It seemed symbolic that the disastrous unemployment figures were released on the same day that New Zealand's third biggest construction company collapsed. Mainzeal has gone into receivership and the impact on an already stagnant economy will be far reaching. What solution has the government got for the economic crisis? It wants to drive another 44,000 beneficiaries off welfare, even though there no jobs for them to go to.
The employment situation is 'challenging' according to the Government.
That's one word for it. But if we were being truthful we would describe it as 'horrific', 'dismal' and 'unacceptable'.
The official figures say that unemployment fell from 7.3 percent to 6.9 percent but only because of some 33 ,000 dropping out of the job market altogether. The unemployment rate fell only because even more people gave up looking for work than lost jobs.
The numbers of those deemed officially unable to find a job fell by 10,000 to 163,000 in the final three months of 201
What is just as alarming is that 111,000 people are looking for more hours of work because they simply can't survive on the number of hours they have at present. These folk are the working poor, the victims of the casualisation of the labour and the drive to the bottom, to lower wages and degraded working conditions.
The jobless number which includes those discouraged from seeking work is now 284,500 people. This is a very long way from the 170,000 jobs that National promised it would create if it got a second term in office.
You cannot bully and harass people into jobs that don't exist but that is what this cynical government is continuing to do.
If you’re low-waged, unemployed or disabled in New Zealand today, you can still expect to be told that it’s your own fault.
There is more bashing to come. Despite the fact that his government has comprehensively failed to provide enough jobs, the Minister of Finance, Bill English , has said that his“biggest single effort” to cut costs in 2013 will be through more welfare 'reform'. He wants to cut loose 44,000 beneficiaries and damn the social consequences.
But, as I 've said so often before, the parliamentary opposition parties have nothing to offer other than the empty claim that they manage the market economy better than National. The docile and lacklustre leadership of the CTU have fallen obediently in behind Labour. We are being betrayed again.
For those of us who believe ordinary people should democratically control their own economy and therefore their own destiny, we need to continually put forward the case for democratic economic planning to create jobs, protect the environment and meet human need.
It is time to start organising our economy for people rather than capital. It is time to reclaim our futures because one thing is for certain - the politicians won't do it for us.