Marc My Words: United Christchurch Supplement
The Government announced a $104 million 'Jobs Jolt' initiative aimed to shift 22,000 people off the dole over the next three years. Some of the measures include; funding to identify skills shortages and targeted training; job coaching; back to work assistance for sole parents; focus on long-term unemployed (eight years or more); a disincentive to those unwilling to relocate for employment; and work-testing for the 55-59 age group.
Considering that the number on the unemployment benefit stands at 101,337 and solo parents number 103,313, it is unreasonable to expect taxpayers to go on paying the mammoth welfare bill when there are labour shortages around the country.
My question is - is Labour starting to shift back into the real world or is this new policy 'window-dressing' to make the Government look responsible? A cynic might even dare to suggest that if taxpayer money can be saved it will all go into a pot for largesse prior to the next election and the 'purchase' of votes, alongside the inevitable crowing of fiscal responsibility.
In any event, it is a small but important step. Some of the provisions are eminently sensible; job seekers who fail a drug and alcohol test should be compelled to attend counselling or have their benefit cut; and those who can't get a job where they live should be made to move to where they can.
After all, it has been reported that 43% of firms are having difficulty finding unskilled staff - an 18 year record high.
The point is, it is not fair for those who shoulder their civic responsibilities to pay taxes that exceed reasonable social obligations, while others sponge on them without any attempt to contribute.
No-one is asking for those truly in need not to be looked after.nor can anyone realistically demand a complete withdrawal of a safety-net. What can be argued however, is that those who work to look after themselves and their families should keep more of what they earn, so that they do not end up also being in need.
At some point, if the
logic is pursued to its conclusion, there will be a social
cost that no-one will be able to pay. It will be too late
for a 'jobs jolt'.it will be a 'jobs bolt'!