It’s time for a jobs guarantee in New Zealand


For three decades after World war Two New Zealand had virtually no official unemployment.

Central and local government agencies as the biggest employer could simply expand hiring to meet any cyclical unemployment that emerged.
The Railway Workshops were working-class universities in most major cities that you could go to if you wanted to learn a trade.
City councils would be encouraged to start their own green job projects to clean up and fix cities that were financed by central government if needed.
Seasonal and casual work could be picked up on the wharves or in freezing works.
Government agencies made long-term plans for public transport, power generation and distribution, telecommunications, roading. The Ministry of Works was world-famous for its dam building expertise and created New Zealand’s hydro-system.
This public sector was deliberately dismantled and destroyed in an episode of economic vandalism by the Labour and National government in the mid 80s and early 90s.
An economic dogma was adopted that claimed that the pursuit of private profit by private enterprise was always superior to any form of public service.
This led to the massive wave of privatisations of public enterprises like Air NZ, the Railways, BNZ, Telecom, energy companies.
Some state services became profit seeking State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) like NZ Post. Others like Air NZ and Kiwi Rail. have had to be bailed out and brought back into majority public ownership. But the rules that govern these companies remain profit-seeking above all else.
These same policies came very close to being implemented in the health and education sector as well when the 1990 National government adopted its first budget with those declared goals. However, care for the aged and care for the very young was left to be taken over by profit-seeking companies rather than expand the existing public sector.
In the current crisis we have the absurd situation of the government-owned companies continuing to behave like profit-maximising private companies and sacking as many workers as they think will help achieve that goal.
We also have the absurd situation of the central government allowing local governments to sack thousands of staff and “balance their budgets” rather than be given the resources they need to maintain services and even expand employment during the crisis.
The current debts of local government and health boards and SOEs should be taken off their books and taken over by the central government. They can then be refinanced at the virtually zero rates a central government can achieve.
The local governments and local communities can then draw up an economic recovery plan that ensures everyone has a job in the Green New Deal needed to transition away from capitalism and its commodity consuming fetishism to a society based on human solidarity and social needs.
Then we can ensure everyone has access to healthcare, education, housing …and a job as a right.


  1. Jobs guarantee ? Nope siree. Nopety nope nope.
    That’s like trying to patch a hole in a sinking ship from the inside. Nope.
    Every little element of progress made by working people, for working people, will be lost into the vast, unfillable guts of the banksters. In particular, the four foreign banksters; anz, asb, bnz and westpac.
    Any wage increases hard won, any improvements to employment conditions, any money you try to save will be lost into bankster black holes.
    When banksters can smile to your face as they suck $6 billion a year out of AO/NZ IN NET PROFITS while they drive past homeless people living in cars with their kids, any wage increase, no matter how solid you think the legislation is will ultimately go to those fuckers.
    I know what needs to be done. Here it is.
    A 99.99% tax on all foreign bankster net profits and with the utmost transparency those funds must then be returned to AO/NZ’s most vulnerable FIRST! ( Yes. You, you greedy fucking neoliberals. Before you can figure out a way to get your grasping fingers on it. No more of your dirty sticky little fingers all over our Minister of Finance or our reserve bankster. )
    Mandatory vote. Yep. Mandatory.
    There must be a referendum after a year long debate and discussion with invited politicians from countries who already have mandatory voting. You may know of those countries? They have the very best records with regard to social well being and domestic wealth over domestic debt. Like us. Not.
    There’s two things before ‘jobs guarantee’s’ or you’re simply working for the foreign banksters and the post neoliberal corporate fascists, already plumped up from the sales of what were once OUR state owned assets.
    Better wages is cart before horse. Am I old fashioned in think it goes the other way around?

  2. Yes Mike we are with you 100%

    Here is our press release today for supporting our railway workers futures as Natioinal just want roads roads roads that will kill us all.

    Press release here;

    “CEAC National Lacks ‘A Greener Smarter Future’ Plan In Their $31B Transport Plan”
    Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre – Environmental press release. 18/7/20

    CEAC review of Judith Collins release of a National Party historic $31 billion Dollar Todd Muller’s ‘transport plan’ again lacks any policy of a ‘zero carbon’ “Greener Smarter Future” so we challenge Judith Collins to explain how building more highways can reduce our future to a ‘zero carbon future’?

    In our review we post the Todd Muller plan here as a ’refresher’.
    National Party “A Greener, Smarter Future”

    A Greener, Smarter Future
    Todd Muller;
    That third element is inextricably linked to the fourth element of National’s Plan to Get New Zealand Working: a greener, smarter future.

    New Zealanders want a greener future, and the world wants food, fibre and holidays that are green and sustainably produced. My commercial background is in agri-business, on the senior executive teams of Zespri and Fonterra and as CEO of Apata. But my political background has been mostly in climate change policy, negotiating the historic Zero Carbon Act with the Greens’ James Shaw, including bringing along some of the more sceptical voices in my own party.

    National commits to the Zero Carbon framework, and to cleaner lakes and rivers in provincial New Zealand – and a cleaner Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora here in Canterbury, and a cleaner Waitemata Harbour in Auckland. I do not see any conflict between the interests of agri-business and a greener future. I reject the Government’s demand on Tuesday that agriculture must be “transformed” rather than constantly evolve and improve by building on our status as the most productive and sustainable food-and-fibre producers in the world.

    New Zealand has the world’s best farmers, and New Zealand agricultural scientists. National launched the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which now involves nearly 60 countries working together to find ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions. It is well within New Zealand’s capability to keep improving productivity while protecting and enhancing the natural environment from which we all draw our mauri as New Zealanders, and on which our economy is based. That in turn creates intellectual property for export.

    A greener, smarter future is about much more than tourism and agri-business. It is about technology and intellectual property across the board, which is clearly the future New Zealand must focus on whatever the industry – including the super-coders I mentioned for the video game industry, and in every area, from movies, to rocketry, to accounting software.”

    As well as the looming challenge of AI we also need to invest further in connectivity, as a major enabler of better services, better productivity and better lives, whether you are in Auckland or Akaroa. Where would New Zealand have been these past few months without Amy’s Ultra-Fast Broadband Network? We need to take it to the next level of its development. As we enter the 2020s, every New Zealander and every one of our businesses needs to know that the whole world is open to them in a way that other countries can only envy – and that’s what my Government will deliver.

    National’s vision is of a post-Covid economy that is greener, smarter and better than the one we had before.

    CEAC response here is; – Since Government’s recent data from (MBIE) of emissions inventory from road freight transport is not reducing but increasing, we now advocate for rail with steel wheels especially if electric motivated is the best way to reduce our freight transport emissions and benefiting from reducing pollution ‘runoff’ from our roads into our waterways, lakes rives streams, aquifers, drinking water and poisoning us so what’s not to like here as this is real greener smarter future isn’t it?

    CEAC has long been advocating to clean up our waterways being daily polluted by other environmental contaminants not currently recognised, such as “road runoff” of vehicle emissions and toxic tyre dust pollution entering our steams alongside our highways and city roads.

    National Party has not even mentioned this looming issue yet?

    This has been documented in global scientific documents all over the world and was included in a 104 page report from the Ministry of Transport from as long back as 2002, and the report is entitled “Emissions factors for contaminants released from motor vehicles in NZ”
    “In New Zealand, emissions of key constituents from motor vehicles to air can be assessed using the Vehicle Fleet Emission Model. The user output from a run of this model is currently provided in the form of the user model NZ-TER (refer MoT 1998, MoT 2000, MonCrieff & Irving 2001).”

    Also found in this UK scientific report.

    These documents is evidence is the ‘elephant in the room’, as on pages you can see the tyre dust deposits left on a road is washed down our road drains and into our waterways and drinking water and causes cancer to humans and animals alike.

    CEAC has strongly always said that rail with steel wheels especially if electric motivated is the best way to reduce our freight transport emissions finding ways to stop road runoff pollution washing off our roads into our waterways and entering our drinking water then poisoning us.

    CEAC has carefully reviewed this subject and now has strongly requested that rail with steel wheels and if electric motivated is the best way to reduce our freight transport pollution and climate change emissions.


  3. yes awesome.
    i hope this is going to be talked about at the hui next week.
    it can go well beyond recovery jobs and shovel ready jobs.
    Pavlina Tcherneva is putitng out such good material on this.

    Imagine a world where anyone who is unemployed can voluntarily sign up to become a public service employee, for a living wage, administered at local level e.g. councils. This could operate as a gateway to employment for young people, a gateway to on the job training. Other benefits include that all of the precarious jobs would disappear as employers would have to compete with public service wages. It could also operate as a gateway towards self employment or small business. and if local communities can hire from the labour pool we will have all sorts of local community development happen. etc..

    i cant see any downside.
    except for employers who want to undervalue.

  4. NZ Government is obsessed in supporting big business and overseas manufacturing being imported into NZ… even if they don’t seem to do the job.

    It is now an attitude that not only makes zero sense in terms of disasters to have no local manufacturing for essential goods, turn up their noses at local manufacturers and drive them out of business making the situation worse, but is also dangerous and against their own marketing and principles in their own charters…

    Take this on PPE…

    PPE supplier’s offer to help Government with Covid-19 response met with silence

    Meanwhile what ever they were using did not seem to work…

    Waitakere Hospital sorry over Covid nurses

    Similar tales overseas where faulty/poor procedures with PPE was an ongoing issue with trying to fight Covid…

    Hospital leaders hit out at government as PPE shortage row escalates

    Maybe also the entire process to supply goods into NZ government is increasingly being compromised by bribes and corruption…

    Auckland Council bribery, fraud case: Ex-staffer Sundeep Rasila and businessman Sunil Chand admit charges

    And our governments full of neoliberal brainwashers …
    NZ Government Secretly Funded Water Bottling Companies

    How big business is using disasters and data to make money and take over the world

    How CIA-backed Palantir embedded itself in the NHS

    Only good thing is reportedly the NZ government did not fall for giving away NZ data to Palantir (maybe because they are linked to the Natz) …but have been fooled in the past with giving away NZ kids education data to a company owned by a Beijing billionaire and then on sold the data to Google and Microsoft.

    New Zealand school data collected and on-sold to Google, Microsoft

    New Zealand government sat on Palantir Covid-19 data tracking offer

  5. Mike Treen you forgot to mention
    Supply and demand.

    NZ has a policy to bring in more overseas workers to ensure that there is more workers for the demand in NZ so that wages and conditions can be reduced here and we become a ‘low wage economy’ which is a neoliberal dream.

    They are also bringing in overseas workers with ‘high skills’ like doctors and teachers so that they can undermine the wages and conditions of health and education workers in the public health system in NZ. So far they have not been able to do that easily because those workers have to prove they are up to the job with local checks and courses (unlike construction which is now full of untaxed, unskilled workers and unsafe conditions)

    Sadly creating out of control demand for poorly paid jobs with a quicky residency cherry to sweeten the blow, has been happening for 30 years here… somehow along the way some unions seem to have been corrupted along with it and ended up collaborating with employers in the last few years to bring in more and more overseas workers and give them NZ welfare, jobs, residency and benefits.

    Controlling supply of workers has been a key policy of union thinking in the past and worked to create much better working conditions in the world for workers because it allows more power to local workers to their employers – from China to NZ. Without that we would not have the 40 hour working week becoming the norm in the western world in the 1970’s, although with the 21 century zero hour contracts and gig economy, a guaranteed 40 hour working week is no longer becoming the norm. Working standards are slipping around the world in the west.

    I know a Chinese NZer who turned down a US paid role in the company for the same Chinese job, because they had more job security as a Chinese worker with the same international firm than a US worker. Their skills were more in demand in China that the US with the same firm as that firm moved most of their jobs to China.

    Somehow some unions in NZ seem blind to international employment trends, u turned and now we have the rise of the local working poor in NZ while unions focus on supporting more and more international workers paying tens of thousands to get a NZ working visa to work here and get residency, unwittingly undercutting the local worker.

    Working poor in NZ are now sleeping in cars with their kids like TA the 11yo girl who missed out on an education scholarship while prepping in the car. We know John Key didn’t care about that but with COL increasing temp work visas into NZ in the hundreds of thousands – COL policy is a big part of the problem.

    Even in the news at the present, the sad tale of the 2 children that died in the fire, where the Mum was out at night shopping because she had to wait to get her wages as soon as they came through so she could have some food the next morning.

    The working poor on wages with kids and a mortgage, is apparently one of the biggest growing groups in poverty…

    I’m not convinced that increasing more working benefits is sustainable long term in NZ for more and more subsidised ‘nothing’ jobs.

    It’s time to to work out why those employing low wage workers get to keep the profits while making other kiwi’s taxes pay for their workers wages though wage subsidies..

    Brainwashing some really, smart people has become an art of neoliberalism, now somehow the migrant supermarket worker is the mighty ideal of NZ,

    From Gordon Campbells, a strange brain fart,

    “For instance, the logic behind immigration policy has been turned on its head. Meaning : the unskilled temporary migrants working for peanuts in our supermarkets have proved to be far more valuable than software developers in meeting the country’s essential needs”…

    Part of the issue in NZ is ignorance of the so called bright in NZ, don’t even know that software runs the supermarkets, you literally don’t need numeracy, literacy, or even language skills to be a modern supermarket worker and they even have workerless checkouts expanding. It’s sunset industry for those ‘essential’ workers who not only rely on software to run everything but fail to understand the supermarket did not produce the food either. It’s the farmers that produce the food, currently being ripped off by neoliberalism and supermarkets who are third parties in the chain..

    So when the farmers don’t produce the food and the software stops working in supermarkets, guess what, no food! We could have hundreds of thousands of supermarket workers but without those actually producing something real, not on selling it, people will run out of food in a crisis.

  6. The questions need to be asked, post Covid, should the executive salaries and bonuses be reduced, shareholders told to tighten their belts, before they start to fire people…. as a similar percentage… aka if workers have their wages reduced 30% then executives should have their wages reduced 30% – parity is needed.

    In addition roles like these at TVNZ, essentially in a hunger games scenario, where only one left standing, they seem to be expected to do double the work, presumably for not double the pay, while one left with zero job???

    TVNZ 6pm newsreader Wendy Petrie set to lose job, becomes NZ’s highest-profile Covid-19 job casualty

    How much do the TVNZ CEO get in renumeration? How much pay cut is the TVNZ CEO taking and their executives, and for how long and are they able to ‘claw’ it back later so it is not a pay cut at all but a temp blip for marketing purposes? Obviously we don’t have real journo’s left in NZ to ask these questions.

    Likewise the rich listers on the taxpayers payroll…. how much pay cut are those on above what our PM earns aka $471,000+ taking, while they cut the flesh to the bone everywhere else?

    Should all executives earn the same, why should the CEO get more than the others? For whatever reason the strategy part of the CEO seem to be a huge part of the ongoing problems in NZ.

    “Twenty-four of the rich listers are employees of Auckland Transport, 11 are from Watercare, six are from Regional Facilities Auckland, five are from ATEED, and five are from Panuku Development.”

    Meanwhile over the years, being a university chancellor in NZ, is more about self interest and money, than education. Now they have gone though the Kiwi education neoliberals, they import in overseas university chancellors to do the neoliberal work for them.

    Apparently the chancellor of Auckland university used to be the third highest paid public servant. They also get free Parnell mansions, while cheating and lack of research and quality of lecturers, is now part of their university culture. Meanwhile over at AUT they ignore harassment of their lecturers At woke Massy they ban Don Brash from speaking, then have journalist lecturers in sexual crimes–the-academic-who-sexually-assaulted-a-rest-home-resident. At ChCH they don’t find student bodies for weeks.

    Not sure user pays education run by mostly woke local and international neoliberals, it is a good thing.

    I’d like to see wages rise overall in NZ, because at present CEO’s or the equivalent like university chancellors, seem to be paid to drive down wages and quality while increasing their own or offshore shareholders profits, while destroying the companies and organisations they work for in NZ.

    Fonterra is a famous example of a CEO that apparently averaged 5 million per year in salary for 8 years, while seemingly destroying his corporation profits and reputation and destroying jobs there., destroying their reputation by refusing to get with the times, the reputation of milk itself Who is not essential at Fonterra…

    Coming out now, the water care CEO was paid $775,000 and appointed during the disastrous supercity Natz hit job, has led a trail of destruction and lack of planning of water care in Auckland while those at the council CEO appear not to have noticed.

    While Watercare seem to have employee’s costing the council and consumer millions ‘looking at their systems’ , the average Auckland could have predicted climate change, droughts and more water consumers from hundreds of thousands of new residents per year, 4 million tourists into NZ in the past, but not a worry from water care about supplying enough water and waste water, sewage treatment???

    Anyone who lives in Auckland will be astonished as we get a bill each month for water and have for years as another trickle down user pays charge robbing residents, that doesn’t seem to have been used wisely.

    I guess IYI is booming in NZ these days.

    More destruction to come as the universities cash in, to sell ‘on line policy courses in NZ’.

    Does this sound like a quality masters program at Auckland University which is relentlessly promoted online….

    Further your career with a Master of Public Policy. Study online and complete in 2 years

    The comments section has things like

    “Public policy learned privately in your bedroom. Seems scammy”

    • Reductions in wages – for workers 30% off eats into their basic living portion. For the executives and high management 30% off would reduce their discretionary spending but still enough for high level basic income including a house situated either in a better suburb, or chosen for ease of commuting. Workers are lucky to get something affordable, and doubly lucky if it is a quiet suburb near to work or transport and in livable condition.

      Percentages have a spurious simplicity which is mistaken. If percentages are to be applied for changes or comparisons, first everyone needs to be on a level playing field.

      • Greywarbler, I agree with you, arguably someone on over $500,000 or the equivalent in shares for example can have a greater cut of wages without it pushing them into poverty…. however what seems to be happening under neoliberalism and before and after Covid is that CEO’s on outrageous salaries are not taking a pay cut in real terms when things go wrong, and in some cases rewarding themselves for their mistakes in a company (Fonterra Theo Spieling) while making their workers redundant or reducing wages of their workers in real terms.

        So for simplicity I am advocating if a company leader decides to cut wages they themselves need to be forced to do the same with the executive team salary and bonuses.

        Not a new issue, aka during financial crisis the same CEO’s and executives of banks got bonuses as their company failed and was provided help from tax payer money.

  7. Even for children it is becoming obvious the discrimination and difference of treatment of gifted kids in NZ.

    Citizen child – lives in car, eats takeaways every night, does not get scholarship

    TA, aged 11, living at the marae, her mother, father and five siblings had been living in their van since February.

    She said she only slept some nights, and while her mother had a job it was not enough for the family to afford a place to live.

    “There’s no space for by yourself. But we shower at my mum’s job, in the morning.”

    “They’re not happy, but they’re okay. They’re all sick, even I’m sick right now.”

    She said she had just missed out on a scholarship to St Cuthbert’s College, made all the more difficult because of the family’s living conditions.

    “The hardest part is actually not being able to read in the van, because you don’t have space. They’re all up in your face,” she said.

    “And there’s not much light because it would waste the battery [so] I can’t read.”

    “It just made me push myself more to do better.”

    With roughly 30 families taking shelter at Te Puea, TA said it was nice to have some space.

    “It’s cool how they opened up their doors to us, but we just want a house.”

    “And they have good food … we used to have takeaways but we’re all sick of takeaways.”

    Non resident child – at uni – treated like royalty, all help and all stops to break the rules
    “Vicky came to New Zealand on a student visa while her mother, who has a Kiwi partner, came as her guardian.”

    Somewhere in the past 30 years our government and institutions started to discriminate against local people and instead promoted and funded other nation’s children, other nations nationals and other nations pensioners and funded that out of user pays and selling off public assets.

    And that is why our situation is so dire in NZ and not about to get any better. Discrimination starts at home in NZ!

  8. Yay I don’t see jobs being at the forefront of discourse. Our world is being skewed by leaders actively skewing life away from the human expectation to live a satisfactory life with respect for ourselves and others. Having roles that enable us to be part of society’s fabric and to earn so we can be reasonably independent would mean we are accepted and appreciated – that is basic to us.

  9. ” The local governments and local communities can then draw up an economic recovery plan that ensures everyone has a job in the Green New Deal needed to transition away from capitalism and its commodity consuming fetishism to a society based on human solidarity and social needs.
    Then we can ensure everyone has access to healthcare, education, housing …and a job as a right ”
    To much for a Tui billboard but right on the mark Mike.

  10. So The Warehouse management decides that they are going to sack nearly 1000 workers and reduce people’s hours. This is where we have headed folks the likes of unemployment and the working poor like you have never seen in this country and we let these companies get away with it. I say we boycott companies like the Warehouse we use people power to show our disgust in the way they treat their people by not shopping at their stores. Heres the article this morning.

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