While there have been howls of outrage from Labour supporter directed at Don Brash and his comments on Te Reo, there has been a rather less vociferous response to the plan of Shane Jones to force the young jobless into planting trees and shovelling dirt on the railways.

ONCE AGAIN the Minister of Regional Development, Shane Jones, has been busy smearing young people. Seeking to force, via benefit sanctions, young unemployed folk into being part of his dirt cheap workforce that would be used to plant trees or shovel dirt on the railways, Jones has again deliberately attacked jobless youth, suggesting that they just sit around on the couch all day. Hardly a good start when you claim that you want to raise the 'self-esteem' of youth.

It is this kind of beneficiary bashing that would normally have Labour Party supporters up in arms - but the response has been minimal, There has been far more outrage displayed by Labour supporters toward Don Brash and his criticism of Te Reo. As is often the case, middle class liberal Labour supporters are displaying a fundamental conservatism toward issues involving class politics.

in fact some Labour supporters have come  out in support of Shane Jones. That includes Martyn Bradbury, the editor of The Dally Blog. Jones outlined his draconian plan for jobless youth on TVNZ's Q+A but Bradbury's only response was:

'Shane Jones – his performance today on Q+A was masterclass Shane Jones. His wit and his oratory skills are needed now more than ever. He needs to lead debate against the National Opposition."

Auckland Action Against Poverty (AAAP) have long been opposed to work for the dole schemes. AAAP co-coordinator Vanessa Cole says that plan of Shane Jones would force young people into temporary work with insecure hours, while employers had access to cheap labour and could avoid paying real wages and hiring full-time staff.

Cole told the NZ Herald: : "If we're trying to create a situation where people are in employment, that employment has to provide a living wage [of $20.20 an hour]. If beneficiaries were paid a liveable income, it would force employers to provide adequate hours and wages."

Robert Reid, President of the First Union, which represents workers in the finance, industrial (textile and wood) retail, stores and transport sectors, has tweeted : "There will be NO work for the dole scheme no matter what Shane Jones calls it. We need work for decent wages."

The Minister for Employment Willie Jackson recently wrote: "...work without dignity is merely wage slavery with no quality of life and in a country with the type of leadership we have historically shown on so many progressive issues, it is unacceptable to me to see us go backwards on something as vital as quality employment."

It will be interesting to see how Jackson tries to square off these comments with any Labour support for the  proposed cheap and nasty youth workforce of Shane Jones.


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