Marc My Words
From Marc Alexander MP
United Future NZ-Christchurch Supplement
With our unemployment rate at around 5%, a record Budget surplus and a reasonably healthy economy, I think now would be a good time to put in place a new strategy to deal with the long term unemployed.
We need something more than Labour's woolly 'Dr. Feelgood' approach and something a bit more inspired than National's tired 'work for dole' rhetoric. We have young school leavers who are faced with unskilled work, minimal long-term prospects, tertiary education with the daunting probability of unaffordable student loans, or a demoralising start to their adulthood on the dole.
Right now, we have a skills shortage exacerbated by comparatively low wages in apprenticeships in our core industries; high business compliance costs and even higher tax rates that penalise those whose natural inclination to innovate and create new industries (and jobs) is drained of enthusiasm. We have a student debt time bomb that encumbers the initiative of our graduates with an economic millstone that prevents them starting a business, buying a house and starting a family. No wonder so many feel defeated before they begin and either hop on the dole or go offshore!
Youth unemployment stands at an unacceptable high of 11%.............. small wonder that so many turn to a spiral of depression, suicide, drugs and crime. The status quo has become so entrenched that an unemployed youth who struggles out of such a cycle of dependence and soul destroying reliance on the disheartening socialist 'nanny state' can be deemed a damn miracle.
And what of those who grow up in families that intergenerationally 'feed' off the backs of honest hardworking Kiwis and have no role model of responsibility? It used to be that the application of shame and social unacceptability would motivate these kids into understanding that in order to receive it is necessary to give. But sadly not any more....that has become politically incorrect and we now consider them 'work challenged' instead of the old fashioned term of indolent.
No-one can reasonably argue against those who are infirm (either in the short or long term) from receiving assistance; or that those who are in temporary strife ought not to be helped. Certainly some care needs to be taken to bring long term dependants back into a real connection with their communities economically and socially; but is it really fair and right that those trying to be responsible as contributing members to our society are taxed to a level that puts them at risk of becoming in need themselves?
Why should students lock themselves into an insurmountable debt when a spell in prison affords them educational opportunities without cost?
Why should hard working taxpayers receive a piddling pension and be means tested for all other benefits, when they're still expected to pay for those who show social irresponsibility by their refusal to work?
The 'bleeding pockets of the taxpayer' deserve the band aid of lower taxes; students need to be encouraged to fully participate in our economy without the yoke of a preposterous loan regime; the long term unemployed must be brought to account for their voracious appetite on the wallets of the overburdened taxpayer; and the children of the intergenerationally reliant must be given better role models to lead them out of the tragedy of State dependence.
Why should personal beliefs over-ride employment necessities?
By now most will have read about Brendon Ward who was 'put out' when his job application at a Burger King was unsuccessful because his religious beliefs precluded him from working on Sundays.
The appeal to 'human rights', 'freedom of religious expression' and 'employee rights' are as absurd as they are indicative of our insane PC culture which allows everybody's idiosyncracies to warrant social protection and sanction.
Why should any employer be obliged to favour personal beliefs which run counter to the imperatives of the conditions and requirements of the job offered?
This sort of thing happens with some regularity. I know of many anecdotal instances where work obligations are set aside for personal reasons which go far beyond the reasonable. Synchronised swimming, a meeting with the Raelian cult and Kung Fu have all been advanced as reasons why so and so can't work on this day or that. These individuals need to get real and open their eyes; they are not the centre of the universe and that the world's economic system doesn't stop for them.
In Brendon's case, I suspect he would be the first to complain if he needed a doctor on Sunday only to find they were off praying somewhere and refusing to work; or if the firemen and police were taking the time to contemplate their eternal place in the 'big picture' just as his house was burning, or an offender was making off with his possessions. For me it's all pretty simple. There's a job available which is within his abilities and, all things being equal, the employer could offer it to him. He either wants to work or not. If he does, then great...another youth is on his way! If he doesn't, then he can find another but shouldn't expect the taxpayer to tide him over until he finds one. He had a choice...he blew it!
My advice to him is to spend less time worrying about the world in the hereafter and start dealing with the world in the here and now!