Unemployment is so low and employers are crying out for workers, but there has been an increase of 53,000 people on the benefit for jobseekers, writes Paula Bennett. Photo/Getty Images
On Thursday afternoon I went to the pub. I work in Wynyard Quarter and there was a great initiative by local businesses to support local hospitality by shouting drinks for their staff at the
local bars. The bars were packed, it was free drinks, after all, the atmosphere was buzzing and people don’t mind a lie that you read in Wellington. But as the strange hangover subsides for employers, the hangover for our economy continues for years.
Government spending has increased by 66 percent since Labor came into government. This means that they spend $ 51 billion more than in 2017. I really want to repeat. $51 billion. The Labor government will not be concerned that I have repeated that number, because most of you do not think in billions and so you will not be too bothered because the number is so large that it is not recognizable to the average person.
So, let’s make it relatable. That’s $10,000 per New Zealander. Yes, you paid $10,000. So far. Well, actually, they borrowed most of it, so your children and your grandchildren will have to pay for it. When people say that spending 145 million dollars on consultants in our transport agency Waka Kotahi is a change of scenery, you are the chump.
The Government is spending $8 billion more on welfare now than they did in 2017. Sorry – my bad – YOU are spending $8 billion more on welfare now than in 2017, yes do the math, that’s over $1500 for New Zealanders coming out of your taxes. I know I don’t need to explain how ridiculous it is when unemployment is so low and employers are clamoring for workers. There was an increase of 53,000 people on the jobseeker’s benefit – by definition, jobseekers means that they are able and erm, ready to work. Obviously not.
There are many things going on under this Government. The number of children who do not regularly attend school has increased. Is it not your problem since you are a good parent who can afford to read Premium? Well, it’s like those children are disengaged from society, some illiterate because they haven’t learned the basics, they will be problems in the future. At best they spend a lot of time on welfare, at worst they join the growing crime as they feel they have nothing to lose.
Rents have increased by about $150, house prices are at record highs, the number of people living in motels has increased, the waiting list to get into state housing is three times higher than and was and more are homeless and desperate. Yes, we are on the up and up. Our basics like food and petrol are also at record highs and our mental health through all that is happening is really suffering.
Do you think there is a plan in place? Do you feel that your children’s future is secure? I don’t want to be all nasty – that’s not really my nature, so here’s some good news: some of you get to enjoy $27 a week for 12 weeks. I think I’ll go back to the pub.
Paula Bennett is a former Deputy Prime Minister and National Party politician who now works at Bayleys Real Estate as national director – client engagement.