No.188 7 July 2003 Essential Information on an Essential Issue

of key events over the last few weeks.













LAST Letter

NEXT Letter

Download this issue as a PDF file

Download this issue
as a PDF file

google search
every Jobs Letter
back to
issue No.1 (Sept 1994)

Index to Back Issues
Index to Features


12 June 2003

A major study on the Australian workforce is presented at the "Future of Work" conference in Sydney. See Special Feature in this issue.

14 June 2003

Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast warns of job losses as the National Bank goes up for sale. All three previous NZ bank sales resulted in the relocation of head offices away from Wellington and the systematic removal of IT and back-up services to overseas. The National Bank has 1,500 Wellington-based corporate staff.

Over the last five years, women took 57.6% of the new jobs created in Australia. Jennifer Mead, writing in the Australian Business Review Weekly says that while women are still under-represented in CEO positions, they are getting more of the higher-skilled professional and management jobs.

The US unemployment rate rises to 6.1%, the highest level since 1994.

15 June 2003

National MP Katherine Rich says that Minister of Social Services Steve Maharey is harping on the past as he criticises old National Party welfare policies that were not included in her welfare discussion document. Rich: "It's Groundhog Day for Mr Maharey who is hung up talking about the history of welfare rather than talking about its future".

16 June 2003

NZ job ad numbers dropped last month and are now 6.1% lower than a year ago. ANZ economist David Drage says the level of advertised jobs is still consistent with a "solid labour market" but predicts that employment growth will slow in comparison to the last two years.

A Maori trust believes it will create jobs as it develops and harvests natural extracts, oils and medicines on Maori land in the Waikato. Te Puaha O Waikato Trust plans to turn hundreds of hectares of under-utilised land into productive units and jobs through "bio-prospecting".

The Australian government believes a thousand jobs will be created as work begins on the Bayu-Undan gas field in the Timor Sea. The work will include a 500 km gas pipeline on the sea bottom from the field to Darwin.

17 June 2003

Associate Minister of Maori Affairs John Tamihere accuses tribal elders of "strangling" their young successors by refusing to step aside and let the next generation of leaders come through.

The top 2% of NZ public sector managers are paid as much as 50% less than those in comparable private sector jobs, according to an IBM Consulting Services report.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) says the NZ economy is rapidly cooling. Manufacturing sales dropped 2% last year, a trend the EMA says will be reflected in the whole economy.

19 June 2003

There has been a decrease in the number of people using foodbanks over the last year according to the latest Poverty Indicator Project report. Salvation Army Major Campbell Roberts believes the small drop in numbers is due to improved Winz service which has ensured more people receive their full benefit entitlements.

The Poverty Indicator report, however, found that those using foodbanks are worse off now than they were a year ago. It says that increased housing costs have eaten away at people's disposable income.

20 June 2003

The West Coast timber company cuts 30 jobs and another company, Timberland West Coast, is reviewing employee numbers in response to a rapid downturn of the timber market.

Green MP Sue Bradford accuses Winz of refusing financial assistance to teenage prostitutes who had asked for help to turn their lives around. While those under 18 years do not qualify for the unemployment benefit, Bradford says Winz should be trying to get such young women on the Independent Youth Benefit.

Britain has relaxed the visa criteria for young NZ'ers on working holidays. The age limit has been lifted to 30 years and people can now compete for any type of job, not just casual or holiday jobs. Young NZ'ers will also be able to able to move from a holiday visa to a work-permit after a year.

21 June 2003

Attrition rates up to 15.5% in the NZ Defence Force are creating a "black hole" of shortages of senior personnel. Cabinet papers obtained by the Sunday Star Times say the shortages could force the Defence Force to abandon some deployments.

23 June 2003

A bid to shorten the five-and-a-half-day workweek in Singapore is rejected. Deputy PM Lee Hsien Loong says "now is not the time" for the civil service to switch to a five-day week.

24 June 2003

Visitor numbers to NZ were down by 13% in May. There were huge falls in visitors from Japan (-42%) and China (-78%).

25 June 2003

Soliciting sex for money, brothel keeping and pimping become legal in NZ as the Prostitution Reform Bill is passed.

Swiss bank UBS assures its 30 NZ staff that their jobs are safe as it cuts 500 jobs overseas.

26 June 2003

The US Federal Reserve Bank lowers its interest rate to 1%, the lowest level since 1958.

27 June 2003

The NZ economy grew by 0.6% during the last quarter, resulting in 4.3% growth for the year to June. But Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard warns this is likely to be a peak and the economy may even contract over the next quarter.

Australia's biggest retailer, Coles Myer, aims to hire 10,000 temporary workers to work in Kmart and Myer Grace stores over the coming Christmas period.

28 June 2003

55 workers lose their jobs at Kajavala Forestry Ltd's log processing mill in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. A new company has taken over management of the giant Central North Island Forest and has decided to process logs elsewhere. Mill owner Jacob Kajavala says that while his business was the worst hit, he believes as many as 75 other jobs will be lost in mills around the region.

1 July 2003

One year after the introduction of paid parental leave, over 18,000 people have used the scheme. Minister of Labour Margaret Wilson says a review of the scheme will consider extending the eligibility to people who have had more than one employer during the year and to those who are self-employed.

2 July 2003

New immigration legislation is introduced that will overhaul the skills-based immigration category. See this issue.

LAST Diary

NEXT Diary

The Jobs Letter

— Essential Information and Media Watch on Jobs, Employment, Unemployment, the Future of Work, and related Education and Economic issues.

Published every 2-3 weeks in New Zealand.

About the Letter
About PDF files

Vivian Hutchinson
Dave Owens

Jo Howard
Rodger Smith

Vivian Hutchinson
Shirley Vickery

Peace Media Award

ISSN No. 1172-6695

The Jobs Letter
P.O.Box 428
New Plymouth
New Zealand

phone 06-753-4434
fax 06-753-4430

Click for

Statistics That Matter

The Jobs Research Trust

Employment Catalyst

Mayors Taskforce for Jobs

188slug.gif - 5296 Bytes


  • Foreign doctors driving taxis may be a thing of the past as the government overhauls its skills-based immigration policy. In the biggest change to immigration policy since 1991, the Immigration Service will be actively seeking out skilled immigrants and choosing those they believe will best fit in to the New Zealand labour market.

    The previous immigration policy automatically awarded visas to people who scored sufficiently high on a points scale which was biased towards educational achievements and qualifications. On arrival, many highly qualified immigrants found that professional bodies would not recognise their qualifications, and they couldn’t get work in their field of expertise. Under the new regime, the points system will be more “settlement” driven with bonus points favouring applicants who have qualifications and experience that match New Zealand skills shortages and /or who have specific job offers, especially outside of Auckland.

  • Business leaders and political parties are generally supportive of the changes as there is broad agreement that the points system was missing the mark.

    The Immigration Service has been instructed to return the majority of the 20,000 applications it already has on hand and invite the applicants to reapply. Immigration consultants believe that most of these people, many of whom are in New Zealand already, will not qualify under the new criteria.

    Source— Press release NZ Government 1 July 2003 "New skills category to drive immigration programme"; The Dominion Post 2 July 2003 "Migrants welcome but not in Auckland" by David McLouglin; Press release EMA 2 July 2003 "Immigration changes big step in right direction"; Press release Green Party 2 July 2003 "Law change opens path to corruption discrimination"; Press release Business NZ 1 July 2003 "New immigration policy tackles skills shortages"


  • 22,000 jobs have been lost in the food and drink processing, timber, steel and aluminium sectors as a result of the high New Zealand dollar, according to BERL’s latest quarterly forecast. That is 5% of the workforce of these sectors. BERL director Kel Sanderson predicts that we are in for two to three years of a stalled economy and warns that the New Zealand unemployment rate could kick up to 7% next year with the number of people on the dole rising to 140,000.

    Sandersons recommendations: New Zealand should aim to have a population of seven to eight million people in 20 years time. To achieve this we need to completely reconsider our immigration strategy and begin to use the current fiscal surplus to build the infrastructure needed to support a much larger population.

    — BERL Forecast (media release) 25 June 2003 . Download (8pg, 54Kb) from here.

    Source— The Dominion Post 25 June 2003 "More jobs may go as high Kiwi bites" by James Weir; The Independent 25 June 2003 "How to free NZ's seized economic engine" by Bob Edlin; BERL Forecast (media release) 25 June 2003 "Strong economy stalling for lack of direction", say BERL forecasters


  • The student loan scheme is an unrecognised contributor to the current nursing workforce crisis, according to a new study released by the NZ Nurses Organisation and the NZ University Students Association. The Impact of Student Debt on Nurses: an Investigation says that student debt may act as the most significant “push” factor in sending young nurses overseas, and in delaying their return. Student debt also affects both the recruitment and retention of nurses, and their decisions to do further training.

    According to the study, the average debt incurred by a nurse as they finish their qualification is just over $19,000 and those who go overseas to work tend to be those with higher debt.

    The study points out that fully training the current number (about 1,150) of nursing students costs about $27 million per year. With the cost of recruiting nurses (currently $100 million per year) added to the costs of associated with the nursing shortage and high industry turnover rates, there are obvious advantages for the government to pay the full cost of training nurses and then bonding them to practice in New Zealand. The study: “It is contradictory to invest in educating young New Zealanders and then effectively drive them out of the country to repay debt.”

    The Impact of Student Debt on Nurses:
    — an Investigation published by the NZUSA and NZNO, May 2003

    can be downloaded (47pg, 4.8Mb) from the NZNO website (Not Current).

    Source — The Impact of Student Debt on Nurses: an Investigation; Press releases by NZNO 17 June 2003 "New research show debt deepens nursing crisis" and Investigation in nurses debt— key findings"; New Zealand Herald 18 June 2003 "loans drive nurses out" by Martin Johnston.


    — less money, longer hours and harder work
  • to18810.gif - 4019 Bytes A major report has been released by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) which shows that, after two decades of labour market reform, most Australians are working longer hours, don't get paid for their overtime, and suffer stress at work. The report shows that much of the Australian workforce is underemployed or has no job security. Nearly half of the workforce is in part-time or casual work, even though most of those in casual work have been doing the same job for over a year. The report also predicts that by 2010, one in three workers will be employed on a casual basis.

    We give an essential summary of this report as a feature in this issue of The Jobs Letter.


  • The number of Chinese students studying in New Zealand this year has halved from the nearly 12,000 students that were enrolled last year. According to The Independent newspaper, many English as Second Language teachers have been laid-off and at least one-third of the local English language schools are feeling the pinch.

    The fee-paying foreign student industry quickly rose to be New Zealand’s fourth largest foreign exchange earning industry, last year. Foreign students not only create jobs in the education sector, they stimulate the whole economy by patronising businesses, creating a “homestay” industry, and stimulating the rental property market. Michael Barnett of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce: “If you see schools start losing students it won’t be the schools that suffer the consequences, it’ll be Auckland”.

    Source— The Independent 25 June 2003 "Export education sector faces crisis" by Kelly Sinoski; The Dominion Post 23 June 2003 "Foreign student numbers drop 40%" by Michelle Quirke


  • Twenty-six unemployed people are being trained in building skills in Kaitaia through a joint venture between UNITEC in Auckland and the Te Runanga O Te Rarawa. According to the Runanga’s Vance Winiata, many of the students are long-term unemployed and most, having limited formal education, would not have been able to get a qualification if the course hadn’t come to them. The training scheme is building two houses in the middle of Kaitaia and Winiata says that having the training site so central has “created quite a buzz” and many people have come off the street and enrolled. Once the training is completed, the students hope to slot into the local building industry or get into repairing their own homes and those of their extended families.

    UNITEC became involved with the project after discussions with government about the problems of substandard housing and high unemployment in Northland. The programme utilises Maori and Pacific Island scholarships provided by UNITEC. UNITEC also trained the tutors and provided teaching resources and framework for the Certificate in Applied Technology programme while the Runanga provided management and materials.

    Source— Press release UNITEC 128 June 2003 "Training, jobs and housing for Northland"


  • Are we losing local jobs to cheap overseas imports? If you look at the tables below (compiled by the Parliamentary Library), it certainly seems to be the case.

    Interestingly, while imports of footwear and clothing seem to have skyrocketed over the last decade ... we have also seen a significant rise in the value of exports from both these sectors.

    NZ exports and imports($m), along with full-time equivalents employed
    Exports Imports Employed
    12.6 59.1 2,200
    1990 22.2 93.2 2,337
    34.9 99.0 2,076
    1992 31.1 109.1 1,644
    1993 33.0 121.2 1,717
    1994 36.3 133.0 1,863
    1995 47.3 146.1 1,735
    44.5 145.0 1,559
    42.3 162.2 1,350
    1998 46.1 184.0 1,000
    44.0 187.4 1,000
    2000 57.4 214.3 960
    2001 50.5 244.9 830
    2002 61.6 255.1 na
    2003 51.3 238.7 na

    Source — Parliamentary Library, Statistics NZ, INFOS Database
    NZ exports and imports($m), along with full-time equivalents employed
    Exports Imports Employed
    30.2 98.0 15,133
    1990 44.0 191.4 14,421
    67.9 229.6 13,231
    1992 97.2 271.5 12,117
    1993 134.5 334.3 12,439
    1994 143.2 339.5 12,485
    1995 142.4 425.9 12,204
    155.0 434.1 11,552
    140.6 484.4 10,640
    1998 163.9 605.7 9,380
    162.4 629.4 8,580
    2000 195.4 743.0 8,730
    2001 213.4 864.8 7,930
    2002 218.6 850.6 na
    2003 214.0 833.7 na
    Source — Parliamentary Library, Statistics NZ, INFOS Database
    Grant Cleland, Parliamentary Library, May 2003


  • United Future MP Judy Turner is calling for a change in the way Winz classifies vacancies on its website. Currently, jobs are classified firstly by location and then by the type of job. Turner believes this limits the perspective of the job seeker and does not encourage people to consider opportunities that are not local.
    Source— United Future Press Release 17 June 2003 "Turner: Take `big picture' look at jobs"


  • The day prostitution was made legal, Winz refused to accept a vacancy notice for sex workers in an Auckland brothel. While brothel owner Brian Le Gros was able to place an ad entitled “Prostitutes Wanted” in The New Zealand Herald , he was denied an employment vacancy spot in the Winz database.

    Winz national commissioner Ray Smith says the department had no legal requirement to advertise any vacancy and Winz has decided it would not advertise or refer clients to vacancies in the sex industry. Smith says Winz has declined to advertise various vacancies in the past, including those in massage parlours, commission-only sales and network marketing.

    Source— New Zealand Herald 1 July 2003 "Work and Income refuses sex advert";


  • kea.gif - 4102 Bytes The Community Employment Group (CEG) has announced its selection of 51 “movers and shakers” who will receive funding from the new Social Entrepreneurs Fund. The government’s intention with this fund is to “build the capacity” of communities to solve problems themselves rather than to impose solutions from outside.

    The scheme is aimed at making those who already work in their communities to be more effective in what they do. CEG general manager Charlie Moore says social entrepreneurs work outside of the square and often are too busy to take time out to care for their own needs. Moore: “This fund allows them to build their skills, research or develop concepts around their speciality or attend educational programmes.”

    Minister of Social Development Steve Maharey is a strong supporter of this scheme: “The government does not have a panacea to “fix” things. It is the champions, the guiding lights in our communities who can think of bright idea and inspire others to find solutions to health, education, social and employment problems. It’s time to support these people and develop their potential so that the government moves from a hand out towards a hand up by investing in people who can make a real difference.”

    — a full list of those to be supported by the Social Entrepreneurs Fund can be found at www.ceg.govt.nz/socialentrepreneur/ (Not Current).

    Source— CEG Press release 16 June 2003 "Community champions announced"; Maharey Notes 23 June 2003 "Community `movers and shakers' get funding"; Press release Steve Maharey 16 June 2003 "Hand up not hand outs"

    • Notice that Steve Maharey has changed his primary ministerial title from Minister of Social Services and Employment to Minister of Social Development and Employment. The change is to "reflect the wider ambit of the role."

    Source— Maharey Notes 23 June 2003


  • 1,230 people have found work while on the artists-on-the-dole scheme since it started about 18 months ago. The Pathways to Arts and Cultural Employment (PACE) scheme allows jobseekers who list creative industries as their first career choice to pursue this track while on the benefit, so long as they produce a plan that shows how they intend to progress towards an independent arts-related career.

    Associate Minister of Arts and Culture Judith Tizard says PACE is filling a real need by boosting the skills of people who are looking for a career in the arts. And while only one-third of those who are now working found employment in the creative sector, Tizard believes the scheme is fulfilling another important purpose: exposing aspiring artists to the realities of full-time employment in the arts. Tizard: “Being a full-time arts worker is not easy and will not suit all those who aspire to an artistic career.”

    Tizard says the scheme has successfully developed partnerships between Winz and the creative sector through organisations such as Creative New Zealand, The Higher Trust in Dunedin, Standing Ovation in Wellington, the Arts Work Project in Auckland, and the on-line website The Big Idea (wwww.thebigidea.co.nz).

    Source— Press Release NZ government 18 June 2003 "Arts employment success"

    banner-lop.gif - 19837 Bytes


  • Childless couples will become the most common family unit within the next three years, according to Statistics NZ. The latest figures show that from 2006, couples without children will be the most common household unit, displacing two-parent families with one or more children. And statisticians are predicting New Zealand will have 614,000 childless couples in 2021, a huge 51% rise from the 407,000 couples today. The rise is partly due to the aging population (couples whose children have left home) and younger people putting off having children.

    University of Waikato demographer Ian Poole blames “family hostile” policies that are discouraging large numbers of people from having children. Poole says New Zealand is the worst country in the developed world for policies that encourage and enable women to both work and have children. Poole: “We are not making a reconciliation between family and work – and we are cutting our own throats. We are so goddamned miserly on family policy. Large student-loan debt that encouraged women to work longer, and minimal maternity leave were factors in people putting off having children, or not having them at all.”

  • The United Future Party agrees with Professor Poole’s analysis and believes they have exactly the family-friendly policies he is looking for. The party is recommending introducing income splitting for families, so that raising a family does not become a burden too great for young couples; and introducing a home carer’s allowance for parents at home caring for children under the age of five.
    Source— New Zealand Herald I July 2003 "Think family, think childless couple" by Katherine Hoby and NZPA

  • The Jobs Research Trust — a not-for-profit charitable trust constituted in 1994.
    We are funded by sustaining grants and donations. Yes, you can help.