Letter: People will be so unhappy

Last updated 14:32 21/07/2010

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Prime Minister John Key's proposal to extend the 90-day trial period for new employees to all workplaces will cause thousands to be unhappy.

OPINION: It might make workplaces slightly more productive. But wellbeing research shows that, in countries such as New Zealand, small increases in economic growth make no difference to how happy people are.

Mr Key suggests that more unemployed people will get work if the trial is extended. There will be more firing and hiring, but the percentage of unemployed will stay roughly the same.

Being hired feels good, but being fired feels terrible for a long time. Wellbeing research shows that being made unemployed is one of only a few experiences that make people permanently unhappy. Even people who are re-hired report being less happy than before they were fired.

Plus, as Green list MP Keith Locke says, all new employees will be under immense stress for those first 90 days.

Assuming that 100,000 workers will be affected, the result will be stress and unhappiness for tens of thousands of New Zealanders - a high price for the possibility of a slight increase in economic growth.

DAN WEIJERS

Co-editor International Journal of Wellbeing, Victoria University


If you want to reply to this letter, email letters@dompost.co.nz

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- The Dominion Post

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