|No.169||18 July 2002||Essential Information on an Essential Issue|
Act NZ Party
NZ First Party
A NEW DOCUMENTARY
from Alister Barry
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Index to Features
13 June 2002
About 150 jobs go as one of the largest employers in New Plymouth, MCK Metals, announces it will sell its copper and brass manufacturing operations.
The first apprenticeship in tourism is signed up. Modern Apprenticeships manager James Cameron says the Aviation, Tourism and Travel ITO aims to have 82 apprentices on their books by June 2003.
Secondary school teachers threaten to sue school boards for work-related stress if the government does not negotiate better pay and workload deals.
Workload pressures are also seeing primary and secondary school principals retire early and this is a disincentive to senior teachers to apply for these jobs. School management advisor Mike Whitall says principals are leaving because of burnout, lack of career path, and disillusionment with management aspects of their job.
The 2001 Census results have been skewed by an antiquated definition of "family" according to Robert Hodgson of Massey University. The Census quantified a family as people sharing a home but many families are not constituted in that way. Hodgson says that using the Census definition misrepresents family incomes and child support levels and is not an accurate measure on which to base government policy.
14 June 2002
A number of jobs in the Telecom Networks division will be cut as the company concludes the upgrade of its fixed line network.
118 jobs are cut at Medibank Private, the largest private health insurer in Australia.
Some social services agencies report that the number of homeless and transient people has doubled in the last year. The Salvation Army in Lower Hutt and the Auckland City Mission report a huge rise in demand for emergency accommodation.
16 June 2002
As Accenture (formerly Anderson Consulting) quits NZ, the business consulting arms of other multinational accountancy firms are also trimming staff. Deloitte Consulting, KMPG Consulting, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers have all cut 5% or more of their NZ staff over the last year.
Demand for skilled farm employees has lifted South Island farm wages by between 5 - 15% this year and poaching staff is a common problem. Farm consultant Ross Cottier says there were 20,000 people employed in the dairy industry in the year 2000 and estimates are that the industry will require 30,000 staff by 2005.
49 foreign-trained doctors qualify to practice medicine in NZ. They are the first of 250 doctors going through a government bridging programme that ascertains that they have met NZ standards. Most have arranged their clinical placements in Auckland, which has disappointed Minister of Health Annette King who says that she would like to see them do their placements in rural areas.
17 June 2002
The Queensland state government offers unmotivated bureaucrats $50,000 to resign in a move aimed at trimming 1,000 public service jobs. The state had recently offered a similar deal to teachers, saying they wanted to make room for 200 young enthusiastic teaching graduates.
18 June 2002
There are now 1,768 people on the artists-on-the-dole scheme called PACE. This is twice the numbers who were on it in January. Since November, 337 people on the scheme (19%) have been placed in jobs, with 74 of those jobs being in the arts.
The Social Policy Research and Evaluation Conference, scheduled for the beginning of July is postponed. Ministry of Social Development head Peter Hughes says there was a risk that the conference objectives would be jeopardised by the political debate of the pending national election. The aim of the conference was to improve links between government, social services providers and social policy researchers.
In Hong Kong, downturns in the construction, restaurant and retail industries sees the unemployment rate climb to 7.4%, a monthly record high.
Many Singaporean manufacturers are relocating in China where labour costs are about one-tenth of that in Singapore. The island nation with a population of about 4 million has lost over 40,000 jobs to China over the last five years.
19 June 2002
250 meatworker jobs are lost as PPCS announces the permanent closure of its modern Blenheim plant. The company says stock numbers have dwindled as more and more beef and sheep farms in the area have been converted to vineyards.
Upper Hutt is being touted to become the centre of international education in NZ as Australian company Campus Group Holdings becomes the anchor tenant of the old Central Institute of Technology campus. CGH chairperson Mark Skinner says the "education village" would have 2,000 full-fee paying foreign students within two years and would cater for up to 11,000 students eventually.
Insurance company AMP UK Financial Services announces job cuts that will see its workforce shrink by 5,000 by the end of 2003.
20 June 2002
New workers are needed in the fruit and vegetable industry according to Ron Becroft, president of United Fresh. Becroft says graduates are needed in training, research, marketing and production in order to make the fruit and vegetable industry the next NZ economic success story.
Over the past 20 years there has been a 37% increase in the number of pre-term babies born in NZ. To the surprise of researchers, most were born in affluent areas. Researcher Liz Craig says the reasons for the premature births were inconclusive but several studies have shown strong associations between the number of paid hours worked and pre-term deliveries.
AMP UK Financial Services cuts 1,500 jobs.
21 June 2002
The latest round of international job cuts by Reuters Group, the largest provider of financial news and information in the world, amount to more than 10% of its workforce.
22 June 2002
All 50 jobs at the Fresco Seafoods processing plant in Christchurch are to be retained as the company restarts production in temporary accommodation after the permanent factory was destroyed by fire.
23 June 2002
WestpacTrust bank announces it will top up the government paid parental leave scheme for its employees bringing the payment up to their full pay, if they return to work within three months.
24 June 2002
The TMP Worldwide Job Index Survey finds 39.2% of NZ employers expect to take on full-time staff over the next 12 months while 9.2% plan to cut staff. The survey identified job prospects being best in the upper North Island fueled by the development of new call centres and a building boom that is accompanying increased immigration.
The Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia tells the Maori Affairs select committee that while all Maori "capacity building" projects funded by Te Puni Kokiri are monitored against their contracts, there is no framework for evaluating what the spending has achieved.
25 June 2002
The merging of The Evening Post and The Dominion newspapers will see the loss of as many as 90 jobs.
Chris Abbiss of KPMG challenges the claim by Minister of Finance Michael Cullen's that NZ is a low-taxed country. Abbiss compares the income tax rates of the countries with which NZ most closely identifies and finds NZ high, if not highest, in every income band up to $80,000.
26 June 2002
The G8 country leaders meet in Canada. UK PM Tony Blair hails a rescue plan for Africa was a "real significant step forward". However, The Guardian Weekly says African leaders invited to the summit expressed deep disappointment that the plan did nothing to open up Western markets to developing countries, cancel debts of the poorest countries or provide the financial aid needed to meet UN targets for tackling global poverty by 2015.
27 June 2002
The NZ economy recorded its biggest-ever quarterly current account surplus. This has shortened the current account deficit for the last 12 months to 2.2% of GDP, the lowest rate in 13 years.
The proportion of solo parent families, comprised mostly of solo mothers with dependent children, has increased from 10% to 27% of families over the last 25 years. Charlotte Paul of Otago University says the change is mainly due to the decline of "shotgun marriages", which were a social norm until the 1970's.
28 June 2002
NZ gross domestic product grew by 3.2% in the twelve months to the end of March.
Mobile phone and microchip manufacturer Motorola cuts 7,000 international jobs as management says it intends to reduce the 150,000 staff by one-third.
The US Federal Reserve Bank announces it will hold interest rates at 1.75%.
1 July 2002
The 2002 election campaign is officially launched.
Paid-parental leave comes into effect. The scheme pays a parent their full wage up to maximum of $325 per week gross for 12 weeks if they have been working for the same employer for at least 10 hours per week for a year.
The Wellington Downtown Community Ministry sets up a street-side Special Benefit Project outside the Newtown Winz office. Co-ordinator Richard Noble says three advisors found that about 50 of the 70 people who made inquiries were missing out on their full benefit entitlements.
3 July 2002
Job cuts are expected at BHP NZ Steel in Glenbrook. Numbers are not yet known, but management has told unions that job cuts are likely if the company is to weather the recently announced US tariffs on steel products.
The Minister of Tertiary Education Steve Maharey tells the Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association that he sees capping tuition fees at about $1,250 would be a "fair contribution" from students.
The NZ Reserve Bank raises interest rates to 5.75%.
4 July 2002
About 300 jobs are expected to be created on the East Coast as Malaysian-owned Hikurangi Forest Farms says it will build the country's largest wood processing plant in Gisborne. The company announces its plan after the government and the Gisborne District Council all sign an agreement that commits them to developing the Port of Gisborne.
Nearly 700 Australian airlines maintenance workers are to lose their jobs. The former Ansett Airlines maintenance service had been spun off as a standalone business but has not been able to find enough work to remain viable.
5 July 2002
The American Film and Television Action Committee claims that Canadian film production subsidies introduced in 1988 have cost the US 25,000 jobs. The committee threatens to ask the Bush Administration to take Canada to the World Trade Organisation in order to remove the subsidies.
Computer maker Hewlett-Packard announces it is cutting 1,580 jobs in the UK.
7 July 2002
The jobless rate in the US rises to 5.9%.
8 July 2002
Telstra Retail, a division of the dominant Australian telecommunications company, says it will cut hundreds of managerial jobs in Australia.
10 July 2002
Even though NZ job ad levels are about 8% below what they were last year, they are slightly up on last month, David Drage of the ANZ Bank says employment growth is strong and predicts the unemployment rate to fall below 5% this year.
The Wood Processing Strategy Group issues a report on how to develop value-added forestry processing in NZ. The group says the industry has the potential to treble in size and become our largest export industry by 2025.
MAYORS TASKFORCE FOR JOBS MEETS WITH THE MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES
All the political parties expressed their support for the Mayors Taskforce primary goal of ending unemployment by 2005 for all young people under 25 ... and each said they wanted to work in partnership with the Mayors and local government in order to move towards this goal.
But the parties were much more cautious than the Mayors in terms of echoing such a goal in their own election-year policies.
The Labour Party has committed itself to a goal of ensuring that, by 2007, all 15-19 year olds will be "... engaged in appropriate education, training, work, or other options which will lead to long-term economic independence and wellbeing". Steve Maharey says that this goal will be met by putting in place a range of education and training pathways, and "... by ensuring that the social assistance system balances the need for income support, where appropriate, with the opportunity to participate in education, training or a job."
Maharey says he had been meeting with the Taskforce chairman and Mayor of Christchurch Garry Moore to discuss how the government could better support the Mayors primary goal which is targeting more people (under 25-yr olds), and has a shorter deadline than Labour Party policies. However, these meetings were interrupted by the announcement of an early election. Maharey told the Taskforce that, depending on the outcome of the elections, he would welcome a continuing conversation over the goals and the timeline, and he would build on the base already created by the Memorandum of Understanding reached between the government and the Taskforce.
Jim Anderton of the Progressive Coalition (who is expected to return to Cabinet if a Labour-led government is returned to power) has made a "cornerstone commitment" that all under 20-yr olds will be in education, training or employment by 2005. Anderton plans to extend programmes that have already proved successful in Canterbury to the rest of NZ "... to ensure that every school leaver is placed in a job, an apprenticeship, or training for a job or is furthering their education at polytechnic or university."
The Alliance's policy is that every person up to the age of 18 will be in education, training or work by the year 2005. The Alliance has also taken up the Mayors Taskforce theme of "working towards the zero waste of people" as the title of a proposed PEP-style work scheme.
The Greens have voiced general support for the objectives of the Mayors Taskforce, but have not established any specific policy of targets and deadlines. Sue Bradford told the Taskforce that she supported better resourcing of the Mayors Taskforce initiatives.
The National Party says that they will "... ensure that all young people stay in school until they have well developed plans for the future". Bob Simcock believes that far too many young people are going from school to a life on welfare "... which is a terrible waste of human talent."
NZ First supports the introduction of military training or community service for the young unemployed and first-time offenders which is a moderation of their 1999 election call for compulsory military training for all 18-year olds.
Surprisingly despite that fact that employment issues remain high on surveys of voter concerns, and that the Mayors who attended represent most areas of the country no mainstream media organisations responded to the invitation to attend and cover the forum.
Sources vivian Hutchinson reporting from the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs special forum with political parties Wellington City Council Chambers 12 July 2002; Press Releases Labour Party 4 July 2002 "Education and Training leaving Age" and "Labour on Industry Training", "Labour commits to 250,000 in industry training"; 5 July 2002 "Rhetoric on welfare won't create a single new job"; Press Releases Progressive Coalition 8 July 2002 "No Youth Unemployment by 2005" and "Policy Youth Employment"; Press Releases National Party 5 July 2002 "National releases employment policy"; 8 July 2002 "Maharey embarrassed on employment policy"; Press Release Green Party 11 July 2002 "Greens launch CEC Income Support policy speech"; Press Release Labour Party 11 July 2002 "Maharey _ Greens are anti-jobs"; Press Release Alliance Party 12 July 2002 "Employment Policy Promotes "Zero Waste of people";
VOICES: from the MEETING WITH MAYORS
MORE POLICY ANNOUNCEMENTS
Labour will double the number of Modern Apprenticeships to 6,000 by December 2003 and to continue to expand the scheme after that as well as including a further 300 Maori on trade training initiatives in the next year. Gateway, a school-to-work transition programme, will be extended to all decile 1 to 5 state schools by 2007, as well as providing post-training support for all 13,000 participants in the Skill NZ Youth Training programmes.
The scheme will place a greater onus on the job seeker to find their own options for improving their employment situation. Details of the scheme are still being finalised, but the IJAs will contain an amount of money to enable unemployed people to access all forms of employment assistance to which they are eligible. This assistance may be provided by Work and Income and/or private and community-based training providers. Wage subsidies and other post-placement support may also be available through the IJAs.
Sources New Zealand Herald 1 July 2002 "Clark plays her winning card" by Vernon Small; from the Labour Party website: "Labour on industry training", "Labour on employment relations", "Labour on education", "Labour on the economy"; from the Skill New Zealand website "Gateway offers structured workplace learning". Press Release, 21 June 2002 "Maharey: Govt to introduce Individual Job Seeker Accounts" by Steve Maharey
The National Party says that current benefits are not appropriate for young people who are making the transition from school to work and it challenges the notion that a young person who has never been employed can be unemployed.
National also wants to replace the current unemployment and domestic purposes benefits for people under 20 years old with a Youth Transition Programme. This would be designed to meet the specific needs of each young person but would in every case include a commitment to job or parent training, further education, supported employment, job search activity, and/or community employment. All participants in the proposed Youth Transition Programme would be screened to assess any literacy and numeracy deficiencies, as well as drug or alcohol problems, and it would support participants to enrol in programmes to deal with those. Financial support would be made available to those who participate fully in the programme at the same levels as current benefits.
Source The Weekend Herald 6-7 July 2002 "Job trials for immigrants"; from the National Party website: "National releases employment policy" and "National will deliver quality and choice in tertiary education" and "Working for New Zealand" and "Tertiary education policy".
Source From the Progressive Coalition website: "Cornerstone Commitments _ No 2".
The Greens: "We see huge opportunities for local eco-development and the creation of green jobs in areas such as: house insulation, energy efficiency and solar energy, erosion control, development and production of sustainable technologies, organic growing and marketing, waste reduction, recycling industries, restoring native vegetation, restoring historic buildings, building cycleways, local tourism, urban beautification and planning, crafts and the arts."
The Green Party supports a universal student allowance at the rate of the dole, with fees capped at $1,500. It would write-off the student debt of people who stay in NZ and worked, and it would bring back the emergency unemployment benefit for any student unable to find summer work.
Source Green Party policy taken from their website; The Weekend Herald 6-7July 2002 "Greens woo students"; Scoop website 11 July 2002 "Greens launch CED/Income Support policy" speech by Sue Bradford.
ACT: "Welfare beneficiaries who are able to do so, should be required to work full-time or undertake a 40-hour week of work activity designed to help them gain the habits, skills and disciplines of workforce."
Source ACT New Zealand press release 14 June 2002 "Summary: Social Welfare"; ACT New Zealand press release 14 June 2002 "Welfare and Family"; The Dominion 22 June 2002 "'Tough love" welfare plans"; The ACT party website under Policy "Welfare and family", "Summary: Employment", "Summary: Tertiary Education", "ACT Economic Policy".
NEW ZEALAND FIRST
Source New Zealand First website "Tertiary Education" and "Community Wage Policy Summary" and "Employment".
The Alliance also says it would support trials to offer individual assistance to early and at risk school leavers, expand the Careers Service into a transition and career service, and re-establish a government-managed national database of early school leavers, truants and expulsions to stop young people slipping through the cracks. It would put 16 and 17 year olds on the adult minimum wage and create a new minimum wage for the under 16 year olds. It would restore the Training Benefit for 16 and 17 year olds, allow 16 year olds to leave school and where 16 and 17 year olds are not in work they would be supported to gain qualifications and further training. The Alliance also supports an enlargement of the paid-parental leave scheme to include self-employed women and extend it from 12 to 14 weeks.
ZWOP would initially be targeted to regions that are particularly affected by long-term unemployment, such as Northland, East Coast and the Bay of Plenty. They would work in conjunction with local or regional councils on public works projects that would otherwise not occur.
Sources New Zealand Herald 1 July 2002 "Alliance warns of fantasy" by Audrey Young; from the Alliance Party website: "Tertiary education policy", "Paid parental leave policy", "Youth policy". Press Release Alliance Party 12 July 2002 "Employment Policy promotes "Zero Waste of People".