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    Agenda 96
    Addressing NZ's greatest challenge

    from The Jobs Letter No.32 / 20 January 1996

    This agenda has been compiled from our recent subscriber survey and views expressed to our editors and associates


  • Stimulate and support the network of local Employment Co-ordination Groups with the local goal that no-one in an area should be unemployed for more than six months without being offered a job, training or fully-funded community work.

  • Election Year '96. Get employment back onto the political agenda. All political parties should put forward a coherent employment policy which addresses the issues in a comprehensive manner.

  • Start employing people now on the multitude of jobs that need to be done in our community, from improving our infrastructure in roads, sewerage and stormwater projects, upgrading hospitals and housing, to environmental restoration schemes and local community social support.

  • Make longer-term commitments to and more realistic funding support for community-based employment and training initiatives, as long as they continue to remain effective.

  • Return all Income Support benefits to their former relative levels before the 1991 cuts.

  • Bring minimum wage levels up to a fairer level.

  • Reinstate the pay equity legislation, and improve the availability of childcare services.

  • Encourage academic research and political discussion on the concept of a Universal Basic Income for all citizens as a replacement to the various forms of Income Support.

  • Encourage community discussion on a shorter working week.

  • Create a wider debate in the community about the future of work itself, and review the quality and stability of the jobs being created in the present recovery.


    There was no real action just a cover up of the figures.
    -- Diane Boss, Auckland

    1995 continued the government `lip-service' to the employment issue characterised by a lack of effective partnership with training providers, community groups, sector groups etc by centralised bureaucratic control over resources and planning. The skills shortages are largely due to this lack of partnership, uncertainty and short-term planning leading to a loss of expertise and skills that have been developed by tutors and training providers. -
    -- Hugh Hughes, Mt Maunganui

    While the improvement in the national economy is very welcome, it would be more welcome if the benefits were shared more widely. It would be even more welcome if the quality and security of many jobs created by the recovery were not worse than those available in the time of higher unemployment.
    -- Jo Howard, Poronui

    The employment issue is being marginalised and being reframed as not an economic issue. The churches seem to be providing some of the only voices of critical discussion of these issues.
    -- David Owens, New Plymouth

    It should be possible to use all of the so-called `surplus' to focus on the unemployment and employment quality issues, re-employing people who are experienced, trained and unemployed right at this moment, e.g. teachers.
    -- Joan Chapple, Glendowie Auckland

    The Employment Task Force generated a great deal of interest and ideas in the community, but this was effectively sidelined by the process of reports and responses that followed it. We are seeing a return to cynicism in the community as a result.
    -- Ian Ritchie, Feilding

    The government used the Task Force to give the appearance of action while doing very little. Local government (eg Christchurch) and community groups (eg Just Dollars) did create jobs. I remain unclear about the status of the new jobs the government claim have been created.
    -- Pat Scott, Dunedin

    The Government response to the Report of the Task Force on Employment is designed to intensify the pressure on those out of work to compete on the labour market for jobs, the objective being to lower wage rates.
    --Don Ross, Whangarei

    One of the opportunities for 1996 is to encourage communities to work with business people in job creation. After all most jobs are created because someone is prepared to risk a bob in a business because they are hoping to make a bob out of it. The challenge is to encourage that while ensuring that the bob not only `trickles' but flows down fairly throughout the community.
    -- Jo Howard, Poronui

    There needs to be recognition of the value of much of the volunteer activity that takes place within effective communities, and we need to provide status for this input.
    -- Hugh Hughes, Mt Maunganui

    The long-term unemployed sometimes need more assistance easing back into the workforce. In some cases a buddy system over the first few weeks of employment, a more structured job description, or on-the-job training programme is needed.
    -- C. Saunders

    Foreign investment should be just that, as opposed to foreign control which gives the trans-nationals far too much power in our country, and hence many other ills.
    -- Wendy Cave, Nelson

    The government should provide low-interest loans to local government or community trusts for capital works upgrading water supply, building houses, labour-intensive pest control.
    -- Pat Scott, Dunedin

    Restore the 1991 Benefit cuts, relate state rentals to income and increase the minimum wage... organise, unite and act to stop the slide towards a Third world country with its promise of permanent high level of unemployment.
    -- Don Ross, Whangarei

    We need to fund some research into the real costs of unemployment in New Zealand in economic as well as social terms.
    -- Ian Ritchie, Feilding

    Stop the big timber interests from log exports. One ship which left Picton in 1995 carried enough logs to provide jobs for a year for 300 NZers. Work out for yourself what that figure would be if all the log exports were brought into this calculation. The only reason logs go offshore for processing is that the end products are created in low-cost labour countries, meaning a megabuck rake-off for the lumber interests. The world price for the finished product is the same whether the processing is in NZ or Taiwan / Korea or whatever. But the profit take is greater if the logs leave here raw.
    -- Jim Chapple, Katikati

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