Sometimes the National Party’s arrogance and contempt for ordinary people just blows me away.
This week the news coming into Parliament has been horrible and unrelenting. We have received report after report after report of lost jobs and lost hope.
The thousands of layoffs haven’t happened because Kiwis workers haven’t been putting in their fair share of work. Normal wage earners are working longer hours than they were a few years ago – they’re just getting less back for it.
What’s actually happening is working New Zealand families are being victimised by ideological National Government policies which force contraction and ever-more job losses.
Steven Joyce is the economic development and employment minister. It’s his job to grow the economy and grow jobs. But he doesn’t seem to care enough to even get the basics right.
Statistics New Zealand says LEED is the best measure of what’s really happening in the jobs economy. But today Steven Joyce decided the HLFS is the best measure – if only because he thought a focus on the HLFS would make the dire unemployment situation look slightly better. It doesn’t.
If Joyce consistently quoted from the HLFS that would be one thing, but he never seems to. Just this past Tuesday the minister told Parliament that quarter of a million jobs are being created every year under National. It’s complete rubbish, and today I called him on it, but Steven Joyce is not the kind to be accountable and answer questions.
Next we discovered Joyce is not only unsure what the LEED is called but, much worse, he doesn’t even know that certain self-employed people are covered in the data set! This is absolutely basic stuff for an economic development and employment minister, and when someone in his position gets it so wrong the outcome is ordinary Kiwis lose their jobs.
Evidently Steven Joyce just doesn’t care. Finance Minister Bill English doesn’t care either because he does the same thing with jobs data. John Key certainly doesn’t care because he’s on record for criticising the HLFS as “notoriously volatile”, so he sets the tone which allows these ministers to get away with it.
However, as Radio New Zealand covered today, Statistics New Zealand was very clear. From 2008 to 2011, 452,000 jobs were created but 465,000 jobs were lost. The result was a net loss of 13,000 jobs. It’s ordinary working families who are paying the price.
A change in New Zealand’s government cannot come soon enough.