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    Letter No.102
    30 June, 1999

    15 June 1999

    Last October's announcement by the police commission that 285 non-sworn staff would be made redundant is revised down. With the police budget being extended by $6m, Police Commissioner Peter Doone says the number of staff losing their jobs is now expected to be about 140. The exact number will be announced in the next few weeks.

    An Australian survey finds that when woman executives are made redundant, they will find their next job quicker than their male counterparts. The survey by careers consultants Davidson and Associates says executive women average 3.6 months looking for work while men, on average, spend 5.9 months.

    NZ's foreign debt increases by $2.4 billion last financial year. The drop in value of the NZ$ against other currencies accounts for $1.8 billion of that figure according to Statistics NZ. The total NZ debt is now $102 billion ... or $26,700 for every NZ'er.

    16 June 1999

    Five Wellington hotels are temporarily providing food for the city's soup kitchen as it shifts premises. The Sisters of Compassion have organised the Hotel Raffaele, Parkroyal, James Cook, West Plaza and Bay Plaza hotels to provide food for the soup kitchen's clients for the two weeks it is taking to relocate its facilities.

    Job boards at WINZ offices are being phased out. The boards are being replaced by public-access computers and individual case managers. Spokesperson Douceline Van Arts says the job boards are inconsistent with personalised service and are being progressively removed. She points out that the computer system is easy to use, lists every vacancy in the country and is regularly updated.

    17 June 1999

    Some of the money from the sale of state-owned enterprises should be set aside to help those people who have been put out-of-work by their privatisation, according to Maori Affairs Minister Tau Henare. He says that many Maori and Pacific Islander worked for the former SOEs and are now on the scrapheap, while the entire $19 billion earned from asset sales has gone towards paying off debt. His view: some of the money from any further sales should be put aside for social and economic development for those disadvantaged by the asset sales.

    A major NZ company estimates that their supportive employment policies save them $200,000 annually in advertising, recruitment and training costs. Shell New Zealand and its subsidiary Shell Services International include paid parental leave for three months for the primary care giver and two weeks for their partner.

    18 June 1999

    The Nelson Polytech student who took his claim for a student allowance to the High Court has his case dismissed. The case brought by Kaelashsa Tyler claimed that he should not have been denied a student allowance on the basis of his parents' income. He says that as he started his course he was led to believe he would be eligible for the student allowance as his parents had already supported him for four years and were nearing retirement. Tyler says he is unwilling to go further into debt and will not attend the next year of his course.

    Call centres employ about 12,000 people in NZ according to Call Centre Management Association's Janine Iva. She says there are 600 call centres operating here and the industry is expecting 2230% growth this year. She says starting wages for call centre staff is between $22,000 and $33,000.

    There is more money flowing out of NZ than is being brought back in through exports and tourism. The deficit is at 6.4% of our GDP and bankers are expecting this to rise to 7% later this year.

    19 June 1999

    While America's economy is officially booming, so are worker redundancies as banks merge and manufacturers continue to downsize. This year the US is expected to reach record numbers of job losses. In 1997 there were 434,000 jobs lost, while last year there were 677,000. Half way through this year there have already been 336,000 job losses announced and the pace is picking up.

    The British government has published new research on the gender pay gap. It says lower weekly pay for women can not be attributed solely to child rearing. The study finds that the pay gap begins at age 20, before most women begin families. The major causes of the gender pay gap are the bunching of women in lower-paid occupations and outright pay discrimination. The report also says that the skill and wage level women have when they leave work to have children is critical to their income later in life. Women in the UK earn 73% of what men earn.

    20 June 1999

    Labour's Steve Maharey says his party, as government, would not allow interest to be charged on student loans while students are still studying. Maharey also says Labour is looking at matching student loan repayments dollar for dollar in order to get the loans problem back under control.

    22 June 1999

    Victoria University in Wellington is tendering out a range of maintenance and support services that will see 45 jobs lost. A spokesperson tells The Dominion that the university would favourably consider tenders put in by redundant staff but that there would be no guarantees they would be awarded contracts.

    An evaluation of the government's residential motivational training programmes says that the Army's Limited Service Volunteers scheme, and particularly Outward Bound, is the most successful in lifting participant's self-esteem. The job-seeker register shows that 1/3 LSV participants seek further training and at three months after their course, 6% have jobs.

    The Port of Auckland issues redundancy notices to 77 of its 150 stevedores.

    The Paid Parental Leave Bill is expected to be defeated when it is brought out of committee next week. Alliance MP Laila Harre concedes she lacks at least three votes to get her Bill passed into law. Harre's Bill would have allowed paid parental leave of 12 weeks' leave at 80% of the worker's earning, with the upper limit being the average weekly wage. It would have been funded through an employers tax.

    23 June 1999

    Full-colour ads promoting WINZ's new Work Track programme appear as inserts in the nation's major daily newspapers. The ads promote graduates from a three-week course that focuses on participants' skills, attitude and motivation.

    An amendment to the Holidays Act to make four weeks annual a standard right of workers is central to the Alliance Party's industrial relations policy, according to leader Jim Anderton. Currently the act entitles workers to three weeks leave.

    24 June 1999

    Further jobs are lost at the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua. Low tourist numbers have caused the cancellation of an evening concert that employed ten part-time and three full-time staff.

    A new report is produced by Statistics NZ to measure the role of tourism in the NZ economy against international figures. The report says that tourism supports 58,000 full time equivalent jobs in NZ, and a further 60,000 jobs are indirectly supported by tourism.

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