The Dim-Post

September 6, 2016

Low Times

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:54 am

Via RNZ:

Speaking on Morning Report today, Mr Key admitted high immigration was putting a strain on the country’s infrastructure, but the government would continue to bring in large numbers to fill jobs.

He said this was partly because many employers could not get New Zealanders to work due to problems with drugs or work ethic.

“We bring in people to pick fruit under the RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer) scheme, and they come from the islands, and they do a fabulous job. And the government has been saying ‘well, OK, there are some unemployed people who live in the Hawke’s Bay, and so why can’t we get them to pick fruit’, and we have been trialling a domestic RSE scheme.

“But go and ask the employers, and they will say some of these people won’t pass a drug test, some of these people won’t turn up for work, some of these people will claim they have health issues later on.

I can understand why you’d want drug tests for forestry jobs, or other high risk industries – but why on earth would you drug test fruit-pickers? Is someone who smoked pot in the weekend really unqualified to pick apples? It seems like a totally pointless barrier to entry: the creation of a spurious problem, the solution to which – higher unemployment, higher welfare costs, higher immigration, increased infrastructure costs – can all be avoided by simply letting potheads pick some fruit.

As for people not turning up for work and having health problems, these seem like the completely predictable and widely predicted results of folding the sickness benefit into the unemployment benefit. Yeah, people with chronic illnesses are gonna have health issues. What Key seems to be saying here is that Paula Bennett’s extremely expensive welfare reforms have been a catastrophic failure.

58 Comments »

  1. Ever worked as a fruit picker? You’re around other people, you’re around large and dangerous machinery, you can fall off ladders, etc etc.

    Besides, we’re not just talking dope here. We’re talking alcohol and P.

    Comment by Rob Hosking — September 6, 2016 @ 8:02 am

  2. The drug ‘evidence’ is anecdotal only (from the apple guy on Morning Report) – not turning up for work seemed to be the bigger problem, which of course may be related to drugs. It just seems like a convenient excuse by our PM for not changing the immigration rules.

    Comment by MikeG — September 6, 2016 @ 8:16 am

  3. Having worked picking fruit during uni holidays once, it’s not physically undemanding work, and if you’re not paying a lot of money, I can totally see people used to desk jobs or sitting on the couch giving it a go for a couple of days and then feeling like crap and not showing up the next day.

    I always suspect that employers not wanting to offer enough money to motivate people to do hard work is the reason not enough New Zealanders want to take those jobs. As long as the government lets in temporary migrants who will work for those wages, then there’s no need for them to up their wage offers.

    Of course, if they upped their wages offered, the price of apples in the supermarket might go up…

    Comment by MarcoK — September 6, 2016 @ 8:24 am

  4. The indigent poor of Hawkes Bay were not always thus. Their parents were working class freezing workers and wharfies who were the first target of Roger Douglas. And because they were largely brown, no one gave a shit. Fast forward a generation and these unemployed are the products of parents who were thrown on the scrap heap of unemployment and dead end, soul destroying low paid work in the 1980s Rogernomics reforms.

    “…but why on earth would you drug test fruit-pickers..?”

    because the right, having made the poor, is also terrified of the property damage (and worse!) potential of the mob (look at the crushing over-reaction of the British establishment to the London riots) so they always seek ways to criminalise the poor to keep them down, out, disorganised, and hopeless. After all, if you are a member of the property owning class they only thing worse than petty burglary is properly organised, entreprenurial burglary.

    There is a now a perfected huge double group think amongst rural reactionary whites in NZ. If you ask them, they’ll all acknowledge that keeping their jobs is a hard scrabble exercise in the precariat of provincial NZ, where a downturn is always just around the corner and good jobs impossible to find. If you ask, they’ll freely admit the chance of getting a decent job that pays a decent wage are practically zero if you are unskilled and brown. Jobs are distributed by patronage and nepotism and cronyism amongst the haves. But at the same time, that hard scrabbling precariat existence makes them resent the “leisure” and “easy money” of the beneficiary class. Add to that the fact that middle class whites in places like Hawkes Bay are petrified they’ll fall into the brown underclass of despair, petty crime, drugs and general hopelessness then it all sparks a general loathing.

    Key has got a ready constituency for this sort of dog whistle poor bashing in the angry double group think of the precariat Pakeha provincial middle class, and he knows it.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 6, 2016 @ 8:34 am

  5. Yesterday Jesse Mulligan interviewed Horticulture NZ director (and Hawke’s Bay grower), Leon Stallard. He said:

    “We don’t test for drugs – we should, I mean, the theory is if we do test for drugs, we may not have any staff… [although] that’s anecdotal.”

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/audio/201814883/immigration-and-jobs

    Comment by izogi — September 6, 2016 @ 8:37 am

  6. In many cases the key distinction between a foreign worker and a local is that the foreigner (except those on the RSE) are here with a view to getting residency so their effective hourly wage includes a premium for eventual residence status. This means the wage price they are willing to work at is lower. Why else would a private training institute pitch up in a warehouse in Te Puke if it were not for the access for orchards to low waged workers. The dept of labour inspectors will only ever scratch the surface of the mistreatment of these workers.
    Workers rights… isn’t that core Andrew Little policy expertise? Where is he on this stuff!?

    Comment by Just an average voter — September 6, 2016 @ 8:38 am

  7. Marco K – given the markup already applied, I would suggest that apple prices are almost completely independent of labour costs. IIRC, growers get paid about 40-60c/kg.

    The only thing that will change retail costs meaningfully is supply. Upping labour costs a little wouldn’t impact supply much I would think and judging by history, it would be mostly the producers that get squeezed.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 6, 2016 @ 8:41 am

  8. Ever worked as a fruit picker? You’re around other people, you’re around large and dangerous machinery, you can fall off ladders, etc etc.

    I have! In a kiwifruit orchard. None of those things were true. They did give us secateurs though.

    Comment by danylmc — September 6, 2016 @ 8:42 am

  9. I’ve seen similar arguments recently in the US re immigrants and jobs.

    Comment by NeilM — September 6, 2016 @ 8:43 am

  10. One of my friends works in the fruit industry. He is a good guy and not obviously a capitalist running dog. He much prefers foreign workers because unlike many Kiwis, they tend to turn up, on time, sober, and do a good job.

    The worst workers tend to be those sent on by WINZ or MSD or whichever arm of government it is.

    I struggle to see all this as being Paula Bennett’s fault. More a problem with the work ethic of a large sector of the Kiwi population.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — September 6, 2016 @ 9:07 am

  11. How much does it pay?

    Comment by izogi — September 6, 2016 @ 9:15 am

  12. But surely the mythical market is telling growers that if they want a better quality of employee, they need to pay more.

    Comment by Stephen — September 6, 2016 @ 9:16 am

  13. I grew up in the bay – worked on orchards (on both sides of the tractor) for a number of years (thirty years ago) – if you’d have drug tested back then there would have been no apples picked and the bosses sons would have been out of a job as well. I also worked at watties when there were still penal rates and you could make decent money – those days are gone for much of the working class (what’s your hourly rate rob hosking?)

    there is a low level hum of brutality (a bit louder in the provinces) in this country – which lots of people of all classes inure themselves from (drugs, $180 bottles of single malt, week long escapes to rarotonga, pokemon go…)

    speaking of low times danyl – it’s great to see your employer trying to make the university more “modern and relevant”
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/312627/university-slammed-for-'anti-union'-job-ads

    Comment by mag rodaigh — September 6, 2016 @ 9:20 am

  14. The idea we go back to turning the tap of migrant workers – especially from the pacific – on and off as and when we want as Labour is suggesting doesn’t sound very progressive.

    Comment by NeilM — September 6, 2016 @ 9:24 am

  15. “…the university’s director of Human Resources, Annemarie de Castro…”

    The parasite class is everywhere.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 6, 2016 @ 9:24 am

  16. keep in mind that under the foreign seasonal workers scheme the employer has to also provide housing and transport. Plus there is a legal requirement for the worker to turn up – its why we let them in the country after all.

    that kind of changes things

    Comment by framu — September 6, 2016 @ 9:24 am

  17. Missed the rest of the RNZ fruit picking segment: were any of the (potential) local employees interviewed? As expected the programme was pretty much employer-centred.

    Comment by Owen — September 6, 2016 @ 9:30 am

  18. @Stephen

    The market has two sides. You could equally say that it is telling (some) workers that if they want to hold down a job, they need to try harder?

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — September 6, 2016 @ 10:06 am

  19. Danylmac, , are you saying orchards don’t have dangerous machinery etc? I’d say plenty of employers drug test now as a way of covering their arse in the wake of the health and safety regulations over the years. It inevitably means more ferals out of work which is a shame for their dependants if they have any but its hardly surprising that an employer these days would try and avoid having a stoner on site.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — September 6, 2016 @ 10:15 am

  20. …higher unemployment, higher welfare costs, higher immigration, increased infrastructure costs…

    Key is saying we should have a high level of immigration from the Pacific Islands. Workers come over here on a temporary visa, maybe meet a local and settle here – we get higher immigration. This is a good thing, right?

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 6, 2016 @ 10:21 am

  21. 4.The indigent poor of Hawkes Bay were not always thus. Their parents were working class freezing workers and wharfies who were the first target of Roger Douglas.

    This paradigm living under the magisterial rule of Sir Rob Muldoon of which you speak, can’t quite seem to recall it myself.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 6, 2016 @ 10:35 am

  22. Look at it from the POV of a young Hastings man on the dole.. he gets $150-234 per week or about $5-6 per hour.. but he has damn near 100% leisure time.

    If he goes to the orchard or farm hand he gets $15.25 to about $19 per hour depending on age and experience. For that he has to work 40 hours a week and work to a certain level of efficiency that justifies his employment.

    So he loses a huge chunk of his leisure time and has to work at a speed and consistency that is totally foreign to him.. for many thats far too big a price to pay.

    But if he sticks it out for a week he’s suddenly got $600-700 less tax in his pocket.. going on 3 times the dole. He gets on the piss, shouts all his mates and come Monday he’s crook and doesn’t want to turn up.. so he doesn’t.

    Back in the day Human Relations guys often said if they could get a young chap before he’d done 6 months on the dole he would usually have a productive work life ahead of him but after 6 months too many had lost motivation and were all but unemployable. Maybe its different now but the basic principle holds.. unemployment kills self respect and motivation in young people, and they develop a lifestyle and network of friends in similar circumstances that is hard to give up.

    Older blokes get a double whammy.. if they get laid off they are often crushed and desperate to find work but many have too narrow a skill set to get a job similar to their previous one.. it can be a major drop in social and financial status to drop down to a temporary picking job.. particularly for a white collar worker who maybe has never done manual work.

    In short I think its unrealistic to expect many unemployed people to take these sorts of jobs and its just as unrealistic to expect employers to take on people who are unmotivated, have an attitude and/or poor physical skills.

    JC

    Comment by JC — September 6, 2016 @ 10:50 am

  23. But if he sticks it out for a week he’s suddenly got $600-700 less tax in his pocket

    Less the raft of additional supplements, grants and allowances like accommodation etc which could push the benefit up closer to ~$380-400 p/w.
    So assuming said hypothetical worker owes nothing in child support/student loan, gets no WFF and puts in a 40hr week of unskilled labour @15.25/hr, he pockets $476/week.
    Take out rent, food and utilities and petrol, i’d say he’d be lucky to have $50 remaining.

    Suddenly a 0 hour working week with a few bucks in your pocket starts to loo attractive.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 6, 2016 @ 11:16 am

  24. Workers come over here on a temporary visa, maybe meet a local and settle here – we get higher immigration. This is a good thing, right?

    On this point … that can’t happen. People in NZ on “Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited Visas” cannot apply for another sort of visa, “even if you have a special case”. Furthermore, “you have to leave New Zealand before your visa expires – you can’t appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal to stay in New Zealand after this.”

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 6, 2016 @ 11:51 am

  25. On this point … that can’t happen.

    For something that can’t happen, it sure does seem to happen a bit. People go back to the Islands and apply for a visa as a Partner of a New Zealander. With an existing relationship and good NZ work history it is somewhat unusual to turn people down.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 6, 2016 @ 12:37 pm

  26. Migrant workers are going to be more motivated than some locals. Latinos in the US – look who wants to shut them out.

    Market gardening, small shops – migrants here made these work when others didn’t because they had the drive could see opportunity.

    It’s a not uncommon phenomenon. It’s not necessarily a negative reflection on locals but there is something migrants bring that adds to the economy over and above displacing locals.

    Comment by NeilM — September 6, 2016 @ 1:39 pm

  27. “…but there is something migrants bring that adds to the economy…”

    Lower wages for unskilled labour being the most important if you are an unskilled local.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 6, 2016 @ 1:46 pm

  28. Apple picking is reasonably hard work. However a motivated picker can earn pretty good money picking apples. Potheads lack this motivation. You can’t run a business depending on potheads to turn up. The orchardist needs to provide staff and equipment to look after the pickers. How many good workers do you turn away so potheads might decide to turn up. Letting potheads pick some fruit seems to be a naive statement from someone who doesn’t understand the complexities of running an orchard, let alone a business.
    The minimum wage is not just $15.25/ hour, you need to add on 8% holiday pay, this takes it to $16.47/ hour

    Comment by Tomsk — September 6, 2016 @ 4:08 pm

  29. So “high immigration” is a cost?

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — September 6, 2016 @ 4:16 pm

  30. when there were still penal rates and you could make decent money – those days are gone

    That matches my observations. I grew up in and around horticultural farms and it used to be possible to work from the thinning season in October-ish through to the end of picking in May-ish by switching jobs depending on what fruit was in season, often making 2-5 times minimum wage. Which meant that even though you were working long hours and spending extra to cover the lost time (buy pre-prepared meals, for example), you came out ahead for the year as a whole. So people could actually have a regular job doing seasonal work, without necessarily relying on the dole as a backup.

    In the 1990’s that died. Apple rates when from $40/bin to $30/bin at the same time as inflation was running 10%, so the pay cut was severe. Same thing across the board. Then the government started on stand-down periods and dole cuts for workers. That’s where the “greater than 100% marginal tax rate” stuff started to really bite – you were taxed, then lost dole on what was left, lost supplementary benefits, plus had a stand-down afterwards. And too bad if you couldn’t do the work, or got the boot, you still got the stand-down. A week’s pay, a months stand-down… sucks to be you, dunnit.

    For someone on the dole now, the question is whether it’s worth while switching to minimum wage, taking time off work to go and argue with the dole people about how much benefit you should lose, work for a “season” which might be as short as 6 weeks, then go back to fighting to get your benefits back afterwards. It’s really easy to end up behind, even if everything goes perfectly to plan. The stand-down afterwards can go from 4 weeks to 12 arbitrarily, for example, meaning that 6 weeks at minimum wage, divided by the 18 weeks you’re actually without benefits, doesn’t seem like a good deal after all.

    The thing is that this is all anecdotal. But for someone on the dole, anecdote is all they have. And when you’ve been on (at best) 80% of the poverty line for six months, as a matter of deliberate government policy you don’t have any financial reserves to call on if it goes bad. So it’s a big risk that can easily end up with you and your kids homeless.

    Comment by Moz of Yarramulla — September 6, 2016 @ 5:04 pm

  31. So “high immigration” is a cost?

    That’s the consistent line from National’s progressive opponents.

    Acting like National back in the 70s towards immigrant groups and our Pacific neighbours shows a complete lack of moral compass.

    Comment by NeilM — September 6, 2016 @ 5:48 pm

  32. The minimum wage is not just $15.25/ hour, you need to add on 8% holiday pay, this takes it to $16.47/ hour

    Vulnerable migrant workers won’t necessarily know their legal entitlements and, even if they do, may not be keen to kick up a fuss if the employer “forgets” to pay holiday pay.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/80892811/Kiwifruit-business-ordered-to-pay-226k-after-skipping-workers-holiday-pay

    Comment by Ross — September 6, 2016 @ 6:31 pm

  33. A *friend was feeling extremely poorly and increasingly unable to keep up with work, study, and volunteering. He had really piled it on in a push to get somewhere but that said he was as much motivated by a desire to improve conditions in the community as his own life. After a frustrating period of misdiagnosis he was diagnosed. In the time until diagnosis grades and work slipped.

    Something had to go. He was told that his condition did not qualify for the sickness benefit, despite the fact that his condition could kill him pretty quickly, require emergency surgery to remove one of the body’s largest organs, and saw him on heavy painkillers and other compromising drugs that affected his physical and mental integrity. He kept up everything he could but ended up failing classes and slipping at work. He could hardly stay awake. He threw up and went to the bathroom multiple times every day. He tried to keep it all quiet but people noticed the weight loss, change in attitude, and loss of sharpness and focus and asked him if he was on drugs, or drinking too much, or was having serious mental health issues.

    He quit study and moved to a part time job. But the work was intermittent. He tried to get on the benefit but all he got was a group lecture from a woman with two degrees less than him who seemed to have been installed for the sole purpose of intimidating people out the door. Every visit to the offices of Work & Income was a humiliation. He had worked hard in his life and achieved great things and now he had been brought low and he was being told that it was all his fault and denied assistance. He told me that if he did not happen to have a stable and supportive family that he could have ended up in a tent within a month or so given his small amount of savings, or after burning through his released Kiwisaver.

    The man now lives extremely cheaply (on less than $5 per day). He is relatively happy and works part time remotely but still has periods where he is so ill he has to spend a month or months on heavy doses of opiates. Dope helps with the pain, appetite and sleeping too, although he’d prefer not to have to take it. But most of the time he is OK now. If he did get sick to the point that the disease was threatening his life again, he said, he wouldn’t know because during those periods he takes painkillers. He is too proud to rely on family again and recognises that the system in New Zealand no longer works for people who become ill in the way he has. So, he says, were he to find himself shitting and vomiting blood again he would just up the painkiller dosage and let whoever bury him whereever. In the meantime he’d try to achieve something. And he is again, despite it all. But those are his expectations.

    *may or may not be me.

    Comment by John — September 6, 2016 @ 7:43 pm

  34. No real surprise here. Fruit picking is hard work for fit young people. I picked apples in Tasman for 5 months one year. Wet or dry. Cold or warm. The farmer sprayed the trees mid way through and I could barely breathe for two weeks. The old doctor in Motueka basically told me to harden up. If never had breathing problems prior…. Or since.

    The pay was low. We lived in a basic shack. There is no future in this work. No career. You do it until you’re broken…. And it’s hard on your back, in particular.

    Key is an asshole.

    Comment by truthseekernz — September 6, 2016 @ 8:00 pm

  35. 29. So “high immigration” is a cost?

    Only for the next 6 weeks.

    If you run a progressive dynamic government like the ALP of Victoria or Queensland then high population growth rates are fuel for booming economies.

    If you run a turgid anti-growth and pro-establishment regime like the NZLP/Greens of Auckland then high population growth rates are a burden upon our over stretched infrastructure. It becomes necessary to blame immigrants for the failings of everything, during our local body elections.

    Comment by Angus Robertson — September 6, 2016 @ 10:54 pm

  36. It seems like a totally pointless barrier to entry: the creation of a spurious problem…

    As with Housing NZ’s meth “contamination” scam, it’s the creation of a spurious problem but it’s not pointless. In this case, the local Nat constituency prefers to exploit foreigners for their workforce because said foreigners are desperate enough to work hard for a pittance and won’t complain about their working conditions. The only way locals would be willing to do the work is if the pay and conditions were a lot better, which must be fought against at all costs. Having the PM demonise the local workforce is part of that fight, and in fact part of his job as a Nat PM. His attack on them is relatively restrained – I’m sure his Hawke’s Bay donors would have preferred a much more robust denunciation of local job applicants.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 7, 2016 @ 7:40 am

  37. @PM

    You seem like a very reasonable person, I’m surprised you’re taking such a strong ideological stance on this.

    Bet you’d come to see the matter differently pretty quickly if you owned an orchard and needed your apples picked.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — September 7, 2016 @ 8:09 am

  38. Maybe I would. But, when I have to advertise for a technician, I don’t think to myself “Fuck we’re having to pay a lot for these guys, and look at all the cushy working conditions in the standard contract! I should lobby the government to let me bring in technicians from Bangladesh so I can pay minimum wage for good technicians who won’t expect to get sick leave or holiday pay.” So, on the other hand, maybe I wouldn’t.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 7, 2016 @ 8:55 am

  39. ‘Maybe’ is a fair call. Technicians and fruit pickers might be different…

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — September 7, 2016 @ 9:08 am

  40. Bet you’d come to see the matter differently pretty quickly if you owned an orchard and needed your apples picked.

    I’ve been there, and the answer is no. Reasonable people can look at the situation “I can’t get dedicated, hard-working staff for the rate I’m offering” and come to a range of different conclusions. They might say

    * “I’m stuffed, those apples won’t get picked”

    * “this is a market, obviously I’m not offering enough to get the staff I want”

    * “if only I had a gun, then I could motivate people to work for me”

    * or the apparently common solution “I must get the government to help me by bringing in people who will work harder for less”.

    Comment by Moz of Yarramulla — September 7, 2016 @ 9:28 am

  41. “If you run a turgid anti-growth and pro-establishment regime like the NZLP/Greens of Auckland ”

    i hear they all wear red and hide under your bed as well

    Comment by framu — September 7, 2016 @ 9:31 am

  42. Horticulture has changed a lot in the last decade and although finding seasonal workers has always been a problem it is particularly hard now with the massive growth (excuse the pun) of cherries, which are now a huge export earner for NZ. the season is relatively short and the crop is grown away from major centres (mainly Central Otago). The employers often supply accommodation and are responsible for pastoral care (so drugs and alcohol are a concern) and it is pretty important to have motivated and dependable staff or your crop won’t make it off the trees. There have been attempts for years to shift unemployed around the country to meet the demand but for some reason people seem unwilling to move away from their support networks to live in Cromwell and work for 3 months before heading home to unemployment again.

    Yes the PM is being a dick by playing the “drug addled dole bludgers” card but there is a real shortage of people willing to do this work in remote places on contract rates.

    Comment by Phil — September 7, 2016 @ 9:41 am

  43. Do we have any evidence these drug afflicted, work-shy unemployed, with poor ‘work ethic’, actually exist? Apart from anecdata from John Key and employers happy to use RSE workers?
    Do they exist in the numbers suggested? I mean – 1400 interviewed in Dunedin (?) to get 8 who would work in Central Otago.
    It would appear that no-one in the media has done any questioning to get that side of the story. Surely that would be needed to provide some balance. It would also provide information on which a useful discussion might be had.

    Comment by Martin — September 7, 2016 @ 9:53 am

  44. i hear they all wear red and hide under your bed as well

    I see Muldoonists, they wax lyrical about the glories of pre-4th Labour government NZ. Trot out tired old anti-immigrant rhetoric, scare stories. Did you know the Red Scare started out as a run-of-the-mill anti-immigrant beat up by nativists?

    Blaming the immigrants has a long history.

    Comment by Angus Robertson — September 7, 2016 @ 11:21 am

  45. John @ 33. Sorry to hear that.
    Moz of Yarramulla @ 30

    Maybe a UBI would have helped…

    Comment by Clunking Fist — September 7, 2016 @ 11:37 am

  46. “Blaming the immigrants has a long history.” – no argument there

    Comment by framu — September 7, 2016 @ 12:02 pm

  47. Yes, it does. But two massively different issues are being conflated here.

    The seasonal workers are a very minor part of immigration, and usually temporary. We have a moral duty to our Pacific neighbours from our old mini-empire, just as we do to refugees (which our Pacific neighbours will also be, as the sea rises).

    On the other – and entirely unrelated – hand, the current immigration numbers in Auckland are unsustainable. Everybody knows this, including the government.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 7, 2016 @ 12:16 pm

  48. unaha-closp: “This paradigm living under the magisterial rule of Sir Rob Muldoon of which you speak, can’t quite seem to recall it myself.”

    Don’t sneer: it’s unbecoming in you. Nobody’s suggesting that the pre-neoliberal world was a paradise (which I assume is what you meant, rather than paradigm), nor that it has been only the neoliberal steamroller which has flattened the job market in the intervening years. But Sanctuary is dead right about the large-scale disappearance of the work that the working classes used to do, both in the Bay and elsewhere. So: those low-skill jobs that many of us did after school and in the holidays, back in the pre-Rogernome years, are gone. The chances, therefore, for young people to acquire the work skills we took for granted are severely crimped. Then we – and (a fortiori) the government – blame said young people for their lack of work skills. Bloody cheek…

    Anent marijuana: in my young adulthood, it wasn’t widely-used, except among uni students wanting to experiment. Now, it seems to be normalised throughout society; evidence of the utter failure of the war on drugs, in my view.

    “For something that can’t happen, it sure does seem to happen a bit. People go back to the Islands and apply for a visa as a Partner of a New Zealander. With an existing relationship and good NZ work history it is somewhat unusual to turn people down.”

    You got a link, or some other supporting evidence for this statement?

    sammy 2.0 “On the other – and entirely unrelated – hand, the current immigration numbers in Auckland are unsustainable. Everybody knows this, including the government.”

    Exactly. The RSE scheme and immigration are being conflated by some commenters here. They are quite different issues. And Auckland is at risk of imploding because of unsustainable immigration; anyone who thinks otherwise isn’t taking enough notice of what’s going on there. But the government will do nothing about seriously clamping down on migrant numbers, because they’re relying on immigration to make the economy look better than it actually is. And they’re scared stiff of the Auckland housing market bubble bursting as a result of such a clamp-down. The higher the prices, the bigger the fall that’s coming; and that will cause a recession in the rest of the country. The time to act was years ago: looks like it’s too late now to prevent a hard landing.

    Comment by D'Esterre — September 7, 2016 @ 4:05 pm

  49. You got a link, or some other supporting evidence for this statement?

    Nope.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 7, 2016 @ 4:40 pm

  50. unaha-closp: “Nope.”

    So: anecdote; in that case, best to discount it.

    Comment by D'Esterre — September 7, 2016 @ 5:19 pm

  51. And Auckland is at risk of imploding because of unsustainable immigration; anyone who thinks otherwise isn’t taking enough notice of what’s going on there.

    Auckland has been building homes extremely slowly, apartment construction rates in Auckland are woeful. Melbourne has been building homes quickly, apartment construction per capita is much faster than Auckland. Auckland has a housing crisis and Melbourne is going to have an housing oversupply in 2018. Both places have had strong population growth and a booming property market.

    It is extremely unfair to blame immigrants for the problems of Auckland.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 7, 2016 @ 5:23 pm

  52. @31
    “(Little & Lab/Greens ) Acting like National back in the 70s towards immigrant groups and our Pacific neighbours shows a complete lack of moral compass.”

    Speaking of moral compasses, how about enlightening us on the subject to hand, is there any part of Key’s ‘moral compass’ that you find missing in view of his (ongoing) comments about some NZ unemployed as quoted? Taking cracks at “progressives” for your twisted perceptions about their policy sins is just deliberate deflection, and something you’re rather well practised at.. Heaven forfend that you ever give Key a kicking, no matter how well deserved.

    Comment by paritutu — September 7, 2016 @ 10:53 pm

  53. unaha-closp: “It is extremely unfair to blame immigrants for the problems of Auckland.”

    No: we’re not blaming immigrants. That would be completely bonkers. Immigration policy settings are the government’s responsibility. And the bloody mess in Auckland is down to the government’s abject failure to manage migrant numbers.

    It isn’t pointful to adduce Melbourne’s house-building programmes in this context. Melbourne isn’t Auckland. Regardless of what anyone might think about it, and no matter whom you might wish to blame for it, there isn’t enough housing in Auckland to meet the demand of virtually unrestricted immigration. Auckland is full. The government ought to have taken steps years ago to restrict immigration; that it has not done so is illustrative of the fact that it has no other tricks bar this one up its sleeve to make the economy look like it’s not on life support. Smoke and mirrors…. and a tragedy in the making.

    I’d reinforce what Sammy said above: two issues are being conflated here, and the PM was guilty of it in that “Morning Report” interview. He was being questioned about high immigration numbers putting pressure on infrastructure. And it was he who talked about the RSE scheme, which is a red herring. By its nature, it doesn’t put pressure on housing and other infrastructure, most especially not in Auckland: it’s work visa immigration doing that.

    Comment by D'Esterre — September 7, 2016 @ 11:45 pm

  54. @D’E

    To be fair, Danyl’s comments were specifically about agricultural employment (with a focus on allowing fruit pickers to take lots of drugs) rather than Auckland.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — September 8, 2016 @ 12:55 am

  55. “The RSE scheme and immigration are being conflated by some commenters here.”

    Also in the original post.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — September 8, 2016 @ 2:50 am

  56. Auckland is not full. There will be enough housing in Auckland if we build it. We can build at a rate of construction similar to other cities and accommodate our levels of population growth.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 8, 2016 @ 11:13 am

  57. I can understand employers wanting to test that their employees are not working under the influence of P or cocaine, for example. But the test for pot is completely ridiculous – you can come up positive if you smoked a joint or two a month ago, or a week ago, or a few days ago. How is that relevant in any way to your job performance? All the talk about useless stoners is total bollocks, I know plenty of people who smoke regularly and are highly motivated, intelligent people with high-level jobs.

    I worked managing a business in the UK that employed low-skilled workers. We had trouble finding motivated people, so offered a better hourly rate and signed up as a living wage employer, and found it much easier to get enthusiastic staff. Whether or not they smoked pot every now and then (or even every day!) had nothing to do with it.

    Comment by orphanpiglet — September 14, 2016 @ 11:30 am

  58. I can understand employers wanting to test that their employees are not working under the influence of P or cocaine, for example.

    @orphanpiglet – I know plenty of people who do coke regularly and are highly motivated, intelligent people with high-level jobs.
    I’m not sure why you would consider that a brightline in terms of whether a drug testing regime is ridiculous or not.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 14, 2016 @ 11:44 am


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