by Don Franks

What causes unemployment?

According to some, one factor is inherent youth laziness.

A secular form of original sin, for which there exists the solution of beating it out of the sinner.

As Labour Party leader Andrew Little recently put it:

“Some young people occasionally do need a kick up the backside to get them out the door.”


Labour leader Andrew Little ready to kick youth up the backside

The kick will be in the form of Labour’s latest employment policy “Ready to Work”, a proposal to require unemployed young people to carry out six months of full-time community work at the minimum wage of $15.25 an hour.

Little said those on the dole for more than six months would be expected to take part.

Participation will not be compulsory but there will be an expectation they take part – and possible sanctions if they don’t.

Little said there were already sanctions in place to use on those who refused, but he hoped that would not be needed.

“The sanctions are a punitive approach to try and get the desired outcome. Those sanctions are there, we don’t want to take those away but the approach is to avoid that if at all possible.”

The Labour leader gave some indication of his own avoidance threshold by concluding:

“Some young people occasionally do need a kick up the backside to get them out the door.”

Labour released the work policy at the party’s annual conference in Auckland, where the focus was on jobs.

Expected to cost $60 million a year, it will provide unemployed people under the age of 24 with “jobs” in the community and environment, such as pest control work or riparian planting with the Department of Conservation, local councils or charities such as City Missions and food banks.

Little said 74,000 young people were not in work or training and there were now more than 10,000 unemployed people aged under 24 than a decade ago and Labour believed all young New Zealanders should be in work or training.

Well, I believe all young New Zealanders – and young citizens of the world for that matter – should be in work or training too.

Enforced idleness is a soul-destroying curse of capitalism which young unemployed suffer across the country and across the planet.

Forced work in dead-end occupations for a beggarly wage is no remedy for idleness or unemployment.  We know this because “Ready to Work” forerunners – work for the dole and periodic detention – bred nothing but bitterness and resentment. Ask any person who has been subjected to such punishments.

Incredibly, a number of trade union activists have welcomed  Labour’s punitive capitalist solution to youth unemployment as some sort of positive step forward.

I will refrain from saying Andrew Little’s union supporters need a kick up the backside. I just ask these comrades, how much further is it possible to turn your face from a socialist vision?

  1. Phil Duncan says:

    And this privileged prick actually got a standing ovation at the RMT union conference last week.

    We really do need a new working class movement.

  2. Susanne K says:

    This reminds me of the Clark government and how they told the unemployed in so-called ‘unemployment blackspots’ that they should ‘get on yer bike’ or they might face being taken off the dole. I think Clark picked that up from Maggie Thatcher, a politician she resembled in terms of authoritarianism and contempt for the working class.

    No wonder Labour can’t win seats like Northland.

  3. Don Franks (@jilldon2) says:

    The name of that Clark government’s policy was “Job Jolt”. They seem to revel in aggressive anti worker imagery.

    • Susanne K says:

      That’s it, ‘Job Jolt’. I think it shows how much the social composition of Labour is a kind of ghastly middle class type these days. They really do not like what they see as the ‘undeserving poor’. Which seems to be everyone who is poor and unemployed.

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