Work & wages

Restructuring individuals: The use of sanctions in New Zealand’s welfare system

Alicia Sudden

According to Kingfisher (1999), the welfare system in New Zealand is increasingly oriented around the need to restructure individuals, rather than systems. This has become more visible recently through the use of financial sanctions. A new sanctions regime was implemented in July 2013 alongside the overhaul of main benefit types,
 

Varieties of Skills Regimes: New Zealand in Comparative Context

Kate Nicholls

One positive recent development in the study of comparative political economy is the increased amount of attention given to skills formation, especially the role that vocational education and training (VET) plays in economic development. One of the key insights drawn from this literature is that there are two main paths
 

It will take courage to clean up the welfare mess

Ian Shirley

It took courage for Metiria Turei to challenge the welfare mess that has emerged over the past four decades whilst at the same time owning up to the way in which she exploited the welfare system to provide for her daughter. She no doubt anticipated the reaction her declaration would
 

Pike River Mine: Bring them home

Felicity Lamm

Most New Zealanders of a certain age will remember the Erebus Disaster. As now, there was also a great deal of discussion around whether or not the recovery of the victims of the 1979 Mt Erebus plane crash was either possible or safe for a recovery team. The National Government
 

The digital classroom revolution

Pii-Tuulia Nikula

Many parents are faced with the new digital practices used in their children’s schooling. ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies and increased use of technology in classroom are becoming daily realities in most schools. The New Zealand Ministry of Education supports this digitisation process and provides significant resources for related initiatives,
 

The future for precarious and vulnerable workers

Chloe King

Why are vulnerable workers, vulnerable? This is a complex and heart wrenching question. Every day, I speak with people who are young and not so young, who have no economic stability and feel their futures have been stolen from them. So much of their grief and hopelessness for their futures
 

Trade unions and the climate change fight

Julie Douglas & Peter McGhee

We [unions] have to stop running away from the climate crisis, stop leaving it to the environmentalist, and look at it. Let ourselves absorb the fact that the industrial revolution that led to our society’s prosperity is now destabilizing the natural systems on which all of life depends – Naomi
 

Working conditions in the early childhood education sector

Andrew Gibbons, Sandy Farquhar & Marek Tesar

Introduction In April 2015 New Zealand Herald reporter Kirsty Johnston ran a week-long series of reports on the status of early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand. The key matter for public concern was the quality of education and care provided for children up to the age of five. A
 

The Precariat and the Future of Work

Guy Standing

For many foreign observers, New Zealand seems like an oasis, while the rest of the world economy plunges from crisis to crisis. But no country can escape the forces of globalisation, the ongoing technological revolution and the slow fuse impact of several decades of neo-liberal policies that have transformed the
 

Doing Something About Low Incomes: Wages And Benefits

Bill Rosenberg

The Government says it is putting poverty on the agenda. That’s good, but what does it mean in practice? The signs are worrying. Announcements so far show it will be limited tightly to those in the harshest poverty, cover only housing, transport, childcare costs and loan-shark debt, and rather than
 

Temporary vs. Permanent Employment: Is There a Wage Penalty?

Gail Pacheco & Bill Cochrane

Over recent years there has been an upsurge in the number of workers ending up in temporary employment (see for example De Cuyper et al., 2008). There are a number of reasons for the upsurge ranging from free choice whereby workers choose temporary work because of inherent and preferable charateristics
 

Why A Free Market Wage System Doesn’t Work

Michael Sharp

The general decline in collective bargaining coverage across western economies in the 1980s and 1990s was driven by the belief of governments and employers that freer labour markets would work more efficiently. New Zealand lead the way with collective bargaining coverage rates declining from some 60% to 17% (Creighton and
 

Insecure Work

Max Rashbrooke

The debate now raging in New Zealand over zero-hours contracts – in which an employer does not give its contractors any guarantee of hours, but, in many cases, forbids them from working for anyone else – is just the latest symptom of the rise of insecure work. Also known as
 

Work & Wages

Ian Shirley

The Briefing Papers were launched in 2014 with the aim of providing the public with an overview of critical issues facing New Zealand society in the 21st century. Drawing on long established traditions of scientific advice the briefing paper series has sought to build a platform of expertise in public
 

The Links Between Bad Labour Laws and Poor Safety Practices

Gordon Campbell

By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port owners. The Port of Tauranga for instance, is expecting its
 

New Zealand’s Wages System is Buggered

Bill Rosenberg

Wages and salaries (henceforth just ‘wages’) have a number of functions: providing income to households, distributing the income generated by the economy, providing incentives. None of them are working properly. Providing income to households The most important function of wages is that they are the primary method of providing income