Essential Information on an Essential Issue
13 March, 1995
- THE POVERTY SUMMIT
Essential summary from The World Summit for Social Development
- LAND TRANSPORT REFORM BILL WOULD PUSH COUNCILS TO
CONTRACT OUT WORKS DEPT
Mayors and council staff around the country are fearing the Land Transport Reform Bill
will put many council jobs - and assets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars - at risk. The Bill
is expected to require council works business units to make a return on their assets. Officials
have pointed out that under the legislation, the councils might save thousands of dollars by
letting tenders to private operators, but they also stood to lose far more by having their equipment
lying idle. Council staff fear that if the council work units tender for their own work along with
outside contractors and were not as competitive, they will not be able to hang on to their work gangs.
Carterton Mayor Barry Keys told the Dominion last week that the legislation was expected
to require the councils to tender out a third of its roading works programme in the first year,
two thirds the following year and the rest the next year. Keys says confusing signals were being
sent by the government ... "with one element telling councils they should be doing more to
reduce unemployment, while another was almost pushing councils into unemployment ..."
- COMMITTEE PROMOTING A NATIONAL CAREERS DATABASE
In an overhaul of Government-provided job counselling for students, school-leavers and
the unemployed, the Career Guidance Review Committee is considering recommending the
establishment of an up-to-date national career database and job advice for primary school pupils.
The Review committee was set up after following Employment Taskforce recommendations
that unemployment could be reduced if people were steered onto clear career paths early. It is
looking at recommending that careers advice should be provided to pupils as young as 10 yrs old, and
that individual case management should start at Form 5.
Review chairman Brother Pat Lynch says it was a waste that people were training in careers
that had high unemployment instead of going into job growth areas. Research showed that after a
year of study, 40% of tertiary students changed courses and 30% changed faculties, because they
left school unsure of what they wanted to do. Many career advisers in schools were trained
counsellors "and the career advice is tacked on". But career advisers should receive continuing
training and be in constant touch with businesses and other professional groups to find out where the
- MANUFACTURERS LOBBY FOR LOWERING THE NZ$
The Wellington Manufacturer's Association is warning that industry will start laying
off workers unless the government gets the NZ dollar back to "a sensible level". Farmers are
also feeling the pinch from the high dollar, with an agricultural economist predicting that
currency movements could wipe an average 5% off farmers' incomes in the year to June.
Source The Christchurch Press, 10/3/95, Recession fears as NZ dollar rises, The Dominion.
- MORE TRAINING NEEDED IN MAORI FORESTRY
It is predicted that there will be a surge in training programmes over the next decade to
help Maori tribal authorities provide more jobs within their existing forestry estates, and within
the forests they may gain from treaty settlements. The Minister of Forestry, John Falloon, says
that the government is keen to devolve the management of $1 billion worth of forests to some
Maori tribes. The government is looking for joint ventures with iwi with the aim of "getting out of
them, on a commercial basis..." The chief executive of the Forestry Industries Training and
Education Council, Rob McGowan recommends that tribes plan ahead now for the establishment of
sawmills and the creation of training programmes for their young people to learn the necessary
- JOBS IN BOAT-BUILDING
There is a severe shortage of skilled workers in the boat-building industry, and
boat-building yards are calling for more young people to take up training. Ashton Dempsey, of Unitech,
says that there are plenty of opportunities in the field, including opportunities for schools leavers or
the unemployed : " We have boat-builders constantly asking us when our next lot of students
will graduate and be ready to take up paid employment. They are almost begging us to graduate
more people from our courses because the demand for NZ-built craft is growing at such a
staggering rate ..."
Source-NZ Herald, 6/3/95, Need For boat building trainiees by Brian Kearney
- APRIL WILL SEE RISE IN WEEKLY DOLE PACKET
The unemployment benefit will rise 2.8% along with other social security benefits
from April 1st. The rises are in line with inflation rates, and will mean an increase of $3.77 for a
single unemployed person over 25, and an extra $6.28 for the married benefit.
NEW RATES FROM 1 APRIL 95
(net weekly rates at the G tax-rate)
--Unemployed (single, over 25) $138.46
Unemployed (married) $230.74
--Sickness (single, over 25) $144.22
--Sickness (married) $262.24
--Invalids (single, over 18) $173.06
--Invalids (married) $288.44
--Domestic Purposes (one child) $198.31
--Domestic Purposes (two or more children) $216.34
--Superannuation (single, alone) $197.76
--Superannuation (single, shared) $182.54
--Superannuation (married) $152.12 $4.14
- KEN DOUGLAS: WORKERS NOT GETTING $1000 EACH YEAR
CTU President Ken Douglas last week told a conference of the Institute for
International Research that NZ's recent economic expansion was a banquet to which workers had not yet
been invited so far. He reported that the share of gross national product earned by employees
had dropped from 49% in 1985, to 43% today. Although some of this was due to changes in
income tax and GST, he claimed workers were losing an average of almost $1000 a year from their
share of the economic cake.
- CRITICISM OF `BUY LOCAL' CAMPAIGNS
"Buy local products and save local jobs" has long been the theme of campaigns
encouraging consumers to buy NZ-made goods. A recent report on similar campaigns in Australia argues
that such policies have had little use and actually done harm to the economy. Queensland School
of Finance lecturer Terry Black, in his report Buy Australian - Myths and Realities, argues that
the policies have been misconceived from the beginning : "The only beneficiaries have been
Australian firms producing for the domestic market and politicians who want to be seen to `do
something' about unemployment. The losers have been the taxpayers and consumers..."
Black argues that despite the cost of various Buy Australia campaigns, they have not
noticeably achieved their goals of reducing unemployment or reducing the effects of importing on the
current account. He says that encouraging consumers to buy local products does employ more workers
in some industries, but causes workers to be laid off in others. "If less imports are bought, the
dollar appreciates and forces up the price of exports, in turn forcing export industries to lay off
workers," he says. " Furthermore, workers involved in the importing of goods lose their jobs..."
Source The Dominion, 15/3/95, Buy Australia call gets poor report call in new book
- WOMEN IN SELF-EMPLOYMENT
Trend : more women are becoming self-employed, but they are having trouble
securing bank loans for their new ventures. Women entrepreneurs are initiating businesses at twice the
rate of men, says Wellington City Council chief executive Angela Griffin, speaking at an
International Working Women's Day seminar in Wellington. By the year 2000, women are expected to own
half of all businesses in the United States. Ms Griffin says NZ figures for business start-ups showed
a similar trend but were five years behind.
Figures from the Capital Development Agency showed that women setting up in business pay
an average of 2 % more interest on loans than men. And Maori women pay an average of 4%
more than pakeha women. Women spent less on starting a business than men, and made smaller
profits. The entrepreneurs also worked a longer day than their male counterparts, clocking up an
extra four hours on average.
- SBECNZ CONFERENCE
More Conferences. The Small Business Enterprise Centres of NZ (SBECNZ) are to
hold their annual conference on April 26-28. The theme of the conference is "Taking the Lead",
and will include workshops on other products and services that Enterprise Centres can
incorporate into their own programmes. The conference will be on Waiheke Island. Enquiries to
Manukau SBEC, Kendall Strong House, 141 Kolwar Rd, Manukau City. Phone 09-277-7646 or fax
- GREEN $ CONFERENCE
The National Network of Green Dollar groups will be holding their annual conference
in Thames on April 21-24. The gathering (which will include a local Green Dollar market) will be
a time of sharing skills and resources and a chance to hear how different groups around NZ
approach the Green Dollar barter and trading systems. Overseas speakers Mark Jackson and
John Turmel will also be present. The gathering is being hosted by the Thames, Hamilton and
Auckland Green Dollar Exchanges. Enquiries to Ishka, 17 Browning St, Grey Lynn.
- WORKING FOR CHANGE CONFERENCE
Working For Change is a conference being run by the Dunedin Forum on March 31-
April 1. The aim is to share skills and people's experiences in making positive change for a more
equitable and sustainable society. Keynote speakers will include Auckland law lecturer Jane Kelsey,
and unemployed workers rights activist Sue Bradford, as well as many local Dunedin activists.
The conference will be held at the Salvation Army Fortress in Dunedin. Enquiries to Josie
Dolan, P.O.Box 374, Dunedin. Phone 03-487-8504.
- BUSINESS PHILOSOPHER IN NZ
Watch out for Rolf Osterberg. The Scandinavian business philosopher is presently in
NZ speaking at various conference venues including this month's Ecofire conference being run by
the Waitakere City Council. Osterberg is the executive president of Sweden's largest
newspaper group and a founding member of the World Business Academy. He lectures on the
relationship between people and business organisations and the role of work in changing societies.
Osterberg believes that workers in western economies today are not looking for jobs just in
terms of what they will provide in the form of money or career opportunities. Workers want to
be involved in a `personal development process'. Osterburg : " The primary purpose of a company
is no longer just to make a profit, but to also become a platform for the personal development
of those working in the economy." The World Business Academy, which has more than 100
members, is comprised of business leaders who believe that business has to redefine its role in
society. "We all think that business has the potential to become a change agent. We inform other
businessmen what is going on in order to get the fear out when it is coming to the surface..."
- GLOBAL ECONOMIC REVOLUTION
Time magazine last week profiled "The Global Agenda" in feature articles on the
new economic revolution, which it warns will also be an era of uncertainty and dislocation.
Time describes an "economic earthquake that is shaking the globe, producing upheaval comparable
to the Industrial Revolution that gave birth to the manufacturing age." This new economy is
based on the Information Revolution, and is powered by "breathtaking technological advances",
accelerating world trade, and the opening up of vast new markets.
The Time feature echoes many of the themes of the Copenhagen Social Summit, reporting
that the global economic revolution is also leading to bitter class differences and social
dis-integration in many Western countries : " Clearly the Information Revolution will reward those with
the appropriate skills and penalise those who lack them, creating resentment amongst those
left out..." As the traditional industrial economies move into more service-based economies,
Time predicts that in the not too distant future only 10% of workers will be employed in manufacturing.
- ELECTION PREDICTION
An election prediction from the economics forecasters Integrated Economic Services.
Their latest newsletter forecasts a "possible scenario" of an August 1995 election that will be
announced in a mid-June budget ... "to relieve the populace from the pre-MMP boredom and
to secure an all-out victory for National, with Labour the major opposition party..." We'll see.
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