Home' The Wellingtonian : August 25th 2011 Contents 9
THE WELLINGTONIAN, AUGUST 25, 2011
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The youth unemployment problem
Normally, living in denial
will catch up with you.
In recent weeks, how-
ever, Prime Minister John Key
has made stubborn denial into
something of an art form.
Last week, he discounted the
relevance of the standard figures
on youth unemployment con-
tained in the Household Labour
Force Survey, preferring instead
the (lower) number of those 18 to
24 actually enrolled for the dole.
Earlier, Key had quibbled
about the growth in income
inequality in New Zealand
recorded by the OECD.
No doubt the way statistics are
gathered and interpreted can
always be queried.
Still, Key s truculence showed
how confident the Government
was that the voting public would
not hold it to blame for the state
of youth unemployment.
It is easy to see why Key has
preferred to cite in the House the
figure of about 16,000 people in
the 18 to 24 age group who are
registered for the unemployment
benefit, rather than the 58,000
people aged 15 to 24 who are not
in education, employment or
This is the figure Social Devel-
opment Minister Paula Bennett
has tended to treat as being the
Bennett last week compounded
the sense of policy disarray by
making a screeching U-turn on
the payment card intended for
young beneficiaries -- which, it
turns out, she had slammed in a
letter five months ago as being
objectionable in principle (for
being too intrusive on personal
liberty) and too administratively
expensive for the gains it might
For now, such gaffes still look
more like policy hiccups than ter-
Cracking down on young
people -- who do not vote -- is
always popular with the talkback
Government s payment-card plan
for young beneficiaries seemed to
be well received among the social
conservatives in Labour and
This may explain why Labour s
response to the payment card
was so muted as to be virtually
However, the payment card is
only a token response -- at best --
to the wider problem of youth
unemployment, for which the
Government appears to have no
Denial of the statistics may
satisfy the sceptics who prefer to
blame the poor work attitudes
that are supposedly rampant
among the young.
Yet longer term, not many
voters with children are likely to
accept that as a satisfactory
Dodging and denying the scale
of youth unemployment (and
youth under-employment) is
risky for the Government.
In particular, it could well end
up alienating those female voters
who -- until the advent of Phil
Goff as Labour leader -- had been
a reliable voting bloc for Labour,
supposedly because of women s
greater concerns about the social
impact of government policy.
If Key and his colleagues do
take a hard line on welfare and
continue to ignore (or deny) the
extent of youth unemployment,
they could drive female voters
back to Labour or the Greens.
Given the aura of goodwill that
Key s popularity brings to his
policy programme, that isn t a
major concern just yet.
However, with a few more
episodes like last week, the flag-
ship policies of welfare reform
could still become a liability,
rather than a vote-winner.
The Wellingtonian welcomes
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I do not support the actions of the
Tamil Tigers but it is clear that
the Sri Lankan army has been
involved in many abuses of
human rights and international
A recent British documentary
graphically showed some of these
abuses. International human
rights groups have evidence of the
killing of civilians, the shelling of
known hospitals, and so on.
Disappointingly, big powers are
blocking a full United Nations
inquiry despite clear evidence
presented to its human rights
An article giving a no problems
in Sri Lanka image serves only to
help the Sri Lankan
Government s campaign to
whitewash reality.GERARD BURNS
Some Newtown business owners
are unhappy their customers
parking spaces have been
reallocated to traffic lanes.
With limited road space, there
will always be competing
demands. Business owners want
car parks by the front door. Car
commuters want the same road
space. Cyclists want decent bike
lanes. Bus passengers love
priority bus lanes.
Who should get preference?
Forty people in a bus or one
person parked outside a flower
Is storing private property
(cars) on public road space really
the highest value use of that land?
Many businesses provide parks
for their customers, so why should
through traffic be delayed?
I look forward to the city council
sorting out these competing
Cycling Advocates Network
FROM THE WEB
Greg: It would be nice if they
could fix the shocking state of SH2
and SH1 first.
Libertyscott: Architects yes, traffic
engineers no. A tunnel can t
replace a bridge because the
inclines required would be
ludicrous. However, it is sound to
say the bridge should feed into a
cut-and-cover tunnel, wide
enough for two lanes of traffic in
each direction for when
Wellington finally gets a proper
More tsunami lines
JohnS: What a waste of council
time and money -- who decides on
the size of any possible tsunami?
Will they build a safe lookout
point above the lines so citizens
have a safe place to watch from?
Really you can t out-think the
forces of nature.
Scott: I like them. They re a
talking point, and a very simple
way of driving home just how far
inland the water could go. All the
Bay residents I know take them
Neelish: Rather than waste time
painting lines which devalue
people s homes, why don t they
spend time and put signs up for
suggesting safe routes and safe
places to stay during a tsunami
Wayne: It would actually be nice if
the CBD had another chain in the
city with the same opening hours
as New World Chaffers. It might
help bring some prices down.
When you re only able to shop at
one supermarket it s a pain.
Food lover: Instead of people
whinging about how my
neighbourhood will look or that
it might ruin the area , why don t
you look at how many people will
be employed in the construction
and running of these stores?
I bet the same people are
whinging about there being a lack
of jobs. Now we have the
opportunity for what, 1000 jobs to
be created, and still people aren t
Scott: I d be happy with having
just one supermarket that hasn t
run out of whatever I want.
Laura: What the mayor and
councillors have to remember is
that if they vote to have 24-hour
bus lanes on Adelaide Rd, the
businesses along the route will
Here at John St in Newtown,
the council will remove 26 car
parks that service this community
-- nine for the widening of
Riddiford St and 17 for the
Council credit rating
Daft Vader: The same credit
rating as the United States, eh?
Let s hope that they don t also
have the same budget deficit!
Centre, TSB Arena, Westpac
Stadium -- do I detect a trend? So
what can we get ANZ National
and BNZ to do for us?
Justine Flanagan: The name is so
GiveItaGo: Before slamming the
new centre, why don t you just
wait till this Saturday s opening
day to really see what it is for. You
will be surprised to see how
adaptable the building is and its
multitude of uses.
Wrongplace: Still the least wisely
positioned sports centre ever built
in Wellington. After the first bout
of traffic carnage can someone
please let Andy Foster stand up
on a big box and say I told you .
Fred: Awesome news! I ve been a
big supporter of this stadium for
the community. I will be there on
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