The unemployment figures have been skyrocketing for some months but it hit the media yesterday with 'news' that a thousand jobs were being lost every week. Given that not everybody signs up for the dole its likely that more than 2000 people are being sacked each week.
We're on track for well over 200,000 jobless by next year. The unemployment rate has trebled in the past twelve months and it is likely to accelerate as the economic crisis deepens. Perhaps these figures will finally lay to rest the corporate media's fixation with looking for an 'economic recovery'. There won't be one.
We should also remember that the underemployment rate is also escalating. These figures were also uniformly large throughout the term of the Labour Government but they have also accelerated since the economic squeeze has tightened.
There were some 473,500 working part time in the March quarter and nearly 100,000 of these workers (21.1 percent) wanted more hours. This compares with 16.5 percent for the December 2008 quarter.
The ludicrous Jobs Summit has, predictably, done nothing to stem the tide of redundancies.
Key's assertion in Parliament yesterday the Jobs Summit "has and will create thousands of jobs" was so much baloney that I find it hard to believe Key was being serious. Perhaps it was just empty bravado in the face of an economic disaster.
The much vaunted 'nine day fortnight' has supposedly 'saved' 345 jobs. It has done nothing of the sort. It has simply temporarily delayed the redundancies for six months. For Laila Harre of the National Distribution Union to claim the 'nine day fortnight' as some kind of union victory was abysmal. Then again, this was the same union 'leader' who organised a few cake stalls for the nearly two hundred sacked Lane Walker Rudkin workers and then abandoned them.
Of course Phil Goff and Labour have tried to make made political capital out of the grim figures - as have Labour cheerleaders like 'Bomber' on Tumeke! and all the Labour faithful who write for The Standard. This lot put their brains in neutral when they start writing about Labour.
Goff has hammered the deficiencies of the Job Summit, despite the fact that he complained long and loud that he didn't get an invitation.
Goff and Labour though have no answers to the economic crisis and the skyrocketing jobless figures.
What is required is a radical new economic approach but from Labour its still more of the same neoliberal brown stuff they dumped on the country during its nine years in office. Its still chained to the failed and discredited market economy.
The house is burning but all Labour has to offer in its economic policy arsenal is a little water pistol.
If John Key is 'asleep at the wheel,' then Phil Goff is having a snooze in the back seat.
Similarly there is no alternative coming out of the CTU and its union affiliates.
It's to their shame that they supported the Jobs Summit and continue to promote the 'nine day working fortnight', like a dodgy second cars salesman trying to offload a car with a stuffed motor.
Despite the growing economic crisis the trade union hierarchy have sat on their hands and refused to implement an industrial campaign to defend jobs. While workers overseas are taking over work sites threatened with closure, our union officials are providing no leadership at all.
Instead the union response to the unemployment figures has been to 'suggest' that the government invest in 'home insulation and environmental work' while offering the jobless some more 'assistance'.
The trade union hierarchy - and none of them are under threat of losing their well-paid jobs - have meekly surrendered to the demands of capital and allowed it to dump the burden of this economic crisis on the shoulders of workers. While socialists have been saying that 'we will not pay for your crisis' the Labour Party and the trade union top brass have flown the white flag.