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.