To this Letters Main Page

Last Diary

Next Diary

To this Letters Features

To the Index







    Letter No.97
    26 March, 1999

    3 March 1999

    An increasing number of small businesses are expecting to take on staff this year, according to the latest Morgan & Bank job survey. It says that over one-third of small businesses, those who employ less than 20 people, expect to take on more staff in the next six months. About one-sixth of large businesses are also expecting to take on more staff. Most of these jobs will be in telecommunications and information technology.

    France begins its first prosecution for overworking its 39 hour workweek. French labour laws do not allow people to work more than 39 hours unless they are paid overtime. A director and some senior staff at Thomas Radar were caught overworking by the French job inspectorate and were charged with doing clandestine work. If convicted, the director faces up to a $34,000 fine and a prison term.

    The Juken Nissho laminated veneer timber mill in the Wairarapa has taken on 30 staff since Christmas. The company produces laminated wood products that replace solid timber products for the housing industry in Japan. Last year the Japanese owned, NZ-based firm laid-off staff as Japanese house construction dropped nearly 10%. While Japanese house construction is still expected to contract this year, the mill has developed additional products, which account for its current growth.

    The acquisition by Colonial New Zealand insurance of Prudential insurance last year has resulted in 120 job losses. The company now employs 530 full-time staff.

    4 March 1999

    Unable to halt the procedure of the Alliance Party Laila Harre's paid parental leave bill from going to the select committee stage last year, the government now appears to be putting together its own bill which will provide some type of support for working new mothers.

    Superannuitants, students on allowances, war pensioners and beneficiaries will get a cost of living increase of 0.37%, based on the consumer price index. This translates to between 54c and $1.20 per week per person, and will be paid from April 1st.

    5 March 1999

    Most employers don't realise they will not be able to choose to insure with the Accident Compensation Corporation after the 1st of July, according to Chris Ryan, writing in the National Business Review. Self-employed people will have the choice to stay with ACC or find a private insurer. But companies will have to have arranged for private insurance by that time.

    In the face of rising unemployment, the Japanese government has come up with a plan to create 770,000 jobs in the next two years. The government hopes to see the new jobs generated in the country's four most promising sectors: health and welfare, information and telecommunications, housing and tourism.

    8 March 1999

    Social Welfare Minister Roger Sowry tells a hui in Mangere that community groups are funded effectively but are not functioning well because they are poorly managed. Sowry tells the gathering of community and government workers that community groups should be better co-ordinated and each should focus on one issue instead of trying to be all things to all people.

    9 March 1999

    The chief executive of the Business Roundtable Roger Kerr tells an ACT party meeting that the minimum wage should be abolished. Kerr says that dumping the minimum wage would put more Maori into jobs. Kerr: "Low pay is better than no pay."

    In Australia, Independent MP Brian Harradine's forces a halt, at least temporarily, to a trial of a youth wage rates scheme there. While the scheme is trumpeted by the Australian government as a means of cutting high youth unemployment, youth rates are opposed by the Australian Labour Party and unionists who say the scheme exploits young people and displaces older workers. Harradine says he does not oppose the concept of youth wages, but the scheme should include elements of training and competency, not just cheap labour. He also wants to see the results of an Industrial Relations Commission inquiry into the effects of the scheme before the government goes ahead and implements youth wage as permanent policy.

    Newspaper advertised job vacancies have risen in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, according the monthly ANZ job ads survey. There were 2.7% more job ads in February than there were in January, and 3.4% more jobs ads this February than in February last year.

    The Sony Corp announces it plans to cut its workforce by 10% by 2003.

    10 March 1999

    Alliance Party Laila Harre's bill to provide twelve weeks paid parental leave continues to be debated. The Ministry of Women's Affairs releases a report that says implementation of the tax on employers to pay for maternity leave could cost the country between 700 to 950 jobs, most of them women's jobs. Ms Harre says she doubts that there would be any negative effect on employment. She points to another report, quoted earlier by the Ministry, that says internationally, female employment increases by 3% to 5% once paid parental leave is in place.

    Inland Revenue Department employees protest staff cuts by wearing black in Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Gisborne and Tauranga. Staff are being shed as nine shop-front offices are being closed around the country. As the department closes these offices, it says its public service will be done over the telephone though four call centres. The IRD currently employs 4,400 people.

    At the end of March, ECNZ will be split into three separate companies. At that time the last 160 staff will be made redundant. In 1987, ECNZ had 6,000 staff. Today, before the pending break-up, it has 571. Over 400 of these are being employed in the three new companies.

    11 March 1999

    About 33,000 new jobs have been created in Australia in February. This has dropped the unemployment rate to 7.4%, the lowest since 1990. Youth unemployment has dropped to 23.5%. The government sees these statistics as lending credence to its youth rates wage scheme.

    The story of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment has topped the 1999 list of the American-based Projects Censored's "Stories Most Censored By The Mainstream Media".

    13 March 1999

    A new study from the United States suggests that children of mothers who work, even from when the child is very young, do not suffer behaviorally, academically or in their mental health any more than children of women who have stayed at home during their early years. The survey, conducted by University of Massachusetts psychologist Elisabeth Harvey, indicates that a much more important factor is the mental stability and maturity of the parents.

    14 March 1999

    A Wellington man is claiming compensation from the former Income Support Service because he was sued by his neighbor for providing the department with defamatory information about her. The man was approached by the ISS to provide the information that led to the prosecution of the neighbor. The informer's name appeared in a file the defendant's lawyer obtained from the ISS while preparing for the case. When the defendant was acquitted of wrong doing, she sued the informer for defamation. The informer settled out of court and is now appealing to the department to help cover his costs.

    15 March 1999

    United States prisons and jails held 1.8m people last year or 0.67% of the American population.

    16 March 1999

    Treasurer Bill Birch tells an audience in Los Angeles that the US rhetoric about being the world's strongest advocate of trade liberalisation does not match with its performance. Birch points out that NZ dairy imports to the US have tariffs of 100% added to them which are passed on to the consumer. NZ exports to the US amount to over half of one percent of the dairy products consumed there.

    17 March 1999

    WINZ Minister Peter McCardle has asked his department to look at its performance in paying student allowances. The action comes on the tail of criticism from Green Party co-leader Rod Donald who tells parliament of students being unable to get their student allowance or even clear answers about the state of their applications from WINZ. Donald calls for a select committee inquiry into the controversy.

    McCardle and WINZ chief executive Christine Rankin dismiss Donald's statements as emotive and politically biased. WINZ took over the payment of student allowances this year from the individual institutions.

    The Reserve Bank puts into practice a new policy for financial management. Moving away from the Monetary Conditions Index, the RB governor Don Brash declares the Official Cash Rate, the rate at which the bank lends money, to be the bank's new inflation fighting tool. Brash announces a slightly higher than expected overnight rate at 4.5%.

    The Reserve Bank also predicts unemployment to hover around 8% this year.

    18 March 1999

    Labour leader Helen Clark wades into the student allowance processing controversies. Clark points out that while the school term is nearly one month gone, 30% of the applications have not been processed. Thousands of students are receiving no living allowance. Clark says some students are having to give up flats and beg charities for food because of the delays. She also says that WINZ's claim that most delays were caused by students furnishing incomplete applications is not true. Clark calls for a State Services Commission investigation into a number of botch-ups. Peter McCardle concedes that some areas of the student allowance process need improvement.

    19 March 1999

    South Korea records 8.7% unemployment. This is the highest since 1982 and up from 8.5% last month.

    Veteran employment activist Sue Bradford has been selected as the Green Party candidate for Rodney. She says she will be campaigning on strengthening local economies and communities.

    21 March 1999

    ACT leader Richard Prebble addresses his party's national conference with an attack on domestic purposes beneficiaries. Prebble says all beneficiaries, including solo parents, should work a 40 hour week. He calls for raising the age eligibility for the DPB from 18 to 20 years in order to stop the state paying young women to have babies. Prebble also says there is little real poverty in NZ: "There are few New Zealanders who are malnourished, poorly clothed, living in hovels ..."

    Massey University sets up a service to help students affected by the delays to their student allowance payments. Assistant vice-chancellor Murna Thomson says the university has set up a system involving staff, student services and counselors. WINZ staff are also working with university staff to help answer student questions. Ms Thomson says that they have taken this action because, by the university's calculation, the number of students affected at both Massey campuses was substantial.

    Minister Peter McCardle says has told WINZ to ensure that students experiencing difficulties because of delays with their student allowances have access to emergency grants. Discretionary grants may be made

    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