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    Letter No.132
    12 October, 2000

    7 September 2000

    At the Millennium Summit in New York, United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan challenges world leaders to protect their people from misery and develop an agenda to eradicate poverty, wipe out disease and forge peace.

    AMP Banking is shedding 150 staff as it moves its NZ offices to Sydney.

    8 September 2000

    The Child Youth and Families Service reports that 3,123 reported child abuse cases are waiting to be allocated to social workers, although advocacy group Parentline contends that the number of unattended cases is much higher than this. Parentline's Maxine Hodgson says that just because cases are allocated does not mean the social worker has time to see the child. Hodgson says that children in Auckland reported to be in danger of being abused have waited up to eight months to be seen.

    11 September 2000

    Queenstown employers are having difficulty filling job vacancies. Service industry jobs are plentiful in the town, although accommodation for workers is scarce.

    The World Economic Forum meets in Melbourne. The WEF is comprised of representatives of the world's largest corporations with invited guests from governments, academia and the media.

    Several hundred part-time workers will lose their jobs in Ashburton as Canterbury Quality Foods shifts its squash processing operation to the North Island.

    12 September 2000

    The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs signs up a Memorandum of Understanding with Government Ministers at the Beehive. See story in this issue.

    The Alliance Party says it will vote against its coalition partner's legislation for closer economic partnership with Singapore. Leader Jim Anderton says that any free trade agreement his party supports must include the protection of the environment and of workers' rights.

    At the World Economic Forum, NZ Green MPs Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanczos are part of a group of 100 protestors who were trampled by police during a protest sit-in.

    13 September 2000

    The World Economic Forum ranks NZ's fiscal status against the rest of the world. NZ is now considered a "middle income" country along with Ireland, Spain, Mexico, Korea and Venezuela according to WEF. Of the 59 countries surveyed by the WEF, NZ ranks 24th in measure of wealth, it is the 16th most competitive, 34th in corporate research and development spending, and 20th for future growth prospects.

    14 September 2000

    Addressing a conference of voluntary agencies, Social Services Minister Steve Maharey says social welfare benefits will not be increased this parliamentary term. Maharey says that some beneficiaries got rises when the government scrapped market rents for state houses.

    Green MP Sue Bradford says that only Aucklanders in state houses have benefited from the new housing policy. Bradford says the real problem is that benefits are set too low.

    17 September 2000

    The number of people claiming an unemployment benefit in Britain is at a 20-year low, at 1,051,300.

    18 September 2000

    A $25m upgrade of the Glenbrook steel mill north of Auckland ensures it will keep operating for another ten years. The announcement is widely welcomed as the Australian parent company had been reconsidering its commitment to having a mill in NZ.

    NZ social workers are being recruited to work in London where one South London council is trying to hire 25 social workers. The workers can earn about twice as much as they can in NZ but social workers who have gone to Britain say the big money does not go far, given the cost of living.

    Statistics NZ's current account figures shows that the country's trading deficit dropped from 8.2% to 7.1% of GDP this last quarter. However, the trade deficit is still high by international standards and is considered by analysts to be a contributing factor to the 20% devaluation of the NZ dollar against the US dollar this year.

    19 September 2000

    The boating, building and construction, dairying, electrical engineering, hospitality and printing and communications industries will all offer positions on the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme from January.

    The prospect of fee-free education at the Southern Institute of Technology in Invercargill comes one step closer as the Community Trust of Southland contributes $3m to the project. The polytechnic still needs to raise a further $4.7m in community contributions.

    Winz is working with orchardists to prepare `employment packages' in Central Otago for seasonal workers. Winz John Allen says the intention is to make orchard work accessible and continuous for ten months of the year.

    The Central Otago District Council and Winz are also considering supporting a workers bus from Alexandra to Queenstown to provide workers for job rich Queenstown. A similar scheme is already running a workers bus from Lumsden to Queenstown.

    Wellington woman Glenys Lowery has advertised a $500 reward for information leading to a suitable job for herself. The ex-senior manager says her phone has been running red hot with people in the same situation.

    The former Soviet Block of nations are mired in unprecedented poverty since the collapse of communism there. In 1998, 21% of citizens were living on less than $2US/day, compared to only 2% a decade before.

    21 September 2000

    Dairy farm workers are in short supply. Recruitment agencies are bringing in foreign workers to try to fill dairying jobs and they are still not meeting the demand. Taratahi Agricutural Training Centre's CEO says that last year there were six jobs for each of his institution's sheep and beef graduates.

    24 September 2000

    Despite promises by the world's wealthiest nations, there has been no debt relief for the world's most indebted and impoverished nations. Aid agency Oxfam says that even if the current programme, which only proposes partial debt relief, is implemented, six African countries would still be spending more on interest payments than they spend on health or education.

    25 September 2000

    The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs signs up a Memorandum of Partnership with the Jobs Research Trust, publishers of The Jobs Letter. In the Memorandum, the Mayors describe The Jobs Letter as " important community-owned tool for helping people become wiser and more effective in acting on the challenge of jobs and livelihood in our communities." The financial support from the Taskforce is enabling The Jobs Letter to become freely available through the Jobs Research Website.

    Senior Labour Department analyst Simon Chapple releases a paper that rebukes many of the basic premises of the government's Closing the Gaps policies. See story in this issue.

    26 September 2000

    The number of people being trained as secondary school teachers must be stepped up if our schools are to keep up with increasing student enrollments, according to the Post Primary Teachers Association. PPTA's Graeme Macann says there is a recruitment crisis with 3,000 further teachers needed during the next eight years. Macann says that too few people are entering the profession and many new teachers leave soon after becoming qualified.

    Canada calls for an immediate halt to debt repayment by the worlds most Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. Of the 24 HIPCs targeted for debt relief, only 10 have received limited assistance. Karen Joyner of Christian Aid says the HIPC programme needs to be reassessed. Joyner: "The existing programme, provides too little debt relief to too few countries too slowly."

    27 September 2000

    "Social Inequities in Health, New Zealand 1999", a report prepared for the Ministry of Health, details how poverty affects people's health. The report says that, when compared with the middle class, the poorest NZ'ers die 15 years earlier, tend to be fat, have detrimental drinking and smoking habits, and are more like to be asthmatic and diabetic. The document recommends redistributing wealth as the single most effective way to improve the well being of New Zealanders.

    28 September 2000

    A survey of Northland employers earlier this year indicates optimism in the north. The Auckland University of Technology survey revealed 500 existing vacancies and nearly 2,000 new jobs were expected to be created in Northland over the next two years.

    29 September 2000

    Telstra Saturn plans to lay a new cable network in Auckland and some other parts of NZ. Company spokesman Quentin Bright says 300 people will have work installing cables in the Auckland area in November.

    4 October 2000

    The latest figures from Winz show that the number of long-term unemployed has increased by over 20% since the last election.

    5 October 2000

    Young professional Richard Poole places a full-page ad entitled "A Generation Lost?" in the NZ Herald stating his concern about the country's economic direction. The ad was signed by nearly 700 other young people. Poole says he was motivated by the current "brain drain" of skilled young people. He also says the ad is not politically motivated.

    Senior Alliance Party adviser Tony Simpson sends Richard Poole an email calling him a halfwit.

    6 October 2000

    Richard Poole admits that he had met with Business Roundtable CEO Roger Kerr and that the Business Roundtable had paid the upfront cost of his full-page advertisement. Poole says he has repaid the Business Roundtable with contributions he has received from signatories.

    8 October 2000

    Massey University student Juliet McVeigh, whose name appeared in the "Generation Lost?" brain drain advertisement, says she did not give permission for her name to appear on the ad.

    The Sunday Star Times comments on the brain drain advertisement noting that migration is lower this year than last. It also says that a growing percentage of those leaving the country are unskilled and that most of our migrants go to Australia where the tax rate is higher than in NZ.

    9 October 2000

    The ANZ job ad survey shows newspaper job ads increasing 1% over last month while internet job ads increased 12%. The number of job ads is 5.4% lower than at this time last year.

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