Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Stuart Nash on unemployability

The following exchange took place between Mike Hosking and Stuart Nash on NewstalkZB (8:15) this morning:

MH: TV One last night, so you pay people $5,000 to move to a job ... claim is 1/ they quit when they arrive and scarper 2/ you guys at the Ministry no longer follow up. Why?

SN: Yeah, I heard that Mike and I'm not aware of that. I will follow that up because if it is happening it's completely against the spirit of the policy and programme. I'll see if it is happening and if MSD aren't following up or people are abusing the system in that way then that's wrong.

MH: And the Ministry has also given up on social checks. So the social responsibility that was brought in  by National in 2013 - you enrol your kid wuth a doctor, you get your kid into school, and that's part of being on welfare - you've given up chasing that as well because you claim it's too administratively difficult. How is that possible?

SN: I'm not aware of that Mike. But one thing we are doing and one thing we do do is ensure that people are work ready. So if you are on a Jobseeker benefit we work really hard to make sure you can get into a job and we've got one of the lowest unemployment numbers in the OECD...

MH/ Why do we have 115,000 people on unemployment longer than 12 months if there are so many jobs and they are all work ready?

SN/ What economists will tell you - and this is under any government - well, it varies between 3 and 4 percent of the workforce is unemployable. This is where the marginal cost of getting that person into work is just huge. What we do do is work incredibly hard with those people who want to get into work which is to be honest the vast majority of New Zealanders. There's always been, Mike, that rump at the bottom who don't want to work or it's very impossible to get them to work or there is some reason why they can't work.

 This is the first time I have heard a government MP talk about accepting unemployability. 'Shrug - it's just a fact of life.'

Neither am I aware of economists agreeing on some inherent level of unemployability occurrence. Economists do talk about a minimum unemployment rate of around 3-4 percent which will always exist as people move between jobs and are not working.

People couldn't become unemployable if there wasn't an alternative to working for money. The benefit system creates a vicious cycle. Paying indefinite benefits makes some people unemployable therefore requiring more benefits.

Just last week Nash said gangs aren't a problem ("You have nothing to fear")  and now he says unemployability should be tolerated. 

What a no-hoper - literally.


Roger Barton said...

There are plenty of sheep dogs that make a greater contribution to our national effort than some of these Nash refers to.

Brendan McNeill said...


If you talk to most employers I think you would find they would agree with Nash. 3-4% sounds about right to me. I've never heard a government minister acknowledge that before, so that's new, but the numbers, at least in recent decades are probably correct.

Sure if there was no welfare for them, or time limited welfare then those numbers would go down, but I'm not sure by how much. We would likely become like the large cities in the USA, with literally thousands of people living on the streets. It's a trade off I guess. Personally I prefer to have them off the streets.

Oi said...

I tend to agree with Brendon... If we weren't spending on unemployment, we would be spending that money on alarm systems, large dogs and security companies....... Well - To a far greater extent than we do currently anyway

Unknown said...

I was unemployable in this society as a female aged between 20-36 years old, with attractive appearance, A- grades throughout high school and university, with a teaching degree, an economic and management commerce degree, a fitness instructor and personal trainer qualification, a bible college diploma, a DTC certificate, a skipper license, a farming course completed, and no health problems in fact I completed a marathon, triathlon, and half marathon during these years, and no criminal records with two speeding tickets one parking ticket. I am also the type of person who sponsored a World Vision Child, spent six months as a volunteer on a medical aid ship, did a aid trip to India and raised money to build a water well and raised money for a school for disabled children, did volunteer activities at Sunday school, Bible n Schools, an after school children programs, at Kindy and at a School.

It appears to me that all employers, 100 percent of them do not wish to hire s person unless they already have a paid job. It looks like it is mandatory to have a current job, usually in the same industry to be considered as a option for a job position. Therefore all people without a job are classified as unemployable even if they have not been offered a job and have personally asked for over two thousand jobs which they believe that they could perform to a reasonable standard.

We need to consider that productivity per person would increase if society offered a job to people and permitted them to contribute to society by working, and allowed them the opportunity to pursue their dreams, desired careers and hobbies.

The unemployed are applying for jobs possibly three a week for for 12 years, I know I did. Now that I have a graveyard shift role in customer service and cleaning, I still apply for a job every two to three weeks as I'd like to work during the day time, during school hours, as well as I'd would like a job that aligns with my interests. Essentially I would like to be paid for doing the things that I enjoy doing and I consider myself intrinsically interested about. I have a lifetime interest in sports, health, children, economics and monetary policy, news, current affairs, and politics, religion, travel, tourism activities, reading, writing and being with people. However it appears that those types of people, and those types of interests, skills and knowledge are not wanted or desired within our paid workforce.

My opinion it that those classified as unemployable are in fact employable, they are in fact needed, it is that society is missing out on their human potential to contribute. People have skills, knowledge, and interests and they are being told that society doesn't want people like them to be in paid employment and contributing as it doesn't want them to have access to resources so that they can pursue more of their goals and dreams.