Can you fix our economy? Give a leg up

Last updated 15:00 01/02/2013

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New Zealand's current problem with work creation is a consequence of years of tinkering around the edges of a failed model. The only way to change things is to take a step back to get a better view of the situation.

Having been made redundant myself, and having failed to find employment, I find myself with enough time and unused brainpower to analyse the situation.

When you're on an unemployment benefit, there is little incentive to become employed in any true sense of the word. The system is only geared towards placing people in a job that juggles the books of the department of Work and Income.

This encourages the exploitation of unfortunate jobseeker, as is evident to everyone who looks at the jobs advertised on the department's website. There are many who require university degrees plus experience for the minimum wage. On this wage, one can not rent a room, buy food and clothes and have reliable transport to get to work.

If you have a qualification and need to set up in business, there are no incentives. There used to be, but they have been removed. I spent all my savings getting a qualification, but can not afford to rent premises from which to operate, so all my knowledge and training has been wasted.

Once you've been on a benefit for a certain length of time, it's not possible to keep up your wardrobe and teeth, etc, so finding employment becomes more difficult every week as your appearance deteriorates.

The way to affect change would be to instigate a stepping-stone program to be used by beneficiaries to get themselves in to a career that would prevent them slipping back in to unemployment.

The current work-readiness program is aimed at the unemployable and those who do not wish to be gainfully employed and is only a feeder program for multinational fast food companies.

Those for whom the pathway to self employment is being closed, could be very valuable members of the economic recovery.

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