|No.162||15 March 2002||Essential Information on an Essential Issue|
of key events over the last few weeks.
YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE LABOUR MARKET
MORE EDUCATION AND TRAINING
MAYORS MEET IN CHRISTCHURCH
GOOD JOBS NEWS
YOUTH POLICY LAUNCH
MORE CLOTHING JOB LOSSES?
POVERTY AT THE FOODBANK
WOMEN AND STUDENT DEBT
INDEPENDENT YOUTH BENEFIT
OZ – UNDERSPENDING ON THE UNEMPLOYED
MAHAREY ON FULL EMPLOYMENT
Download this issue
as a PDF file
Index to Features
6 February 2002
National MP Gerry Brownlee objects to a Department of Labour 0800 information line on paid parental leave that has been established while the legislation is still in select committee. Graeme Buchanan of the DOL's says paid parental leave is an issue people could become agitated about and that it was not unusual for the department to provide information to the public before a bill was passed into law.
7 February 2002
At 6.7%, unemployment in Hong Kong has reached its highest level in 20 years.
10 February 2002
G7 Finance Ministers and central bank chiefs meet in Canada saying they are optimistic about a quick global economic recovery. The meeting does not discuss the hazards posed by the Japanese banking industry.
Argentine banks and foreign exchange markets open for the first time in two months with the country's peso no longer pegged equal to the US dollar.
11 February 2002
The NZ Parliament resumes after its summer recess.
12 February 2002
The Prime Minister Helen Clark launches Growing an Innovative New Zealand, the government's economic growth framework.
Business New Zealand's Simon Carlaw says the government is acting positively but that there are few specifics in the policy or provided by the host of Ministers present at the "Innovators" launch.
Act Party's Rodney Hide calls the "Innovators" policy launch a "burger without meat".
Over 2,000 apprentices have taken up on-the-job training over the last year. Associate Minister of Education Steve Maharey says he is confident the government's target of 3,000 apprenticeships will be reached by the middle of this year.
13 February 2002
The number of print media job ads in NZ decreased by 2.3% last month. Job ads are 9.6% below this time last year.
The NZ economy has had its first positive December trade balance since 1996.
Women's Electoral Lobby spokesperson Barbara Mabbett tells a parliamentary committee that paid parental leave should only be available to the mother recovering from the trauma of birth and not transferable to the other parent. Mabbett believes that some men might think it a good idea to get on watching the rugby and let the mother go back to work.
More than a quarter of Australian employers say they expect to hire more staff during the next three months while just under one-in-ten say they will shed workers, according to the TMP Worldwide Job Index.
British Airways is expected to cut a further 6,000 jobs after already dropping 7,000 staff over the past year.
14 February 2002
The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs meets in Christchurch and launches its partnership with the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Australian unemployment rose to from 6.7% to 7.0% in January as the labour force participation rate rose to a record high of 64.2%. The Australian economy grew by a massive 100,000 jobs, the biggest rise in ten years. However the Australian Bureau of Statistics tempered the news saying the data was severely skewed by changing trends in seasonal work and the Bureau expects a reversal in the February statistics.
While female university graduates out number males by 57 to 43, a woman with the same qualification can expect to earn about $2,700/yr less than a man, according to the Vice-Chancellors Committee's graduates' destination report.
15 February 2002
The Mayors Taskforce for Jobs meets with heads of government departments at its Christchurch meeting.
New Plymouth's 40yr old clothing factory Classic Manufacturing is to close next month with the loss of 51 jobs.
19 February 2002
The University Students Association says that student debt has topped $5 billion.
20 February 2002
Gaming Machine Association spokesperson Garry Ward warns the government that communities, sports clubs and charities will feel any drop in revenue if the Responsible Gambling Bill restricts the flow of grants. Ward claims that gaming machines contribute over $150 million/yr to the community and supports more than 10,000 jobs.
22 February 2002
NInety NZ secondary school teachers have applied to work in Hong Kong where they can earn four or five times the amount they can earn here. Fifty-one NZ teachers already work in Hong Kong.
26 February 2002
The Tesna bid to buy Ansett Airlines fails ... spelling the end of the airline. The final 3,500 employees join the 13,000 workers who already lost their jobs.
28 February 2002
There were one-third more secondary teaching vacancies at the beginning of this school year than there were at the beginning of last school year according to the government's latest survey.
NZ business confidence is now higher than it was before September 11th. Confidence is improved in every sector except agriculture, where confidence was already at very high levels.
1 March 2002
Virgin Blue says that it will employ 1,000 ex-Ansett workers as it prepares to fill part of the void that will be left by the demise of the Australian domestic carrier.
3 March 2002
Last year the Information Technology Association provided 218 letters attesting to would-be migrants' computer skills. Combined with a job offer, an letter from the ITA helps fast-track working visa applications.
5 March 2002
Minister of Employment Steve Maharey says that about one-quarter of all 16-17 year olds are neither in school nor in full-time jobs. He warns that these young people are in danger of becoming long-term unemployed.
An international study on the impact of redundancy on executives finds disruption to family life, loss of income, and fear of long-term unemployment are the most difficult issues to deal with.
Japanese electronics company Nikon follows the lead of Sony and Minolta to manufacture their digital cameras in China rather than in Japan. Sanyo Electric and Olympus Optical are also beginning Chinese operations this month. Nikon is cutting its Japanese payroll by offering severance pay to workers who are 45 years and older.
6 March 2002
A new organisation intends to increase the number of Maori who attain a doctrate. The National Institute of Research Excellence for Maori Development and Advancement plans to increase the number of Maori with PhDs from the current 150 to 500 within five years.
The Centre of Economic and Business Research says that the negative employment growth in London during the last year will continue as thousands more jobs are still being cut from London businesses. Teachers, however, continue to be in great demand as there are consistent vacancies for 3,500 supply teachers in London.
8 March 2002
International Working Women's Day commemorates a strike by women in New York City 140 years ago over low pay, long working hours and inhumane working conditions. The NZ Council of Trade Unions' Darien Fenton says many areas considered to be "women's work" are still poorly paid and undervalued.
The next time the income threshold for the community services card is updated it will include people whose working income is equal to or less than superannuitants. At the moment, 48,000 working NZ'ers earning the same or less than superannuitants are ineligible for a community services card.
10 March 2002
The Australian bank workers union warns that up to 5,000 National Australia Bank staff may lose their jobs in a planned restructuring.
Kmart Corporation says it will close 284 of its stores in the US at the cost of about 22,000 jobs.
US President George W Bush signs an economic stimulus bill valued at US$51 billion in corporate tax cuts and extended unemployment benefits. February statistics indicate US employment grew for the first time in seven months and unemployment, now at 5.5%, was lower for the second month in a row.
PLANS FOR MORE EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Under the proposal, the highschool leaving age would remain at age 16, but further education and training opportunities would be provided to increase young peoples skills and ability to enter the workforce. These opportunities are likely to include more vocational training, such as apprenticeships, rather than training at polytechs or universities. There could also be more incentives such as income support, family support and cheap student fees, to keep young people studying until they turn 19 or find a job.
Minister of Tertiary Education, Steve Maharey, wants this to change: "We think we need to keep young people in the education system until they have their first qualification. If we don't do anything ... they're going to be at the dole office when they turn 18. We could get some of these young people at school and get them into a programme so that they can earn money while they are being educated."
Source _ New Zealand Herald 8 March 2002 "Incentives to prolong schooling" by Libby Middlebrook; Maharey Notes Vol 3 Issue No. 63 11 March 2002 "Education and Leaving Age under consideration"
MAYORS MEET IN CHRISTCHURCH
Meeting with the Taskforce, Employment Minister Steve Maharey challenged the Mayors to "stop being nice" and demand more from the government to solve unemployment. He also said he wanted less "back- scratching" and more action from Mayors.
Maharey: "I want a more hard-nosed approach. I think we will all soon get over being nice to each other and get on and demand more things from each other [...] Our challenge is to ensure that over the medium term we continue to build on the progress we have made. Much has been achieved, but there is still much more to be done."
Both parties would work in partnership to advance the Taskforce's mission of "working towards the zero waste of New Zealanders"
The establishment of Community Coalitions led by Mayors and supported by Regional Employment Commissioners would generate "action plans"
A national strategic coalition would be established to ensure that a "whole of government" approach is taken to support local initiatives
The project involves putting together a package of assistance for a US company called Jack Links Ltd. The company intends making beef jerky (dried salted beef) for export to the US market. The new venture will employ around 450 people over the next 12 months, of which approximately 300 jobs will be for unemployed Manukau people most of whom are likely to be Maori and Pacific Island young people.
Further to this, approval has been given for Enterprising Manukau to undertake some "value chain research" looking at what employment opportunities might be generated in associated industries such as waste management, transportation, packaging etc. A Winz work broker is tied to the project and when opportunities are identified, they will attempt to match the opportunities with local unemployed people.
Sources _ The Jobs Letter editor Vivian Hutchinson; Christchurch Press 15 February 2002 "More vocal line on jobs urged" by David King; Speech by Steve Maharey to Mayors Taskforce for Jobs 14 February 2002 "Growth, innovation and partnership between central and local government"
GOOD NEWS ON JOBS
Source _ Press Release NZ Government 1 March 2002 "Jan record Month for Job Seekers
Source The Dominion 12 March 2002 "Thousands more jobs predicted" by James Weir
Where are the new jobs coming from? A breakdown of employment by industry group at December 2001 tells us that the strongest increase in jobs in the last year has come from health and community services (+30,100), followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing (+14,700), education (+10,000) and manufacturing (+9,000).
Other sectors, however, have been off-setting these gains with continued job losses. These include business and financial services, (-6,500), wholesale and retailing (-2,900), and "other" services (-6,800).
Sources Statistics NZ December 2001 Household Labour Force Survey reports; Integrated Economic Services "Business Directions" March 2002
...BUT SOME CONCERNS
Sources The Independent 27 February 2002 "Health sector job growth raises sustainability issue" by Bob Edlin
YOUTH POLICY DOCUMENT LAUNCHED
Opposition politicians have not been kind to the report. National's Simon Power called it "bureaucratic waffle which offered no real solutions". Act's Muriel Newman discredited it as "feel-good, no-good claptrap". Newman: "It defies belief that a process which took 18 months and involved consultation with 1,400 young people could come up with such an empty document."
Source The Dominion 12 February 2002 "Harre unveils strategy to develop young people"; New Zealand Herald 12 February 2002 "Govt strategy identifies key issues for youth" NZPA; The Dominion 13 February 2002 "Harre defends cost of youth strategy" Ross henderson; NZ government press release 11 February 2002 "Launch of the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa"
NURSES LEAVING NURSING
Source The Dominion 9 March 2002 "Exodus of nurses doubles in decade" NZPA
MORE CLOTHING JOB LOSSES?
Apparel and Textile Federation's Kerry Harding says that a free-trade deal with Hong Kong would directly affect those NZ companies who manufacture for our domestic market. Harding says a Hong Kong agreement would not immediately affect the high-fashion export end of the NZ clothing industry but he warns that small-scale companies rely on the infrastructure (spare parts, suppliers and staff training) that the larger-scale domestic manufacturing provides. This means that a demise of clothing manufacturing for the domestic market in NZ is likely to be followed by the loss of our export fashion industry, as well.
Source New Zealand Herald 11 March 2002 "Tariff review puts 20,000 clothing jobs under a cloud" Simon Collins
POVERTY AT THE FOODBANK
The study found that families with children, including sole parent households are highly represented in the poverty statistics. 79% of households that use foodbanks have children living in them and nearly half of those households are sole parent families.
Poverty Indicator Project spokesperson Campbell Roberts says he wants more effective methods of addressing financial inequalities for those who stay home to look after children. Roberts: "Everyday our social services see the evidence that poverty still exists in New Zealand and witness the detrimental impact this has on our most vulnerable citizens. New Zealand needs to be an innovator in social policies that will enable all to participate."
Source New Zealand Herald 8 March 2002 "Poverty hits sole female parents"; The Dominion 9 March 2002 "Foodbank users among poorest"
WOMEN MORE BURDENED BY STUDENT DEBT
Association president Julie Pettett says women who have chosen to further their education are being punished through a system that financially disadvantages them. Minister of Tertiary Education Steve Maharey says that a discussion document on changes to the student loan scheme will be issued in May and that it would tackle gender issues. But Pettett says that with so little is known about the effects of the student loan scheme, the Association had commissioned its own study that would also be published in May.
Source 9 March 2002 "Women `slower to repay student debt'" Leah Haines
INDEPENDENT YOUTH BENEFIT STUDIED
An Independent Youth Benefit may be awarded by Winz case managers to 16-17 yr olds who have either fallen out with or been rejected by their families but is sometimes critcised as being a financial path for teenagers to simply leave home. However, Dawson has found that one-third of all Independent Youth Benefit applicants have attempted suicide and she believes Winz has saved hundreds of teenagers by using their discretion to award the income support. While every teenager on the Independent Youth Benefit has an individual plan monitored by a Winz case manager, Dawson says that the benefit should be accompanied by more intense programmes to help teenagers through their problems which often include having no school qualifications, bullying, being victims of sexual abuse, or drugs and alcohol abuse.
Source New Zealand Herald 7 March 2002 "Youth benefit suicide shock" NZPA
OZ UNEMPLOYED MISS OUT ON OVER $250 MILLION
Evidence to a Senate estimates committee also shows that about half the people entering the Government's intensive assistance program for the long-term unemployed have already been in the system before ... raising questions about how effective the system is in getting people back to work.
Government officials explained that the budget figures were an estimate of expenditure and the difference from the actual figures "does not necessarily translate into underperformance". The anomalies were said to be due to such things as depressed labour markets and programmes that were being established had lead times that were underestimated. A spokesperson for the Employment Services Minister, Mal Brough, told the media that the Australian Government had budgeted for 300,000 people to start employment assistance and the funds unspent in 2000-01 "simply reflected the Government achieving its ambitions at a lower cost".
The Australian Council of Social Service, however, says that the figures reinforce concerns that employment agencies in the Job Network are under-investing in "intensive assistance" clients and that outcomes are not as good as they could be.
Laura Tingle reports in the Sydney Morning Herald that under the Job Network system, a proportion of clients with particular difficulties getting work are offered "intensive assistance" which may include training, provision of clothing or other resources to help them find work. The Job Network provider receives an upfront payment when the person starts the network's intensive assistance programme and a further payment if the person gets a job or enters a training scheme. There is no obligation on the provider, however, to spend any specific amount on the client. Evidence so far suggests considerable numbers of people do not get a job or training from this "intensive assistance".
Source Sydney Morning Herald 27 February 2002 "Unemployed miss out on $214m" by Laura Tingle