3 November, 1997
1 October 1997
The government is to introduce tough new policies designed to save it millions of dollars in
ACC payments. The policies will see long-term compensation claimants re-assessed for their
capacity to work. Up to 20,000 injured workers who have completed a rehabilitation programme face
the test -- including paraplegics, amputees and others with serious disabilities. Those who cannot
find jobs within three months will be paid the substantially lower Social Welfare benefits, rather
than ACC payments.
The World Bank president, James Wolfensohn, has challenged his organisation to put the
fight against global inequality at the top of the development agenda, and has warned prosperous
nations that they ignore the gap between rich and poor at their peril. Wolfensohn: "The time
has come to get back to the dream: the dream of inclusive development ..."
2 October 1997
In Lower Hutt, police are calling on Taskforce Green and Community Taskforce workers
to patrol railway stations and lines between Wellington and Upper Hutt.
The British newspaper Guardian reports that agents from MI5 are targeting large-scale
benefit cheats under a joint initiative between the Security Service and the Social Security Ministry.
The Ministry is targeting the involvement of organised crime in such fraud, and believes it could
save £2.8 billion from its benefit bill.
3 October 1997
An expert in ACC policy, Grant Duncan of Massey University, says that ACC claimants
forced back onto the job market by the tough new `back-to-work" policies are likely to face
discrimination from employers. Duncan: "It is quite unrealistic to assume that the job market presents a
level playing field for workers with a long-term past on ACC and possibly an ongoing disability ..."
4 October 1997
The board chairmen of the Crown Health Enterprises have been told in a letter from
government that they must hold any pay increases unless they get rid of staff or cut wage bills elsewhere.
The letter advises the chairmen to "stand firm" against any strikes that may protest against this
medical wage freeze.
In Britain, leading supermarket chains are drawing up a code of practice for `fair trading'
to prevent their participation in exploiting the world's poorest countries. The fair trading
standards will regulate how overseas workers are treated, and the impact on the environment of the
5 October 1997
The United States Congress has passed its first legislation to ban imported goods made by
forced child labour a measure that will have a huge impact on manufacturing companies in the
Third World and on US domestic consumption.
6 October 1997
The NZ Dollar has tumbled in value and NZ's external deficit has widened to $6 billion in the
year to June, the worst figures since 1986.
A third of hospital patients wanting elective surgery are likely to be rejected under a
controversial new booking system to come into effect next June.
7 October 1997
Sacked Health Associate Minister Neil Kirton has released documents which show that five
North Island Crown Health Enterprises are to cut back on staff and services.
The number of job advertisements has fallen by 6.6% in the last year, according to the ANZ
bank which surveys the main newspapers.
In Melbourne, there is public outrage after revelations that the Victorian police intelligence
unit had infiltrated community groups and kept dossiers on many people. The groups being spied
on included the Council for Civil Liberties, Greenpeace, the Wilderness Society, the Womens
Information and Self Help Group and the Koorie Information Centre.
The workforce at the Anzac frigate building site in Whangarei should be back to full strength
by Christmas. The site had gone through a change of ownership, and had shut down early last
month, laying off 110 workers.
The German economy continues to struggle with the highest unemployment levels since
the Second World War.
8 October 1997
Fletcher Challenge plans to make redundant a third of its 350 workers at the Waipa timber
mill near Rotorua only a couple of weeks after failing to negotiate a new employment contract
Finance Minister Bill Birch is advocating a cut in the top tax rate from 33c to 25c in the
dollar. PM Jim Bolger however says he is ruling out such a measure "in the near future".
9 October 1997
Labour leader Helen Clark says that Cabinet is still considering the punitive options within
the Treasury-inspired Well Baby, Well Child proposal despite earlier denials from Social
Welfare Minister Roger Sowry. The proposal could see money taken away from beneficiaries who
are deemed to be failing as parents. Labour understands that officials have been working on the
sorts of sanctions that could be applied to so-called bad parents since at least May this year.
10 October 1997
The police have been told they have to cut 540 jobs over the next three years. But the 180
job cuts pencilled in for this year do not have to go until next year, because the computer system
to replace them is not yet up and running.
Labour says that NZ has fewer police per head of population than in other countries. NZ has
one officer for every 564 people Great Britain has 1:438, USA 1:394, Canada 1:523, and
At a French government-sponsored jobs conference, Prime Minister Jospin announces a plan
to reduce the work week to 35 hours in an effort to create jobs and counter record post-war
11 October 1997
Tenth anniversary of the 1987 share market crash. Our share market has yet to regain its
12 October 1997
An international survey has found that nearly three-quarters of NZ workers feel their jobs
are secure. The survey, by International Survey Research Ltd, placed NZ fifth-equal with Brazil
and Norway out of a list of 20 countries.
13 October 1997
Opinion polls show that if an election was held last week, Labour could govern on its own
without the help of a minor party.
Some police and probation officers are suing their bosses for stress-related illnesses
allegedly brought on by their jobs.
14 October 1997
Truck assembly at Mitsubishi's Todd park plant at Porirua will cease early next year, with the
loss of 30 jobs.
Government administrators say that the legal aid system is under strain to the point of
collapse, and massive reforms are needed.
Labour releases figures which show that the number of beds available in public hospitals has
fallen by 11% in the last year. Worst hit are beds in the lower North Island plummeting by nearly a
third, and those in the central North Island by 21%.
16 October 1997
Registered unemployment has fallen by 665 people during September to 169,959.
Security guards have begun escorting inmates between prisons and the courts in a
cost-cutting move which rank and file police warn could prove dangerous.
20 October 1997
Trans Power is to cut its workforce by 20%, or 85 people.
Economic forecaster Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (DMG) predicts that NZ unemployment
will peak at 7.7% next year before beginning to decline. Reasons: increasing productivity by
firms, combined with modest GDP growth and a rise in labour force participation. DMG predicts
that only 12,000 new jobs will be created in the next year.
22 October 1997
The IRD annual report reveals that more than 14,000 taxpayers escaped an audit by the IRD
in the year to June 97, because of a shortage of staff.
Consumer confidence is at its lowest level for nearly five years, according to the latest
Westpac Trust/McDermott Miller survey.
23 October 1997
The public service workforce has continued to shrink. There are now 31,662 full-time
equivalent positions in the public service (1.9% of the employed workforce). This compares to 55,000
full time positions in December 1990.
24 October 1997
The NZ sharemarket is at a ten-year high, up 13.5% in the last year.
The Hong Kong sharemarket begins to slide, after interest rates rise in Asia following months
of of currency speculation.
L'Echo reports that Belgium may be the next country to reduce the work week to 35
hours, following similar movements in France and Italy.
The New York Times reports on a non-binding vote as part of a movement to unionize
workfare participants in New York City. The mayor is refusing to negotiate with the organization
heading the drive.
25 October 1997
Hong Kong shares fall 10.4%. Wall St markets begin to wobble.
The Fire Service will shed 103 management and office staff to correct what it describes as
26 October 1997
Share prices fall sharply down in Europe and the United States. NZ shares fall 5.3%, the
largest one-day percentage fall in four years and the largest points fall since the 1987 crash.
The Alliance spokesperson on ACC, Laila Harre, says that up to 7000 recipients of ACC
one fifth of all claimants might have their compensation ended under the new regulations
which take effect on November 5.
27 October 1997
Gold prices in New York have fallen to a 12-year low after the Swiss Reserve Bank sells half
A Labour Department survey shows that workers have a low awareness of parental leave
entitlements. The survey shows that 45% of mothers and 83% of fathers do not apply for parental
leave before the three months deadline required under the Parental Leave Act.
The demand for workplace drug testing of potential and existing employees is
mushrooming, according to the Environmental Science and Research Institute.
About 200,000 supporters of Italy's hard-line communists, whose party votes hold the
coalition government in place, march through Rome in support of demands for a 35-hr week. The
Italian government has made a commitment to cut working hours, but employers organisations
have come out in opposition.
28 October 1997
Hong Kong shares fall 5.8%, as fears over the value of the local property market grow. The
Dow Jones plunges overnight by 550 points as investors jump on the selling bandwagon.
United Nations and international government officials gather in Oslo to begin a four-day
conference on child labour. According to ILO figures, 250m children between the ages 5-14 years
are working, with about half in full-time employment.
Astlet Leather is to stop making upholstery and show leather at its New Lynn factory, with
the loss of 70 jobs.
29 October 1997
NZ shares fall another 12.5% in value.
Treasurer Winston Peters and Social Welfare Minister Roger Sowry are given a rowdy
reception at a Grey Power rally in Wellington.
Nearly 2,500 people are queuing up to rent only 205 state houses available in greater Wellington.
Employment Minister Peter McCardle reports that 19 beneficiaries have had benefits cut
after failing the work-test requirements for community Taskforce. There are 3,711 beneficiaries
currently on Community Taskforce projects.
The NZ Council of Christian Social Services has called for a boycott of the controversial
work-for-the-dole scheme. Council president Campbell Roberts says the scheme does not meet
minimum standards which reflect the "basic dignity and worth of all people". The Council wants
to ensure that involvement in the schemes was voluntary, that the pay given is adequate and
recognises the extra costs of making the transition to work, and that an assurance be given that
other employees are not displaced.
31 October 1997
The owners of the Levenes chain retail stores have called in the receivers after plunging into
debt. Over 600 staff jobs face an uncertain future.
Top of Page
This Letter's Main Page
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