Mike Hosking: Covid has shown how many people aren't willing to work

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 2 Jul 2020, 4:39PM
Fruit pickers and au pairs are amongst the jobs people aren't filling. (Photo / Supplied)

Mike Hosking: Covid has shown how many people aren't willing to work

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 2 Jul 2020, 4:39PM

1000 au pairs: can’t find them.

Fruit to be picked: can’t get hands on deck.

Plenty of work on the farm: no one wants it.

Jobs paying up to $40 an hour go unfilled.

And so here we go again.

It beggars belief to believe we are even here, but remarkably already the stories are piling up of jobs that can’t be filled because New Zealanders – New Zealanders freshly laid off due to the economic crisis this country is now wading through – don’t seem to really want to work.

It was of course a massive issue pre-Covid. At 4 per cent unemployment, most people who wanted work had it. And there was a creeping suspicion this government, who are soft on work and big on welfare, were letting too many people off the hook.

The job seeker benefit prior to Christmas was growing at 14,000 a year for the past two years. How was that possible when there was an abundance of work?

The answer was because the pressure wasn’t on from the department involved. The same way they changed the rules around social housing as your circumstances changed and you didn’t need a tax payer supported cheap rent any more – you could still stay in the house – and they wondered why the housing queue blew out to record levels.

The great hope was, of course, with tens of thousands laid off, the demand for work would be such finding hands would be easy. Sadly not. And given the government’s attitude, they are in for serious trouble going forward

The whole premise of the so called recovery is based around people retraining. Free apprenticeships, billions in infrastructure building, all good ideas, but not if the jobless like being jobless.

At what point do the government wake up to this and adjust the attitude? How long can 1000 au pair jobs go unfilled before someone realises this is insane?

It plays out a cold hard and tragic truth. It is why we brought so many people to the country: there are a group of New Zealanders who simply can’t be bothered, and, making it worse, this government has boosted welfare, making it easier to get and more generous when you get it.

There is no rebuild, no recovery, when huge swathes of New Zealanders want it done for them by others from the comfort of their welfare supported beds.