Giving money to beneficiaries – if only.

Yesterday in another attempt by the government to distract us from their rapidly accumulating list of dodgy deals they announced a $3000 relocation grant to beneficiaries who can get a confirmed job offer for over 91 days in Christchurch.

This seems to be a very poorly thought out response to a genuine problem in Christchurch. It shows us what happens when a government is unwilling to think ahead and think outside of the square.

Unemployment is at 3.6% in Christchurch. I am told the unemployed are mostly young men and women with low skills or skills in non-priority issues.

Prior to the last election the Green party was calling for the government to invest in training and to initiate a housing rebuild in Auckland to respond to need and ensure we could train and retain skilled workers in areas that would be needed about now in the rebuild in Christchurch.

That was considered too much of an interventionist approach by this Government. The National party instead chose to leave it up to the market. That approach resulted in over 10,000 New Zealanders skilled in manufacturing and engineering and another 13,000 skilled in building and construction emigrating from 2010-2012.

This has brought us to the point where there are still high levels of unemployment in this country while we are scrambling to recruit significant numbers of people from overseas without adequate support systems and oversights in place.

This laissez faire approach has also meant we have a chronic housing crisis in Christchurch which will surely on be exacerbated if this initiative works.

In contrast, the government has been happy to intervene in employment law to make it easier for employers to sack workers. This was supposedly to help out vulnerable workers but that has clearly been a failure too. The eligibility criteria for this grant necessitates a job offer of over 91 days. This is a clear indication that job security is important. It is an admission that an insecure job offer is not the same as a secure job offer; something this government has been denying since it floated the 90 day sack at will policy which has made life so precarious for so many workers.

Further this policy requires job seekers to somehow find the money to travel to Christchurch, pay for accommodation while they try to get a job offer that meets the criteria. That’s a big cost for people under the breadline. So the chances are this policy is just window dressing.

This latest policy is an admission of failure on behalf of this government. It is a failure of foresight. It is a failure of care for Christchurch. It’s a failure of vision for our young people. It’s also an admission of the failure of the 90 day sack at will law.

10 Comments Posted

  1. Jan is failing many of us on benefits greatly, I am afraid. She seems to turn the same as the Labour “spokespersons” on welfare, all focused on child poverty and income injustice. While that focus may be justified for certain reasons, we the sick and disabled are sidelined, and I am angry about this. We are facing new medical and other re-assessment methods here, that are not dissimilar to the attack on sick and disabled in the UK, that happened over recent years.

    Why are Labour and Greens so damned silent on this? I am close to not giving you my vote due to this apparent indifference. I am angry, and my vote is likely to be wasted.

    Do you not know what goes on, what we face, and what the twisted, corrupted “medical fraternity” tolerate?

    Read this and wake up, thank you:


  2. beneficiaries who can get a confirmed job offer for over 91 days

    I don’t see anything in that about being up-skilled, or getting the money before getting on the bus and riding off to someplace where I may have to live in a tent… if I can borrow a tent.

    This has been waiting for being done since before the Earthquake. Now, in the election year, National wants to throw money at people to get them off the benefit, but it can’t even work out how to do it properly… because to do it properly would START as something that IS NOT a market solution. The market doesn’t work for this. It can’t. That’s why we have government in the first place, to re-establish things, build things and fix things that are too big to be fixed by individuals.

    This isn’t an intelligence problem Gerrit, it is and has always been, an IDEOLOGICAL failure. It won’t get fixed by this government but they will toss some money at it and claim success, just as the Reserve Bank claims its programs were a success, EVEN THOUGH the prices in Auckland continue to rise as though powered by anti-gravity. I have words I would like to speak with the RBG…. he would not enjoy hearing them being (apparently) just another ideologue damned economist.

    No. This can’t be turned into “good” policy after years of “no” policy. The “benign neglect” approach to ChCh was never acceptable and the problem won’t be fixed this way, even though one does hope that some people can in fact take advantage of it.

    However that may be, chasing skilled people away from the country with enforced low wages and lack of work is not just a National party idea. We’ve had this going on under Labour AND National since Mr Douglas gave us that Rodgering, and nobody has twigged to the wrongness of it yet.

    A completely unfettered free market is NOT how to use “comparative advantage”, particularly in an isolated economy like ours. We’re being bled dry by fools and they’re selling the country out from under us to pay for their folly.

  3. BJ,

    So you have a target of 1000 young people to be paid an extra $3000 to get to Christchurch and work being up-skilled in trades for 3 months.

    Yep can see why your glass is half empty. It is ALL TOO HARD for the wee mites. Find your own way to Christchurch for an outlay of just a smidge over $100 dollars $28 Naked Bus Auckland – Wellington, $55 Inter-islander Wellington – Picton, $25.00 Naked Bus Picton – Christchurch).

    Here is an incentive to UPSKILL 1000 young people and you are against it. And yet you complain that there is no up-skilling opportunities in the workforce.

    Still I guess for the Greens it is easier to be against something then to see a half full glass off opportunity.

    Naturally it is the governments fault people cant upskill. Have to lay the blame at someones feet, never is the reflection in the mirror the impediment to up-skilling.

    Guess the next commentator will complain “But But But, they will have nowhere to stay!!”

  4. Gerrit – if I am really unemployed, my ability to get to ChCh and look for work on nothing at all is stuff all. The damned Earthquake was HOW MANY years ago? We’ve been shedding skilled labour just as Jan says, and the government has done nothing about upskilling the unemployed. Takers?

    That’d be this government. They TAKE everything they can to sell it off to their rich mates and they leave us to pay the bills. I’ve seen incompetence and this goes beyond incompetence. This is criminal. You know how angry I am with Key and his “corporation”. This is just more hydrogen for the fusion reaction.

  5. Call me cynical, but…
    It seems the national Government had some ability to prioritize training after the first quake but did almost nothing. They also delayed the rebuild until election year so as to sustain economic growth.
    Gerry’s thinking is muddled, or perhaps well-thought through so as to blame those for whom relocation won’t work because of their (the JS recipients) skill shortage

  6. Pity that the Greens take the “glass half empty” attitude towards this incentive.

    At least the NZ Herald editorial team takes a “glass half full” outlook into the debate.

    As well as helping the beneficiaries, the scheme will, obviously, aid the rebuilding of the city. The need for more workers is evident in Canterbury’s 3.4 per cent unemployment rate, which is much lower than the 6 per cent national rate. According to the Social Development Minister, Paula Bennett, work is available not only in the construction sector, which has increased its workforce by 90 per cent since the earthquakes, but in hospitality, retail and many other industries. If the pressure on housing in Christchurch could cause a problem or two, that is hardly a reason to scrap the scheme, given its potential value.
    There should be no shortage of applicants. About 19,000 beneficiaries are required to be available for part-time or fulltime work in the 18-to-24 age bracket alone. Some of that number may be loath to leave the relative comforts of home and family. But rather than being disinclined, they should heed the “need work, will travel” mindset that has become common worldwide. Take, for example, the Poles, Czechs, Hungarians and others from central Europe who have moved thousands of kilometres to become part of the British workforce.

  7. A whopping $3000 relocation grant compares very favourably with the $800 recoverable + up to $1200 non-recoverable (plus $100 for each additional child) re-establishment grant for victims of domestic violence. Message? Workers count, everyone else..not so much.

  8. Where will they live? I thought there was a shortage of accommodation.
    Will the Labour Dept find employment for them? If they are married and have furniture the $3000 would soon be spent on cartage to Christchurch.
    After the earthquake some local builders and carpenter in Greater Auckland went and offered their services. I understand they were told Fletchers had the contract and to go home. This is a rubbish scheme, perhaps aimed to get votes from the elderly, who have no idea how down trodden some of our youth have become.If the response is negative, it gives National an excuse to bring in cheap labour from abroad.
    Perhaps some of their Chinese millionaires will offer to bring in coolies with their bamboo scaffolding to help with the work.

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