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    Essential Information on an Essential Issue

    Letter No.50

    22 November, 1996

    European business Backs Jobless Projects
    The International Commission On Wealth And Well-Being looks back from the year 2010

    The latest employment statistics show a rise in the official unemployment rate to 6.3%, and a further 6,000 people out of work in the last three months -- confirming the reports of a tightening economy and labour market since before the elections. We include our regular insert on the job statistics in this issue of the Jobs Letter. Highlights include --

    The labour force participation rate has increased slightly, up 0.5% to 66.4% (seasonally adjusted figures), which is the highest participation rate since the Household Labour Force survey began a decade ago.
    Employment has grown in the last three months by 0.8%, which represents a slowing over previous quarters, but is higher than most commentators, including the Reserve Bank, were expecting.
    The whole quarterly increase in "employment" for the last three months came from part-time work which rose 6.7%, while full-time work fell by 0.8%.
    Over half the loss of jobs was recorded in the manufacturing sector, which has dropped 4,900 jobs, providing fuel to the claims that the high exchange rate is continuing to harm the export sector.
    Auckland is the hottest job-creating region with a growth in employment in the year to September of 28,300. Next region is Canterbury with 16,900 more people in work and Wellington with 12,300 more.
    While employment has risen for all age groups in the last year, the largest increase has been in the 35-39 year group which increased by 14,000 people.
    Long-term unemployed (over six months) is 5.3% lower than for the same time last year.
    Unemployment rates for Maori and Pacific Islanders have risen, and they continue to carry the worst of the unemployment burden with 15.9% and 14.3% unemployment rates respectively. The NZ European/Pakeha rate is only 4.5%.
    There are also less Maori getting jobs, despite an overall increase in the employed statistics of New Zealanders overall. The figures : Maori "employed" stands at 128,500 people for September 1996, which is 3,700 less than three months ago, and 1,200 people less than in September 1995.
    Job advertisements continue to fall. Auckland advertisements have dropped 1.2% in October, continuing falls also in Wellington (-0.5%), Christchurch (-1.8%) and Otago (-11.4%).
    The working age population (people over the age of 15) continues to rise, and now totals 2,734,900 people, partly because of immigration, and partly due to changing demographics. This is the main reason why both employment and unemployment can be seen to rise simultaneously.

    Sources -- Statistics from Statistics NZ faxed to the Jobs Letter, also New Zealand Herald 9 November 1996 "Job News has little promise" by Patricia Herbert, and The Dominion 9 November 1996 "Unemployment shows slight rise for September quarter" by NZPA.

  • Infometrics economist Philip Wrigley says that the increase in the participation rate of the workforce is related to the recent reductions in taxation rates, and the ability of beneficiaries to earn more part-time income without losing their benefits. He says these policy shifts are encouraging many more beneficiaries to enter the workforce and get a job.

    Source -- TV1 Network News item 8 November 1996 by Emma Hart

    EDS, formerly known as Databank, announced earlier this month that it will lay off 120 staff. EDS is also the principal corporate sponsor of next year's Social Welfare/OECD "Beyond Dependency" conference looking at "innovative solutions to the problems of welfare dependency.

  • There are considerable murmurs amongst community organisations about the nature of this Social Welfare/OECD conference being held next March at the Sheraton Hotel. Of considerable controversy is the price of $1475 -- $1675 per participant, which does not include accommodation for the four-day event. One community worker who contacted the Jobs Letter remarked: "You certainly have to be 'beyond dependency' in order to afford those fees!"

    Conference organisers are making ten free places available for voluntary sector representatives. They will be selected by a selection group of two Department of Social Welfare and three voluntary sector representatives. The people who are selected will be expected to report back to the voluntary sector after the conference.

    Applications for these ten free places will close mid December. Apply to Convention Management Services, P.O.Box 2009, Auckland.

    Source -- NZ Council of Social services newsletter November 1996

    Meanwhile, another conference is being planned to be held at Auckland University on the weekend immediately before the "Beyond Dependency" conference. It is titled "Beyond Poverty" and will focus on "citizenship, welfare and well-being in the 21st century".

    Offers of papers and presentations are currently being solicited from community workers and researchers on topics relevant to the conference theme. For further information, contact the Conference Organisers, c/- Private Bag 11 042, Palmerston North, fax 06-350-6319 by 15 December, 1996.

    As the upcoming Social Welfare/OECD conference shows, 'dependency' is one of the main catch-words of the current welfare debate. One commentator on the nature of dependence is international management guru Steven Covey, author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", who argues that dependence is part of a "Maturity Continuum" that moves from dependence to independence and on to interdependence.

    Covey says that on the maturity continuum, dependence is the paradigm of you -- you take care of me; you come through for me; you didn't come through; or I blame you for the results. Independence is the paradigm of I -- I can do it; I am responsible; I am self-reliant, or I can choose. Interdependence, Covey says, is the paradigm of we -- we can do it; we can co-operate; we can combine our talents and abilities and create something greater together.

    Covey: "The current social paradigm enthrones independence. It is the avowed goal of many individuals and social movements. Most of the self-improvement material puts independence on a pedestal, as though communication, teamwork, and co-operation were lesser values ..."

    "The little understood concept of interdependence appears to many to smack of dependence, and therefore we find people [...] forsaking all kinds of social responsibility -- all in the name of independence ..."

    Source : Steven Covey "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" P49-53 "The Maturity Continuum".

    Ten New Zealanders recently attended the Fourth COMMACT Working for Common Wealth Conference in Derry, Northern Ireland, which focussed on "Providing the Power for Change". The conference was the most recent in a series of international gatherings (NZ hosted the second, in Christchurch in 1990), in which about a hundred participants from throughout the Commonwealth share their experiences and ideals through papers, project case studies and workshop discussions.

    Auckland Employment Activists Sue and Bill Bradford were part of the NZ delegation. They report that the conference focussed on key issues such as: How can we take effective action at all levels for people-centered economic reform? and, How can the economic sector work to improve social cohesion? Sue Bradford says that the NZ delegation was struck by comparing a 'grim' situation of resourcing the community economic sector in NZ with far better access to resourcing in many other parts of the Commonwealth. Bradford: "At the moment, government expects community goodwill to compensate for a lack of resourcing in infrastructure maintenance and development. The result is that NGOs [Non- Government Organisations] in NZ never come anywhere near to achieving their potential. If this attitude was to change, and we were given support for infrastructure growth, there would be a huge multiplier effect in terms of our capacity to achieve our economic and social goals..."

    Papers and further information about the conference and the work of COMMACT are available from Kura-Geere Watson, COMMACT Aotearoa, P.O.Box 7592, Christchurch.

    Source -- fax to the Jobs Letter 19 November 1996

    The Canterbury Apple grower Apple Fields is threatening to rip up its trees and convert its orchards into residential properties just outside Christchurch, threatening the jobs of about 2,000 seasonal fruitpickers.

    The company says it could get a better return from the land if it went into the real estate business, rather than apple-growing. The company's threats are also part of a strategy to break from the Apple and Pear Board and market their own fruit overseas, for what they also say would be better returns. Apple Fields orchards around Christchurch have nearly 700 hectares in pipfruit, and the company contributes about $20m a year to the local economy through its wages.

    Source -- The Dominion 14 November 1996 "Apple Fields threatens to rip up trees" by Steve Evans.

    Kath Harvey of Kaitaia was challenged by workers to "do something" when local clothing contractor Cawoods closed down. With thirty years experience in the clothing industry, Kath used a loan from the Methodist Employment Generation Fund to lease the Cawoods building and employ some of the firm's redundant workers. Now into its second year, her business "Megjo's" supplies four NZ clothing labels.
    Source -- Crosslink, November 1996, "Do Something, Kath"

    A major international conference for professional career counsellors is being held in Wellington on January 21-23. Keynote speakers have been invited from the US, Britain and Australia, and workshops will include topics such as issues in career planning for tertiary students, the impact of the internet on career guidance, bi-cultural career counselling, and the impact of technology on changing work patterns. Contact Christine Fallon, The Careers service, P.O.Box 12-106, Wellington. fax 04-472-4225.
    Source -- Employment Matters November 1996

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