
    2000 – 2014 CPI change: 38% increase

    The inflationary impact is sectoral and limited as minimum wage earners are not spread across the entire economy. They are clustered in the services sector.

    The ‘ripple’ impact of wage increases lessens the further you go up the wage ladder – someone earning $100/hr suddenly doesn’t ask for $105 as a result on minimum wage increases.

    To reiterate, raising minimum wages – which is not broadly inflationary and has never been proven to affect macro employment numbers – combined with retraining to increase productive capacity (and if necessary, direct intervention to promote business) is a package. The ideas are not mutually exclusive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2 (+4)

  7. Arana notes (though at this point I should note that I think a single hike to $19 is excessive, but that’s just a detail)

    So, you make the minimum wage $19 p/h.

    This will destroy every job that is viable under $19 p/h for all those businesses who can’t pass the cost on.

    YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

    It will destroy entire businesses, and who knows, maybe entire business sectors.

    That’s a really sensible idea. And there are many reasons why, but given I’m short on time, I’ll just mention one.

    There are many “successful” businesses in New Zealand that are profitable businesses, make good money, and employ (the majority of staff) on minimum wage. Many of these workers are also on some form of benefit as they are paid so poorly.

    Looking at this, one might think that the government (or actually, we the taxpayers) are giving the worker a hand up, but the reality of the situation is that we the taxpayers are putting money directly into the business owner’s pockets. More than that, we are helping that business owner to compete against other similar businesses, and especially those competitors who might like to consider paying their employees more than minimum wage.

    Capitalism done bad.

    So yes, there will be businesses that go under. This is because the marketplace will re-evaluate the value of that business at a new price point.

    This does exacerbate the unemployment problem, of course…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 (+5)

  8. And whilst I’m ranting – this failure is entire down to to the lack of competence of business owners and management.

    Fifty years ago New Zealand had the third highest standard of living in the world, and it was the norm that (sexist, I know but…) women didn’t need to work, the man brought home the wage.

    Now I know that we lost our preferred position of British food supplier, but there is more to it than that. We’ve failed to improve our business mix like so many other countries: we’ve stood still. By not standing still we’ve dumbed down and fallen back. This isn’t the workers fault, and it isn’t the governments fault, it is the fault of the business community of New Zealand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 (+3)

  9. And whilst I’m ranting – this failure is entire down to to the lack of competence of business owners and management.

    There is nothing stopping you from starting your own business and showing by example. Or are you scared of becoming what you ignorantly despise?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  10. Michael, the reason I am not running my own business is because I am risk averse, and simply don’t have the balls to be a businessperson.

    But it is a good job that there are people like me. Imagine if every single person in New Zealand decided they were going to run their own business, and they’ll never be employed. Where would business owners get workers from? Both business owners and workers have their part to play in this symbiotic relationship.

    Don’t get the opinion I am anti-employer: In a recent thread I noted that

    Some, in society, realise they can improve their lot by profiting from the work of others. These are the people who make everything from progress, to the safety net, for me not to have to go and hunt for food possible. These people are heros. Without them, we’d be fucked.

    It still doesn’t mean that heros shouldn’t be able to escape their part of the faustian pact: If we all get fat together that is good. If a hero gets fat by using others and not including them in the spoils, thats bad.

    I’d go further and say that running a business isn’t a right, its a privilidge, and with it comes responsibilities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  11. Arana, how will investment on education and training increase the wages paid for minimum wage work?

    There is constant or rising demand for cleaners, carers, fast food/supermarket staff … It is one of the areas where jobs are not in decline.

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  12. Andrew, there is little correlation between minimum wage levels and property values. Those on the MW don’t bid to own and rents are not a major factor in forming property values.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  13. Arana, how will investment on education and training increase the wages paid for minimum wage work?

    Because more people will fill needed skilled vacancies, leaving labour shortages at the lower end. The reason so many queue around the block for supermarket jobs whilst IT jobs sit vacant is due to a skills gap.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 (+3)

  14. Yeah, because it only takes a course to become a skilled IT professional as opposed to a shelf stacker.

    For all the pearls of wisdom you drop Arana, you do sometimes excel yourself in typing utter rubbish!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  15. Arana, so you say that the goal of economic policy should be to create labour shortages to force up the price of even unskilled labour?

    How would that be achieved?

    Education and training do not create jobs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  16. Yeah, because it only takes a course to become a skilled IT professional as opposed to a shelf stacker. For all the pearls of wisdom you drop Arana, you do sometimes excel yourself in typing utter rubbish!

    Straw man. It takes a lot more than a course, which is why I advocate changes to the education system. There’s no point churning out so many unskilled people. Education needs to be a lot more vocational, specific and on-going.

    We’ve moved on from an industrial economy, yet we still act like we’re in one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  17. Arana, how will investment on education and training increase the wages paid for minimum wage work?

    There’s an echo in here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  18. Arana, so you say that the goal of economic policy should be to create labour shortages to force up the price of even unskilled labour?

    We need to create stuff people overseas are willing to pay a lot of money for. No tinkering and bluster changes that fundamental. Only a high skilled workforce can produce it. As more money floods in due to the labours of the highly skilled, demand increases as they spend it.

    Without high export earnings, we’re not going to get high wages. We don’t earn enough, as a country, to pay high wages.

    How many businesses do you see here with high margins and high profitability?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  19. Arana – I think you might need a bit more formal training and education before claiming straw-man, I’m afraid.

    Your position that training and educating people to become skilled workers magically equates to more highly skilled employment – thereby relieving the pressure on demand for minimum wage jobs – is flawed. People with drive, ambition and intelligence already voluntarily preclude themselves from the minimum wage market.

    Further, you can’t create skilled workers through training alone. Expertise is gained by practice. The work has to be available (demand) to drive the uptake in training (supply). This is why I challenged your proposition.

    There is no real skills shortage. Demand does not actually exist. It’s a myth. Your example, – IT jobs – are sitting vacant because there is a wage shortage. This is why skilled people travel offshore to get paid more to do the same work.

    FWIW, NZ does not ‘churn out’ unskilled people. It churns out highly qualified people who then can’t put their education into practice. University has become a holding pattern for the unemployed because our labour market has very little depth, and employers are unwilling or unable to take on the burden of vocational training which is the petri-dish for expertise.

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  20. Your position that training and educating people to become skilled workers magically equates to more highly skilled employment

    I couldn’t hire the people I needed here, so had to head offshore. It’s hard to expand here, for a number of reasons, but in my game (tech) skills shortage is a big problem. The skills are so thin on the ground, and that limits expansion, opportunities go missed, all of which limits economic growth.

    The glorious state education system is spitting our check-out operators, lawyers, and sociologists. I have no idea why. No good to me.

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  21. Arana says “Education needs to be a lot more vocational, specific and on-going.”

    Gregor says “It churns out highly qualified people who then can’t put their education into practice.”

    There is massive wastage of years of people lives, tens of thousands of their dollars, and tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, churning out graduates with qualifications that are not needed.

    Arana’s comments above hit the nail on the head.

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  22. Arana – to follow your own line of rhetoric expressed to others, take it upon yourself to train likely candidates. Put them through training yourself at you own cost and reap the benefits.

    Win-win.

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  23. here is no real skills shortage. Demand does not actually exist. It’s a myth. Your example, – IT jobs – are sitting vacant because there is a wage shortage. This is why skilled people travel offshore to get paid more to do the same work.

    I paid well. I can’t match California, or other major centers, of course, partly because we don’t have access to that level of capital.

    It’s not just a New Zealand problem. Good software engineers are scarce. It’s an education problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  24. Arana – to follow your own line of rhetoric expressed to others, take it upon yourself to train likely candidates. Put them through training yourself at you own cost and reap the benefits.

    So, I have to pay twice? I pay for a dysfunctional education system that spits out people who aren’t qualified to do anything, then pay again to retrain them?

    With what? We don’t have access to the sort of capital that would make that a viable approach. I’m not sure even the likes of Google does. As far as I know, they do not train software engineers from scratch.

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  25. I paid well. I can’t match California, or other major centers, of course, partly because we don’t have access to that level of capital.

    Clearly you need to be more innovative then. Use your networks. Isn’t that what you advised others?

    So, I have to pay twice?

    You expect skilled workers to come fully formed out of University, exactly meeting the requirements of your business? Give me a break…
    Your job as an employer is to mold your employees to your needs. If that means more training for you to maximise their output – and your profits – your cross to bear.

    Good software engineers are scarce. It’s an education problem.

    First sentence correct. Second sentence not. ‘Good’ does not equal education – it equals experience.
    If you can’t create an environment that generates experience, then you have to pay for it, like any other commodity.

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  26. Clearly you need to be more innovative then. Use your networks. Isn’t that what you advised others?

    To just survive here you have to be innovative. Part of the problem is our capital markets – there isn’t a free-flow of capital here like you find in Silicon Valley. There are a number of structural factors that limit expansion.

    The logical thing to do would be to up-sticks and leave, but my wife likes here, and we do well enough at our level. However, if you are serious about developing IP industry, then there are a number of things that need to change – starting with our education system. We’re not producing the right skills.

    First sentence correct. Second sentence not. ‘Good’ does not equal education – it equals experience. If you can’t create an environment that generates experience, then you have to pay for it, like any other commodity.

    With what? Give me two million, I’ll take five Com Sci graduates to senior developer level. I don’t have two million to spend on “staff development”, and never will.

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  27. ou expect skilled workers to come fully formed out of University, exactly meeting the requirements of your business? Give me a break…

    Yes, god-damn it, yes!

    They should be getting their skills at high school level. They should be honing them at University level. Universities should be offering more practical courses. We should mainline Universities directly into the heart of the business community, so much so it becomes hard to tell them apart.

    By the time the developer/engineer/whatever walks out of University, they should be at a practical, intermediate level.

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  28. Part of the problem is our capital markets

    So it’s the capital market’s fault now. How did Xero get funding exactly?

    Or are you suggesting that we don’t have angels with deep pockets to fund your endeavours? If your idea is good enough, you’ll always get money. Thanks to free trade which you adore so much, there are no material restrictions on capital movement coming from plump US venture funds to threadbare old NZ.

    That’s the beauty of a well constructed business case – there’s an upside for everyone.

    With what? Give me two million, I’ll take five Com Sci graduates to senior developer level. I don’t have two million to spend on “staff development”, and never will.

    Sounds like corporate welfarism to me, Arana.

    Looks like you’re expecting the education sector and other businesses to subsidise yours by providing you the perfect employee at a rate you want to pay. I though the market set the price.

    This appears to be somewhat of a logical inconsistency with opinions you have expressed on this blog to date.

    We should mainline Universities directly into the heart of the business community, so much so it becomes hard to tell them apart.

    So that business wears the full cost of R&D? I completely agree.

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  29. If your idea is good enough, you’ll always get money. Thanks to free trade which you adore so much, there are no material restrictions on capital movement coming from plump US venture funds to threadbare old NZ.

    Are you a public servant? You sound like one. Doesn’t work like that – venture capitalists want you where they can see you. They want to look you in the eye. They want you around THEIR table. Flippin’ easy to do if that table is in Wellington, somewhat harder if it’s in the Valley.

    Ideas are a dime a dozen and attract precisely nothing. It’s all personality and execution in this business.

    Looks like you’re expecting the education sector and other businesses to subsidise yours by providing you the perfect employee at a rate you want to pay. I though the market set the price.

    Well, stop taking tax money off me for an education system and I’ll do my own training.

    Rock. New Zealand. Hard place.

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  30. They should be getting their skills at high school level. They should be honing them at University level. Universities should be offering more practical courses.

    In some respects I agree with you here. Personally, I think vocational training should extend the German and French model of technical institutes and specific schools.

    In vocational training I include doctors, lawyers, accountants and maybe even bureaucrats – any profession where the entry criteria is a specific, standardised degree that implies a degree of quality in the recipient.

    Universities should be used for hard research and the humanities and specialised for that purpose. Covering the entire breadth or tertiary education in pretty much every institution is incredibly wasteful.

    By the time the developer/engineer/whatever walks out of University, they should be at a practical, intermediate level.

    By and large I have found that this is actually the case. University’s produce clay that can be molded (so to speak). But to reiterate, experts and all the soft and hard skills they bring with then, do not walk out of University. They never have.

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  31. Are you a public servant? You sound like one.

    I’ve never been a public servant. I’ve started 3 businesses. It took trial and error over all 3 to make the last a modest success.

    Venture capitalists want you where they can see you. They want to look you in the eye. They want you around THEIR table.

    So invest in a fucking air ticket and pitch. Stop whinging about skills shortages and follow your own advice. Make your mark.

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  32. Geregor says “You expect skilled workers to come fully formed out of University, exactly meeting the requirements of your business? Give me a break…”

    What is the point paying thousands of dollars in tax for education that churns out thousands of graduates who have useless qualifications for the NZ workplace?

    We’ve got one polytech churning our 300 photography students – at a cost of $3m a year to taxpayers – and 99% can’t get photography work when they’ve qualified.

    It’s an insane waste of time and money.

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  33. So that business wears the full cost of R&D? I completely agree.

    We’re already wearing it in the form of tax, but we’re not getting what we need.

    The education experts take our money, say “we know best”, spend it on their glorious institutions, and deliver us wave after wave of people who can’t do anything.

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  34. What is the point paying thousands of dollars in tax for education that churns out thousands of graduates who have useless qualifications for the NZ workplace?

    What’s the point of building hospitals when I don’t get sick?
    What’s the point of building SH1 north of Paraparaumu when I take a plane to go any further up the island?

    Sometimes we, the taxpayer, just have to eat it.

    Don’t get me wrong – the tertiary sector is a mess.
    But at the end of the day, business has to take responsibility for crafting a workforce. After all, you yourself have stated that government doesn’t create jobs – business does. Supply and demand.

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  35. So invest in a fucking air ticket and pitch. Stop whinging about skills shortages and follow your own advice. Make your mark.

    Pitching is easy. They want you over there, full-time.

    I’m okay with my level, but I’m talking generally about the industry. Politicians can talk up tech and IP ’till the cows come home, go on vacation, and come home again – but if they haven’t got a solution to the education and capital issues, it’s going absolutely nowhwere. We all remember “Knowledge Wave”. Just more empty photo-ops.

    It’s not an easy problem. I haven’t heard anything from any politician that shows they even understand it, let alone are capable of solving it.

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  36. We’re already wearing it in the form of tax, but we’re not getting what we need.

    So write to your MP and provide him/her with a specific JD of the employee you need to grow your business.

    I’m sure a degree course can be created just for you.

    It’s not an easy problem. I haven’t heard anything from any politician that shows they even understand it, let alone are capable of solving it.

    Indeed. It’s because you are looking at the wrong symptoms. The fix is not political. It must be driven from industry.

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  37. Gregors says “Sometimes we, the taxpayer, just have to eat it.”

    What – we should just throw away hundreds of millions of dollars in qualifications people can’t use?

    If you accept a big mis-match between graduates coming out of our education system, and the workforce that’s required in NZ, then effectively you’re accepting that the economy will always have the handbrake on.

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  38. 1. Training of workers does not mean there are jobs. Ireland was known for exporting skilled workers for decades before using lower tax regime than the rest of Europe to attract jobs providing services into the European market.

    2. Trained workers have the choice of jobs here and better paid overseas.

    3. Trained workers + capital market + reason to invest/R and D – entreprenuerial management.

    What capital market we have (we don’t even get local investor interest in milk formula plants) is going to be decimated by the floating of power companies. All those savings being sucked up and no new jobs being created.

    One reason is preference by those with leverage and banks for speculation in property.

    Our level of R and D is low. Tax incentive support is recent here (and minor) and many industries feel so constrained by currency values and the paucity of capital that they only start-up companies here and on-sell it offshore.

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  39. the paucity of capital that they only start-up companies here and on-sell it offshore.

    Damn straight, SPC.

    We need to figure out a way to flood NZ with capital. Foreign capital. Get foreign businesses locating here.

    Tax rate might have something to do with it…

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  40. photonz – is there really a mismatch between education output and required industry input?

    Most of the science graduates find work offshore. The idea of producing them to give applied (added value) industry their use is too simplistic a notion given the flaws in the wider economy lead to this outcome (Fonterra canot even invest in milk formula plants).

    How many skilled IT people can be exploited here, are there more taken as skilled immigrants than we export or do we produce as many as we use – just import some to replace those who go offshore for better opportunities?

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  41. What – we should just throw away hundreds of millions of dollars in qualifications people can’t use?

    As I’ve stated, I think it’s an appalling waste. I’ve also stated that we, the taxpayer, sometimes have to swallow a dead rat.
    The two positions aren’t mutually exclusive.

    If you accept a big mis-match between graduates coming out of our education system, and the workforce that’s required in NZ, then effectively you’re accepting that the economy will always have the handbrake on.

    It will continue to be a handbreak while the solution sought is political rather than driven by business.

    Business could reject the model by not hiring grads and training on the job – I don’t see anything other than blind acceptance of the status quo from the people and organisations who can actually change it.

    The alternative is to make the problem purely political, which naturally leads us to a command economy – something which I’m sure you would not encourage.

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  42. I like the idea of a training wage.

    1. $10 an hour rather than a $15 MW while training on the job (where the employer gets approval in the job area category or employers in the industry do at a blanket level)
    2. MW internship and after the training to the full wage.
    3. an internship at above MW while in training.

    1 requires government legislative sanction – it is much broader than apprenticeships as they are.

    2 and 3 can be done now by firms – but there could be schemes where there is a training allowance paid to the firm for the on the job training (including in placing long term unemployed into these opportunities on a wage subsidy). To pay a trainer/develop a mentored training programme etc. This enables these programmes to be developed at industry level for firms to adopt.

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  43. A training wage might well be a good idea – effectively a paid internship.

    On top of SPCs 3 points, it would be necessary to secure an ongoing commitment from the employer under contract that a full-time job would eventuate – or at least, something approximating it negotiated with the employee and/or relevant union where appropriate.

    Otherwise, any programme risks being rorted.

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  44. spc asks “photonz – is there really a mismatch between education output and required industry input?”

    Yes. 60% of law graduates can’t get work as lawyers.

    The govt has a 12 page list of professions in which you’ll get preferential immigration treatment because we need those workers.

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  45. Gregor says “As I’ve stated, I think it’s an appalling waste. I’ve also stated that we, the taxpayer, sometimes have to swallow a dead rat.”

    Why ? (why do we have to spend millions of dollars training people in qualifications they can’t use?)

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  46. I think a training wage for Government Ministers would be a good idea. I have to agree with Gordon Campbell:

    http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2013/02/19/gordon-campbell-on-the-schools-closures-afghanistan-and-hollywood-politics/

    Can we conclude that Parata is learning on the job? That seems to be the case. Yet given a ministerial salary of $260,000 a year plus perks and other special funding, this still makes her the country’s most expensive apprentice. Which takes me back to my original point – whether the nation can really afford to keep Hekia Parata open for business. To get a rough idea of a value-for-money comparison, Parata’s salary package is roughly the same as the entire annual budget for the Wellington Rape Crisis service.

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  47. How about we incentivise every course leading to a job as listed on the the preferential immigration treatment list, and disincentivise every course where we’re already flooded with graduates?

    We don’t need any more actors, photographers, flax weavers or political “scientists”.

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  48. Personally I would provide student allowances for post graduate study where there was a shortage of local graduates. Maybe in return for a years bond for each year on the SA provided to work here after graduating.

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  49. photonz

    How many of those training as lawyers expect to work in law in New Zealand or at all? It can lead to another career course – many do law and commerce etc law and public policy/admin, law and criminology (police etc).

    Yes there are professions where we need migrant workers – medical professionals train here and then go straight to Oz for the better pay – is it half the graduates? So we need skilled migrants to replace them.

    In the past we imported teachers, now we have a local surplus and they apparently need to find work offshore. Will they come back when we need them (demand is rising but they are paid better offshore) or will we import foreign trained teachers?

    And of course some employers reject recent graduates because they do not have work experience and so import migrants and leave graduates unemployed.

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  50. Why? (why do we have to spend millions of dollars training people in qualifications they can’t use?)

    A good question, photonz1.

    Certainly one our political representatives have no interest in answering.

    The reason I say sometimes as a taxpayer we need to swallow it is simply because we live in a democracy; the same reason I have to swallow massive roadbuilding projects that I will never use and that have no positive NPV.

    Unless you accept that it is desirable that there is some degree of politically driven central economic planning/control economy scenario – something personally I do believe is advantageous for certain sectors – then the status quo remains.

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