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    Letter No.65
    22 August, 1997

    6 August 1997

    Labour list MP and long-time employment activist Tariana Turia calls for greater government action on Maori unemployment. Turia: "Not only has Maori unemployment increased, it seems set to continue to gain momentum. Maori people want real work with real wages. They are absolutely sick of being on the `training-go-round'. Much of this training is absolutely irrelevant to the job market, and worse still, does not meet iwi development needs..."

    Labour's employment spokesman Steve Maharey, says that the continued increases in unemployment will be the "final nail in the coffin" for the work-for-the-dole scheme because the government will not be able to find enough jobs in the community for so many jobless people.

    7 August 1997

    St Cayetano anniversary in Argentina. Millions of Argentines visit the statue of the patron saint of bread and work, and pray for jobs.

    The British newspaper The Independent warns the new Labour Government that New Zealand's famous "economic experiment" has failed. The paper argues that Rogernomics worked politically, but not socially ... and has left a people which believes their government has betrayed them.

    8 August 1997

    Workers at the Thames Toyota car assembly factory hold a stopwork meeting to discuss their plant's shaky future. The jobs of the 326 workers at the plant, and 1200 other car assembly workers nationally, are threatened by the recent Budget commitments to scrap motor vehicle import tariffs.

    Firefighters rally outside of the Henderson electorate offices of the Minister of Internal Affairs Jack Elder, and light a symbolic fire to protest staff cuts to the Fire Service.

    Steve Maharey is appointed Labour's new Social Welfare spokesman, replacing Annette King.

    Bob Mathew, chairman of Brierley Investments and Air NZ, takes over from Brewery boss Doug Myers as chairman of the Business Roundtable.

    9 August 1997

    The fast-food chain McDonalds is taking legal action against the Oxford English Dictionary over its plan to include the word "McJob" in a forthcoming edition. The dictionary was planning to define the word as : "a poorly-paid job, with few prospects, esp. one taken by an overqualified worker because of a shortage of other opportunities or lack of ambition."

    10 August 1997

    Wellington's City Voice reports that accident rates in parts of the building industry have almost doubled in the last four years, as full-time trained workers have been increasingly replaced by short-term `labour-only' contractors.

    11 August 1997

    A $313m upgrade to the Carter Holt Harvey Kinleith Mill will also involve job losses of about a third of the 950 workers.

    In France, the government intends to cut defence spending and use the money to finance programs to help unemployed youth.

    13 August 1997

    British unemployment has a hit a 17-year low. Average earnings have also increased. And as in the United States, the new job growth does not appear to be setting off inflation.

    About 20% of NZ children are reading below their age level, and half of these are at least three years behind, according to a national assessment of reading levels.

    14 August 1997

    The Commission of Inquiry into the Winebox tax deals presents its final report after almost three years of hearings. All involved in the inquiry into Cook Islands tax avoidance deals were unequivocally cleared of any wrongdoing.

    India and Pakistan celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of British rule.

    India is one of the world's emerging economies and is expected to play a major economic role during the next century. Despite enormous numbers of people living in poverty, India also is a modern industrial power with a middle class as large as the combined populations of Germany and France.

    15 August 1997

    In the US, there has been a decline of nearly 1.5 million persons on welfare in a year. Since President Clinton took office in 1993, the number of people receiving welfare benefits fell by 24%, or 3.4 million recipients. Clinton calls the decline in the welfare rolls the largest ever in the United States.

    A recent study for the White House Council of Economic Advisers showed that about 40% of the decline in welfare rolls is linked to the economy and 31% was because of policy changes by states. The remaining 29% reduction was caused by other factors.

    16 August 1997

    The growth in international visitor numbers to NZ is slumping to only 3% this year, according to a report by Ernst and Young prepared for the Tourism Industry Association. Tourism growth had been averaging 11-14% annually between 1992-94. The industry was confidently predicting 3m visitors to NZ by the year 2000. Now commentators say the industry will be lucky to reach 2m tourists by 2000.

    17 August 1997

    Assistant Treasurer Tuariki Delamere accuses big corporations of looting NZ's tax base. Delamere: "ordinary NZ'ers, and especially Maori because of the way they were legally robbed over the decades, are well aware of the difference between legal correctness and ethical correctness. It is of enormous concern to me that the heads of some large NZ corporations seem unable to understand that ethics and morality must apply in all aspects of our lives, to citizens both individual and corporate..."

    18 August 1997

    Social Welfare has found 10,700 recipients of the unemployment benefit are not registered with the NZ Employment Service as job-seekers ... leading the registered unemployment figures released in June to be 6% lower than they should have been.

    The President of the Pakistani Association of NZ, Mohammad Khan, says that many Pakistanis had been "wooed" and lured to NZ under false pretences, many leaving private practices and high-ranking jobs in their home country. Many of them including doctors, pharmacists, engineers and computer programmers were now living on the dole in NZ and unable to find paid work.

    British government Minister Peter Mandelson launches a new government drive to tackle poverty and to rescue Britain's "underclass" from the twin dangers of unemployment and social exclusion. A special cabinet unit has been created to mobilise government efforts, suggesting that extra resources from the tightly controlled public purse might eventually be made available for Britain's poorest people.

    19 August 1997

    More than a quarter of a million students now have student loans, owing the government more than $2 billion, in the five years-old scheme.

    Australian Communications Minister Richard Alston says that Australia is well placed to enjoy economic growth and job creation from the Internet. Alston says that employment in Australia's information technology industry will grow to 650,000 by the year 2000, from around 500,000 currently.

    20 August 1997

    The government starts a national campaign to boost the Community Taskforce programme, and to encourage community groups to take advantage of "free labour from the unemployed".

    The Alliance's Sandra Lee says that the four Maori Commissions are a waste of time and money, and money should instead be better spent on improving the services of Te Puni Kokiri (TPK) the Ministry of Maori Development, which she says is "grossly under-funded".

    21 August 1997

    1000 students march on parliament to protest further plans to privatise education.

    A top-level police and security industry group are holding talks about contracting out police work to security guards and private investigators.

    The Hawkes Bay Local Employment Co-ordinating Committee is survey 2,000 local employers in an effort to find out what their current and future employment needs are.

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