Grant Robertson is talking up the Danish 'Flexicurity' model intimating Labour policy in 2017 might look like something similar:
The Danish system has three parts. It has flexible rules for hiring and firing workers, to make it easier to cut staff in downturns and easier to hire new staff when an economy rebounds. It has a generous unemployment benefit of up to 90 per cent for low-paid workers. And it has an "active labour market" policy, which means unemployed are helped into work, given guidance or re-trained.The following graph is apparently based on data extracted from the OECD database. I am assuming it is accurate:
Mr Robertson said New Zealand already had a flexible labour market, but it needed to be balanced with greater security and income support.
"Obviously you can't take a model and replicate it from one country to another. It's the principles of it that we are looking at and how something similar could be put in place in New Zealand."
NZ has the most "flexible labour market" already.
But what would "a generous unemployment benefit of up to 90 per cent for low-paid workers" entail?
40 hours at minimum wage taxed at 20% = $472. 90% of that is $425.
The current Job Seeker benefit for a single person aged 25+ is $210.13. Of course that ignores any accommodation supplement but on the face of it Robertson is talking about doubling unemployment benefits.
That would mean other benefits would have to rise relative to the Job Seeker benefit. You couldn't have a single person getting a basic benefit higher than a sole parent with dependent children.
I'm actually for an unemployment benefit that pays more on the proviso that:
It is funded via employee/employer contributions and is time-limited.
I wonder if Labour would go for that?