The unemployment rate has plummeted to 4 per cent, putting more pressure on the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates in a fortnight’s time.
Statistics NZ said the number of people who were unemployed in the three months to the end of June fell by 17,000, or 12.4 per cent over the quarter, which was a record drop in percentage terms since it began its survey in 1986.
Bank economists had been expecting a significant but smaller drop in the unemployment rate, from 4.7 per cent in the March quarter to 4.4 per cent.
ANZ and BNZ are now forecasting the official cash rate will rise to 1 per cent by the end of the year, with BNZ research head Stephen Toplis describing the unemployment data as a “stonker”.
Why aren’t we talking about the benefits of keeping the borders closed?
- No hyper tourism
- Near full employment
- Higher wages
- Less migrant exploitation
Imagine how much worse the housing crisis would be with pre-Covid tourism?
If we accept that Covid will require annual injections, that mutations will continue to threaten and acknowledge our supply chains will be marred by lockdowns in poorer countries over time by the virus – then why are we hurrying to open the borders?
Add to this the increase in climate extremes that will drive migration, shouldn’t we be keeping the borders shut rather than open?
Many of the free market neoliberal cows are being slaughtered, why try and resurrect them?
The foundations of the 40 year neoliberal experiment in NZ have been exposed an found to be cracked to their core, with the climate crisis demanding a radical change, this pandemic is the perfect time to challenge the religious orthodoxy of free market dogma.
This is a unique moment for the NZ Left ever since Identity Politics over took class politics as the dominant theory on our side of the political divide. It means currently that the Left in NZ are intellectually better prepared to organise a WoC Mommy Blogger Trans Ally free the nipple petition on Action Station than they are to debate the hegemonic structure of neoliberalism.
This has left the Left intellectually ill prepared to debate the failures of the free market economy and the solutions we must adopt to get out of this.
Here are some thoughts on where NZ needs to go.
Union Membership: We have seen that Unions were the only protection essential workers had during the pandemic and that their input was crucial for developing real service strategies that the bosses were devoid of. Universal Union membership would immediately quench the exploitation of migrant workers AND extinguish the exploitation of International and Domestic Tertiary Students.
Welfare: The legacy of punitive welfare provision to create underclasses that the right turn on each other must come to an end for equality purposes, quality of life purposes and basic human decency.
Living Wage: We need a living wage to replace a mimim wage as a matter of course.
Think Bigger: With free market supply chains now in retreat because of the virus, we need a huge infrastructure rebuild of a basic pharmaceutical industry, we need solar panels on every roof, we need light manufacturing industry, wood processing industry, and an enormous tech upgrade to our internet infrastructure. Tourism can only happen if we build quarantine infrastructure to hold all tourists in quarantine before they begin to travel.
Rebuild Green: The entire rebuild of our economy demands sustainability be front and foremost in all things. Free public transport, solar panels on all roofs, local industry that replaces as many unsustainable parts as possible.
Unleashing NZ entrepreneurship: NZ has a long history of entrepreneurship and we need it now. There should be tax breaks for research and tax breaks for companies that look to be sustainable and ethical. There should be an ease with entrepreneurs walking away from failing business, cauterise the debt and allow them to re-chanel their energies into new green businesses.
Labour are notoriously timid when it comes to challenging the neoliberal hegemonic structure because they were the Party that unleashed this far right experiment upon us and the scars of that debate are still raw in Labour’s psyche, luckily for us the economic depression will be so deep and damaging that even Cautious Jacinda and Extra Cautious Grant have no choice but to reform and rebuild.
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