Posted February 09, 2019 12:33:42 The New Zealand economy is on the mend, with the number of people looking for work falling sharply.
And unemployment is at an all-time high.
The government’s National Job Guarantee has a long way to go, with some parts of New Zealand struggling to maintain their population gains and many others still struggling with the impacts of the global financial crisis.
Now, a new application from the New Zealand Civil Liberties Association (NZCLLA) to the Department of Work and Income (DWP) is raising concerns about the impact of the snap benefit changes.
The NZCLLA argues that people are being asked to apply in person for jobs they may not want, and there are concerns that the new application could make it easier for people to find work.
The application was submitted on behalf of the Newland, Wairarapa and Southland communities.
It is a follow-up to a similar NZCLA application last year, and the NZCLLA says that the changes have not improved the experience for the applicants.
“There are a lot of people out there who have a very difficult time finding work and the application process seems to be making it more difficult,” says Niki Burdick, the head of policy at the NZLLA.
The changes have made it more easy for people with skills gaps, including people with disabilities and older people, to get work The NZLLLA argues it is an affront to New Zealanders to ask people to apply at the same time as they are looking for jobs.
The new application is asking applicants to fill in the form for a job they have not been offered, which includes a list of skills such as carpentry, carpentry or home repairs, as well as a description of their qualifications.
“If people are looking to get into a job that’s a really good fit, and is looking for people who are really good at carpentry and home repair, that’s very good,” says Burdicks director of advocacy, Michelle Hockett.
“But people who do have those skills, and who can work in carpentry but don’t necessarily have those same qualifications, they can also find themselves in an environment where they may be asked to work with people who have been assessed as having a particular set of skills, or they may find themselves on a work placement where they’re working with people with a particular kind of disability.”
The new applications comes on the heels of a New Zealand government survey which found that about 70 per cent of New Yorkers and about a third of Australians are considering leaving the country.
The report from the Bureau of Labour Statistics shows that unemployment in New Zealand is up by 3.4 per cent in the past month, with about 1.8 million people looking to return to work.
However, the latest employment figures also show that employment in the city of Auckland is at a record low, with employment down 1.4 million people in the year to March.
There are fears that some areas are now too reliant on temporary foreign workers and that some businesses are struggling to hire staff.
The Government has also announced that it will phase out the use of temporary foreign worker visas (TFWs) in the coming months.
This will allow businesses to hire more staff and will allow more Kiwis to access jobseeker’s allowance.
However there is growing concern that the change will also result in the introduction of a new form of workfare, which could put New Zealand’s labour market in a worse position.
“The fact that we are seeing the labour market get harder to manage is very concerning,” says Michaela Higginson from the NZ Labour Party.
“We have seen the rise in temporary foreign visa applications, and that is the root cause of the downturn.
This new application makes it very difficult for New Zealand workers to find jobs.”
While the Government is keen to increase temporary foreign labour, it has made clear that it is not going to introduce any workfare measures in the meantime.
“What we are saying is that if people can’t find work, they are eligible for the Newstart allowance, and then they can apply for the Work and Support Allowance if they want,” said the Government’s employment minister, Grant Robertson.
“And they can do so for the duration of the period they are in Newstart, for example, which is about three weeks.”
Robertson also warned that the move to introduce workfare could lead to more migrants coming to Newland and Wairarsa to work, rather than seeking jobs in Auckland.
“It’s hard to be optimistic about the future,” Robertson said.
The DWP has previously stated that there are still a number of challenges for the Government to tackle.
“New Zealand is one of the countries that has the lowest unemployment rate in the OECD and we are continuing to see a positive labour market,” said a spokesperson.
“This is particularly so in the wake