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.


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