Have you noticed recently how many shops have signs wanting staff? How many tradesmen are hard to hire because they can’t find enough skilled workers? How many hospitals are bursting at the seams because they lack sufficient nurses and doctors? How many buses and trains aren’t running because there aren’t enough drivers? And how slow the government is to open up the borders to skilled migrants who could help?
Of course, we train our own skilled people. We train teachers, although not very well. We are better with apprentice plumbers, builders and electricians. Our nursing schools churn out quality graduates, our medical schools could deliver significantly greater numbers, while our law schools would do us a favour if they produced fewer.
But open borders used to keep our work force up to strength and provided top-up skills from overseas.
Yes, since covid an international shortage of most skills has developed around the world, but New Zealand seems reluctant to try to encourage people to come here even though air connections are picking up and welcome mats are ready to be laid out to back-packers and those who have traditionally been drawn towards us because when it’s our summer its’s their winter. Why then are our shortages currently so dramatic?
I’m convinced that the borders are deliberately being kept closed because Jacinda Ardern’s so-called Labour government believes it can force employers to lift wages for workers by maintaining a super-tight labour market.
Some of this is the belief of a few mad scientists like Immigration Minister Michael Wood who seems convinced that pushing wages up for low-skilled jobs will benefit our society in general, and not accelerate inflation. Others in Jacinda Ardern’s cabinet simply don’t understand that today we really have no option but to keep the borders open.
When the Lange-Douglas Labour government floated the dollar in 1985, set about dismantling import controls and abolishing tariffs, then reforming immigration laws in 1986, New Zealand joined the world’s labour market, gradually internationalizing our country’s work force in the process. In my street the house builders are Pacific Islanders; the IT specialists in the city are often of Indian extraction; a significant number of nurses in our hospitals are from the Philippines, while South African emigres have moved into health-related services. These days, anything entrepreneurial has a significant Chinese component.
Keeping the immigration doors open is even more essential now that the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, a.k.a. Jacinda herself, has decided to keep more than 100,000 able-bodied people on Job-Seeker benefits, hiding them from the official unemployment figures. Ostensibly, Job-Seekers are looking for jobs. Forget it. Jacinda and her minister, Carmel Sepuloni, have arbitrarily jettisoned the traditional Labour approach to welfare, that benefits should be a hand-up, not a hand-out.
Former Labour leaders always ensured that jobs were more rewarding than benefits. Today, by the time someone on a Job-Seeker benefit contemplates paying to get to work, and acquires the necessary clothing, there is a distinct advantage in remaining on the benefit. Yet, work integrates people into society. It enhances self-respect. It should be rewarded.
But Jacinda doesn’t care. 100,000 people can quietly rot away while the country needs unskilled people for all sorts of jobs.
The unavoidable cost of Jacinda’s dream society is high. It fails the group she claims she wants to help. And they cost us all a fortune not just in benefits paid but in the damage her policies do to society. The record numbers of truants from school; the kids who get beaten up and sometimes killed by Mum’s de-facto; the gang recruits; the ram-raiders, some as young as 7. Most of them come from the ignored 100,000.
Neither Jacinda, nor Carmel Sepuloni seems to care a fig about the consequences of the mad scientists in their ranks who keep the borders closed but then refuse to restore meaningful incentives to find jobs. The rest of us suffer because services that society needs – plumbers, electricians, builders and odd-job people – can’t be found for love nor money.
This is a misery guts government that has given us rapid inflation undoing thirty years of hard-won monetary stability because it spent so recklessly during Covid.
Ministers don’t understand the economic essentials of a globalized world, and despite what they say, they don’t care about the poor who are trapped in poverty by their policies.
They see no link between their policies and crime which is rampant. The question we all need to ask ourselves is why is Labour’s caucus so lacking in talent that none of them seems prepared to say publicly that there has to be a better way. On current polls there’s at least twenty-five of them on their way to the electoral knackers’ yard. If only a few of them possessed sufficient historical knowledge about what Labour is meant to stand for, and enough commonsense to wrestle with the paucity of talent leading their party!
As it is, we look destined to limp along with shortages, a hospital system in complete disarray, an under-performing educational system, and a crippled hospitality industry for another eleven or twelve months.
Can’t they think of something better to do than emote aimlessly while we struggle with the steadily rising cost of living, and endure incompetently targeted welfare and the crime and personal misery that go with it? We all know there is a better way. Why can’t Jacinda work it out?
I think that skilled tradespeople will become even scarcer and more expensive to engage as a lot of them will be dying from the shots.
The Lange government were another version of what is going on now. For a party that supposedly cared for workers they chucked thousands out of work, removed tariffs that protected industry and jobs and it was open season in the financial markets. I remember a photo of Lange shaking the hand of an elderly woman who likely felt relieved that Labour prevailed in the election of 1984; her trust would have been sorely misplaced. An even better photo was of one of a Labour minister greeting some delegation from Asia, where the Asian man held up two fingers likely signalling the number two and in a caption competition the winning comment was ‘We’ll take the two largest island thanks’. I know that NZ was living in a fool’s paradise under Muldoon after NZ was locked out of exporting to Britain but Labour took a scythe to NZ and NZers.
A few people did very well for themselves having manufacturing shipped overseas and it has to be said that consumers also need to shoulder some criticism as they thought it better to get a cheaper product made by slave labour overseas. Things will come home to roost though once the container ships stop coming, or come infrequently as there is virtually no manufacturing base left and what little is left will be servicing those with the funds to make purchases. Consider clothing, shoes and appliances which all used to be manufactured here. Life could become tough as there is no local alternative readily available.
I’m glad the spending on covid was mentioned as it seemed that all the ads on TV and radio, mail box flyers and signs everywhere went beyond saturation point. The advertising agencies certainly knew what side their bread was buttered on.
There are the Opal files which detail the kickbacks that polititians were receiving and how the movers and shakers sold out this country in the 80s and it prior. I’ve even seen comments where NZ has been under control of the IMF since 1961.
The dumbest Government ever in NZ.
Picker N Grin said:
I see 42% of the GNP is now being spent by the govt. this must surely contribute to a shortage of workers in essential industries plus all the people that are involved in hospitality and tourism. Are they really necessary in this time of climate change? bringing more people in only increases our carbon footprint that we then have to somehow deal with. It does all seem like a vicious circle that has to be broken at some stage