David Shearer’s Column

Labour has the tools to deal with unemployment

By David Shearer for the Kāpiti Independent

On a recent visit to the West Coast, I caught up with some of the Spring Creek miners who’ve just lost their jobs.

One miner who should be celebrating the arrival of his new-born son told me that he’s now worried about paying the bills, may lose his house and is considering moving his family away from Greymouth so he can find work.

Another guy I spoke to moved back here from Australia so he could train as a miner. But 10 weeks into his apprenticeship, he had the rug pulled out from under him and he’s now out of a job.

I’m hearing stories like this right across the country and last week, we were hit with the shocking new statistic that unemployment has now reached 7.3%. That’s the worst rate in 13 years, since National was last in Government.

There are now 175,000 people unemployed. The situation is particularly dire for young Kiwis with one in four aged between 15 and 19 out of work. Māori and Pasifika families are being hit hard too with the unemployment rate topping 15%.

The government says it’s a ‘blip’. It is simply throwing its hands in the air and saying ‘there’s nothing we can do’.

Well I think there’s plenty we can do. Labour has some concrete ideas, including paying employers the equivalent of the dole if they’re prepared to take on apprentices. We’d require companies that win major government contracts to take on one apprentice for every $1 million of taxpayers’ money they receive.

We would also give businesses tax breaks for research and development, so they can find new markets for their innovative ideas and create high-value jobs. We’d support the manufacturing and exporting sector by giving the Reserve Bank a wider mandate to tackle the high and volatile dollar.

National’s path takes us towards fewer jobs, lower wages and more of our people heading to Australia.

Labour’s path is about creating a new, clever economy – one where the Government backs businesses and workers.

 

Hi David
I know you understand a lot of what I’m about to write, and the above comment is just you saying what you like to think (or hope) people want to hear.
I am a-political – if thinking you are all useless and just mouth pieces for ‘the system’ is neutral?
But I also understand you are a good and fair representation of ‘the masses’, as Georg Carlin says ” Garbage in garbage out”, politicians are just a reflection of selfish humans. We vote for whomever offers us the best for our immediate future. Having energy and climate change @ # 24 on your parties list of priorities is a clear giveaway that you are not focused on reality.

As you know the world past peak oil back in 2005 – 6 as confirmed by the International Energy Agency http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k22q5KZibtI&feature=plcp (Dr Fatih Birol on National Radio) of which NZ is a paid up member, and someone you might have heard of or had personal dealings with, specifically Helen Clark, who said on 18-4-2006 at a parliamentary press conference “We’re probably not to far short of peak production, if not already there … and that concentrates the mind ….” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxIp5h0Xtuc .

Peak oil means peak growth, as we have witnessed globally since 2007-8, that heralds peak employment, from now on each time the global economy starts to pick up, it will hit the available energy ceiling, and that is why we are stuck with escalating unemployment.
As an aside you must also understand that a growth based saving scheme like Kiwi Saver has a very limited future, if it is not already dead in the water?
Talking up the chance of apprenticeships and growing employment is denial of these facts. But like I said, I know you are just giving the punters what they want to hear.

In the past 100 – 200 years we have dug up and injected back into the atmosphere several periods of ‘global warming’ gasses, it has only been the slowly (but speeding up) melting ice that has protected us from total climate devastation (think Sandy) . I guess as we are so far past the point of no return, it will not change what is set in motion anyway, we might as well mine baby mine, and lets forget Kyoto 2, which National are totally happy with.
I might think you are listening if you take over the portfolios of energy and climate change, to give them the priority they deserve. or at least move Moana up your list.
Maybe you could start telling the truth, that will defiantly set a precedent, but as I found out back in 2005 you don’t get any votes 😉 Maybe you could start talking about the power of communities, how when the chips are down it is your neighbours you will eventually have to rely on.
My website is full of letters from previous ministers of energy, from Pete Hodgson to Gerry Brownlee all of who are saying peak oil (according to the IEA), will not happen until 2035 – 37, if Labour are still in this mind set then heaven help us.
I am happy to send you several documentaries on DVD that back up what I am saying.

Hello Robert

Can you try to keep your comments to 200 words max.

Many thanks,

Editor