Friday, February 05, 2010

The government's failure on unemployment

A year ago the government, with great fanfare, held a Jobs Summit, aimed at finding ways to keep people in work during the recession. The summit produced three "big ideas" from the summit - a cycleway the length of New Zealand, a $2 billion equity fund from the banks to keep businesses running, and the nine-day fortnight. Two of these - the cycleway and the equity fund - collapsed before they even began. As for the nine-day fortnight, Three News last night mentioned in passing how successful that has been [video]:

The main idea of the summit was the nine-day fortnight... but that vision got a lukewarm response. Just 49 businesses nationwide have taken it up, and as of today officials say it has saved just 621 jobs.
Which is about 1% of the people made unemployed on National's watch.

As for Key, his latest talking point is that unemployment doesn't matter, it always lags behind, and that things are different in the "real economy". Earth to Key: unemployment is the real economy. These are real people we're talking about, people who are struggling to make ends meet because they can't find work. That might seem unreal to Key and his rich mates, but its very real to the people who matter: voters.