Unemployment insurance scheme (a Labour election promise) has made it to the drawing board

The last of a bundle of Budget Day announcements was a joint statement from the Government, Business NZ and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, telling us they are  jointly designing a Social Unemployment Insurance scheme.  

Finance Minister Grant Robertson likened the proposed scheme to the ACC for accidents, cushioning the impact of a job loss.

It would support workers to retain about 80 per cent of their income for a period after they lose their jobs and delivers on a commitment in Labour’s manifesto.

We expected much more comment and/or analysis than we found for this significant new initiative (although maybe we did not look hard enough).

A guest writer on The Spinoff focussed on “The problem with social unemployment insurance”.  Arguments for and against are presented today in a better balanced article on Stuff.

The Budget Day blast of benefit boosts and other goodies (and don’t forget the borrowing) seems to have exhausted the Beehive press gang.  Only two statements had emerged since then when we began work on this post.

Economic and Regional Envelopment Minister Stuart Nash grabbed an opportunity to do a bit of Shane Jones-style braying at the opening of a Surf Rescue Base at Pāpāmoa (the press statement had him opening a “new” surf rescue base, raising the question of how many old ones he has opened).

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins seemed chuffed that more people than showed up in an earlier survey have put their hands up for the Covid-19 vaccine. He also gave a progress report which illustrated how many Kiwis (around 90 per cent) have not been given their Covid shots, although some of these seem determined to stay well clear of the vaccinators. Continue reading “Unemployment insurance scheme (a Labour election promise) has made it to the drawing board”

Beehive beneficence brings some cheer to workers made redundant by Covid-19 – but then comes a chorus of carping

A great deal of disgruntlement was generated by the one press statement to be released from the Beehive yesterday.

The Government announced the COVID Income Relief Payment, a $570 million temporary programme to support New Zealanders who lose their jobs due to the global COVID-19 pandemic – it will help them to adjust and find new employment or retrain.

The good news (but only for eligible residents and citizens) was reflected in headlines such as Covid 19 coronavirus: Kiwis who lost jobs in pandemic crisis to get $490 a week income relief payment.

The announcement of the Covid Income Relief Payment was accompanied by news that work is under way

“ … on the possibility of a more permanent unemployment insurance scheme in New Zealand. The Future of Work Ministers group has commissioned the work following a request from Business New Zealand and the Council of Trade Unions.

“As we move from the respond and recover phases of our COVID response, and towards rebuilding the economy, we have an opportunity to reset some of the foundations of the safety net for working New Zealanders. Continue reading “Beehive beneficence brings some cheer to workers made redundant by Covid-19 – but then comes a chorus of carping”