To this Letters Main Page

Last Diary

Last Diary

To this Letters Features

To the Index







    Letter No.53
    17 January, 1997

19 December 1996

The number of registered unemployed with the NZES has risen by 5,238 in the last month to a new total of 159,144 people.

Nelson and Hawkes Bay orchardists whose crops have been hit by hail expect to lose between $50-60m from their potential earnings. They are also expecting to ask for Taskforce Green workers to help grade and pack this year's fruit.

20 December 1996

Treasurer Winston Peters raises the prospect of another round of cost-cutting in the public service, saying he believes there is still fat in the system.

An independent commission against corruption may be set up as a result of the winebox inquiry.

21 December 1996

Jocelyn Gibson 1955--1996 university lecturer, economist, heart politician and friend of the Jobs Research Trust.

22 December 1996

A 39-yr old Hamilton man Bob Lockhart quits a compulsory Employment Service course called Upskill after being asked to play hopscotch, mould play-dough and master chatter-rings. He felt it was degrading. Upskill Director Ian Oliver says tutors have "a mammoth task trying to build self esteem and teamwork..." In quitting the course, the man risks losing his dole.

23 December 1996

Columnist Rosemary McLeod: "What is truly awful about this is that only Mr Lockhart is reported as having enough self-esteem, positivity and sense of his own value to refuse the ritual humiliation of the course and walk out ..."

24 December 1996

Internal Affairs has instigated proceedings against more than 30 staff at the Auckland casino after workers were caught still claiming their benefits, some for up to five months after they started work.

25 December 1996


26 December 1996

The Education Ministry's briefing papers to the incoming government report that about 25,000 NZ families -- or 5% -- are caught in a serious cycle of disadvantage. The Ministry: "Schools are obliged to ensure that students from these families attend school and that they have the opportunity to learn, regardless of family or individual crises. At the same time, it is clear that students who manifest these problems cannot learn effectively and are sometimes disruptive to their peers..."

The Wool Board director Phil Verry says that monetary policy has failed miserably by undermining the economic viability of farmers. He estimates that the dollar is over-valued by 15-20%, pushed up by high real interest rates in the fight against inflation. He says that monetary policy has transferred income from exporters and some manufacturers to importers and others in the non-tradable sector. He estimates that the income and capital losses in the last three years could exceed $13 billion.

27 December 1996

The National Bank predicts that the worst is past for the NZ economy and there will be two years of strong growth ahead.

Shoe production in NZ has dropped to its lowest level since records started being kept in 1975.

30 December 1996

Education Ministry briefing papers to the incoming coalition government report that the gap between Maori and the rest of the school population has widened. The ministry calls for greater priority to be given to raising Maori and Pacific Island educational performance: "It is vital to raise the educational attainments of these young people, who otherwise risk falling into cycles of social inequality and disadvantage..."

31 December 1996

The primary school teachers' union says the government has spent too much time totting up statistics about Maori education and too little taking action.

1 January 1997

Welfare agencies report a steady rise in demand for food parcels and counselling and support services over the Christmas New Year period.

3 January 1997

Labour Minister Max Bradford says that some election promises might have to be dropped or deferred because of a government pledge to keep spending within an extra $1.2 billion range.

4 January 1997

The Children's Agenda urges the new coalition government to act to prevent thousands of young people growing up alienated, violent and suicidal. The Agenda believes the government should attach the same importance to children's needs as to the economy.

Malaysia is preparing to deport over 700,000 illegal Indonesian workers after an amnesty expired earlier this week. The illegal workers make up one-eighth of the Malaysian workforce.

5 January 1997

The life expectancy of NZ'ers is slipping in relation to other OECD nations.

6 January 1997

Minister of Health Bill English plans to introduce free doctor visits and prescriptions for children aged five and under ... but he cast doubt on other coalition health spending promises, saying some costings in health "had been plucked out of the air..."

The number of special needs grants for food handed out by Income Support rose last year by 7,830 to total 276,875 cases.

The Manufacturers Federation urges Treasurer Winston Peters to honour his election promise to bring down the value of the NZ dollar by keeping control of government spending.

80 staff will lose their jobs in March after the closure of the Anchor Products butter and casein factory at Paraeta, south of Auckland. The remaining 32 workers will lose their jobs later in the year.

7 January 1997

Comalco is to ask staff to take voluntary redundancy in a further round of cost-cutting at the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.

Silly season. A report from the British Institute of Economic Affairs says that sexual freedom, rather than poverty, is largely to blame for the rising levels of crime and disorder. In attacking a 1995 Roundtree Foundation report which makes a statistical link between crime and poverty, author Norman Dennis says that jobless young people and single mothers were partly to blame for their own low incomes because of their lifestyles.

Dennis says that the freedom of men "to engage in sexual intercourse without being powerfully constrained" by the pressure to become monogamous husbands or fathers is closely linked with crime. He says their situation is attributable to the breakdown of cultural mechanisms which once transmitted "messages of responsibility, striving, self-help and self-improvement".

8 January 1997

Applefields has leased most of its Christchurch orchards to another Canterbury company, until June. The deal means a return to short-term work for the 100 staff laid off when Applefields stopped production last month.

9 January 1997

The Education Ministry has 'lost' track of 2832 pupils, who may be long-term truants.

10 January 1997

The United States has started subsidising its butter exports and is to step up skim milk powder subsidies, in moves which will see a downward effect on NZ farmers' prices.

11 January 1997

Wool prices at the first auctions of the new year have fallen to their lowest levels this season. Waikato Federated Farmers chairman Martin Wallace says farmers will be devastated.

12 January 1997

British unemployment has plunged an unprecedented 95,800 people in November to total 1.9 million. This is the sharpest fall on record, and the first time since 1991 that it has gone below the psychologically important two million level.

13 January 1997

5th anniversary of workers being locked out of the Alliance Textile Mill in Milton, South Otago. The anniversary is commemorated with the book launch of "Milton: The story of a Lockout " by David Tranter, which looks at the Employment Contracts Act in a small NZ town.

14 January 1997

Overseas teachers hired to plug vacancies at Auckland schools may be arriving more than a month after school resumes on January 28.

Schools which are short of teachers may turn away five-year olds and call in parents to take classes. The Ministry of Education estimates that 200 teachers are needed for Auckland primary schools.

15 January 1997

Margaret Bazley, Director General of Social Welfare says that thousands of five-year olds are beginning school "with their only dream in life to become a beneficiary". She says that are part of a "colossal" inter-generational benefit dependency problem facing NZ and countries with similar welfare systems.

The OECD says that all its 29 member countries will enjoy economic growth this year, making the current period the most broadly-based period of economic growth for almost 30 years.

The Green Party conference in the Kaimai ranges spent some time discussing the coalition government's work-for-the-dole scheme, and will present some of its ideas for improvement to Peter McCardle. Rod Donald, green MP and Alliance spokesman for Employment says : "If the thing has to proceed, then we may as well make the best of the situation. There's no point sitting on the sidelines sniping about it..."

16 January 1997

MAF analysis say that many sheep and beef farmers are struggling to survive, and cannot afford even one more bad season.

Casual summer jobs on the Coromandel Peninsula are in jeapardy because tourists who fled the area after cyclone warnings have not returned.

Front-line church and community groups respond angrily to Margaret Bazley's welfare dependency comments. Sue Bradford : "How many five-year olds does Mrs Bazley know who want to live on the dole when they grow up ? It is an insult to the many families who are doing their best to bring up their children, despite living on a benefit..."

To the Top
Top of Page
This Letter's Main Page
Stats | Subscribe | Index |
The Jobs Letter Home Page | The Website Home Page
The Jobs Research Trust -- a not-for-profit Charitable Trust
constituted in 1994
We publish The Jobs Letter