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    Essential Information on an Essential Issue

    Letter No.10

    7 February, 1995

    CEG is running out of cash. It's halfway through the financial year, and the Community Employment Group is putting the breaks on funding new community employment projects. "Finances are tight at CEG," says Richard Brooking, Central Regional Manager. "Demand for funds has exceeded supply." Outside CEG's existing contract commitments, funding for new employment initiatives has all but dried up. Brooking attributes this to the fact that CEG has had the same budget for five years, and now "we've been discovered by the general public". High profile programmes like Be Your Own Boss and Company Rebuilders have alerted people to CEG, one of the remaining community funding agencies left in government. Also, establishing resource centres after the Weddel closures has taken up funds that would have been spent elsewhere.

  • How will tight funds effect community groups? CEG's Southern Regional Manager Hilary Allison has told The Jobs Letter that it will be a major problem for those groups and community projects whose funding normally runs out in April, May or June. Allison confirms that the funding needed for `sound community development employment projects in the community' is far in excess of her funding allocations until June. Allison is giving early warnings to community groups to encourage them in the meantime to make applications to every other funding source possible. She says that some CEG managers will try to part-fund projects before June and top it up when the new funding year starts. "But this will only have a compounding effect on our allocations next year if the volume of new applications continues..."

    There is simply no ongoing Government funding for community employment programmes ... all there is is kick-start funding. This is the view of Warrick Terry, executive director of the Wellington Volunteer Center, who says there are flaws in the philosophy behind Government strategies for employment planning. Terry told The Jobs Letter that agencies like CEG are clear that they are not there to provide ongoing funding : "You might get lucky and be funded a second or third time, but we expect the hammer to fall at any time. But the reality is that after getting the kick-start funding, there is virtually no alternative sources of funding that you can get hold of. This needs to be addressed." Terry is sympathetic to the CEG officers who have to face the disappointment of community groups at a local level. " The field officers feel hamstrung about it, but it is basically a political issue over the type of funding that is available."

  • CEG's financial troubles come at a delicate time for the government which is still to create a multi-party accord on employment issues after the release of the Task Force report on Employment late last year. One thing is sure : The accord will ask for more action ... and the government will have to spend more money on this important area.

  • Unemployment in NZ is still three and a half times the level it was in 1995! While trumpeting how well we are doing in the employment statistics compared to recent months, it is sobering to compare our figures with ten years ago and realise just how far we have to go.

    1985 Dec 1994
    registered unemployed
    registered unemployed
    about 40,000
    on work schemes
    and training programmes
    about 35,000
    on work schemes
    and training programmes

    Do you remember 1985? Even at 51,394 people, unemployment was considered at a "crisis" level. In March 1985, the new Labour Government convened the Employment Promotions Conference at the Beehive to search for community-wide solutions to unemployment. Reading the submissions to government and the conference report is interesting in the light of the recent Task Force Report on Employment nine years later. In 1985, Kerry Burke was the new Minister of Employment, who said "there can be no question that unemployment is an issue that we must address with urgency and deliberation". One of the main themes throughout the submissions to the conference was "Barriers to Employment". Total expenditure on the unemployment benefit and work scheme and training subsidies was 5.5% of total government expenditure. After the conference, Burke went on to eliminate all the fully-subsidised Project Employment Programmes, Work Skills Development Programmes, and Voluntary Organisations Training Programmes (PEP, WSDP and VOTP) and replace them with the new ACCESS (not an acronym) training programmes.

    At the end of this month, the first of the 18-yr olds who registered as unemployed after leaving school last year will be required to join the Youth Action Programme. The Employment Service says that to date, 3,463 young people have registered and will become eligible for Youth Action after 13 weeks registration. Each young person on Youth Action will have to negotiate an action plan and keep to it if they want to continue receiving the unemployment benefit.

  • Employment Minister Wyatt Creech says that the Employment Service is gearing up to start the individual assessment and assistance programmes for the new Youth Action Programme. Essentially, they are just re-marketing the existing activities of the Employment Service, with the added clout of removing the dole if the young people do not participate. There will be job clubs and seminars designed to improve the employability of the young people, work experience placements, specialist career advice and referrals to vacancies. Creech says that if these activities did not lead the jobseekers into work, training or further education, then "more intensive assistance" will be provided.
    Source- The Dominion 28/1/95 Creech urges students to think about careers,
    Lockwood Smith has appointed a panel of advisers to review career information and guidance available to people entering or re-entering the workforce. Last year's Employment Taskforce recommended that a review look at current funding and staffing levels. The Taskforce asked the government to look into the use of alternative `delivery' strategies for advice, taking into account the particular needs of Maori children. The panel will be headed by Brother Pat Lynch, the executive director of the Catholic Education Office, and a former president of the Secondary Principals Association. Its report is due at the end of March.

    Also on the review panel : Paul Morgan of the Federation of Maori authorities, Roger Lampen CEO of the Lampen Group, Jan Osborne of the Central Institute of Technology and Catherine Gibson from the Ministry of Youth Affairs.

  • The Independent newspaper's Scuttlebutt column predicts that this review will see an end to the Careers Service, the state provider of vocational guidance that used to be called Quest Rapuara. The Service has 23 offices nationwide and about 145 staff. Scuttlebutt predicts that the career advisers are destined for the dole, and quotes a Beehive insider as describing Brother Pat Lynch as "a good hatchet man". Look for : the contracting out of careers advice services to private providers and community organisations.
    Source- New Zealand Herald 26/1/95, Panel set up to review careers information, NZPA, The Independent 27/1/95 Gov't career advisors for the dole, The Press 26/1/95 Govt careers, guidance systems under review by Colin Espiner
    Te Araroa - the Long Path - may be a tourism project and job-creation idea whose time has come. The project aims to have a walking track from Cape Reinga to the Bluff, accompanied by bike tracks or horse trails, with cabins and barbecue areas. The vision of Te Araroa is that it will not just be a boost to tourism, but also be a powerful symbol of New Zealand values. The Te Araroa trust is promoting the idea that construction could be completed by the end of the year 2000. Last week, outdoor pursuits instructor Chris Gulley and two friends set out from the Cape on the start of a four-month trek to prove `its not such a wacky idea'.

  • The great opportunity of the Te Araroa project is as a local job creation project involving the unemployed. Government has said it is keen to help with Taskforce Green and Conservation Corps allocations to local councils, but it is at the local body level that the expense will primarily fall. Watch for : groups lobbying their district and city councils to create employment initiatives in constructing the proposed linking tracks and upgrading existing local walkway tracks.

  • Te Araroa chairman and Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey says that the task of creating the Long Path would not be difficult. This is because there is already 1200 km of existing tracks in place that could be linked together under the Te Araroa banner. Harvey told the Listener last week that there were many potential job-spin-offs in a growing eco-tourism industry which could include hiring tramping gear, providing accommodation, running associated jetboating and horsetrekking ventures. "People want a wilderness experience, even the Japanese are ditching their 52-seater buses and seeking the great outdoors." The Te Araroa Trust has an impressive list of backers : patrons are Sir Edmund Hillary and Wilson Whineray, trust administrator is journalist Geoff Chapple, and many government Ministers are keen to be seen to be involved.
    Source- The Listener, 4/2/95, The right track by Mary Crockett, Sunday Star Times 29/8/93 Now McCully treads the Te Araroa route by Geoff Chapple
    "Budgeting for a Deficit" is the sixth report in a series on poverty commissioned by the Council for Christian Social Services. The report tries to fill a lack of hard data on income adequacy, and will put pressure on government to do more than just "tinker" with poverty in NZ. The survey of 189 people in Oct/Nov last year shows that most people seeking budgeting advice do so because they have insufficient money, not because they cannot budget. Bonnie Robinson, the council's executive officer, says that most of those surveyed -"the responsible poor"- had a positive attitude and wanted to be self-reliant. She says the report provides clear evidence that the supplementary benefit system wasn't working. "What has happened is that we tinker with things - $10 to the special benefit here, an extra $100 on the special needs grant for food there. But that doesn't give people the dignity of self-reliance because you simply shift where you go and get a handout - from the foodbank to Income Support."

    Last year saw an 18% increase in registrations for charitable trusts, largely because many groups wanting to receive grants and other financial support from government were required to incorporate as trusts. The Justice Department is pushing for a review of Charitable Trust legislation, with the possibility of producing a new type of legal entity to suit community groups. Justice is especially concerned over the rise in the number of trusts being investigated - about a dozen last year, which is up from an average of one or two in previous years. The Department says that outdated law means the public has no way of checking how charity groups spend donations, or even if the groups were genuine. Look for : a strengthening of disclosure and accountability requirements.

  • The Dominion reports that the Association of Philanthropic Trusts has formed a working party to study ways of maintaining public confidence in their sector. The group will consider a code of practice, accounting standards and needs for legislation.
    Source- The Dominion 28/1/95 Laws governing charitable trusts called outdated by Frances Martin, , The Dominion 23/1/95 Call for chage to charitable trusts legislation by Frances Martin
    Research in the United States shows that their drop in unemployment is the result of people who lost their jobs during the recession being forced to take low-paid, part-time and temporary positions. Steve Maharey, in an article circulated by NZPA last week, observes that while the US unemployment rate has dropped from 7.4% to 5.6%, people are not getting the kind of `good' jobs they want. In the place of secure fulltime jobs, people are being offered low-wage jobs in service industries, particularly retailing. Half the middle-income people who lost their jobs in the recession and found jobs again are earning less than before. One in ten have only part-time or temporary jobs. Maharey reports that wages in the US are growing at the slowest rate on record. At the same time, companies have had greater profits, now reaching the highs experienced in 1989.

  • The economic recovery is turning job-hunting into an employee's market, says Karen Steans of the personnel agency Lampen Group. She told the Sunday Star-Times that rising business confidence and economic growth has turned the market around. Shortage in qualified staff has driven up office salaries by 4-5.5%, and for personal assistants, up by 9%. Headhunting has become more common within industries, particularly for skilled legal staff. In Lampen's market surveys, 74% of 200 Auckland firms, and 60% of Wellington companies took on extra staff last year.

  • Employment and the Family. Latest figures from Statistics NZ show that, in 1991, the traditional nuclear family - where the parents are married with at least one child and the father is the sole breadwinner - makes up only 14% of all families. Nearly 30% of two-parent families had both parents in full-time employment. This was the same proportion as in 1986. However, over the same period the number of families where neither parent was in paid work has doubled from 6% to 12%. Two-parent families where the mother was the sole earner also grew rapidly in this time, and now made up 4% of families.

  • Japanese workers are working less and taking more holidays. Last year, for the first time since World War II, the average working week in Japan fell to under 40 hrs. Mind you, the workaholic Japanese can afford to give themselves some slack time ... they still work longer hours than any other people in the world. 1992 figures (the latest available) showed they work on average 2017 hours throughout the year. Compare that to the average French worker putting in 1993 hours, American 1957, British 1911, and the ultra-efficient Germans are working less than everyone else at 1870 hours. Holidays in Japan still remain shorter than in many other countries. Japanese workers get a minimum of two weeks off, plus 13 public holidays. Japanese workers also put in an estimated 1.3 hrs of unrecorded and unpaid overtime per day! This is a widespread cultural practice of "service" to the employer which is prevalent in Japanese companies.

  • Americans, however, are working more and more simply to stay where they are. To reach the same standard of living as in 1973, four out of five Americans need to work 245 more hours each year, the equivalent of six normal weeks. The average work week in industry in America climbed to 41.6 hours in October 1993, the highest level since 1968. - ILO, Workplace
    Source- Time Magazine 6/2/95 That Sinking Feeling by John Greenwald,

  • We used to read predictions that by the year 2000 everybody would work 30-hr weeks, and the rest would be leisure. But as we approach 2000 it seems more likely that half of us will be working 60-hr weeks and the rest of us will be unemployed. US writer William Bridges in his new book Jobshift (pub Addison Wesley) believes that corporations are `de-jobbing" themselves to become much more flexible in a fast-changing marketplace. The post-job worker is more likely to be hired for a project or a fixed length of time than a job holder is today.

    When they no longer have a `job', what workers lose is a definition of when the day's work is finished. In a `post-job' organisation, concepts like taking leave, vacation and retirement become meaningless. Bridges : "The worker is losing what constitutes a day's work, and entitles one to go home satisfied. The de-jobbed worker will be scheduling his or her own employment and trying, like any independent professional, to make hay while the sun shines." Bridges recommendation to the `post-job' worker : You will have to learn to pace yourself.

    Source- Daily News 27/1/95 US employment problems look familiar by Steve Maharey

    " I don't want to sound trite, but you've got fastfood takeaways, you've got cab fees, you've got Lotto, there are other issues like cigarettes and alcohol ... you've got an amount of discretionary expenditure that is out there..."
    - Dr Murray Coppen, Housing Ministry policy manager, explaining how people on low incomes could consider sacrificing some items of expenditure if they wanted better housing.

    " Church leaders need a good clap around the ears. Their constant bleating about poverty is one of the reasons why a number of NZers believe poverty is a problem ..."
    -- John Carter MP

    " Remember to be grateful, even when you think its the end of the world when your benefit doesn't seem to stretch far enough. And be glad you weren't born in Mozambique."
    --Alan Duff, columnist.

    "Those with a negative attitude should be isolated and their grumblings completely ignored. Let the positive reign. "
    -- Anne Knowles, Deputy CEO of the Employers Federation, in Listener Viewpoint.

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