Call for a post-pandemic jobs guarantee scheme
New Zealand’s unemployment was less than 1% for 30 years from 1946 to 1976. Now the government, the Reserve Bank and traditional economists settle for 4% unemployment, as ‘full employment’.
This version of ‘full employment’ means 8% youth unemployment and 16% Maori / Pacific youth unemployment. Problems such as family poverty (including children missing meals), mental health, suicide, poor health and reduced self-esteem which accompany the lack of a job are barely acknowledged or debated there as to whether they are too high a price to pay.
Martin Taylor of progressive economic thinktank Digital Strategies who has been working on a jobs guarantee argues this could cost as little as NZ $1.6Bn, approximately 0.5% of GDP. And, this is more than outweighed by the benefits such as dignity of work, improved mental and physical health, improved social and environmental outcomes, boost infrastructure and care work.
Full article by Catriona MacLennan published on Radio New Zealand website, 29th April 2020.