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    Letter No.64
    7 August, 1997

    16 July 1997

    An OECD annual report Employment Outlook finds that Britain's much vaunted flexible labour market locks workers into poorly paid jobs, helps entrench insecurity and has no impact on economic performance.

    NZ Treasury head Murray Horn resigns. He will join ANZ bank in Melbourne as strategic planning general manager.

    Alliance MP Alamein Kopu, in part chosen as a list MP as a voice for the unemployed, abandons the Alliance after criticism of her performance. She now pledges to be an independent MP representing Maori people.

    Her defection highlights flaws in the present MMP laws which allow list MPs to keep their seats if they defect from the parties which gave them their place in parliament. The next person on the Alliance party list who would have gone into parliament is long-time employment and social welfare activist Dave Macpherson.

    17 July 1997

    The number of registered unemployed in June increased 5.4%, or nearly 9,000 job-seekers to 162,581 people.

    Alliance employment spokesman Rod Donald: "Registered unemployment has risen for eight out of nine months since the election. This is the human tragedy of the Government's failing policies..."

    The latest Westpac-Trust McDermott Miller survey says that consumer confidence has fallen to its lowest level for four years.

    Media Watch: the July issue of the New Internationalist focuses on "Child Labour". The number of child labourers in the world have been estimated at between 250-500m young people, according to the International Labour Organisation.

    18 July 1997

    A secret Australian government paper warns that several South Pacific countries are facing impending economic disaster, pointing to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Cook Islands and Nauru as the worst cases.

    22 July 1997

    A New Zealander is charged in Sydney with using three fake identities to run a systematic dole racket netting more than $300,000 over 14 years.

    24 July 1997

    Social Welfare is to expand its Compass programme which helps DPB beneficiaries and recipients of the widows benefit get back into work. The scheme presently works with about 10,250 people.

    The cash-strapped Capital Health Coast CHE has set aside $11m to meet redundancy costs.

    25 July 1997

    Matiu Rata 1934 1997

    Matiu Rata was the former Minister of Maori Affairs under whom the Waitangi Tribunal was established. He was a prominent advocate for Maori in fishing and land grievances, especially for the Muriwhenua land claim in the Far North.

    27 July 1997

    The Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission annual meeting was picketed by protesters highlighting the long-running debate between urban and tribal Maori groups over who should share $300m of fisheries assets.

    One in five NZ'ers are limited in their daily activities because of the long-term effects of disabilities, a nationwide survey shows.

    28 July 1997

    The kiwi dollar falls to its lowest level in two years.

    The NZSE 40 stock market index closes on a record high.

    The US economy is performing "amazingly well" ... and is completely confounding economic experts as to what is going on. Even Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan admits to being "puzzled". Unemployment is at 5%, consumer price rises are at an 11-year low, and output is rising at an annual rate of 5.9%. Washington economists are asking : Has the traditional Phillips model, which claims there is a long-term trade-off between unemployment and inflation, failed? Watch this space.

    272 locked out tradesmen and labourers from the Devonport Naval Dockyards will sign up for the dole this week, and say that the Babcock company that suspended them should reimburse the taxpayer.

    29 July 1997

    TV1 screens part one of the controversial documentary "Time Bomb" made by Communicado which looks at social issues and the future of reforming the welfare state in NZ. From its publicity: "Like other nations with well established welfare systems, the country which once believed it had the best, the most comprehensive, state care for its citizens from cradle to grave, is discovering a dark side to this beneficence a growing sector of society for whom welfare is the only way of life and where benefit dependence can span two or three generations..."

    Labour's Annette King: "It is a hatchet job on the welfare state, and a highly political attempt to brainwash NZ'ers into believing that social welfare was bad."

    30 July 1997

    After heading down for nearly a year, the National Bank business confidence index has bounced back, breaking what the bank calls "a dismal trend".

    31 July 1997

    Sir Hepi Te Heu Heu 1919 1997. Paramount Chief of the Tuwharetoa people, a distinguished and pre-eminent NZ'er who devoted himself to the economic improvement of his people, including the tribes expansion into farming and forestry.

    The independent Todd review into superannuation in NZ finds that the mix of voluntary private savings and the present NZ Superannuation was in good shape and could survive, with minor adjustments, well into next century. This is despite Treasurer Winston Peters and PM Jim Bolger saying that the present scheme was unsustainable.

    Labour MP Tariana Turia criticises the coalition government for failing to advertise for its four new Maori Commissioners (including one on employment), saying that the suggested applicants were to be drawn from the NZ First "inner circle".

    3 August 1997

    The growing divisions between rich and poor in Britain are unprecedented in recent times. In the mid-1990s, the income of the poorest 10% of the population is no higher than what they earned virtually 20 years ago. Over the same period, the income of the richest 10% has grown by a half.

    5 August 1997

    The official Household Labour Force statistics are released, showing the worst unemployment figures for nearly three years.

    Minister of Employment Peter McCardle says the figures are "lower than expected."

    A leaked government briefing paper recommends radical changes to the country's tertiary education system, including the introduction of study vouchers for students.

    The second part of the TV1 documentary "Time Bomb" is screened. It features the alternative welfare model adopted by the American state of Wisconsin.

    6 August 1997

    Stronger-than expected jobs data released yesterday dims hopes that the Reserve Bank will sanction an easing of monetary conditions.

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