Barry Soper: Why won't our young work?

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New Zealand is still needing immigrants to fill vacancies, so why aren't our young dropping the dole for the workforce, writes Barry Soper.
New Zealand is still needing immigrants to fill vacancies, so why aren't our young dropping the dole for the workforce, writes Barry Soper.

Over the past couple of weeks a bloke, who some have no doubt written off as a whinging Pom, has appeared on telly telling us kiwis are lazy.

They can't be bothered turning up for an interview to work at his little flooring company for twenty bucks an hour and if they do turn up, they don't last in the job. They'd prefer after a couple of days, in his rather indelicate words, to grab a slab of beer and go off on the piss.

The job's not that taxing, a bit of elbow grease may be required. A 24 year old former supermarket checkout operator saw the item and she's now gainfully employed learning a trade and earning better money than she could ever have thought of by sweeping groceries past the bar code.

So what's wrong with our young, have they lost the ability to work?

A figure Labour likes to wave in the Beehive's face is from the immigration stats where six thousand foreign labourers were given work visas over the past year while more than fifteen thousand kiwi labourers are listed as being out of work.

It's a mismatch that shows the immigration policy's not working, the foaming Andrew Little barks.

He vehemently rejects his analysis is too simple. Surely that's the case given that he doesn't know what our unemployed labourers are prepared, or more importantly not prepared to do, while those coming into the country are obviously filling jobs that are vacant.

Little was right on one level that the numbers of the face of it don't tell a good story but he refuses to buy the argument that young people aren't working because they're drugged and lazy.

He doesn't know and neither do we because we're not at the pit face. But the Labour leader reckons he does know what'll get them establishing a work ethic and a habit of getting out of bed in the morning.

Some who've been written off by others are being picked up from home by employers who make sure they have a cut lunch and get to work on time. After a couple of months they get into a work habit and they turn their lives around rather than being written off by what he says is an uncaring Government.

To suggest a Government, regardless of its political hue, doesn't care is just plain silly. And shouldn't those who're sitting at home picking up a dole cheque be required to show more initiative?

They're obliged to look for work, or train for it, which could mean little more than dabbling on the web each day. And they're required to have "regular," whatever that means, meetings with the pen pushers.

Unlike many other countries New Zealand doesn't have a finite period for how long the dole can be claimed, change that, and you may change some attitudes. That may sound hard but the real mismatch is the number of foreign workers we're required to bring in to fill vacancies, compared to the number of locals on the dole.

- NZ Herald

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